Vegan Protein and You – KOS.com

Vegan Protein and You

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Vegan protein is becoming more popular among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Why? And isn't "vegan protein" an oxymoron? Nope.

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Vegan Protein

Not only does vegan protein promote a healthy diet, but it is also more environmentally friendly. Animal-based protein often contains hormones and antibiotics, which can have negative effects on the body. Furthermore, animal-based protein is not always as effective when it comes to building muscle. 

In fact, studies have shown that vegan proteins are just as effective as animal-based proteins when it comes to building muscle mass. 

So if you're looking for a healthy and sustainable diet, and one that is better for the Earth and that puts energy back into your step (which has lately been looking more like a shuffle than a step...), vegan protein is for you.

What is vegan protein?

Vegan protein is a plant-based protein that does not come from animals. vegan protein can be found in many different forms, such as powder, bars, and shakes. vegan protein is often made from soy, rice, or peas. 

What are the benefits of vegan protein?

There are many benefits of vegan protein. First of all, it is more sustainable than animal-based proteins. Second of all, it has been shown to be just as effective as animal-based proteins when it comes to building muscle mass. Third of all, vegan protein is dairy-free and cholesterol-free. 

Another great benefit of vegan protein is that it often contains more vitamins and minerals than animal-based proteins. For example, vegan protein powder often contains calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. These are all essential nutrients that the body needs in order to function properly. 

What are the best sources of vegan protein?

There are many different sources of vegan protein. Some good sources of vegan protein include soybeans, lentils, quinoa, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and black beans. These foods are all high in protein and provide the body with all the amino acids it needs to build muscle.

How can I get vegan protein?

There are many different ways to get vegan protein. You can buy vegan protein powder, bars, and shakes at most health food stores. 

You can also find vegan protein in some of the same places you would find animal-based proteins, such as the grocery store, at fitness stores, or online. Vegan protein is recently experiencing a surge as more and more people, they who previously through protein came only from animals, are making the switch. 

The environmental benefits of vegan protein

Have you ever considered the impact your protein powder has on the environment? If not, now is a good time to start. The production of animal-based protein requires significantly more resources than vegan protein. 

For example, it takes about 17 times more land to produce one pound of beef than it does to produce one pound of soybeans. Soybeans are a common source of vegan protein powder. 

In addition, animal-based proteins generate higher levels of greenhouse gases than plant-based proteins. A study by the United Nations found that livestock production is responsible for 14.5% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. 

As for water usage, animals raised for food require much more water than plants. It takes approximately 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, while it only takes 220 gallons of water to produce one pound of soybeans. 

The health benefits of vegan protein

Vegan protein is healthier than animal-based protein, not least because animals carry around fat by-products of the kind we are interested in avoiding, generally. In addition, vegan protein powder is cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat. 

It is also a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Fiber helps to regulate digestion, while vitamins and minerals are essential for keeping our bodies functioning properly. These elements are available in animal-based protein products, too, but vegan protein powder typically has a higher concentration of them. 

Metabolically, vegan protein powder is more efficient than animal-based protein. This means that vegan protein powder is less likely to be stored as fat by the body. Finally, vegan protein powder does not contain growth hormones or antibiotics, both of which are commonly found in animal-based proteins -- holdovers from the factory farming model that produces most of our dietary meat.

Plant-based proteins vs animal-based proteins

Plant-based protein products are in the ascendant these days—attracting the interest of people who would not call themselves vegans or even vegetarians . There are a few reasons for this. One is that plant-based protein products tend to be lower in calories and fat than their animal-based counterparts.

They are also usually cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat. And, as we’ve seen, vegan protein powder is a more efficient source of nutrition, meaning that it is less likely to be stored as fat by the body. 

Another reason people are interested in plant-based proteins is that they offer a more sustainable way of eating. Animal agriculture put tremendous strain on the environment: it contributes to deforestation and a massive misapplication of our world's finite resources. A dairy cow, for example, consumes upwards of 12 pounds of grain per day. In the United States, livestock grazing occupies around 26 percent of the total land area. 

And animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions when you combine the human technologies and the emitted biological by-product of massive animal clustering that defines the factory farming industry. This is a higher greenhouse emission number than that ascribed to the entire transportation sector. 

Plant-based proteins are complete?

Yes, there are different types of plant-based proteins. The two main types are complete protein and incomplete protein. As the name suggests, complete protein refers to all nine of the amino acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own—a.k.a. essential amino acids.

Incomplete protein lacks one or more of these essential amino acids, but can be combined with other plant proteins to form a complete protein (more on this later). There are vegan protein sources that contain all nine of the essential amino acids, making them complete proteins. These include: 

  • quinoa 
  • soybeans and most soy products (tofu, tempeh, edamame, etc.) 
  • hemp seeds 
  • chia seeds 
  • spirulina 
  • buckwheat 
  • amaranth 
  • mycoprotein (a.k.a. Quorn) 
  • protein powder made from pea, rice or hemp protein 

Again, even when the individual plant may be lacking in one of the essential proteins, it can easily combine with a an "amino-complementary" plant or plants to create a complete protein profile. Animals get their protein from plants. So, when you remove the animal from your diet and go straight to the source—plants—you are consuming protein in its most natural state.

How to combine vegan protein with other nutrients for optimal results

When you eat protein, your body breaks it down into amino acids and then uses those amino acids to repair and grow muscle tissue. In order for this process to happen effectively, you need to consume protein along with other nutrients like carbohydrates and fats. 

The best way to do this is to eat a variety of plant-based foods throughout the day so that you are getting a range of different nutrients. This will ensure that your body has everything it needs to build muscle, and to remain metabolically healthy. 

When and how to use vegan protein supplements?

Vegan protein is, of course, also available in the form of protein supplements. If you are an athlete or bodybuilder, or if you are trying to gain muscle mass, then you may want to consider using protein supplements. 

If you struggle to get enough protein from whole food sources, then a protein powder can be a convenient way of ensuring that your protein needs are met. 

Protein powder can also be helpful if you are trying to lose weight, as it can help control hunger levels and cravings. The natural fiber present in a plant-based protein will give you the feeling of satiety that will keep snacking at bay. 

Vegan protein powder and keto

How does a vegan protein powder fit into the keto system, if at all? A vegan keto protein powder can actually be a great way to help you meet your protein needs on a vegan keto diet. How might this work? 

If you are following a vegan keto diet, then you will likely be avoiding all animal-based products. This means that you will need to find alternative sources of protein. A vegan protein powder can be a great way to get the protein you need, without having to consume any animal products. 

Women's best vegan protein

Does a vegan protein supplement meet a woman's specific nutrient needs? Everyone's nutrient needs are different. However, a vegan protein supplement can be a great way for women to meet their protein needs. 

Protein is essential for many bodily functions, including muscle growth and repair, so it is important that women consume enough protein each day. A woman who is expecting generally requires an intake of about 71 grams of protein a day for her growing baby. A vegan protein powder can help women to reach their daily protein requirements in a purer form of protein than would be available through an animal based product.

How exactly do vegans get high-protein?

There are a number of ways that vegans can get high-protein. One way is—yes—through a plant-based protein powder, which can be made from a variety of plant-based ingredients, such as pea protein, hemp protein, soy protein, and rice protein. 

Another way for vegans to get high-protein is through vegan meat substitutes, such as tofu or tempeh. Finally, beans and legumes are also excellent sources of vegan protein. 

Vegan protein and you

Vegan protein shakes are gaining popularity among fitness enthusiasts, as well as among regular folk who see a way to "check the protein box" without having to eat a slab of beef. But it is important to do due diligence before trying one out. One should understand how their protein requirements align with their unique lifestyle and health conditions. 

Do your due diligence on vegan protein and find the right product – and lifestyle – for you. Your doctor will be only too happy to help, and we recommend listening to her advice.

FAQs

Can healthy dietary protein be expected from a vegan diet? 

Plant-based sources of protein are packed with essential amino acids and other nutrients that are essential for a healthy body, including carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins A and B12, minerals like magnesium and potassium, antioxidants such as selenium and vitamin E. 

Is there any reason a woman would not be advised to pursue a vegan dietary regimen? 

Some proponents of this diet believe that it may be more beneficial for women than standard diets because of its high levels of antioxidants and other nutrients. 

Does vegan protein powder cause acne? 

It does not appear to be a common side effect of using a vegan protein powder. In fact, some studies have even shown that plant-based proteins may actually help improve skin health.

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