It seems that our society, in general, is slowly moving away from meat and dairy products. In the past, these were the only type of protein powders available. As things change, the exercise supplement industry is changing with it. Now there are more non-animal product options available than ever before, but is plant based protein powder good for you?
Both animal based and plant based protein powders are manufactured to be safe and cater to health conscious individuals. If you are thinking about using plant based protein, we will discuss what you need to know to choose the right kind.
Plant based protein powders have differences that we will go over, and some are better for obtaining some goals more than others. I’ll also talk about the pros and cons for using this type of protein as well.
We’ll talk about what is in a plant based protein powder as well as some background on the topic. I’m going to go over some other plant based sub-categories such as Vegan, Organic and All Natural.
Plant Based – Here To Stay
For many of you, the idea of plant based products may seem an unnecessary cost or a waste of time. Big business and agriculture have persuaded us to think that these “green” products are BS, too high priced or not any more beneficial to your diet than standard foods.
I used to believe that these types of products were either a scam or just a “hippie thing”. Several years ago when I would see organic garden boxes, I thought that these people had lost their minds. Come to find out, these people were ahead of their time. I thought they were brainwashed, but it turns out that it was the other way around.
These products are here to stay. At this time my best local source for my plant based foods happens to be Whole Foods. I frequent this store much more now and realize the benefits of plant based products.
Look closer at the shelves and you will notice that there are plant based alternatives or substitutes for many of the conventional selections.
Since plant products come with excellent benefits, why not use them for your exercise routine as well. People that consume protein powders tend to be healthier than the average and take better care of their bodies in general.
Your fitness program can naturally transition towards healthier, plant based supplements. To give your workouts a jump start, I can also recommend some great Vegan Pre Workouts.
Developing Plant Based Alternatives
Not long ago, the majority of our food sources were sprayed with much worse chemicals and planted with toxic fertilizers as was the case with the famous DDT pesticide. Many of the worst chemicals are illegal and have been banned for food production.
This movement to grow plants without these contaminants began in the 1960s, but because of big business and federal funding, it received a slow start to popularity. The movement now is stronger than ever and will continue to grow. The goal, of course, is not only for a healthier food nation but also for our environment and wildlife for many years to come.
Plant based protein powders strive to use natural sugars and sweeteners as well as natural colors and flavors. They are also developing to be more effective than ever, containing as much muscle protein as some of the traditional powders.
It’s pretty crafty how healthy supplement manufacturers will use something like a beet, for example, to be used for natural colors and flavors as well as to supply the Amino Acid Beta Alanine. Beta Alanine is one of the critical ingredients to increase strength in many supplements.
Is Plant Based Protein Powder Good For You
A plant based is sometimes referred to as Vegan. However, Veganism is more of a way of life, and most of us are simply moving towards a healthier diet. Most nutritionists will tell you that plant based protein powder is good for you, and I believe this to be true.
The main argument was that a plant based diet doesn’t provide the nutrients and proteins necessary to give the proper muscular development.
This is untrue. A Mixed plant protein such as Orgain Organic Protein Powder gives you the full spectrum of nutrients and all 21 Amino Acids. It supplies all of the critical components for muscle growth.
These “mixed plant protein powders” combine several single plant sources such as pea, brown rice and soybean or any other combination. This will give you a well rounded protein powder that contains everything that your body needs.
Individual plant proteins such as pea protein powders are very healthy and nutritions. However, by themselves, they don’t contain all of the Amino Acids necessary for muscle growth.
The most popular protein source for powders is whey. Although this is still quite healthy, plant proteins will contain more fiber and nutrients. Because of this, plant is considered the healthiest source for protein.
There is only one catch. The Amino Acid concentration in plant proteins is not as strong as that in animal proteins. Because of this, you may need to take a larger serving size of plant powders to get the same amount of Amino proteins. This is not a big deal considering the benefits that you will be getting with a vegan powder.
If you have any comments or questions on “is plant based protein powder good for you”, please leave them at the bottom and I will respond.
Plant Based Protein Powder Options
The actual plant based diet is a bit vague in its guidelines but it basically excludes animal and dairy products. Organic and Vegan protein powders have much stricter specifications than simply one advertised as plant based. Because plant based supplements are not regulated, the labels can sometimes be confusing.
Many people that follow a plant based diet will dabble with meats and dairy products. The “based” is just what it says, that plants are the base of the diet. This makes plant based a more flexible way of eating. Basically, they “cut back” on animal products to eat more vegetables. This is unlike a Vegan diet, which is very strict.
Since there are no plant based diet rules or restrictions, there is nothing to say that the produce can’t be grown with pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals. If it says Organic, then it is guaranteed to be grown without these contaminants.
Local produce can be one of the best options for healthy eating. This is the hot spot for organic plant based foods because they are usually grown with little or no pesticides. This produce is unlike the majority of our farms since commercially grown food producers are still using government regulated chemicals.
Vegan Protein Powder
As I mentioned earlier, unlike a plant based diet, Veganism is a way of life. They also take a stand against animal cruelty and towards saving the environment.
Vegan, short for Veganism is a diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products, and any other animal derived foods. What else is left then?!?! Believe it or not, there are so many other ingredients out there that can take the place of meat.
This brings us the Vegan protein supplement. Being in the nutritional supplement category, these Vegan proteins are not FDA or USDA regulated. To alleviate a point of confusion in terms, most Vegan protein powders are Organic, but not all Organic post workouts are Vegan.
The truly Vegan supplements are the narrowest category of post workout protein powders to choose from but are coming. They will become easier to find since Vegan is a highly specialized niche with a lot of demand.. If you would like to add some plant bases energy to your workouts, check out my article on some great Vegan Pre Workouts.
Organic Protein Powder
This is my favorite category of protein powders for a few reasons. The availability within this category is the fastest growing, with more reasonably priced Organics appearing all the time.
This may be the healthiest protein powder category because of the strict manufacturing guidelines. This is the only category where the ingredients are truly grown without chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides.
As we mentioned earlier, not all Organic post workouts are Vegan. It is also important not to be confused between Organic and All Natural protein powders as well.
The USDA Organic agency enforces policies with strict guidelines that must be followed if it is to be stamped USDA Organic. Be sure to look for this stamp of approval.
You may have thought that the USDA was just associated with meat inspections, mainly because of all of those “USDA approved Top Sirloin” advertisements. If any nutritional supplements don’t have the USDA Organic stamp, it is not Organic.
Organic products must be 95% free of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or dyes. They must also be manufactured without using any industrial solvents. These tight restrictions tend to bring up the prices on Organics. Most organics are also non-GMO (genetically modified organisms).
Although much has been done to regulate chemicals in the farming industry in general, some of the deadly agricultural chemicals and fertilizers of the past still haunt our environment and wildlife decades later.
If you have a favorite Organic or Vegan protein powder, I’d like to know about it. Please add a comment in the box at the bottom of the page.
All Natural Protein Powder
An “all natural” protein powder is kind of a hybrid between the popular, more traditional protein powder and Organic powders. They are less expensive than an Organic and will sometimes contain more protein per serving.
The ingredients used to grow all natural supplements are not required to be pesticide and fertilizer free and are not held to the same strict guidelines.
What sets natural apart is that it does not contain any artificial colors, artificial flavors, processed sugars and usually use natural extracted Caffeine. They are better for you than the “traditional post workouts” that have long since been the standard for the industry.
This can make a difference for your overall health since we have yet to learn all of the side effects associated with man made additives.
These brands strive for more natural and less processed ingredients all around. Some are better than others, so be sure to pay attention to the supplemental facts on the label. You will find that there are many brands the “claim” to be natural but are not.
If you are interested in other natural exercise supplements, see my article on the Best All Natural Pre Workout Products.
The Green Conclusion
Plant based protein is the healthiest type of powder that you can get. It has the most fiber and nutrients than any other exercise supplement. A mixed plant protein is even better because it includes all of the critical Amino Acids for muscle growth.
Because they don’t include any animal or dairy products, they may have less of a concentration of Amino Acid proteins. If this is the case, simply take a little more of a serving.
Remember that not all Organic protein powders are 100% plant based, and that may protein powder manufacturers falsely advertise their brand.
So beware of this. It costs considerably more money and research to manufacture quality healthy alternatives. If you are interested in Organic protein powders, be sure that it has the USDA Organic seal.
Personally, I don’t enjoy eating an all plant based diet, but I believe in supplementing healthier, plant based options when possible. If you look at the statistics, the majority of the US population doesn’t eat enough vegetables, which leads to long term health problems.
A good protein powder has so many benefits from muscle recovery, getting more toned, and even for weight loss. Although these powders shouldn’t always be your “go to” meal replacement, they are the next best nutritious thing.
If you have any questions or comments about “is plant based protein powder good for you”, please leave them in the box below and I will respond.