What You Need to Know About Plant Protein.
Maybe your New Year’s resolution is to try a plant-based diet. Maybe you’re already a vegetarian and seeking ways to incorporate more plant protein into your nutrition plan. Or maybe you’re interested in learning about the pros and cons of plant-based proteins and whether or not you should give plant protein supplements a try.
Whatever the reason you’re reading, we’re here to help. We’ll share what we know about the pros and cons of plant-based proteins—especially in regards to protein powders. Then, it’s up to you to decide if plant protein is a fit for you and your health and nutrition goals.
Whole Food Sources of Plant Protein
Dietary plant protein can come from whole foods or supplements. High-protein plant foods include tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, almonds, nutritional yeast, quinoa, chia seeds, and more. Some plant proteins are incomplete proteins—meaning that alone, they lack all the essential amino acids our bodies need. However, they can be consumed in combination with other plant proteins to create a complete protein source. Beans and rice are one example. Individually, beans and rice are incomplete sources of protein. Combined, they form a highly nutritious complete protein.
Plant-Based Protein Powder
Plant-based protein powder (which also qualifies as vegan protein powder) can be used in place of milk protein supplements like whey protein powder and casein protein. Some of the best plant-based protein powders combine different types of plant proteins in order to create a complete protein. The most common plant-based protein powders are:
Soy Protein. A complete protein, soy is considered the most effective plant-based protein. It digests and is absorbed at a moderate rate. Soy is an excellent source of glutamine, an amino acid which occurs naturally in the body but may be beneficial in greater amounts during muscle building to limit muscle damage and speed tissue repair. Soy consumption is controversial, however, with potential links to disruptions in natural hormone levels and hormone-related cancers.
Pea Protein. Pea protein compares to whey protein in regards to its high rate of absorption in the body. It is an incomplete protein, so in order to reach full effectiveness, it should be paired with another protein, such as rice.
Rice Protein. Brown rice protein is high in B-vitamins and fiber and is naturally lactose and gluten free. Rice protein should also be paired with another protein source in order to make it a complete protein.
Benefits of Plant-Based Protein Powders
There are quite a few arguments in favor of using plant-based protein powders. Here are several benefits that may inspire you to add plant protein supplements to your diet:
1) Plant protein powder is more nutrient dense than dairy protein powder. Many plant-based protein powders contain antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids.
2) Plant proteins are naturally high in fiber.
3) Have a dairy allergy or intolerance? Plant protein is perfect for you.
4) Even if you’re not allergic to dairy, you might enjoy plant-based protein powder because it generally digests more easily than dairy. Many people struggle to digest milk proteins like casein and whey.
5) Plant protein powders are an ideal supplement for vegetarians and vegans who may not get enough protein through the whole foods they consume.
Drawbacks of Plant-Based Protein Powders
You’re probably thinking that plant protein supplements sound too good to be true. They do, however, have their share of negatives:
1) Plant proteins are often incomplete proteins, and therefore should be consumed in combination in order to serve as a complete protein.
2) Some plant-based proteins are high in carbohydrates—not ideal for anyone following a low-carb diet.
3) Plant protein powders are typically more expensive than whey protein.
4) Plant-based protein powders can be gritty in texture and difficult to mix smooth.
Taste of Plant Protein Powder
The taste of various plant protein powders is up for debate. Some consumers feel that plant proteins taste much better and more natural than diary or other protein supplements. Others feel the exact opposite, strongly disliking the natural taste. You’ll have to decide whether the flavor of plant protein is a pro or a con for you!
How to Mix Plant Protein Powder
Here’s where we really come in handy. A BlenderBottle® brand shaker is the perfect tool for mixing plant protein powder. Why? Because our protein shakers utilize a patented mixing system, featuring the BlenderBall® wire whisk—found only in BlenderBottle® brand shakers. The BlenderBall® whisk whips around inside the bottle as you shake, mixing even stubborn protein powders into deliciously smooth drinks.
Ready to give plant protein powder a try? First, be sure to get your BlenderBottle® shaker here.