In this day and age, there are lots of reasons to consider the benefits of giving up animal products and embracing a plant-based diet. Worrying about protein is one of the main concerns that people have when they become vegans or vegetarians. On the other hand, getting adequate protein on a vegan or vegetarian diet is simple.
You can get all the protein you need from beans, legumes, and nuts, but some vegans and vegetarians turn to supplements in order to ensure they are getting enough protein in their diets. But how do you know which supplements will be best suited to your lifestyle? What are the best ways to go about getting all the protein you need while still sticking to your vegan/vegetarian lifestyle?
What is Vegan Protein?
Protein is an important component of a well-balanced diet. It’s not necessary for survival, but it’s important for growth and repair, especially during times of rapid growth like pregnancy or puberty. Protein is found in all sorts of foods, from meats and dairy products to beans, grains and different superfoods.
People who are vegan have to make sure they get enough protein on their plates. There are two main types of vegan protein: legumes (beans, lentils, soy products) and whole grains (oats, quinoa, brown rice). For people who are vegan, it’s best to get fibre-rich whole grains like oatmeal or quinoa along with the protein, since beans tend to be high in fat.
Vegan protein is a natural source of prebiotics. These are needed for healthy gut bacteria to flourish, which in turn will help improve digestion and overall health. Some animal sources of protein are also high in prebiotics, but they are not as easily digested as a vegan protein supplement. This can lead to bloating and other digestive issues. Vegan protein is also more easily digestible than most other sources of protein, so it can help the body absorb other nutrients more efficiently.
Vegan protein is also an excellent source of fibre, which is essential for healthy digestion. Fibre helps the body absorb vitamins and minerals from food more efficiently, and it also helps slow down the rate of absorption of sugars into the bloodstream, which means that you can avoid blood sugar spikes that cause hunger pangs and cravings for sugary foods.
It is especially important to get enough fibre on a plant-based diet because it can be difficult to find adequate sources for your main source of calories. In addition to improving digestion and preventing constipation, fibre has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
Vegan proteins are a great alternative to whey and casein proteins for those who are lactose intolerant or have allergies/sensitivities to milk products. They’re also better for vegans because they don’t contain any animal products whatsoever (unlike whey). Vegans can enjoy all of these benefits without sacrificing any nutritional value.
Feeling Less Bloated
It’s important to note that some people may suffer bloating or discomfort at first when integrating any type of vegan protein powder into their diet. It’s typical to believe that the protein is the problem, but this is rarely the case, especially if their digestive enzymes are enough and they’re breaking down meals properly.
In most situations like this, the kind (or quality) of protein powder may be the source of the problem. Anecdotally, I’ve seen this happen a lot with customers who take soy-based protein powders, which is likely due to a common dietary allergy and allergen. When people move from supplements containing soy protein isolate to other ones that may be less inflammatory, their symptoms generally disappear.
When Compared to Other Protein Powders, it Can Provide Similar Benefits
Some would claim that plant proteins in vegan protein supplement products aren’t worth consuming since they are less digested than animal proteins. While the comments regarding digestibility and poor bioavailability (also known as absorbability) of some nutrients are correct, research demonstrates that plant-based supplements still give significant advantages.
Pea protein supplementation showed equivalent improvements in muscle thickness to whey protein supplementation in people who strength trained in trials comparing the two. A brief trial of 15 males found that utilizing pea protein isolate or whey protein isolate had equivalent good effects on appetite control, daily calorie intake, and daily calorie burn.
Pea protein combined with fibre has also been shown to improve blood sugar regulation, which is critical for reaching and sustaining optimal health. According to the research, this advantage may not be due to pea protein alone, but rather to a higher protein, higher fibre diet in general.
To ensure that you get enough protein while living a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, eat a wide variety of plant-based foods in your diet. This includes beans, lentils, peas, and nuts. If you do find yourself in a situation where you are unable to get enough protein, supplements can be a great way to boost your diet. Just make sure to do your research when it comes to finding the right supplement for your specific needs.