It’s not often we make a connection between professional athletes or bodybuilders with a vegan diet. Such is a common belief that building muscle mass takes a diet rich in meat products.
Vegan alternatives are generally overlooked, especially when it comes to protein powder. There’s no argument that you need protein to build muscle, but it doesn’t have to come from meat, dairy products, or whey protein.
You can build lean muscle quite as easily with vegan protein powder. It’s just a case of choosing the right product.
Many athletes, bodybuilders, and casual gym users out there are on vegan or vegetarian diets and have successfully met their workout targets week in week out by supplementing their protein intake using a vegan protein powder with no animal products.
Continue reading as we look closer at whether vegan protein powder really can help you build muscle, and why you should consider switching from whey to a plant-based alternative.
Why Choose a Vegan Protein Powder Over Whey Protein?
The big difference between whey protein and vegan protein powders is that for the majority, vegan proteins are not complete proteins, unlike whey.
Protein powders are considered complete when all nine essential amino acids are present. The most commonly absent amino acid from a vegan protein supplement is lysine, especially from cereal grains.
This isn’t to say those on plant-based diets have to miss out on all the muscle building attributes found in whey protein.
Simply by taking an amino acid supplement alongside a vegan protein powder ensures you’re getting all the benefits of a muscle-building protein powder without the side effects that are often associated with whey.
Because of these side effects, it’s not only vegans who choose a plant-based protein powder over whey.
Headaches, nausea, bloating, and stomach cramps are a few of the side effects sometimes associated with whey protein, especially in high doses.
Those allergic to milk may be specifically allergic to whey, making a vegan protein powder a fantastic alternative.
But which one is best?
Pea protein, pumpkin, brown rice protein, or soy? Because they are not all the same, and if you want to build muscle, you must choose the right one.
What is the Best Type of Vegan Protein Powder?
Pea protein made from yellow split peas, soy, and pumpkin protein powders are ideal alternatives for vegans or anyone who has intolerance towards whey protein.
Pea protein has been found to help build muscle like whey and lower blood pressure, while also giving a feeling of fullness. Because of this, it’s ideal for those wishing to lose body fat whilst training.
Pumpkin seed and soy proteins are two other ideal alternatives to whey, with a quarter cup serving 18 grams and 22 grams of protein.
The downside to soy is that quite often, people have an allergy to it, and concerns about adverse health risks have meant people looking at other options.
Pumpkin seed is one of those options, but its meagre amounts of essential amino acids threonine and lysine, mean brown rice protein is often the choice for anyone wishing to build muscle without using whey.
Brown rice protein is hypoallergenic, and a quarter cup serving is going to fuel you with an impressive 22 grams of protein.
An initial study suggested that brown rice protein may be as good as whey at helping build muscle when taken after a workout.
In a study of young men who took 1.6 ounces of brown rice protein powder immediately after a weight training session three times a week, they gained a 12% growth in muscle thickness in the biceps, the same as those consuming the same amount of whey protein.
Protein powders are more popular than ever, and the vast amount of choice now available makes it even more challenging to choose the one that suits you best.
One of the decisions often overlooked is choosing an alternative to whey protein.
But why not choose a vegan protein powder instead?
After all, it can help build muscle just as well as whey protein, so it is ideal for anyone on a plant-based diet. It’s also a fantastic alternative for anyone who has a milk allergy or finds that they often feel bloated after taking whey.
And if you had any concerns over whether vegan protein powder can help you build muscle, you can rest safe knowing that it absolutely can.