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Is Whey Protein Vegan? : 3 Best Vegan Protein Powders to Try

Is Whey Protein Vegan? - GetInfopedia

Nowadays, whey protein is becoming popular. People who want to build muscles or increase their protein intake are using it.

But is whey protein vegan? The simple answer is Nope! The reason is its dairy origin. Despite being a great source of protein for health enthusiasts, its use has become a concern for those who have lactose intolerance or allergies to dairy-based products and are following plant-based diets.

Is Whey Protein Vegan-Friendly?

Whey powder is obtained from cow’s milk during the process of making cheese. So, it is completely not suitable if you are a vegan. First, a protein-rich liquid is separated from curdled milk. Then, this liquid is dried to make whey protein powders. Yet, there are some good options that can be used as a source of protein.

You can easily incorporate soy protein, pea protein, and hemp protein into meals and snacks as vegan protein.

What is Whey Protein and How is it Made?

Whey protein is a by-product of the cheese-making process of dairy milk. During the whole extraction process, whey is separated from casein (curdled milk) through an enzymatic process. Then, it is filtered from fats and carbohydrates and then dehydrated to form whey protein powder.
It is full of nutrition, comprising all essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. A variety of whey proteins are available, such as isolates, concentrates, hydrolyses, and hydrolyzed proteins.
Whey protein is beneficial for maintaining overall health, from strengthening bones and improving skin and hair health to maintaining weight and supporting muscle growth.
Whey protein is high in essential amino acids, which the body needs to build and repair muscle cells. It is also low in calories, making it an ideal source of protein for those looking to maintain or lose weight. Additionally, whey protein can help strengthen bones and improve skin and hair health due to its high content of vitamins and minerals.

Where Can We Get Vegan Protein?

Perhaps whey protein won’t work for you, but there are many plant-based sources from which you can get the required protein intake. If you don’t want to become protein deficient, then you should add a full plate of hearty vegetables and fruits, wholesome nuts, and satisfying sprouts to your daily diet.

Consider these natural vegan protein alternatives:

1. Soy

Tofu Rice -

Tofu Rice

Soy is a nutrient-rich, plant-based protein derived from soybeans. It is considered a complete protein source as it contains all essential amino acids. Additionally, it also contains macronutrients like carbohydrates and healthy fats and different micronutrients such as iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin B complex.

You can have soy protein in the form of tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soy milk. It is better to consider organic and non-GMO options due to their potential allergens.

2. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is considered a protein powerhouse owing to its high amount of protein and presence of essential nutrients. It has versatile uses in kitchens, especially for those who are following plant-based diets.

It is yellow in color, derived from the unicellular organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and has a cheesy flavor.

Nutritional yeast is a complete protein, having all essential amino acids, making it beneficial for vegans.

Try adding it as seasoning on dishes like pasta, popcorn and salads for a savory and cheesy touch to your foods

3. Chickpeas

Chickpea Hummus -

Chickpea Hummus

Chickpeas, unlike other plant-based proteins, are not a complete protein source as they do not contain sulfur-containing amino acids such as methionine and cystine. But there is no need to be disheartened; you can pair chickpeas with other protein resources like veggies, rice, and wheat to make a hearty meal of complete protein.

A single cup of cooked chickpeas has 14.5 grams of protein. That’s Surprising. Chickpeas are also a wonderful source of fiber, iron, and calcium.

You can add this versatile plant-based protein to your diet in salads, curries, soups, and hummus.

4. Kidney Beans

Kidney Beans with Tomatoes -

Kidney Beans with Tomatoes

Kidney beans, like other legumes, are the richest source of plant-based protein. A cup of cooked kidney beans has nearly 13.4 grams of protein, making it a great and affordable substitute for meat.

They provide many health benefits, including reducing blood sugar levels and cholesterol and increasing gut-friendly bacteria.

Kidney beans tout a number of health benefits, including reducing cholesterol, decreasing blood sugar levels, and increasing healthy gut bacteria. Adding kidney beans to your meals is an easy way to boost plant-based protein and fiber intake without a lot of calories.

They also have a healthy mix of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and cancer-preventing carbs.

You can make a variety of dishes with kidney beans, like stews, curry, and salads.

5. Green Veggies

Green Veggie Salad -

Green Veggie Salad

Green vegetables are a rich source of plant-based protein, along with supporting overall health benefits, from aiding poor digestion to providing essential vitamins and minerals.

Here is how much protein a cup of cooked vegetables contains:

Peas: 8 grams of protein

Broccoli: 4 grams of protein

Spinach: 8 grams of protein

It is good to understand that green vegetables are not a primary source of protein. Try adding legumes, seeds, and nuts for a complete protein intake.

6. Legumes

Lentil Soup -

Lentil Soup

Legumes are a group of foods including chickpeas, lentils, peas, and beans. They are considered a powerhouse among plant-based protein sources. Legumes are not complete proteins, but you can combine them with other complete protein options like rice and wheat to create a complete amino acid profile.

Being a budget-friendly protein source, they make up the base of a variety of dishes. Different legumes contain a varied amount of protein. Here is an idea of how much protein is present in 1 cup of cooked legumes.

Lentils: 18–20 grams of protein

Black Beans: 15 grams of protein

Green Peas: 8 grams of protein

Lima Beans: 15 grams of protein

Cannellini Beans: 17 grams of protein


7. Seeds and Nuts

Chia seed and Kiwi ice cream

Chia seed and Kiwi Ice cream

Seeds and nuts are a protein-rich plant source, along with other essential minerals and nutrients.

They contribute to a healthy intake of fats, vitamins, and antioxidants.

You can have seeds if you have nut allergies. From sprinkling seeds on salads and yogurt to preparing a healthy smoothie with nuts, they serve as a go-to protein option.

Here is the approximate protein content that seeds and nuts have:


Chia Seeds: 4.7 grams of protein per ounce

Flax Seeds: 5.2 grams of protein per ounce

Sesame Seeds: 5 grams of protein per ounce

Sunflower Seeds: 5.5 grams of protein per ounce


Almonds: 6 grams of protein per ounce

Peanut: 7.3 grams of protein per ounce

Hazelnut: 4.2 grams of protein per ounce

Pistachio: 5.8 grams of protein per ounce


8. Whole Grains

Quinoa Tomato Salad

Quinoa Tomato Salad

Beyond providing carbohydrates, whole grains play a crucial role in a plant-based protein diet. As they are also not a complete protein source, add seeds and legumes to reach your daily protein intake.

They are rich in complex carbohydrates, antioxidants, and minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.

Always prefer whole grains over refined ones to ensure high nutritional content in your diet.

One cooked serving (a cup) of different whole grains contains:

Quinoa: 8 grams of protein

Brown rice: 5 grams of protein

Oats: 6 grams of protein

Whole Wheat: 16 grams of protein


9. Potatoes

Potato Soup

Potato Soup

Potatoes have been widely consumed all over the world as a staple food for ages. Apart from their high carbohydrate content, they are also a plant-based protein source; a medium-sized potato contains nearly 2 grams of protein.

Different varieties of potatoes contain different amounts of protein. Here is the data according to the USDA per 100 grams:

Russet Potatoes: 2 grams of protein

Red Potatoes: 2 grams of protein

White Potatoes: 2 grams of protein

Sweet Potatoes: 1.6 grams of protein


10. Sprouts

Sprout Salad

Sprout Salad

Sprouts are young, tender shoots that emerge after the germination of legumes, seeds, and grains. During this process, the protein content of sprouts increases, serving as a nutritional plant-based protein source.

Sprouts are often consumed by preparing healthy salads and added to wraps along with other dishes.

A cup of commonly present sprouts contains nearly 2–5 grams of protein, depending on the type of sprout.

What About Plant-Based Protein Powders?

Plant-based protein powders -

If you have a busy lifestyle or follow a strict protein diet, then it becomes difficult to achieve daily protein intake through whole foods only.

Then plant-based protein powders, or simply vegan protein powder, come to the rescue. They offer a wide range of options for those who follow a plant-based diet. Made from pea, soy, rice, and hemp, they provide a great alternative to whey proteins.

1) Pea Protein Powders

Pea protein powders are the ideal and most popular plant-based protein alternative for vegans. They are derived from yellow peas, which are known for their high protein content.

Pea protein powders serve as a complete protein source similar to animal-based proteins or whey proteins.

One scoop of pea protein powder contains 25 grams of protein. When compared to whey protein powders, pea protein powders contain a similar amount of protein, but as whey is dairy-based, it also provides lactose and glucose.

Hence, its a great choice for those searching for plant-based protein powders.

Try: Sprout Living Epic Protein Powder

2) Hemp Protein Powders

Hemp protein powders are amazing plant-based protein powders derived from hemp plants. They are also a complete protein source, as they contain all nine essential amino acids. 

They also have Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which maintain immune and heart health.

Always consult your doctors before choosing any hemp protein powders to check for potential allergens in hemp plants.

Try: Anthony’s Organic Hemp Seed Protein Powder

3) Brown Rice Protein Powders

Brown rice protein powders are prepared from brown rice through an enzymatic reaction in which protein is separated from carbohydrates, which are then collected to form healthy plant-based protein powders.

It is a great plant-based protein but not a complete protein as it lacks the lysine amino acid. Therefore, it needs to be combined with lysine-containing protein powders like collagen to make a complete protein source.

Brown rice protein powders contain a high amount of fiber and amino acids that are beneficial for kidney and liver function. It provides similar results in muscle-building as whey protein.

Try: Organic Brown Rice Protein Powder 







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