Vegetable protein powder: how to choose them and contraindications

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Robert Maurer

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Proteins are substances that form the structure of our body. We could imagine them as the bricks that make up a house that is metaphorically our organism.

These proteins are in turn composed of 21 amino acids which form many different proteins with different functions and roles.

There are proteins that will be used for the formation of the tissues of the eyes or the heart or that they will serve for the formation and maintenance of other structures and organs. 

Our body needs to take in proteins from the outside, through food, in order to compensate for the daily loss of those internal proteins that are used by the body in its metabolic processes.

This Protein requirement was estimated with an RDA (recommended daily dose) in 0,8 g / kg / day. The sources of these proteins can come from both animal and plant-based foods.

We can say that the proteins of animal origin which we find for example in meat, fish, eggs and milk is very similar in structure to those that make up our body and when eaten they are usually composed of 21 amino acids.

In vegetable foods we find the same proteins (vegetable) but usually in the form of amino acids directly and therefore our body will assimilate them directly using them practically without major transformations. 


Let's see where to find and how to take vegetable proteins.


Read also Foods rich in vegetable proteins: what are they >>


1. Powdered vegetable protein

Many vegetables have a high percentage of protein which can be extracted and sold as a powder product taken perhaps by dissolving it in drinks to drink or mixed with other foods.

They are mainly used by sportspeople but also those who must have a protein addition in their diet and in the specific case of vegetable protein powder, people who have made a vegan choice can easily choose them precisely for their extraction from vegetables. 

Usually the foods most used to obtain vegetable proteins are legumes and in particular yellow soy, but also some cereals and other vegetables.


2. Soy

La soy it is certainly the most used legume to extract the protein part both thanks to its high composition and because it is the vegetable that has been used for the longest time for the transformation of products with a high vegetable protein content.

Even if its working is well known, it still remains a complex processor requiring further treatment to remove phytates and estrogens from the finished product. Soy protein powders can be purchased as natural supplements and are also used as an ingredient in many plant products in the vegan lines.


3. Pea

Il pea it is the legume from which the proteins with the best digestibility of all foods are extracted. It has also been shown that pea proteins are those that give less problems than allergic reactions and food intolerances even after repeated use of a protein supplement.

We can therefore say that pea is the best source of protein both for their composition which makes digestion easy for both lack of allergens. The manufacturing process is complex but not as complex as soy and the biological value of the proteins is still average. The taste of these protein powders is pleasant and slightly sweet.


4. Hemp

from hemp the proteins considered the most complete among those of vegetable origin are extracted and they are also very bioavailable which means that they are easily assimilated and usable by our body.

A curiosity about hemp is its protein contentor which is made up of more than 50% globular edestin. This substance is very similar to our globulin which circulates in human blood and therefore we can recognize in hemp a high similarity of composition.

Furthermore, edestin is a promoter of the immune system so much so that it helps the manufacture of antibodies allowing the body to fight off harmful agents.

Another very important factor that puts hemp protein first when choosing protein powders is that inside we find all 21 amino acids including 9 essential amino acids.

It is also a source of essential fatty acids with an optimal proportion between omega 3 and 6.
Its manufacturing process is moderately complex and the protein powder that is obtained has a slightly salty taste.


5. Rice

Il rice it is usually not known for its protein part which is instead very advantageous especially for those who have problems, intolerances and allergies to milk. In fact, rice proteins are often chosen to replace those of whey.

These proteins are easy to digest and do not contain cholesterol as indeed also the other proteins of vegetable origin.
Often in rice protein products we also find its fibers that help digestive function and balance the circulating sugar levels in the blood.

Finally, the rice proteins are assimilated very quickly and are considered lighter than other plant proteins such as soy. The manufacturing process is simpler even if its availability is still limited. The flavor of the rice protein powder is neutral and therefore very easy to use in various products.


6. Spirulina

La Spirulina it is another vegetable source from which a very concentrated percentage of proteins is obtained. In fact, this vegetable or rather this special alga has an incredible presence of proteins up to over 60%.

The other plant sources reach 15%  of protein part up to a maximum of 35% in soy. Furthermore, spirulina contains many vitamins such as A, E, K and many of the B group as well as mineral salts, fatty acids, chlorophyll, enzymes and phytoestrogens.

in products extracted from spirulina we will have to read in the nutritional tables and on the label to check if all the nutrients or only the protein part of this alga are present.

Il extraction process is quite complex and it is not easy to find spirulina-based products but its neutral taste and its high biological value will lead spirulina to be increasingly sought after as a natural and vegetable protein supplement.


Contraindication of vegetable protein powder

Certainly the highest risk in the use of vegetable protein powder is l'excess of daily quantity.
In fact, even the normal modern Western diet sees a consumption per person much higher than the recommended daily dose of protein requirements.

Studies report values ​​of 3 or 4 times greater than this dosage and this can cause various health problems, including serious ones.
An excess of protein substances leads to kidney overload with many nitrogenous waste substances and also with excessive loss of liquids resulting in general body dehydration.

The body generally shifts its body pH towards acidosis thus creating the suitable environment for the triggering of numerous diseases and inflammatory states of various kinds.

According to some studies, the links to the increase of some types of cancer have been highlighted to the intake of high percentages of protein.

Second risk in using vegetable protein powder is not to take all 21 amino acids or rather don't take those particular 9 amino acids which are essential for our body. To overcome this problem it is sufficient to vary the vegetable source of amino acids.

In fact, legumes are deficient in methionine and cysteine but they are rich in tryptophan and lysine on the contrary in cereals we have the presence of cysteine ​​and methionine and instead tryptophan and lysine are lacking.

We will simply have to check that they are in a powdered vegetable protein supplement present the proteins of both legumes and cereals in order to be balanced and have all the essential amino acids.


Warnings in the use of soy proteins

Proteins derived from yellow soy they are not well accepted by all people and often those who have a vegan or vegetarian diet exceed the use of products derived from soy. This situation must be kept under control both in order not to incur a protein excess and because any food taken every day and at high dosages can cause problems, perhaps even create food intolerances.

Let's try to think how many products based on soy and with soy proteins are present in the lines "greens"Mainly sold for people who have made a vegan diet choice: soy milk, soy cheese, soy yogurt, soy hamurger and soy meatballs, soy cured meats and sausages, soy flakes, soy beans, etc ... is very easy to overuse in the use of this food, we are careful to read the labels.


Read also 5 recipes based on vegetable proteins >>


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