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Why Use Protein Supplements?

Protein is an essential nutrient in a healthy diet. Your body breaks protein down into amino acids that can be used to build muscle. As a result, people often use protein supplements to enhance the benefits of strength-training workouts. Amino acids also help assist with the repair of muscle tissue, which can make protein powders beneficial for recovery support after all types of exercise. Individuals who are not athletes or fitness enthusiasts may prepare protein shakes or smoothies as snacks, as protein typically provides a feeling of fullness. If you're unsure whether a protein supplement is right for you, a medical provider or registered dietitian can help you decide.


What is Plant Based Protein?

Many protein powders are derived from animal products, such as egg, whey and milk products. These products do not fit into vegan diets. Plant-based protein products can offer an alternative for individuals who prefer not to eat animal-derived foods or who are simply striving to decrease the amount of animal products that they consume. Products like dairy free protein shakes are available for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan. Vegan protein powders may contain protein isolated from rice, peas, hemp, soy and other plants. Some provide a blend of organic plant based protein.

What Nutrients Are in Plant Based Protein?

When you're shopping for plant-based protein powders, start by comparing how much protein the products provide per serving. You should also examine what amino acids are found in the protein supplements. There are nine amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. These are called essential amino acids and include methionine, lysine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, threonine and valine. Proteins that contain all nine essential amino acids are considered complete. Fitness enthusiasts may also want to look for a protein powder that contains larger amounts of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are essential for muscle development. These amino acids are leucine, isoleucine and valine.

What Forms does Plant Based Protein Come In?

Plant-based protein products include plant protein powders, plant based protein shakes, and protein bars. Ready-made shakes and smoothies are convenient but are generally more expensive per serving. Powders must be measured and mixed to prepare smoothies and shakes. The products are often more economical per serving and come in a wider variety of flavors than prepared drinks.

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