Protein is a vital nutrient. Every person, vegan or not, should be mindful on how sufficient their protein sources are.
The protein in food sources contains nine essentials amino acids in which the body cannot produce naturally. That is why we need to acquire these through our daily food consumption. Whey protein is a great example of a complete protein. The same reason whey is popular among body builders and athletes. It is an effective type of protein source that can help build muscle mass.
Given how complete whey is, unfortunately, it is not vegan. Sure it can be low in lactose content, but whey is derived from dairy. An animal-based type of protein.
Vegans have a variety of plant-based protein sources but the common drawback is that some of them are not as complete as whey. There are a few plant-based protein sources that are complete though and you will find them on this list. These plant-based protein sources are complete protein that is perfect for any vegan diet.
Pea protein is one of the most popular plant-based protein alternatives in the market. It is wealthy in iron, can definitely aid muscle growth, weight loss, and can boost your heart health. Despite being relatively low in methionine, pea protein contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a perfect plant-based substitute from whey. Also, it is one of the more easily digested plant-based proteins, see our review of the best plant based pea protein powders for vegans.
Soy is considered as a nutritional powerhouse and when extracted, can create an excellent protein source out of it. Soy protein also contains very little fat and no cholesterol. Soy protein is a complete protein and contains all the essential amino acids. One study suggests that when compared to whey and casein proteins, soy protein sits somewhere in the middle as far as muscle protein synthesis goes.
Hemp protein is also a popular choice among vegan body builders and athletes. Yes, it is a complete protein and contains all the essential amino acids but is relatively low in the essential amino acid lysine. Regardless, hemp protein is effective for important bodily functions such as repair and maintenance. Additionally, hemp is a good source of fiber compared to the highly refined soy and pea, which may keep you fuller, longer.
Brown Rice Protein
Just like hemp, brown rice protein is relatively low in lysine but a good source of BCAAs to support muscle building. If you’re trying to cut down some costs, this is a good option as it’s cheaper than the others. One important thing when looking for a good brown rice protein brand, choose a brand that tests for arsenic levels since rice products are often contaminated with the said heavy metal.