4 Ways to Spot a Nutritious & Tasty Plant-based Protein Powder

From those new to the world of protein powders to those looking for an alternative to whey protein, plant-based protein powder can be an excellent solution. But not all protein powders are created equal — and with so many on the market, how do you know what to look for? 

Anyone can benefit from high-quality vegan protein powder, vegan, vegetarian, or otherwise. Plus, it’s a great option for those with allergies and intolerances to whey protein or certain other ingredients. However, while plant-based protein can help fuel your body at the start of the day or aid in recovery post-workout, it must contain quality protein and ingredients.

So if you’re feeling lost, don’t stress it! We’re sharing:

  • What to look for in a plant-based protein powder
  • Benefits of a vegan protein powder
  • What makes an effective protein blend

What to Look for in a Plant-based Protein Powder

When it comes to a nutritious plant-based protein powder, it’s vital to pay attention to what is in it and what is not. Check out that ingredient list carefully while keeping the following in mind.

Protein Quality

From the elite athlete to the average health-conscious person, protein is essential no matter your diet or lifestyle! That said, the type of protein in your daily protein shake matters.

Individual plant-based protein sources are incomplete proteins. This means they don’t contain the nine essential amino acids or those that need to come from your diet because your body can’t create them. While individual plant protein powders (e.g., pea or pumpkin) only carry some essential amino acids, several can be blended to deliver the full effect.

Look for a plant-based protein powder with a blend of multiple complementary proteins. The ideal protein mix will provide the same biological value as whey protein, meaning your body will absorb maximum protein.

Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score

A protein food’s protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) indicates how much protein your body absorbs and converts to energy versus waste. When the body retains more nitrogen, the food has a higher biological value.

A perfect PDCAAS of 1.0 means that your body is getting the most protein for your money. Both whey protein and Plant Works protein have a score of 1.0 — that’s right, our protein powder offers equal protein benefits without the whey!

Nutritious Ingredients

Pay attention to both the types of protein and other nutrients in any plant-based protein powder. This is especially important if you are vegan, as you’ll need to ensure your diet contains sufficient micronutrients and macronutrients.

Check the ingredients to make sure they don’t contain: 

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Artificial flavors
  • Artificial coloring
  • Added sugar (e.g., honey, coconut sugar, agave, aspartame)
  • Sugar alcohols (e.g., xylitol, erythritol, and others ending in -ol)

Of course, protein powders need something to make them tasty. Just be sure they contain natural sweeteners and flavors, like stevia leaf and monk fruit extract. 

A good indicator of a quality vegan protein powder? Ingredients you can read and recognize!

Additional ingredients and nutrients to keep an eye out for include: 

  • Coconut oil MCTs: Healthy fatty acids that are believed to boost energy, endurance, brain and memory function, and more potential benefits
  • BCAAs: Three of the nine essential amino acids that can help with post-workout muscle recovery and growth
  • Adaptogens: Certain herbs or mushrooms believed to help your body return to homeostasis, adjust to stress, strengthen immunity, boost brain function, and more

Plant Works has all of the above to ensure maximum health benefits between workouts!

GMO-Free

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living organisms that have had their DNA altered somehow. Although genetic modification aims to make food healthier and cheaper to produce, it may pose health risks, including potential allergic reactions and increased antibiotic resistance. 

Much more research is needed to determine the long-term effects of GMOs. But if you’re on a mission to eat clean, natural foods, you might want to look for non-GMO plant-based protein powder.

Allergen-Free

Many people now have allergies and intolerance to dairy, gluten, and soy. Whether you are one of them or you’re on a special diet for other health purposes, you may want to avoid these ingredients. 

Two dairy products, casein and whey, are common allergens. And although soy is a plant-based protein, many people have become allergic to it. Those with gluten intolerances and even more severe conditions like Celiac disease must also be wary of protein powders since many contain sneaky ingredients that are not gluten-free.

We’ve made our plant-based protein powder allergen-free to cater to as many people as possible, regardless of dietary restrictions. Our protein blend is safe for most diets (although we always recommend checking with your doctor first, especially if you have a history of allergies, digestive issues, or take medication).

Benefits of Plant-based Protein Powder

Overall, plant-based protein powder is more nutrient-rich. It’s packed with fiber and antioxidants — difficult to find in animal-based protein sources. Plant protein is also rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and more (depending on the type of plant protein).

Plant protein powder offers a lower risk of allergic reactions and flare-ups for those with allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities. And, of course, it’s vegetarian and vegan-friendly while providing sufficient protein intake. Since you can get all nine essential amino acids with the proper protein blend, you can experience the same performance and results that whey protein provides!

What Makes a Perfect Plant-based Protein Blend?

We mentioned earlier that Plant Works protein powder has a perfect PDCAAS of 1.0 (i.e., allows for maximum protein absorption), but you may be wondering how we achieve that. It’s all thanks to our proprietary blend of four powerful plant proteins: 

  • Pea protein: High in iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin E, it helps with muscle growth, weight loss, and heart health.
  • Pumpkin protein: Packed with iron, calcium, vitamin B2, magnesium, and potassium, it aids in immunity and speeds up healing.
  • Mushroom protein: Loaded with zinc, B vitamins, potassium, and selenium (an antioxidant), it promotes immunity, weight loss, healthy cells and tissues, and more. 
  • Rice protein: Packed with amino acids, antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber, it’s believed to aid in weight loss, reduce muscle soreness, and build muscle strength. 

But we didn’t stop at the protein — after all, our goal was to create a plant-based protein powder that takes your exercise and health efforts to the next level! That’s why we threw in five adaptogens, or super herbs:

  • Ashwagandha: Studies show it may help slow aging, boost immunity, lower anxiety and stress, and reduce inflammation.
  • Camu Camu: Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, it is thought to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, and aids post-workout recovery.
  • Cat’s Claw: This woody vine is believed to promote immunity, joint function, cardiovascular health, gut health, and reduce inflammation.
  • Maca: This root may improve energy, mood, cognitive function, and balance hormones.
  • Rhodiola: Its roots are believed to help the body adapt to stress, as well as aid in anxiety, fatigue, and depression.

As for sweeteners, we use all-natural Stevia and monk fruit extract. Stevia is a zero-calorie alternative to sugar derived from a plant. Monk fruit extract is another natural sweetener that comes from the sweetest part of the monk fruit. Both are healthy when consumed in moderation and help us create a naturally delicious vegan protein powder.

Keep in mind these two crucial tips as you search for a plant-based protein powder that works for your body and lifestyle:

  • Ensure the protein blend is complete, containing all nine essential amino acids.
  • Look for ingredients you can read and recognize!

Ready to taste and feel the Plant Works difference? Shop our vegan protein powder today! Or feel free to contact us with any questions at info@myplantworks.com or 800-758-9451 with any questions. We love chatting all things exercise and protein and guiding people on their health journey.