What is the best vegan protein powder for weight loss?
Protein can help with weight loss.
Given the popularity of diets like the keto diet, you have probably heard that protein helps with weight loss. You have also probably heard that protein powder is one of the easiest ways to boost your protein intake. Although both of these things are true, they are misleading. This article will help you make sense of the protein craze, and help you better understand the role that protein powder can play in your weight loss journey.
Decades of research point to protein intake as one of the most important mechanisms in weight loss (1, 2, 3). The idea is that diets with a higher proportion of protein might offer a metabolic advantage – you burn more calories and fat – compared to diets consisting of the same number of calories, but with a lower proportion of protein. One of the main reasons why protein can help you lose weight is that it is satiating (filling). This helps to keep you from snacking and overeating, which in turn leads to reduced caloric intake. Remember, the key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume.
Why protein powder?
Clever marketing leads many people to mistakenly believe that protein powder is a magic bullet for weight loss. This is simply not true. Protein powder is just food, and it will not help you magically shed belly fat. Moreover, most people do not need protein powder. If you eat a balanced diet, you are probably getting enough protein. That said, if you are not getting enough protein, and are also looking to lose weight, protein powder can be a good choice. Most people use protein powder because it is convenient; it is far easier to make and drink a protein shake than it is to cook and chew a meal. This is especially the case for vegans, for whom eating 50+ grams of protein every day is a challenge.
It is worth noting that the best vegan protein powder for weight loss for males is no different than the best protein powder for weight loss for females. Companies that claim to make supplements specifically for women use the same mediocre ingredients as the companies that target men. Do not pay extra for packaging. Furthermore, you are on a plant-based diet, the type of vegan protein powder you choose – hemp, pea, soy – is not important. Any vegan protein powder can help you lose weight, but not all vegan protein powders are good for you. Keep reading to learn more about the top ingredients to avoid when buying protein powder.
Avoid food additives.
Again, most ready-to drink protein shakes and many protein powders are full of food additives. Although not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, additives can add up quickly (especially if you drink a protein shake every day) and cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. This is because food additives are, generally speaking, hard to digest. They sit in your gut for longer than food should, which gives your gut bacteria more time to eat. As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, which causes bloating and stomach pain. 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 can disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine, which can result in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders. Artificial sweeteners are among the most harmful additives in the long term as they alter the composition of your gut microbiota (the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food). This can lead to serious, chronic GI problems and widespread inflammation. Some sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol, are also poorly absorbed by the gut (meaning they feed those hungry gut bacteria) and cause diarrhea because they draw water into your intestine. Now you 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 vegan protein powder for weight loss, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.
almonds, 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, dairy-free protein powder is hard. Finding an additive-free, dairy-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 isolate (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 almonds. Almonds are simply roasted, pressed, and ground before becoming protein powder. Unlike protein concentrates or isolates, they still contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients like calcium and vitamin E.
“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!”
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. drink wholesome is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.