What is the best slow digesting vegan protein powder?
What does slow-digesting mean?
Slow-digesting refers to both the speed at which food passes through the stomach and small intestine, and the speed at which amino acids (the building blocks of protein) are absorbed by the body. Different types of dietary protein are digested at different rates, and digestion speed can affect protein retention and synthesis. In other words, different types of dietary protein trigger different metabolic responses, ie. muscle adaptations.
For starters, foods that take longer to digest make you feel full for longer. In the short-term, they can curb your cravings and prevent overeating. In the long-term, they can help with weight loss.
Research has also shown that slow-digesting protein promotes postprandial (post-meal) protein deposition more than fast-digesting protein. Protein deposition occurs when protein synthesis exceeds protein breakdown, and refers to the laying of protein in tissue. A higher rate of protein deposition results in greater changes in body composition (more muscle growth). If you are using a protein supplement to gain weight or build muscle, this may be a good reason to choose a slow-digesting protein.
The main ingredient in our protein powders is chickpeas. Chickpeas are digested and absorbed by the body slowly. This does not mean that chickpeas are hard to digest. It simply means that they take longer to pass through the stomach and intestine, and that they deliver amino acids to the body for longer than other proteins.
The reason why chickpeas are slow digesting is that they are high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is digested slowly because it retains water and increases in size, which causes it to move slowly through the digestive tract.
Why drink wholesome?
drink wholesome is additive-free. Most protein powders, on the other hand, are full of food additives, ingredients added to protein powder to improve characteristics like taste and texture. Although food additives are not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, they can add up quickly, especially if you drink a protein shake every day. At higher quantities, food additives can cause nasty side effects.
Avoid food additives.
Most protein powders are full of food additives. Although they are not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, food additives can add up quickly, especially if you drink a protein shake every day. At higher quantities, food additives can cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects.
Many food additives are hard to digest and sit in your gut for longer than they should. This gives your gut bacteria more time to ferment (eat), and as they eat, these bacteria produce gas, which causes bloating, cramps, and nausea.
In the short term, gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon), which can lead to constipation. In the long term, food additives disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine and trigger the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.
Keep an eye out for artificial sweeteners too. Artificial sweeteners are poorly absorbed by the gut, which means that they feed your hungry gut bacteria. They also alter the composition of your gut microbiota (the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food). This can lead to serious GI problems and widespread inflammation.
Finally, artificial sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol, can cause diarrhea because they draw water into your gut. Now you might finally have something to blame for those post-protein shake trips to the bathroom.
Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:
acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors*, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol
When it comes to identifying food additives, go with your gut. 😉 As a rule of thumb, they are the ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Food additives are not the only thing to look out for when buying protein powder, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.
egg whites, coconut, cocoa, monk fruit
Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain.
*This is the actual ingredient list of one of the best-selling protein powders in the United States.
Avoid protein concentrates and isolates.
Finding an additive-free protein powder is hard. Finding an additive-free protein powder made with real foods is next to impossible. Why? Most protein powders are made with protein concentrates and isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. They are listed on the ingredient list as “pea protein,” for example, as opposed to “peas.”
We will not go into the details, but protein concentrates and isolates undergo heavy mechanical and chemical processing before becoming protein powder. Sometimes, manufacturers use chemical solvents like hexane to separate the protein from the food. This means that what you end up putting into your body looks nothing like real food.
The potential problem here is that your gut might not know what to do with ingredients like these. Your gut prefers the real thing, not some heavily-processed imitation, so protein concentrates and isolates might be hard to digest for people with sensitive stomachs.
Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we use chickpeas. Chickpeas are simply dried and ground before becoming protein powder. Minimally-processed ingredients like these are easy to digest and a stomach-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.
We also like chickpeas because, compared to other plant protein sources, they are high in soluble fiber. Unlike insoluble fiber, which can have a laxative effect, soluble fiber increases in size as it moves through your digestive tract. This can help make your bowel movements easier and more regular.
“I just finished my first bag and ordered 2 more! I Iove this stuff! I have IBS and every protein powder hurts my stomach…except drink wholesome!”