Plant-based protein powders are offering you an alternative way to be able to get the correct amount of protein in your diet every day without relying on any animal-based products. Having enough protein in your diet is essential for your body’s day to day functions, but we can agree that is easier said than done.
Whether you are choosing to go with a plant-based protein powder because you are following a vegan or vegetarian diet, or you just want a protein powder that is easier on your digestive system than whey there are many different ones to choose from.
There are some factors you might want to consider before looking to purchase a plant-based protein powder. Those factors are the amino acid profiles, amount of protein per serving, taste, and cost. In our research, we found that THRIVE by Legion Athletics to be the best overall providing you with great taste and overall complete nutrition with the added vitamins and minerals.
Below you will find a list of the latest, most popular, and highly rated plant-based protein powders on the market today. This list will show you the Best Plant-Based Protein Powder available, from the quality to the cost. Let’s not waste any more time and dive right in.
Best Overall | THRIVE by Legion Athletics
Our first protein powder is Thrive, created by Legion Athletics. Thrive is a high-quality vegan protein powder that is a blend of pea, rice and hemp protein. Not only that, Legion designed this protein powder with the thought of vegans and vegetarians in mind. This is no doubt the best plant-based protein powder out there, and our pick for best overall. Let’s find out why.
Not only does this protein powder give you 25 grams of high-quality plant protein, it also includes 10 additional nutrients that vegans and vegetarians are normally deficient including Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B12, and more.
This protein powder gives you 25 grams of protein per serving, using a combination of pea, rice, quinoa, and hemp, therefore, giving you a complete amino acid profile and an abundance of nutrition.
Another great thing about Thrive is that it includes digestive enzymes to further help with digestion for any of those individuals who have extra sensitive stomachs.
Thrive is also gluten-free, soy-free, and GMO-free.
Best Organic | Sport Organic by Garden of Life
If you are looking for a good overall organic plant-based protein powder that can help refuel and repair your muscles after a hard workout then Sport Organic is one you are looking for.
Each serving contains 30 grams of high-quality protein using a blend of organic pea protein, organic sprouted navy bean, organic sprouted lentil bean, organic sprouted garbanzo bean, organic cranberry protein seed. Along with 5.5 grams of BCAAs and 5 grams of glutamine and glutamic acid to give you the fuel you need after a hard workout.
It also includes organic apple, organic tart cherry, organic turmeric, organic blueberry, and organic goji berry to help support muscle recovery.
Sport Organic is also gluten-free, dairy-free and GMO-free.
Best Value | Organic Protein by Orgain
This is probably one of the most well known plant-based protein powders out there on the market right now. That is probably attributed to the fact that you can find Orgain’s Organic Protein powder at most local retailers.
This protein powder gives you 21 grams of protein per serving using a combination of organic pea protein, organic brown rice, as well as organic chia seeds to give you a well rounded complete amino acid profile containing all your essential amino acids.
A little-added bonus with this protein is the bit of calcium and iron that you get with each serving. These are two minerals that vegans and vegetarians have a hard time getting enough of in their diet.
Orgain’s Organic Protein is also gluten-free, soy-free, and GMO-free.
Best Rice-Based Protein | NAKED RICE by Naked Nutrition
This is our choice for best rice protein powder. Naked Rice is a protein powder that is made 100% Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Protein. There are no other proteins blended in with it, no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors. Even with all that this is one of the more mild tasting plant-based protein powders out there.
Naked Rice gives you 25 grams of rice protein, along with 4.9 grams of BCAAs to help promote muscle growth. There is literally nothing else in this protein powder, no sweeteners, no fillers, no artificial flavors, even colors. Even then this is still one of the more mild tasting plant-based protein powders out there on the market.
Naked rice is made using a hexane-free extraction process, which creates a protein with an amino acid profile nearly as comparable to whey.
Naked Rice Protein is also gluten-free, soy-free, and GMO-free.
Best Soy Protein | Soy Protein Isolate By NOW Sports
Soy is one of those plant proteins that have a complete amino acid profile. Our choice for best soy protein powder is Soy Protein Isolate by NOW Sports. This is our pick due to it having a short ingredient list, using no fillers, and artificial sweeteners.
Each serving of Soy Protein Isolate gives you 25 grams of soy protein, along with 4.5 grams of BCAAs to help with muscle growth. Soy protein has naturally occurring phytoestrogens and beneficial proteins such as genistein and daidzein.
Soy Protein Isolate is also gluten-free, and GMO-free.
Best Pea Protein | NAKED PEA by Naked Nutrition
Just like the rice protein that Naked Nutrition makes, this protein powder is made entirely of raw yellow peas that are grown in the US and Canada. Which means that there is no artificial fillers, colors, sweeteners, flavors just pure pea protein. Naked Nutrition uses a mechanical water extraction process with no chemicals to give you a pea protein with a great amino acid profile.
Each serving of Naked Pea gives you 27 grams of protein, along with 5.7 grams of BCAA’s in each serving. Many people find that there isn’t too much taste to this protein powder, and whatever taste can generally be hidden when it is mixed in a smoothie.
Naked Pea is also gluten-free, dairy free, and GMO-free
Best Ready-to-Drink Protein | Protein+ Shake by Vega
If you are looking for something extra quick and easy, our pick for best ready-to-drink plant protein goes to Vega’s Protein+ Shake. What we liked about this was the addition of greens that you get from this shake which are made from kale, spinach, organic spirulina, and carrot.
Each one gives you 20 grams of plant-based protein from a blend of hemp, pumpkin, and pea protein. This one shake also gives you 25% of your daily value of 11 different vitamins and minerals. Some such as calcium and iron are things that vegans and vegetarians tend to have a hard time getting from their diets, so that is a plus
Vega Protein+ Shake is also gluten-free, dairy-free and GMO-free
Best All-in-One | ONE Organic by Vega
If you are looking for an all-around complete source of nutrition, ONE Organic is a great way to give your day a boost of not only protein but vitamins, minerals, probiotics, antioxidants, and omega 3’s all coming from plants.
Each serving of ONE Organic gives you 20 grams of quality protein coming from a blend of organic pea, sunflower seed, and pumpkin seed protein. Along with that, you get 50% of your daily value of 8 different vitamins and minerals. You also have probiotics to help with digestion and omega-3 which helps prevent heart disease.
Vega ONE Organic is also gluten-free, dairy-free and GMO-free.
Best Raw Protein | RawFushion by S.A.N.
This protein powder is a raw plant protein powder that uses a combination of protein that has an amino acid profile that mimics that found in whey protein.
Each serving of RawFushion give you 21 grams of high-quality protein coming from a blend of pea protein isolate, sprouted brown rice protein, and artichoke protein concentrate. The sunflower oil matrix also provides essential fatty acids to make a high-quality complete protein source.
RawFushion is also gluten-free, dairy-free and GMO-free.
Best Performance Protein | Veggie Elite by MRM
If you are looking for a plant-based protein that is specifically designed to be digested and absorbed quickly then Veggie Elite is the one you want. This protein powder is designed to be absorbed and utilized as quickly as your body would use whey protein. There is also no artificial flavors or sweetener.
Each serving of Veggie Elite provides you with 24 grams of high-quality protein using a combination of pea and rice proteins to give you a complete amino acid profile. You also get a bit of calcium and a good amount of Iron which is always a plus for anyone on plant-based diets.
Veggie Elite is also gluten-free, dairy free, and GMO-free.
Benefits of Plant-Based Protein Powders
No matter what your reason is for being on a plant-based diet, we all need our protein intake no matter what. Which is why plant-based protein powders is a great choice for those on plant-based diets or anyone who has sensitive stomachs that can’t handle whey. Let’s take a look at all the benefits of plant-based protein powders, and why they are such a great alternative to animal-based protein powders.
- Easy to Digest – This is one of the biggest benefits of plant-based protein powders over whey is that its easy for your stomach to digest. Proteins that are sprouted digest and absorb even better. Some plant-protein powders even have added digestive enzymes to further help with digestion, which is beneficial to individuals that have extra sensitive stomachs or elderly individuals.
- Healthier – Most major brands do not have any artificial sweetener, flavoring, or ingredients, leaving you with a cleaner healthier protein powder.
- Naturally Nutritious – The extra benefit of using plant-based proteins is that most plants are rich in nutrients along with the protein. Proteins that are sprouted carry the most vitamins and minerals along with it.
- Just as Good as Whey – There was a study that was done to compare the effectiveness of brown rice protein powder, compared to whey and the participants that were using brown rice showed just as good increases as their counterparts using whey protein.
- Hypo-Allergenic – Using plant-based protein powder is great for anyone that have allergies to wheat, or lactose intolerant.
- Antioxidant – Many plant-based protein powders come with natural antioxidants, This would beneficial for your liver by reducing oxidative damage.
- Baked Goods – If you are looking to make some protein-infused baked goods, plant-based protein powders generally work the best for this.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
The amount of protein that you need on a daily basis will vary depending on a number of things including but not limited to your activity level, muscle mass, age, and goals. Most of your daily protein should be coming from your diet, and not from supplements. Even for anyone on a plant-based diet, there are many plant-based protein food sources.
The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) suggest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, which translate to about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. This is generally sufficient for most people, if you are trying to gain lean muscle mass you may need to get a bit more but not too much. Check out this video from Sean Nalewanyj about vegan protein powder vs whey protein powders, and how much you should take a day.
Should You Worry About Heavy Metals?
There has been some recent concern about heavy metal contamination in plant-based protein powders after the Clean Label Project released their study in which they tested 134 different protein powders from 52 different brands. In this study, they found that there were many protein powders out there that had detectable levels of heavy metals.
This study drew a lot of criticism from many health groups criticizing the group for lack of transparency, not truly showing data, lacked peer review, and their methods of testing were not released. Which made it impossible for anyone to try an replicate the study.
It is important to remember that “detectable” levels of heavy metals do not mean unsafe. Plant-based products will naturally have some levels of heavy metals due to the plants absorbing them from the ground. Processing to remove these heavy metals completely would also strip away a lot of the nutritional value of the plant. Even the vegetables that you purchase from the supermarket will have some traces of heavy metals in them.
What About the Amino Acid Profiles?
One concern with plant-based proteins is the some of them have incomplete amino acid profiles, which means they don’t have all of the 9 essential amino acids that your body is not able to produce. This is a valid concern, however many plant-based protein powders are made from blends of different plant proteins, and those proteins usually complement each other and create a complete amino acid profile.
If you are using a plant-protein powder that is just a single protein, more than likely you will be able to get the rest of the amino acids you are missing through your diet. There are many combinations of grans & Legumes, and Nuts & Seeds with Legumes that would give you all your essential amino acids.
So which plant-based protein powder should you use? Well all of these that we listed are great options to go with. It just ultimately depends on which type of protein powder you want to go with. We personally like Thrive by Legion Athletics just because of all the different vitamins and minerals it offers along with the protein. Especially because they are minerals and vitamins that are normally deficient in anyone on a plant-based diet.
Do you have a plant-based protein powder that you thought should have made the list? Let me know below! If you have any comments or questions don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment box below.