For all the vegan athletes out there, getting adequate protein can be tricky business. Or, at least, it often seems that way at first.
The truth, however, is that many plants pack plenty of protein and vegan protein powders – which have isolated this vital macronutrient – can be a powerful tool in your nutritional arsenal. Better yet, you have options.
So, what are some of the types of vegan protein powders out there? Even further, how can they be included into a healthy diet to help you lose weight?
Regardless of the Source
First, let's start with this basic fact: all protein can help you lose weight.
Unlike carbs and fat, your body does not like to use protein for fuel if it doesn't have to. Which is great, because protein is a structurally complex nutrient, meaning that it takes your body a while to break it down and make it useful.
And, in order to power that process, you burn calories. Simply ingesting more protein, then, can significantly boost your metabolism by between 20 and 30 percent.
But, because protein takes longer to digest, it also leaves you feeling fuller for a longer period. Eating protein-rich foods, then, helps to suppress your appetite so that you end up eating less throughout the course of the day.
To demonstrate this, one study put participants on a high-protein diet and allowed them to eat as much as they wanted. Their caloric intake was compare to that of individuals following other diet plans.
In the end, the high-protein group ate and averaged 440 calories less than the other groups, even though they could have as much food as they desired.
Brown Rice Protein
Although we normally think about rice as a starchy carbohydrate (and maybe even avoid it), the reality is that the grain also contains a fair amount of protein.
In addition to its protein content, though, brown rice is also packed with fiber, complex carbohydrates and vitamin B. These oft-forgotten nutrients can actually work along with the protein to help you shed a few pounds in several ways.
The slow carbohydrates will help to normalize your blood sugar – warding off dramatic changes in your energy, mood. At the same time, the added fiber will increase feelings of fullness.
Like many vegan proteins, brown rice protein powder is an incomplete protein. So, despite all of its virtues, this should not be your primary source of protein.
Instead, eat a variety of protein-rich plants throughout the day so that your body has all of the amino acids it needs in proper amounts.
Pea Protein Powder
Extracted from the humble yellow split pea, this vegan protein powder is rapidly gaining popularity – primarily because it's completely hypo-allergenic.
Again, pea protein powder is high in fiber as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals, making it useful as both a nutritional supplement and overall health booster.
Interestingly, pea protein powder has a savory flavor that is unique among protein powders.
Why does this matter? Thanks to that flavor, pea protein powder can easily be incorporated into foods that you wouldn't generally think to add protein powder to; things like salad dressing, sauces and soups.