HOW TO CHOOSE A QUALITY VEGETARIAN PROTEIN POWDER
Unfortunately as vegetarians and vegans it is sometimes hard to get enough protein. And that’s where protein supplements come into play. However, not all protein powders are created equal.
In my post today, I will be discussing how to choose a quality, vegetarian friendly protein powder.
WHY INGREDIENTS MATTER
Not all supplements are created equal! Some companies have taken the time to manufacture quality products full of organic, hormone, GMO free ingredients which can be incredibly helpful and healthy for our bodies. Others seek to make money and therefore forfeit the wholesome ingredients we need for fillers, preservatives and not so clean ingredients.
So why should you care what ingredients go into your protein? Let me give you an example. Let’s say you go into a store and purchase a whey protein supplement that contains “aspartame, surcalose, dextrose and Cellulose Gum”. These are all very typical ingredients found in supplements, among many others.
Now after taking the supplement for a couple of weeks, you start noticing your skin breaking out…. and some indigestion. Let’s assume you haven’t made any changes to your diet or skin regiment and have had good skin and no digestive issues…. connect the dots yet?
I would suggest first and foremost read your protein supplements ingredients before making a purchase. If you do get chance, do a quick google search on the manufacturer. Most supplement companies had a website where they provide information the manufacturing process and ingredients.
If shopping at a health food store, you can ask the sale associate to recommend a brand that contains gmo, aspartame free ingredients or the healthiest, most natural product. Some brands like Vega, Kaizen Naturals and Sunwarrior have a reputation for using better ingredients so they are easy to identify in a store. Please review my full article Overview of Dietary Supplements for more information on what you should be looking for in quality supplements.
WHICH PROTEIN POWDER IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
There are several different types of protein powder you can buy including ones manufactured from milk egg, hemp, rice, pea, soy and even cranberry!
Some other vegetarian friendly protein options include milk protein, soy, hemp, cranberry or vegan (mixed plant based) protein.
MILK BASED PROTEIN POWDERS: WHEY & CASEIN
For those of you looking to optimize protein intake specially after weight training workouts, you should consider invested in a New Zealand Isolated Whey Protein. This protein powder is manufactured from milk. It its the “cleanest” and the most absorbing between milk based protein powders. Whey protein contains all amino acids and is high in branched chained amino acids. It is probably the most effective for those wishing to gain lean muscle man.
However milk derived protein powder are also hyper allergenic. This means they can cause inflammation, indigestion, acne among other symptoms. Also for those of you who do not consume dairy, this is a bad choice!
You can opt to purchase a casein or concentrated protein powder which are derived from milk as well, however they contain higher amounts of lactose, milk sugar and carbohydrates that are found in milk (essentially less actual protein per gram). Casein protein powder are also slower digesting so they may be more useful during sleep or in periods of fasting.
PLANT BASED PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS: PEA, HEMP, RICE & VEGAN
Fortunately, you have a couple options for proteins.
Pea and rice protein powders are the least hypo-allergenic. This means they are less likely to cause indigestion, an upset stomach, skin problems and inflammation (think bloating and joint pain!) These are the safest bet for those of you with digestive issues, skin problems or who have general inflammation.
Hemp protein is one of the only plant based protein powders that has a complete amino acid profile with a healthy dose of good Omega 3 fats. It is also high in Arginine and Histinine making it an excellent choice for those with joint pain. The down side is hemp is not well tolerated by some… in fact some people have severe allergies to hemp! Allergies to the side, hemp is an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans alike.
Soy protein is another plant based protein powder. It is probably one the most popular plant based protein powders on the market. The down side to soy protein is that has been linked to many different types of diseases including thyroid disruption and cancer. Based on the studies that I’ve come across, I would recommend you stay away from soy protein and choose a pea or other vegan protein. It’s simply not worth eating when there are better alternatives out on the market.
Last but not least, as a vegetarian you can op to buy egg protein powder. Egg based protein powder are slower digesting protein powder can be hyper-allergenic. I would suggest to stay away from egg protein if you have inflammation or digestive issues.
VEGETARIAN PROTEIN POWDER: SOME LAST NOTES
So yes the type of protein powder matters but so does its absorption and taste. Regardless of which type of protein powder you choose, make sure its one that you can easily digest as its pointless to take a protein powder that you cannot fully absorb. I would also recommend choosing one in which you like the taste. Lastly, make sure to rotate your protein supplement ever 4 to 6 weeks to avoid your body growing an intolerance to it.
I would recommend checking out my vegetarian meal plan for more guidance and recipes.