Whether hemp, soy or whey: protein powder is available in various versions from animal to vegan. But which source is the best? We asked an expert.
Who is new in the world of Fitness Foods and protein shakes, which can quickly become overwhelmed: Whey or casein? Or do you prefer a vegetable protein source? How do the different products differ and which one Protein powder is the best? Of course, to answer that, there are a number of factors to consider: Do you want to gain muscle or lose weight? Do you follow a vegan diet or don’t you care where your protein source comes from? In order to be able to provide you with reliable answers, we spoke to an expert: Tom Teichert is a food chemist and, among other things, advised the makers of nupro – a vegan protein powder – on the development of their recipe.
Hemp or whey, animal or vegetable: which protein powder is the best?
There is no easy answer to that. The goal of a balanced diet should be to give the body daily a balanced amino acid profile feed. But that doesn’t mean that a single protein shake has to contain all the protein building blocks – a complete amino acid profile can also be achieved by eating different foods throughout the day. For example, rice and beans complement each other perfectly – but they don’t have to be eaten together. For reasons of animal ethics, health and environmental protection, I generally recommend a pure vegetable diet.
Which Vegan Protein Powder Is Best?
Pea protein is the ideal basis for protein mixtures. It not only provides important and essential amino acids such as lysine, but also a good portion of minerals and trace elements that we can use especially well after exercise.
Next to it also represents Hanfprotein a high quality source of protein. It contains all the essential amino acids and is also unbeatable in its high mineral value – especially magnesium. Disadvantage: the special taste. You should also pay attention to the organic quality here.
Which protein powder is better to avoid?
I advise against rice, soy and whey protein for health reasons as well as for environmental reasons. In order to produce a high-percentage protein powder from rice, a lot of processing is required. Plus, growing rice produces huge amounts of methane and consumes an incredible amount of water.
Soy protein has a high biological value, but is also heavily processed – you should also make sure that no genetically modified beans have been used.
Whey protein is not metabolized well by most people, which can manifest itself in the form of pimples and acne, among other things. You just have to look at the often poor complexion of many bodybuilders. No wonder: the skin is the mirror of the intestine.
Now things get complicated: what is the difference between hydrolyzates and isolates?
Isolates stand for products in which the protein content has been isolated from a basic substance. In the case of pea protein, for example, the process of protein flocculation is used – just like in tofu production. Isolates are processed, but rely on centuries-old processing methods.
Hydrolyzates are proteins that are soluble in water and are therefore a very simple way of protein absorption. However, these must first be heavily refurbished using chemical processes. Practical, but not very natural.
Is protein powder suitable for weight loss?
In general, proteins are not easy to digest, which means that a high amount of energy is required for the actual energy production. Protein digestion uses up about 25% of the calories in protein, which of course helps you lose weight. At the same time, the digestion of proteins also produces enormous amounts of ammonia. This is a cell toxin that the liver has to break down under a complicated detoxification reaction. Therefore, one should not overdo it with the daily intake of protein.
The intestinal flora also suffers from excessive amounts of protein. In order to prevent bloating and digestive problems, fiber that can be used by the intestines should always be supplied with the protein. They strengthen the intestinal flora and reduce harmful putrefactive bacteria.
Which is the best protein powder for building muscle?
Here, too, it depends on how we eat. If you want to invest more in muscle growth, you should aim for a high content of Leucine, isoleucine and valine respect, think highly of. These 3 essential amino acids can be isolated as either BCAAs or through a high-quality protein powder that also contains fiber, vitamins and minerals. In this way, the body is optimally supported in building up and recovering muscles.
Protein powder test: My favorites
Not only professionally, but also privately, I deal very intensively with the topics of fitness and nutrition. As a vegan, it wasn’t that easy at first, but over the last few years I’ve tested various brands and have now found my favorites. Want to know which protein powder a fitness editor swears by? Et voilà:
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1. Protein powder with BCAA’s from Vivolife
988 g at € 46.99
This protein powder is simply brilliant: In addition to high-quality vegetable Protein from pea and hemp contains it too Digestive enzymes and BCAA’s – these are the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine, which contribute to optimal regeneration after exercise and to maintaining or building up the muscles. I especially like the Perform line: A 38 g serving (variety: raw cocoa) contains around 115 calories and 25 g protein. Also on offer: Madagascar vanilla, acai and blueberry, maca caramel or banana cinnamon.
2. Superfood Protein from Kastingers
450 g at € 24.95
Nice design and high-quality content: The protein powder from Kastingers is a real “girl’s product”. But that doesn’t mean that it has no power: There are next to it in the mixtures, which are available in the varieties Vanilla Raspberry and Salted Caramel Pea and rice protein also a lot Superfoods and Digestive Enzymes. A 15 g portion contains around 57 calories and 10 g protein – I like to stir the powder into soy yoghurt or smoothie bowls. Brand new: Big Greens – a protein mix with nutrient boosters made from wheatgrass, moringa and Spirulina and many other plants.
3. Sustainable protein powder from nupro
200 g at € 8.95
Cocoa, cinnamon and coconut blossom nectar: what sounds like a delicious dessert is actually a protein powder. After the successful launch of the vegan and sugar-free low carb chocolate nucao – please try it – the three founders have now launched this fitness product, which scores not only in terms of taste, but also in terms of sustainability: nupro convinces me personally 100 percent organic quality and one completely plastic-free packaging. A 40 g serving (variety: cocoa cinnamon) contains around 139 calories and 22 g protein. Serve as a source of protein here Pea and sunflower and a tree is planted for every product sold.
4. Classic Plus Protein from SunWarrior
750 g at € 39.95
Organic, raw and free of artificial additives: There is no crap in SunWarrior products – instead, the mixtures provide vegetable proteins and many nutrients. In the Plus line, several organic protein sources are combined: Rice, pea, quinoa, chia and amaranth. A 25 g portion (vanilla) contains around 100 calories and 18 g protein and the taste is really good – I even like it with water, but even better in smoothie bowls and Nicecream.
5. Raw Vegan Protein from Prana On
1 kg at 65 €
If you ever discover Prana On while abroad: Make sure to grab it! It’s one of my favorite brands, but it’s hard to find in Germany. The Australian company is represented in Sweden and Indonesia, among other places, so the perfect souvenir! Why do i love it so much? Even with water, the consistency is incredibly creamy and the taste is just awesome. Artificial flavors are avoided and the plant-based protein power is used: Rice, pea and sacha inchi ensure a high protein content. My favorites are two classics from the Power Plant Protein series: Rich Chocolate and Vanilla Crème.
6. Protein powder with fiber from Dr. Goerg
600 g at € 32.95
Whether coconut flakes, coconut flour or Coconut: At the organic brand Dr. Goerg is all about the tropical fruit. Brand new: a ballaststoffreiches Proteinpulver in the flavors vanilla and chocolate, which is also great for baking due to the coconut flour it contains and is also very filling. Instead of artificial flavors – how else could it be – sweetened with? Coconut blossom sugar. Delicious! A 30 g serving contains around 115 calories and 19 g protein.
7. Recharge von Brain Effect
15 Bags at € 39.90
Strictly speaking, not a protein powder, but a refreshing and low-calorie alternative: The powdered drink from Brain Effect contains Electrolytes, that Adaptogen Ashwagandha – Here you can find out how it helps the body to cope better with stress – and an amino acid mix for optimal regeneration after training. One serving contains 69 calories and around 15 g protein as well as numerous minerals and vitamins.