The Benefits of Plant-Based Protein Powders

Protein has many roles in your diet. Getting enough protein can help with weight control, immunity, muscle function, and more.* Protein powders can help you get more without inconvenience. There are many types of protein powders to choose from, and there may be some benefits to choosing plant-based protein powders. Here are 10 possible benefits.

  • They are cholesterol-free.
  • Cholesterol is a substance that makes up parts of animal cells. Dietary cholesterol can potentially raise your blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk for heart disease. Plants do not have cholesterol, and plant-based protein powders are cholesterol-free, whether you choose pea, hemp, or soy protein powders.

  • They are dairy-free.
  • Anyone who is lactose-intolerant or on a dairy-free diet can benefit from this property of plant-based protein powders. Protein powders derived from whey or casein contain milk-based ingredients and can potentially cause symptoms of lactose intolerance or trouble digesting dairy products. Pea, hemp, and soy-based protein powders are typically free from dairy, not to mention gluten as well. 

  • They are not acidic.
  • Meats can be acidic foods. This can lead to trouble such as reduced bone density over time. Plant-based proteins are usually considered alkaline, which means that they are not acidic. This can help neutralize acids in foods and contribute to a better acidity level in the body overall. 

    While all animal-based proteins are complete, meaning they have all of the essential amino acids that your body needs, a drawback of some types of plant-based protein is that they are incomplete. However, soy protein and pea protein are examples of plant-based proteins that are considered complete, or have each of the amino acids that you need. NOW Soy Protein Isolate and NOW Pea Protein are examples. 

  • There may be reduced long-term risks of health concerns compared to animal proteins.
  • A good deal of research has been done on the role of animal proteins and health. Long-term, it seems as though eating a high amount of animal proteins may be a risk factor for kidney and liver disease. On the other hand, it does not appear that eating more plant-based proteins raises the risk for any chronic conditions.

  • They can have natural fiber.
  • Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate, but it is not digestible like sugars and starches are. Instead, it may have other effects in your body. It can support the growth of healthy gut bacteria, and it can improve digestive health.* Dietary fiber can also help stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol levels.* 

    Dietary fiber is only found in plants. The only natural sources of dietary fiber are plant-based products. That means that plant-based protein powders can have dietary fiber, while animal-based protein powders, such as whey powder, can only have fiber if it is added to them. 

    Nutiva Hemp Protein Powder, for example, has 12 grams of fiber per serving. The daily recommended amount of fiber is 14 grams per 1,000 calories, or about 28 grams daily on a 2,000-calorie diet. That means that Nutiva Hemp Protein Powder can help you reach your daily goals easily. Biochem 100% Vegan Protein Powder is also a source of dietary fiber.

  • They may supply heart-healthy fats.
  • Heart health is a big reason to follow a plant-based diet, and plant-based protein powders can contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Hemp is a natural source. On the other hand, animal-based proteins can have saturated fats, which can raise the risk for conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

  • They can support energy and immunity.*
  • Plant-based protein powders can contain iron, whereas some whey protein isolate powders do not. Iron is an essential mineral. Among other things, it is necessary for normal immune function.* 

    Iron is also needed for healthy red blood cells, since it is a component of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the body. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia and symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue. The vegan protein powders at Netrition are natural sources of iron.

  • They can have phytonutrients.
  • Phytonutrients are plant-based nutrients. Guess what: they are in plants, and they are not in animal-based proteins. An example is phytoestrogens in soy, and NOW Foods Soy Protein Isolate is a source.

  • Absorption can be better.
  • It doesn’t matter how nutritious something is if your body cannot absorb the nutrients. Plant-based proteins can be more bioavailable, or easier for your body to absorb, compared to animal-based protein powders such as whey or egg-based powders.

    An example is Genepro Unflavored Protein Powder, which contains pea protein isolate. The manufacturer claims that it has better absorption as backed by five different clinical trials and described in 10 published studies. Each serving has 11 grams of protein and only 40 calories.

  • They are easy to use.
  • Netrition has a variety of plant-based protein powders that are easy to mix into water or another favorite beverage. You can take them anywhere or use them at home for a healthy dose of protein where you are, whenever you need it. 

    Netrition has Unflavored varieties, such as NOW Pea Protein Powder, Nutiva Organic Hemp Powder, and Genepro Unflavored Powder, as well as delicious flavors, such as NOW Pea Protein in Vanilla Toffee and Creamy Chocolate, or Biochem 100% Vegan in Vanilla. You can add unflavored powder to anything, such as pasta or vegetables, or use flavor protein powder in beverages or in yogurt, cottage cheese, or smoothies, for example. To keep it vegan, you can add these powders to foods or beverages such as oatmeal, tofu-based smoothies, or almond or coconut milk.

    While chicken and eggs may come to mind first as protein sources, and whey protein may be a more common type of protein powder, plant-based protein powders have some potential benefits. Their nutritional profile may be different, and you can feel better about the environment when you use them. 

    *The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. Netrition products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone with a medical condition should seek the advice of a licensed medical practitioner. Individual results may vary.

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