ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Best Vegan Protein Powders 2014

Updated on July 14, 2014

Whether you are building muscle or just want to reinforce your diet, finding the best protein powder is twice the challenge if you are a vegan. Plant sources of protein are not as intense as animal sources and are less likely to provide complete proteins with all the essential aminoacids. Blends work better for vegans because the weakness of one plant protein can be offset by another. In any case, one has to check for the various additives and ingredients of each protein powder to make sure it is good for the body and this is going to be time consuming at best. Lucky for those who have found their way to this article, I took the time to review the best selling vegan proteins in the market in a hope to give you a few tips for choosing right product. On this page, the nutritional content of each powder has been made available together with impartial accounts on the pros and cons of each one. Having read this review, it will be up to you to decide which vegan protein is the best for you.

It is difficult but definitely possible to find a decent plant based protein powder.
It is difficult but definitely possible to find a decent plant based protein powder.

Finding the Best Vegan Protein

There are various factors that should be taken into consideration when assessing vegan protein powders. The most important one is the aminoacid profile and will be discussed in some detail.

Lysine, the Achilles' Heel in Vegan Diet

Lysine is an essential aminoacid that is rare in plant sources. Not getting your Lysine will not only hamper your muscle development, but it will also cause fatigue, appetite loss, anemia and hair loss. For a vegan, Lysine is the most difficult amino acid to get in the needed amounts. That means if you are getting enough lysine as a vegan, you are also probably getting all the other aminoacids you need. That's why in this review, Lysine content will be given priority in assessing the amino acid profile of protein powders. According to WHO, 45 mg of every gram of protein you eat should be the amino acid Lysine to meet the minimum daily requirements of your body. That makes 4.5 % per weight of total protein. Protein powders with Lysine ratio equal or higher than that will better help your get you daily requirement.

Other Factors You Need to Consider When Choosing your Protein

Protein Content and Calories: One of the primary reasons for buying protein powder is to get protein while avoiding all the undesired calories. That means a good protein powder contains a large amount of protein per scoop and little carbohydrate and fat.

Protein Source: Making complete protein out of plants can be an issue and often more than one plant source is required to get a decent amino acid profile. Therefore, the best vegan protein powder is one that has a multitude of plant ingredients. Different protein sources will also allow for different digestion times. When you are working out you need instantly digestible protein but when you are resting and recovering you need protein that enters bloodstream slowly over a certain period of time. Some people take different types of protein powders such as whey during workout and casein before sleep to combine the different effects. It is great if your vegan protein powder can give you both effects within the same scoop.

Additives and Source of Ingredients: Many protein powders contain chemicals that make the powder taste and mix better. However, eating them means to pump strange substances into body on a daily basis. Veganism is especially about a healthy and natural diet so such additives in a vegan protein powder are a big-no-no!

Organic Sources: Vegan or not, almost everyone is wary of GMOs nowadays so few would dare to sell a vegan protein powder with genetically modified stuff in it. A good protein supplement must be non-GMO and it is even better if it is organic.

Taste and Texture: There are many people who take the taste of protein powders very seriously and start complaining when it does not taste so nice or when it is a little gritty. Of course a good taste would be a nice extra for a vegan protein powder that has very healthy ingredients. Yet, it is not a good idea to judge a protein supplement according to the taste because you are not eating this powder to enjoy its aroma. You are eating it for the nutrients and nothing else. If it had not been for the nutrients, you could just go eat some nice-tasting veggies. So, in this review, I will recommend the more protein-rich powders with the healthier ingredients over those that are made to taste sweet with strange additives.

One Scoop
35 g
Protein
22 g
Lysine
1723 mg (7.8 %)
Calories
130
Fat
1 g
Carbs
9 g

Lifetime Life's Basics Plant Protein

This protein powder sells very well and I would have liked it if it had more protein in it.

Lifetime Life's Basic draws its protein content from peas, hemp, rice and chia seed. Let us review each of these ingredients.

Peas, Hemp and Rice sound quite ordinary but when combined these three produce a mighty amino acid profile with all the essential amino acids. The lysine content of Lifetime Life's Basics is nearly 8 % of all the protein content, which is a decent ratio.

Chia Seed is a superfood heaped with vitamins, minerals, protein and omega fatty acids. It also sort of swells with water so is grest for making you feel full. This is an awesome ingredient for a protein powder.

Despite the quite nice protein sources it has, the actual protein content of Life's Basics is surprisingly low. One scoop of 35 g contains only 22 g of protein, which means nearly 40 % of this product is junk. Plus, it has a very high carb level and calorie count per scoop is 130. A few more grams of carbs and you could call this a sugar powder rather than a protein powder. I believe a protein powder is supposed to have a robust protein content to justify the sum you are paying it.

Life's Basics plant protein is sweetened with stevia and fructose and has some salt as well.

There is no info about any of the ingredients being organic and interestingly, some time ago the non-GMO label was removed from the product specs of Lifetime's protein powder. It is hard to know whether the company is adding genetically modified stuff to its supplements but this issue is a minus for the brand.

All in all, what we are seeing here is not at all something low quality. In fact, there are some real good plant ingredients in this powder. Yet, the actual protein content is way too low for me to recommend it as a purchasable item.

One Scoop
30 g
Protein
21 g
Lysine
1480 mg (7%)
Calories
120
Fat
2 g
Carbs
4 g

Plant Fusion Diet Supplement

This is one of the better vegan protein supplements in the market. PlantFusion Diet Supplement will provide you body with protein from peas, artichoke, quinoa and amaranth.

Pea protein is used in many plant protein powders. It's got lysine and is easy to digest. Artichoke is a vegetable with a decent protein profile and is also good for the liver. As for Quinoa and Amaranth, they are two plant seeds from South America with higher protein content compared to regular grains. They are also gluten-free, which is good news for people on bad terms with the wheat protein. Also, Quinoa and Amaranth are sources of complete protein meaning they bear an adequate amount of all nine types of essential aminoacids. In short, they are good stuff.

Sometimes, protein powders with several ingredients are in fact mostly based on one source and contain the others only in slight amounts. Such is the case with Garden of Life Raw Protein reviewed below, which is almost completely brown rice protein with little bits of many other plants. I suspected something similar might be true for PlantFusion. So I checked the amino acid contents of the product. Comparing the amino acid profile of PlantFusion Vegan Protein with pea protein, it is seen that amino acid contents differ so we know for sure that PlantFusion is not pure pea protein and contains significant amounts of other plant proteins.

The amino acid profile is decent with plenty of lysine. Yet, the overall protein ratio is not the best you will see in this review. PlantFusion powder is 70 % protein, with some fat and carbs that give you 120 calories per scoop. I wish this protein powder had a more intense protein content.

PlantFusion Protein contains fructose, glycine and stevia as sweeting agents. Fructose is pure calories but eating it is much more preferable than eating chemical stuff made to taste like sugar. As for stevia, it is the famous plant based natural sweetener with no calories. Finally, glycine is a sweet-tasting aminoacid. You find these three even in the natural unflavored variety of PlantFusion protein. Concerning their effect on your health, they are perfectly safe and natural stuff but putting them all in might have made the product a bit too sweet as some who tried this powder complain. If you like sweet though, PlantFusion's taste might be for you.

There is also silica in the ingredients. It is a safe anti-moisture agent that does not get digested.

PlantFusion does not claim its protein powder is all organic but we know for sure that Quinoa and Amaranth in PlantFusion protein powder are organic. It is non-GMO.

To summarize, PlantFusion offers a feasible option for a vegan protein powder. It has many positive features and the price is actually a little less than the rest so this would not be a bad deal at all. This protein powder would have been the recommended one had it not been for the SunWarrior blend protein you can see below.

One Scoop
22 g
Protein
17 g
Lysine
922 mg (5.4 %)
Calories
80
Fat
0
Carbs
3 g

Garden of Life RAW Protein

The ingredients of this protein powder are impressive at first sight with 13 different plant sources, some of which you may not have heard about in your entire life. In addition, it flaunts the USDA Organic and the non-GMO Project badges. However, doing some research, I realized it is mostly rice and when I checked the product website, I saw that the nutritional contents displayed for this powder is the same as the nutritional content of pure rice protein. This is an admission that the protein at hand has only very little of other ingredients.

Having only one protein ingredient is not the end of the world. Yet, Garden of Life Raw Protein should be considered a single source protein rather than a blend and the amino acid profile is not that remarkable. The lysine ratio is 5.4%, which is the lowest in this review. Although this powder will not necessarily run you low on lysine, it will do little to help you in buttressing your diet. The overall protein content is fine but not as good as the SunWarrior seen below.

Taste is not supposed to be such a huge issue, but when there are so many people who complain taste is not right and it does not mix, one has to start worrying. Indeed, even those people who call Garden of Life a very healthy product complain about the insipid flavor and gritty-chalky texture. That could be seen as a problem, especially because this protein powder seems somewhat overpriced. It also contains a very little amount of soy, which may be repulsing for some.

As you see, Garden of Life RAW Protein has its pros and cons. It is not a bad product but I will not recommend it because it does not have the best price to performance ratio. It does have a high protein content but it is just rice protein and will not provide you with a lot of lysine. Yet, if you are looking for a decent rice protein this one may be an option because despite its cons, it should be remembered that Garden of Life's protein is indeed organic and healthy.

One Scoop
25 g
Protein
20 g
Lysine
1793 mg (9 %)
Calories
100
Fat
1 g
Carbs
1 g

SunWarrior Warrior Blend Raw Protein Powder

Warrior Belnd offers the highest amount of protein per unit weight that comes from three different plants. No irksome additives and no problem with taste and texture. And to make things better the price is what it should be.

SunWarrior's Warrior Blend powder is made from hemp, pea and cranberry proteins. All three sources complement each other making this protein powder almost perfect. For instance, Hemp by itself is somewhat deficient in the essential amino acid lysine. This weakness is compensated by cranberry, which is more than 10 % lysine!

This is why SunWarrior has a high lysine content, actually the best you can hope to come across in a vegan protein powder. Lysine in this protein powder is very handy for vegans because they are very likely to be getting less than what they need from the rest of their diet and SunWarrior will balance it out for them. This may be one of the most beneficial supplements for vegans.

Another part where the different types of proteins are complementary is digestion time. Pea protein is fast to digest when compared to other plant proteins. This means Sunwarrior will give you an immediate boost that will help during or after workout. Hemp protein on the other hand enters bloodstream over a longer period of time, making Sunwarrior great as a dietary supplement and for muscle recovery.

Warrior Blend's overall protein content is the best you can hope to see in a vegan powder. There is 20 g per scoop, which is 80 % of total weight of the product. Plus, you get only 5 calories per gram of protein, which is again the best ratio available. There is one gram of fat per scoop. Both hemp and cranberry proteins are rich in essential fatty acids i.e. omega 3 and omega 6, so the fat in the formula may be more of an advantage than a concern.

Sunwarrior's formula includes a gum blend consisting of fenugreek gum, knojac gum and guar gum. These are natural stuff that make the powder more satiating. Great for keeping you filled.

Unlike the Garden of Life protein reviewed above, people seem to be rather happy with the taste and mixability of this vegan protein powder. Of course there are a few who don't like the taste but most endorse it a nice tasting and easily mixed powder that is also very healthy and brings about good results.

The company names the Warrior Blend protein as organic compliant but it has yet to receive the USDA certification. Apparently, they are working on it and the brand has products that are USDA certified so I'm pretty sure this one will be admitted soon and I can confidently call Warrior Bland protein organic.

Considering the many pros and the next to zero cons it bears, I see no reason for not recommending SunWarrior Blend Protein as a great buy for vegans looking for a decent protein source. This is the powder that offers the best for its price and you can rest assured that your body will end up happy with the nutrients it provides.

One Scoop
33 g
Protein
25 g
Lysine
1.72 mg (6.9 %)
Calories
131
Fat
0.2 g
Carb
4.5 g

Vega Sport - Performance Protein

The Canadian protein powder we see here is one of the high end products in this review. You definitely will not regret using this one and the only reason I would hesitate to buy this powder is the above-average price.

What makes Vega Sport Performance Protein great is that it is made of four different plant proteins, two of which are quite unique. The four plant sources in question are Brown Rice, Pea, Alfalfa and Savi Seeds.

Alfalfa is a herb with a number of benefits for your health such as lowering the cholesterol levels. It is an abundant supply of vitamins and minerals as well as being rich in protein when dried. These attributes make Alfalfa a great choice for a protein source.

Savi Seeds, more commonly known as Sacha Ichi are nut-like seeds of a plant from South America with a highly digestible protein content of 27%. Sometimes referred to as a superfood, Sacha ichi is thought to be the richest omega 3 source on the planet. That being said, the fat content of VegaSport is close to zero so it is hard to assess how much omega the powder itself contains. Yet, even without the omega fatty acids, the inclusion of Savi Seed adds much value to the product.

As for the more ordinary ingredients namely pea and brown rice proteins, these two are a good pair which complement amino acid profile of each other. As expected, VegaSports protein has a decent amino acid profile with plenty of lysine. The lysine content of VegaSports is second only to Sunwarrior. There used to be hemp protein in this product but it has been removed some time ago.

With such good protein sources, Vega Sport offers a more than satisfactory amino acid profile with 7 % lysine. The overall protein content is not the highest but is far from insufficient. Vega contains 25 g of protein per one serving of 33 g and it has slightly more than 5 calories per gram of protein.

There were complaints about VegaSport's Performance Protein having very high sodium content (520 mg per scoop) but the contents have changed recently and now there is only 210 mg sodium per scoop.

A con for Vega Sport, the company does not even claim that this powder is organic.

To summarise the unique ingredients and decent nutritional content of VegaSport Performance Protein make it a top protein powder for vegans. While it is a very promising brand, this protein is also one of the costliest and its advantages listed above barely justify the price leaving questions about whether it is worth buying that 2lbs box. After all SunWarrior offers a comparable protein at half the price. Fortunately, this protein supplement is also available in single serving packs so it is possible to give it a try without investing in the whole jar.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      TJ 2 years ago

      Thanks! I was trying to decide between Sun Warrior and Vega Sport, and after reading this I ended up going with Sun Warrior. The one reason I was seriously considering Vega Sport was because it has BCAA's and L-glutamine and a digestive enzyme blend.

    • profile image

      michelle 2 years ago

      One consideration not mentioned is if the protein was processed or milled at high heat or cold-milled. My understanding is that Sun Warrior proteins are cold-milled but I read somewhere that VegaSport proteins (? all Vega?) are processed at high heat. Can anyone confirm this?

      Also, Vegasport doesn't state Non-GMO. I thought they used to but things have changed or I'm mistaken.

      Anyone know ?

      Thanks,

      Michelle

    Click to Rate This Article