Whether you want to build lean muscle, support fat burning, or improve your overall health, protein supplements can help. No longer considered a luxury, these supplements are widely available in animal-based and plant-based forms from dozens of providers. Although whey might be the most popular, plant protein is close behind.
Plant-based supplements offer a safe and effective option for getting more protein in your diet if you follow a plant-based lifestyle, or if you simply need to be incorporating more plant-based options into your diet. Let’s take a look at what plant protein is and the benefits it provides.
What is It?
Plant-based protein is made from extracts of high nutrient options. Five types are used most often: pea, brown rice, pumpkin seed, hemp seed, and soy.
Since some plant-based extracts do not contain all of the 22 amino acids, they are considered incomplete proteins. In order to get all of the amino acids and nutrients, the types listed above are combined with one another to form a complete protein. Hemp seed and pumpkin seed proteins are the exception, as they contain all 22 amino acids and are considered complete.
Benefits of Plant Protein
Muscle Building: The amino acids found in plant supplements have been shown to promote protein synthesis and support lean muscle growth, while protecting your current muscle tissue from catabolic breakdown.
Weight Management: Studies show that subjects who consumed a diet high in amino acids from protein sources such as hemp seed, pea, or soy had a lower body weight than those who focused on carbohydrates.
Lactose Intolerant-Friendly: One of the most prevalent food allergies around the globe, lactose intolerance is the inability to properly digest dairy products. Since whey supplements are made from milk, this presents a problem for the protein-curious fitness enthusiast. A great alternative is plant protein, which has the same amino acids with none of the side effects of lactose.
Lowers Disease Risk: Medical experts agree that there is a correlation between a diet rich in animal-based options and diseases such as heart disease. Incorporating more plant-based options into your diet - such as plant protein - may be able to lower your risk of preventable diseases.
Better for the Environment: Bovine agriculture is one of the leading causes of environmental destruction, and one of the biggest contributors to global warming. By using a plant-based protein, you are choosing a healthy and effective supplement that is better for the environment than beef protein.
Whey Protein vs. Plant Protein
One myth about plant protein that might explain why it has yet to overtake whey in global sales is the idea that it is inferior to its animal-based counterpart. Studies show that plant protein is equally as effective as whey and presents the same benefits.
One study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition demonstrated that plant protein was comparable to whey in increasing protein synthesis, muscle growth, and muscle recovery.
Have You Tried Plant Protein?
If so, did you like it? If not, what questions do you have about it? Let us know in the comments below!
Written by David Sautter
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.