Plant-based Protein: Tomorrow's Solution Today –

Plant-based Protein: Tomorrow's Solution Today

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There is a lot of debate surrounding plant vs. animal-based protein, with proponents on both sides claiming their product is better for individual health and the environment. The truth, as they say, is out there. It is also right here. Behold -- some key points to help make your decision.

Table of Contents

Plant-based Proteins

Plant-based proteins are typically more complete than animal-based proteins. This means they contain all the essential amino acids needed by the body, which can be important if you're looking to build muscle or enjoy the benefits associated with a protein supplement. Plant-based proteins also tend to have higher levels of those compounds that soothe aching and inflamed muscles after a workout.

Plant-based protein is calorically lighter

Plant proteins are usually lower in calories and less likely to cause weight gain or promote unhealthy cholesterol levels than meat products. It's for this reason that many vegan athletes swear by them. Some studies even suggest that consuming plant protein may actually improve certain health markers. 

From an ecological standpoint, raising livestock requires a tremendous amount of resources - land, water, feed crops - which could be used more efficiently elsewhere. Factory farming methods used in producing animal protein involve slaughterhouses, which produce large quantities of methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) that contributes significantly to climate change. 

By contrast plants release little or no GHG's during cultivation or processing so it's much more sustainable from an environmental perspective to eat a predominantly plant-based diet; up to and including one's choice of protein supplement.

What plant in nature has the highest protein?

The plant with the highest protein content is soybean, but that plant protein solution comes bundled with its own issues, namely GMO, allergenic potential, and the effect—under study at this writing—of soy's robust phytoestrogen on the male testosterone. 

However, some plant-based foods that are also particularly high in protein include tofu, lentils, quinoa, tempeh, chickpeas and soybeans. Nuts and seeds are also good sources of plant protein, as are certain types of grain such as amaranth and buckwheat. Seitan, a meat substitute made from wheat gluten, is also very high in protein. 

What are the best plant-based protein powders?

There are many plant-based protein powders on the market and the best one for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Some of the most popular options include hemp protein, pea protein, rice protein and soy protein. 

There are also vegan-friendly products that contain a blend of different plant proteins. KOS plant-based protein—GMO and soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and USDA Organic—is a popular choice, in part because KOS is a protein supplement flavor pioneer, and is often considered the most approachable of the protein supplements for general use. 

What is a good example of a plant-based protein in nature? 

One plant-based protein that is found in nature is quinoa. This grain-like seed is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids our bodies need to function properly. Quinoa is also high in fiber and other nutrients, making it a healthy and nutrient-rich option for those looking for plant-based sources of protein. 

Quinoa also exemplifies the best traits of a plant-based nourishment, producing lots of caloric and nutrient payout in a very small footprint of growing space. Quinoa's offer of both a hefty nutrient punch, and a minimal space in which to grow has made it a favorite of the interplanetary space flight planners who seek an optimal lightweight, and space-efficient food source that can actually be produced while in flight. 

Other plant-based protein sources that are found in nature include lentils, soybeans, peas and chickpeas. These are just as potent as quinoa but don't otherwise fit the bill for space flight the way quinoa does. Lentils seem particularly upset by this.

What is whole food plant-based protein?

Whole food plant-based protein is a protein source that comes from plants that have been minimally processed. This means the plant proteins are in their natural state, and have not been isolated or concentrated. Examples of whole food plant-based proteins include tofu, tempeh, lentils, beans, quinoa, nuts and seeds. 

Plant-based protein powders are also available on the market; these products are typically made from isolates or concentrates of plant-based protein sources.

Plant-based protein supplements and digestibility

Plant-based protein supplements are a convenient way to increase your protein intake, but it's important to consider their digestibility. Protein powders made from plant-based protein sources such as soy, rice and pea have good digestibility, meaning that our bodies can efficiently use them for muscle building and repair. 

However, some plant-based proteins such as hemp and chia may be less well digested by our bodies. This doesn't mean that these foods aren't healthy or nutritious – just that we may not be able to access all of the protein in them. But by combining plants, we can actually be assured of a robust protein/amino acid profile. 

Plant combinations that yield a full protein profile

One of the issues with plant-based protein powders is that they are often incomplete proteins, meaning they don't contain all of the essential amino acids our bodies need. However, by combining different plant-based protein sources, we can create a complete protein powder that contains all of the essential amino acids. For example, rice and peas make a complete protein when combined. 

Other complete plant-based protein combinations include quinoa and beans, nuts and seeds, or lentils and whole grains. KOS and other plant-based protein supplements make it a point to scientifically combine the plant-based amino acids required to give you a complete protein profile from these plant-based supplements.

Protein: It's Complicated. Not.

We all know that a healthy diet is the key to good health and fitness. But, sometimes it feels too hard to make changes. That’s where plant-based proteins come in! These supplements are made with high-quality ingredients like (again!) pea, hemp, brown rice and more. Plus, they taste delicious so you won’t feel stuffed after eating them. KOS Naturals in particular is a flavor pioneer in the plant-based protein sector. 

Protein supplements are a boon for people who do not get enough protein in their diet, or who want to be assured they are getting this critically important macromolecule. 

Adding to the advantages of plant-based protein, it doesn’t have any side effects or allergies that animal-based proteins face. You can rely on this supplement as being nature-made, and derived from the plant kingdom — the very basis of the planet’s food chain. 

Pick up your plant-based protein today, and see how amazing it feels to have a healthier lifestyle on your plate. By doing so you will be making yourself not only more fit, but also part of the solution to world hunger and the stripping away of Earth’s depleting resources.


Why should I choose plant-based protein over animal-based protein?

Plant-based protein is often more easily digested and absorbed by the body, and it’s also generally lower in calories and fat. Additionally, plant-based proteins are typically devoid of cholesterol and saturated fats, making them a heart-healthy option. 

What are some of the best sources of plant-based protein?

There are many excellent sources of plant-based protein, but some of the most popular include peas, hemp seeds, quinoa , lentils, and soy products such as tofu. Though as mentioned in this article, soy has some issues that may not make it the best choice despite its robust protein content. 

How can I add plant-based protein to my diet?

There are many easy ways to add plant-based protein to your diet. One simple way is to include a scoop of plant-based protein powder in your morning smoothie. You can also use plant-based protein powders as an ingredient in healthy baking recipes or make a homemade vegan version of meatballs or burgers using lentils or quinoa, for instance.

For more information or to shop for KOS products, click here.