7 Great Alternatives to Whey Protein

The global plant-based protein market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.1% from 2019 to reach $14.32 billion by 2025. [1] The demand for alternative protein sources is increasing all over the world. Companies are now responding, putting all kinds of plant based products on the market. Maybe you have heard about hemp protein or pea protein? Or are using an alternative to dairy sourced whey protein already?

Let’s dive into some alternatives to whey protein and take into consideration what expert have to say about them.

#1 Hemp Protein

Cannabis seeds are turned into protein powder. This is known as hemp protein. The non-potent part of cannabis is almost a wonder material. Hemp can be used for dozens of different things, clothes and even houses.

It’ s a great source of fiber, iron, zinc and alphalinolenic acid, the Omega-3 fatty acid found in plants.

Some research suggests that hemp protein can lower your blood pressure. One serving (20grams) contain about 6.3 grams of protein, 111 calories and also 9.75 grams of fat. Hemp protein is also a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids that we need from food. It is relatively low in lysine which is an important amino acid vital for the immune system and collagen production in the body.[2]

Hemp protein is also very easy to digest, research proves that it’s digestibility lies between 91-98%. This is because hemp contains the proteins edestin and albumin which are easily broken down. [3]

#2 Pea Protein

This high-quality protein also has all the 9 essenial amino acids. Although it is a little low in methione , it delivers great nutritional value. Just because it is low in one essetial amino acid does not mean that you will starve your body. You can easily get all essential amino acids from other sources. [3]

Pea protein is also an easy to digest protein. It has non of the allergens. It is lower in phytic acid, an anti-nutrient found in many other legumes. Phytic acid inhibits absorption of nutrients such as zinc iron and magnesium. If consumed with Vitamin C, these negative effects are reduced. [4]

Nutritional facts can vary but pea protein powder has about 80 calories per 20g serving, a high protein content of 15grams and a low fat content of only 1.5 grams.

#3 Brown Rice Protein

Brown rice is part of the whole grain family, unlike white rice, brown rice is not polished, it contains all parts of the grain, fiber (outer bran layer), the core and the middle layer made up of starch named germ. The protein is extracted by treating the rice with specific enzymes.

Just like pea protein, brown rice protein is a hypoallergenic, containing non of the allergens. Just like any other plant protein, it is easier to digest and not as tough on your gut compared to whey protein. Whereas pea protein has a rather strong taste, brown rice protein is also more neutral in it’s flavour, making it easier to work with. [5]

Brown rice may improve liver function with the peptides it contains. Per 30 gram serving, brown rice protein powder has about 110 calories, 0% fat, 2g of fiber, 24g of protein. It is nearly a complete protein, with a little low lysine content. [6]

#4 Soy Protein

Soy has been very torn by many experts and nutritionists. Some see it as a healthy option, others see it as an enemy to a healthy lifestyle. Soy protein powder does contian phytates whicch decrease mineral absorption. Unlike most plant proteins, soy is a complete protein with all essential amino acids.

Soy protein is not the most efficient source of protein when it comes to muscle synthesis [7].Other advantages of soy protein is the effect it has on cholesterol. Multiple studies have proven that soy protein reduces LDL cholesterol [8]. However, most studies regarding the effects of soy focus on soy foods rather than soy protein powder. Therefore, they should not be taken into consideration here.

#5 Collagen Protein

To clarify, collagen protein is not a plant protein. Nevertheless, it is a very potent type of protein with many benefits. It is a structural protein, important for healthy skin, bones, joints and connective tissue. Your body produces collagen naturally but that already slows down in your 20s [9]. There are 28 different types of collagen but type 1,2 and 3 form the majority.

One huge benefit fitness enthusiasts get form the consumption of collagen protein is the strengtening of your joints. Hydrolyzed collagen reduced joint pain and made joints more flexible. [10]

One huge plus for collagen protein is the effect that it has on the delivery of amino acids throughout your body. Because it is hydrolyzed, collagen is broken down into very fine powder, making it easier to digest and absorb. [11]

#6 Sacha Inchi Protein

A type of protein that is derived from a vine called the Schaa Inchi. It grows in the Peruvian Amazon. The star shaped fruits that it carries have a little hidden treasure inside them, also known as the Inca peanut. It has been used for traditionally for thousands of years. The seeds are dried and crushed and bear a powder rich in protein.

Like soy protein, Sachaa Inchi is a complete protein. The vegan protein powder is also easily digestible has high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acid. In addition, it contains high amounts of vitamin A and e, calcium, zinc, potassium and fiber. [12]

#7 Chia Protein

Chia! Usually sprinkled on top of breakfast bowls to make them Instagram worthy. Yes, these little seeds can be found as a protein powder too. With a lower protein content of about 5g per 30g, serving, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. [13]

They have 140 calories per 30 gram serving to offer, 11 grams of fiber. They are also a complete protein. They are one of the richest plant foods in omega-3 fatty acids. Their high fiber content on the other hand, proves valuable for improving digestion. [14]

Which one of the whey alternative sounds most promising to you? Let us know about your experience per email or just leave a comment below.

Are you looking for a better way to have your protein after your workout? Take a look at the Fusion Kinetic bottle.

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