We’ve all heard the term protein, but what does that mean? It get’s even more interesting when we talk about plant-based protein. We have collected most frequently asked questions about protein online, and have done our best to figure it out for you.
As we understand it, protein is a primary requirement for all living beings. It plays an important role in various metabolic activities that take place in human beings. For instance, protein is required to build muscles, strengthen immune system, improve blood circulation and bone, nail and hair growth.
But, What IS Protein?
When someone says protein, they are referring to the macro, or large, molecules that are made up of amino acids. After water, proteins made from amino acids make up the rest of the muscles, cells, and tissues in the human body. In order to use the amino acids in the food we eat, our digestive system is meant to aide in that process. Some amino acids are produced by the human body itself known as non-essential amino acids, whereas others have to be derived from the food we take called; essential amino acids.
Depending on the amino acids present and their combination, their effect can be varied. There are 11 non-essential amino acids and 9 essential amino acids.
Once we take protein enriched food products, human body breaks them down into amino acids. Then according to demand, these amino acids are recombined to obtain the required protein.
Plant Protein Vs Animal Protein: Whats the difference?
As the name implies, protein obtained from plant sources such as soy, peas, beans etc… are known as plant-based proteins. Typical protein powders are made up of whey isolate, or casein powder – both are a bi-products of the milk making process. Since plants do not eat flesh, or consume anything other than sunlight, animal proteins typically will be higher in calories, fat, and cholesterol. To reduce the levels of lactose, fat, and calories, the powder must be refined, typically with a weird chemical process, and filler is added to level it out.
If weight gain is a concern, or muscle gain is, animal protein will typically have more protein per gram than it’s plant-based counter parts, but that doesn’t always equate to a better protein. When it comes to digestibility, nutrition, and overall health, plant proteins have a significant advantage over whey and casein products.
Cultivating the protein from the plants is hardly a process. spirulina protein powder is made by simply collecting the algae, drying it, pressing it, and turning it into powder. Because creating the powder does not take additional chemicals, plants come with a ton of nutrients. For example, plant protein is rich in fiber. Because of fiber, plant protein is comparatively easier to digest thus it can be absorbed faster by human body.
Can you build muscle using vegan protein?
Yes, you can build muscle using vegan protein!
We have learned that amino acids are the building blocks of protein. It is not necessary that these amino acids have to be obtained from an animal source. They can also be obtained from plant source and it would make no difference. The general belief that animal protein is necessary for building muscles is wrong
As long as you workout and keep up with your daily schedule, you can build muscles whether you take animal protein or plant protein.
Can vegan protein help me lose weight?
This depends on you. First of all, no studies have said that any protein directly helps lose weight per say. However, because many vegan proteins are full of nutrients and are easy to absorb by the body, people can control their appetite and food cravings better.
Most plants are high in fiber, which helps with weight management. Why? Fiber speeds up the process of digestion because of which food remains in intestine for shorter duration and it also provides bulk to food which gives early satiety. This helps prevent future weight gain.
Vegan protein powder acts as a perfect protein supplement since it has low fat and carbohydrate content and good amount of fiber. Sources of vegan protein like hemp and pea are particularly good for people who want weight loss because of its high fiber content and satiating property.
What are the best sources of vegan protein?
Soy beans offer the best combination of essential amino acids. It is very good for the immune system, cardio-vascular system and skeletal system. Studies have also shown that it helps reduce cancer risk. 1 cup(195 gm) cooked soy bean contains 29 gm protein.
Although hemp is something you don’t usually find as a food source, their seeds are rich in protein. It also contains essential fatty acids and fiber. It helps boost metabolic activities and blood circulation in the human body. 1 table spoon hemp seeds contains 5 gm protein.
Pea is an important and common source of protein. Compared to other proteins, pea protein is easier to digest for human body. 1 cup cooked pea contains 8 gm protein.Apart from being a major source of carbohydrate, Rice also contains protein, vitamin B and fiber. 1 cup Brown rice contains 5 gm protein.Vegan proteins are hypoallergenic, which means that they have lower risk of allergic reaction.
Is there a vegan protein for athletes?
A combination of different vegan protein can act as protein supplement for athletes. For athletes who have adopted vegetarian diet, there are few food items which can act as a good source of protein:
- Green vegetables
- Fatty nuts like almonds
- Hemp seeds
- Legumes such as beans or lentils
A diet containing above mentioned source of protein is sufficient for the protein requirement of an athlete.
Are Vegan protein powders healthier for you?
Yes, Vegan protein powders are healthier. Because these powders are prepared by considering the protein requirements of human body, they help in proper functioning of different systems. It is the best protein supplement for vegetarians. Scientific facts have concluded that protein derived from animal sources is not indispensable for good health and Vegan protein powder is as an epitome of this fact.
What is a “complete protein” ?
A source of protein which not only includes all the nine essential amino acids but also contains them in an adequate proportion is known as a perfect protein.
Many plant-based protein powders are complete proteins because of this. Some proteins like Pea protein, need to be combined with Rice to form a perfect protein, but it’s not hard for this to happen.