The best soy protein powders fortify a healthy diet, can help build muscle, and are easy to incorporate into a variety of foods. Although there are dozens of powders available in the health-food market, including brown rice protein powder, hemp protein powder and whey protein powder, soy is a fantastic choice for both vegetarians and vegans and can help them reach daily recommendations for protein values.
Best Soy Protein Powders
Just as for any other food product, individual opinions about the best soy protein powders can vary widely. It's tough to develop a core set of criteria that should distinguish a great protein powder, since personal preference plays such a huge role. However, all of the powders below have attributes that make them stand out above the competition for one reason or another.
Peaceful Planet Soy Protein Powder
Peaceful Planet is a low-fat, sugar-free, and vegan soy protein protein available from VitaNet Online. Although it does have some additives, it fulfills 100 percent of daily recommendations for vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, nutrients that are especially difficult for vegans to get because they're found in animal products instead of plant-based foods.
Genisoy Protein Powder
Genisoy Ultra soy protein powder is more calorie-rich than the variety from Bob's Red Mill, with 40 calories per tablespoon instead of 20, but it also has more protein, offering just over eight grams per tablespoon instead of five. The powder is kosher, has minimal additives, and is suitable for vegans.
Naturade Total Soy
Naturade Total soy protein powder is flavored, so it has a distinct advantage over flavorless powders that may taste chalky, bland, or "cardboard-like" when mixed with plain water or milk. If you use soy protein powder to make meal replacement shakes or add zing to smoothies, the Naturade brand may be preferable. However, Naturade powder does have a downside in that its first ingredient is fructose rather than soy protein isolate, and it contains a number of additives.
Now Soy Protein Isolate
The Now brand of soy protein powder comes in an unflavored variety, vanilla, and chocolate. It's more affordable than many of its competitors, and a 1/3-cup serving contains only 90 calories and half a gram of fat but 20 grams of protein.
AdvantEdge Soy Protein
Like the Naturade brand, AdvantEdge soy protein powder is flavored (with chocolate or vanilla options), so it works well in bland smoothies and shakes. It's one of the more affordable choices on the list, and it's available at some big-box stores, which can help consumers save on shipping costs. However, it also contains more calories, fat and sugar than its competitors: the totals are 180 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 17 grams of sugar per serving.
Barry Farms Soy Protein Isolate
The soy protein isolate from Barry Farms is a good choice for vegetarians and vegans who would like to support smaller, independent companies and manufacturers. Linda and Bill Barry run their family farm on the same plot of land that it's occupied since 1994, and they use no chemicals in any of their farming practices. The soy protein isolate they sell is unflavored, made in small batches, and contains just over 100 calories and 22 grams of soy protein per serving.
Making the Choice
Since there are so many leading soy protein powder options available, it may seem almost impossible to narrow the choices. Even though it's old-fashioned, trial and error is often the best strategy to use when trying to pinpoint a favorite. Buy products that are within your budget, try a wide variety whenever you can, make use of bulk bins at health-food stores, and borrow samples of protein powder from friends, if you can. If you know what you like best in a powder, you'll soon find your own favorite.