Plant based protein powders represent a new popular trend in nutrition. There are many reasons for this, but chiefly among them are the perceived limitations of whey protein and the limited side effects of many of the leading plant proteins. For vegans, these powders are almost essentially to maintaining a healthy diet. Whatever the motivation for using soy, rice, pea or hemp powder, it is important to understand the distinct advantages of each before going out to purchase a particular supplement. All four are generally effective replacements for whey protein, but some of them bring unique attributes that could be the perfect fit for your needs.
Soy Protein Powder
Soy has long been known in the "green" and healthy living community as an effective replacement for most any other protein source. Those who are lactose intolerant, are vegetarians or vegans, or have allergies to certain grains, have turned to soy in order to get the essential protein their body needs. One of the benefits of soy powder are that it is low in fat, something not all protein powders can boast of. Additionally, soy powder is low in carbs, while containing many essential amino acids. Many studies have shown a steady diet of soy protein to lower "bad" cholesterol. This could be an important factor for certain individuals looking to lower their cholesterol effectively. Practically speaking, soy powder is considered to be highly mixable, meaning that it can be integrated well with a wide variety of smoothies, shakes, and added to baking recipes with ease.
Rice Protein Powder
Rice protein powder is a relatively new addition to the plant based supplement powder market. One of the first benefits users tend to notice is the markedly lower retail price. This is because rice is a generally cheaper plant protein ingredient. While it does not have as much protein per serving as some of the other powders, rice protein is great in that it delivers complete amino acids that have not been broken down in the production process. Like soy protein, rice is easy to digest. People who have had issues digesting the other nutritional supplements may wish to try rice powder to alleviate some of these symptoms. It is also another great protein to easily mix with drinks and baking recipes.
Hemp Protein Powder
While hemp may conjure up images of marijuana smoking teenagers, this plant based supplement serves a very different purpose when utilized as a protein supplement. Many users state that hemp powder has a noticeably better taste than any of the other alternatives. While this should not be the first factor to consider, it can make the difference when all other factors are equal. Hemp protein is a whole food source, rich in fat, but the good kind of fat. The high fat levels can be a turn off for some potential users, but it is important to make the distinction between good and bad fats. Hemp is also extremely high in amino acids and other hard to get nutrients such as zinc, iron, and magnesium.
Pea Protein Powder
Pea powder may seem like an unlikely source of protein, but the split pea has been know for its protein packed life giving vitality for centuries. In addition to being highly soluble and relatively affordable, pea protein has been proven not only to lower blood pressure but to improve kidney function as well. Most of the commercial protein powders contain over 25 grams of protein per scoop which is considerably more than many soy and rice powders. Bodybuilders also point to the fact that pea protein has over 5 grams of BCAAs which helps accelerate muscle building.
All of these plant based supplements are remarkably effective, yet often go unnoticed in favor of the highly commercial whey powder. The reality is that these protein powders are just as effective as whey protein powder. While they are great for vegans and those with allergies, plant based proteins are a perfect option for virtually any person in any situation.