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. 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.
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. The 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.
Some people like 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 often the case for vegans, for example, for whom eating 50+ grams of protein is a challenge. If 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.
“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!”
Why drink wholesome?
drink wholesome is additive-free. Most protein powders, on the other hand, 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 made with real foods is next to impossible. Why?
Most protein powders are made with protein concentrates and isolates, foods chemically or mechanically stripped of everything but the protein. They are listed on the ingredient list as “pea protein,” for example, as opposed to “peas.” Although there is no evidence that protein isolates and concentrates are bad for your gut, it is safe to say that real foods are better. Your gut always prefers the real thing, not some heavily-processed imitation.
Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we use chickpeas. Chickpeas are simply dried and ground before becoming protein powder. We 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.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.