Increasing your protein intake with vegan protein powders is much better for you than drinking whey protein. They not only provide all of the amino acids you need but are also loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and all of the things you need to stay healthy and provide health benefits.
When transitioning to a vegan diet, I recommend increasing protein intake slightly, especially if you’re in an active weight loss phase. This will help retain muscle mass and boost fat loss – exactly what you want.
Vegan protein powders have many benefits due to their natural ingredients and composition. Unlike whey protein which significantly boosts IGF-1, the effect is much milder. We don’t want our IGF-1 too low, nor do we want it to sky-rocket either.
A long time ago I used to frequently drink whey protein. It was convenient, tasted nice, and was easy on my stomach. I never had too many problems with it, to be honest. I later became vegan, so out went the whey protein.
I stopped drinking protein shakes for a long time after that, and just mainly got my protein from beans, peas, soy milk and a few other foods. But after I a while of having limited protein intake, I wasn’t feeling my best.
I don’t know exactly what it was, maybe my IGF-1 level dropped too low. I mean, it’s possible because I also eat a low-calorie diet. But more recently, I began increasing my protein intake again by using vegan protein shakes and including more high protein foods in my diet.
Now, I don’t go crazy or anything, but I try to keep my protein intake between 15-20% of my calorie intake, whereas before it was as low as 10%.
Anyway, here’s a few reasons why you should consider a vegan protein drink and also some of the benefits.
Plant-based protein powder benefits
Below are nine reasons why drinking a vegan powder may benefit your health.
1. Less hassle
Sometimes there are days when you just don’t want to eat certain foods. I get like that sometimes, and so I’ll change things up.
Normally I’ll combine certain foods to have all of the essential amino acids or at least most of them in my meal, but of course, this can take a bit of planning and effort, especially if you’re new to this lifestyle.
The great thing about ready-made protein drinks is they usually contain all of the essential amino acids anyway. So making it simple and easy for you and providing your body and muscles everything it needs to repair and grow.
And on the plus side, your friends and family might think you’re a little more normal when you’re not counting amino acid targets for the day.
2. Nutritional powerhouse
Have you ever carefully read and looked at the label of these protein drinks? Many of the best ones are loaded with plant-based protein sources, greens, fruits, herbs, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and omega 3 fatty acids from algal oil.
These all-natural, plant-based protein powders pack in lots of nutrition quickly and providing more antioxidants than most people would probably get in a week.
They are healthy, tasty, and convenient for vegans to boost their protein intake and get in more healthy nutrition.
So if you don’t want a certain ingredient or protein, you’ll probably be able to find it no problem.
3. Healthier than whey
There are many issues with whey protein, but one of the main drawbacks is the hormones present in whey protein drinks, even if they are in relatively small amounts.
And not only that, whey protein has significant effects on increasing IGF-1, and these can have a negative long-term impact on health and even longevity. Yes we do need IGF-1 to build muscle, but we don’t need it in excessive amounts.
Other conditions such as acne can also be aggravated by elevated levels of IGF-1.
When I had bad acne many years ago, I was always drinking milk and whey protein. I wish I had known what I know now.
You’ll also be getting a variety of different sources of protein, unlike many whey proteins. You’ll often find ingredients like peas, rice, soy, hemp, chia seed and other protein sources.
And if you’re a bodybuilder, and you succeed in building muscle on a plant-based diet, then you may inspire other people like you to take up a vegan diet. A lot of people don’t think that vegans can be strong and powerful.
4. Cardiovascular health
Heart disease is a worry for most people. It’s very likely that you know someone who has been affected by heart disease, either a family or a friend. I have fundraised for heart disease research, so I know the impact it can have on people’s lives.
Fortunately, heart disease is one of those conditions that can be largely prevented by making the right choices. When it comes to diet, there is a lot of debate about which foods really are contributing to heart disease.
But here’s what we do know: a plant-based diet which is low in saturated fat and sodium can reduce the rates of heart disease.
Now, because protein drinks are full of fiber, plant sterols, phytonutrients, as well as minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, these will benefit you in the following ways:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers cholesterol
- Decrease oxidative stress
- Lower stress and cortisol levels
Vegan protein drinks are heart healthy and a great supplement to any diet whether it is vegan or not.
5. Faster recovery time
If you’re an athlete, bodybuilder or just very active, taking a protein powder supplement can help supply your muscles with the nutrients it needs to recover. Faster recovery time important for any person who is training intensely.
During training, injuries can happen, requiring some time out. Providing the body with adequate protein intake during these times may help shorten the period of time it takes to recover from muscle and tendon injuries.
This study shows that rice protein and whey protein were comparable for improving body composition and exercise performance.
6. Improved gut health
The microbiome and how it affects health is a hot topic right now. All of the research in recent years is converging to one conclusion: we have to take care of our gut bacteria if we want to stay healthy and live longer.
The great thing about plant-based protein shakes is that they contain all the right stuff that will keep your good bacteria happy and create insufferable conditions for those nasty bugs that want to do you harm.
Most vegan protein powders that you can find will contain lots of prebiotics which help feed healthy bacteria and allow them to flourish. And some products will also contain large doses of probiotics to help improve digestion and boost levels of healthy bacteria.
The fiber that you’ll be getting with these drinks will also help improve your digestive health, remove toxins from the colon and may help prevent inflammation.
Many people also report that plant-based vegan shakes are easier on the stomach and don’t give them the kind of discomfort, flatulence and other stomach issues that a lot of people get with whey protein.
7. Clean and natural
Companies ought to know what people want from their products. It’s probably no surprise to you that the vast majority of protein powders often provide organic ingredients, don’t contain any artificial ingredients, GMO products, or ingredients which may be harmful to human health.
Many of the protein powders for vegans are also free from ingredients which may cause allergies such as gluten, wheat, soy, dairy etc.
I feel that many vegan brands in particular really care about their customers and make more of an effort to develop pure, natural, and whole food products which aren’t tainted by bad stuff.
8. Low in calories
Calories matter, but plant protein powders contain mostly natural ingredients like fruits and vegetables, so the shakes are usually quite low in calories.
Unless you’re going for a meal replacement drink, which typically has a larger number of calories per serving, you can enjoy these drinks without being worried about excess calorie intake.
And most of those calories will come from protein. I find that on average, vegan shakes usually have around 20-25 grams of protein per serving.
9. Environmentally friendly
Last but not least, you’re also doing the environment and animals a favor. I became a vegan initially for the health reasons, mainly, but even before that, I was vegetarian for a long time. I can’t say I’m the perfect vegan, but I do my best. I am strictly vegetarian, though.
By choosing plant-based drinks over animal products you’re making a statement, you’re helping your health, and you’re helping the animals.
Choosing vegan options is more sustainable in the long term and is ethically the better option in my opinion.