The 10 Best Vegan Protein Powders of 2024, Reviewed and Tested

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Vegan protein powder might be a good choice if you struggle to eat enough protein, are always on the go, or eat plant-based and exercise regularly. Mary Wirtz, MS, RD, CSSD, a board-certified sports dietitian, suggests vegan protein powders can be an easy, convenient, and cost-effective way to get in more protein, especially when you follow a plant-based diet. Consuming protein after a workout (in addition to some carbohydrates) can also help support muscle recovery.

When selecting a protein powder, we recommend checking the type of protein it contains, any added ingredients (especially if you have food allergies), and whether it is third-party tested. We took these factors into consideration as well as testing more than 60 different protein powders ourselves to rate each powder for taste, texture, aftertaste, and smell. We sifted through all these options to recommend only the ones that we think taste, smell, and mix the best.

A registered dietitian on our Medical Expert Board also reviewed this article for medical and scientific accuracy regarding what to look for in vegan protein powders, the best sources of vegan protein, and whether they’re just as good as whey protein.


About Supplements

Dietary supplements are minimally regulated by the FDA and may or may not be suitable for you. They also may interact with other supplements or medications you are taking. Our team of registered dietitians reviews supplements according to our rigorous dietary supplement methodology. We also had a registered dietitian review this page for its scientific accuracy. Please always speak with a healthcare provider to discuss any supplements you plan on taking.

What to Know Before You Shop

We go into detail about What To Pay Attention To for vegan protein powders, but here are some things to know before shopping.

  • Ingredients: Some powders have a long ingredient list that includes sweeteners, flavors, probiotics, or digestive enzymes, which might or might not work for you. This is especially important to consider if you take medications or have sensitivities to certain ingredients.
  • Taste: Some powders just contain the protein source and are unsweetened, some are sweetened with added sugars, and some have non-caloric sweeteners. Some flavored protein powders can be intensely sweet, and some are just slightly flavored. Consider whether you want a powder that is already flavored and whether you want just the protein.
  • Testing: Protein powders can contain traces of heavy metals, which is why we recommend choosing ones that have been third-party tested for safe levels of contaminants and ingredient accuracy.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Ritual Essential Vegan Plant-Based Protein Powder

Amazon


Why We Like It

We love that Ritual Daily Shake 50+ pea-based protein powder is not only third-party tested but also delicious. It blended really well with other ingredients and made a thick, pleasant, creamy smoothie. The flavor wasn’t overpowering and had a pleasant, slight sweetness.

While this protein powder is suggested for adults aged 50 and over, note it’s ideal for adults of any age, as it’s higher in calcium and choline in comparison to other vegan protein powders. Choline is a key nutrient for brain health, and calcium helps promote bone strength, which can be especially important in lowering the risk of osteoporosis as we age. Another distinguishing ingredient in this supplement is calcium β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate (HMB), which can help promote muscle strength and protect against muscle decline in older adults—an important consideration because we tend to lose muscle mass with age. We love these thoughtful, research-backed nutrients in this powder, but know Ritual also has a Daily Shake 18+ without these additions and the same delicious taste and ingredient quality we love.

When a product is third-party tested, you know that the product is not contaminated with high levels of heavy metals or other harmful contaminants. This protein powder is both Informed Protein certified and Informed Sport certified, meaning it has been tested to ensure its protein content is accurate and that it doesn’t contain any banned substances for athletes. Plus, all of the ingredients in this product are traceable, meaning you can check their website to see exactly where the ingredients are sourced from.

It’s Worth Noting

If you’re mixing this protein powder with just water, you might prefer a sweeter or more strongly flavored protein powder.

Product Details:

  • Serving Size: 2 scoops
  • Sugar per serving: 0 grams
  • Protein per serving: 20 grams 
  • Fiber per serving: 3 grams
  • Main Protein Source: pea
  • Dietary Considerations: gluten-free and non-GMO (not certified)

Best Budget: Now Foods NOW Sports Nutrition Pea Protein

Amazon


Why We Like It

If you’re looking for a simple and affordable protein powder, we recommend Now Sports Pea Protein. Pea protein is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids that our body can’t produce on its own.

We like that this powder packs an impressive 24 grams of protein per scoop, as this is considered high for a vegan protein powder. Each serving also includes an impressive 45% DV of Iron. Iron is needed for the transport of oxygen throughout your body, including muscle cells. This protein powder is Informed Sport certified, making this a great choice for athletes and anyone wanting a protein powder with strong third-party testing.

The Now Sports protein powder contains only one ingredient—pea protein—making it more allergen-friendly and easy to add to a variety of foods or beverages. We found it blended well with other ingredients in a smoothie, and we also recommend using this in food like soups to boost protein content. 

It’s Worth Noting

This protein has a slight pea-like aftertaste even when blended with other ingredients, so if you don’t love that earthy flavor, this may not be the best pick for you. It is also higher in sodium compared to some other choices, with a 14% Daily Value per serving; though this could be helpful for replacing electrolytes after exercise, as sodium is lost in sweat. However, some may not want or need the higher sodium level.

Product Details:

  • Serving Size: 1 scoop
  • Sugar per serving: 0 grams
  • Protein per serving: 24 grams 
  • Fiber per serving: 0 grams
  • Main Protein Source: pea
  • Dietary Considerations: non-GMO, kosher, organic, soy-free, dairy-free

Best Vanilla: Sprout Living Epic Protein Vanilla Lucuma

Amazon


Why We Like It

Sprout Living’s Epic Protein Vanilla Lucuma Powder uses its plant protein blend mixed with vanilla lucuma blend to make a tasty, protein-packed powder. This supplement is third-party tested for ingredient amounts and safe levels of heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. 

In our testing, we were pleased with the delightful taste of this protein powder—it scored some of the highest ratings for taste. It is subtly sweet even when just mixed with water. The lucuma and baobab fruit, cinnamon, ginger root, and vanilla bean give it a creamy and spiced flavor that is unique compared to your traditional vanilla.

We also like that each serving has 20 grams of protein and 30% DV of iron from a blend of yellow peas, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sacha inchi, and cranberry seeds. This supplement is also a good source of vitamin C (30% DV). This is note-worthy because vitamin C can help absorb iron more effectively, is needed to make collagen, and is an antioxidant.

It’s Worth Noting

One of the sources of fiber—Jerusalem artichoke—may cause some digestive discomfort, like bloating, for those who are sensitive to inulin or who follow a low FODMAP diet for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Product Details:

  • Serving Size: 2 scoops
  • Sugar per serving: 6 grams (4 grams added sugar)
  • Protein per serving: 20 grams 
  • Fiber per serving: 3 grams
  • Main Protein Source: EPIC protein base (yellow pea, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, sacha inchi, cranberry seed)
  • Dietary Considerations: organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, kosher

Best Soy: NOW Sports Soy Protein Isolate

Walmart


Why We Like It

Soy is another good vegan protein source, and Now Sports won our top spot for soy protein because it has one simple ingredient–soy protein isolate. It also has strong third-party testing, as it is Informed Sport certified. It contains 20 grams of protein per serving and is lower in sodium than many competitors, with only 7% Daily Value (DV) of sodium per serving. We also like that it’s a good source of calcium and iron, with one serving providing 15% DV each for calcium and iron.

You may have heard about the fears of phytoestrogens with soy, but research suggests soy is generally safe and may even benefit heart health. This is through its ability to significantly reduce total and LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol.” So, if you’re not a fan of the more common pea protein as a vegan option, this pick could be a good fit for you.

It’s Worth Noting

If you aren’t a big fan of the taste of soy, then this may not be your ideal protein powder because we found the soy taste to be quite noticeable even when mixed into a smoothie. We tested the unflavored option, but Now Sports also has soy protein powder in chocolate and vanilla flavors.

Typically, vegan protein powders tend to have higher amounts of fiber in comparison to whey-based proteins, but unfortunately, this one doesn’t have any fiber. If you blend it in a smoothie, make sure to add some fruit, leafy greens, chia seeds, or ground flaxseeds to increase the fiber content.

Product Details:

  • Serving Size: ⅓ cup
  • Sugar per serving: 0 grams
  • Protein per serving: 20 grams 
  • Fiber per serving: 0 grams
  • Main Protein Source: soy
  • Dietary Considerations: non-GMO, kosher

Best Unsweetened: NorCal Organic Premium Pea Protein

Amazon


Why We Like It

NorCal Organic’s pea protein powder contains one simple ingredient–organic yellow pea protein isolate. Some competitors’ pea protein powders have a strong, earthy taste that can be off putting, but we found that this one had a more mild flavor. So, if you’re looking for a vegan protein boost in your favorite baked goods or oatmeal, this could be a great option. 

We love that this protein powder is low in sodium, with only 4% Daily Value per serving, and each serving has 22 grams of protein. However, if you’re an athlete looking to replenish sodium and get adequate protein after a sweaty workout, you may want to consider adding electrolytes to your post-workout shake as well.

This powder can be a good option if you have a common food allergy, as it is free of dairy, gluten, and soy. The peas are sustainably sourced from Canadian organic farms, and the company reports third-party testing of their supplements.

It’s Worth Noting

The package indicates this powder has been third-party tested, but we don’t see specifics on their testing processes, just that an independent lab is used.

Product Details:

  • Serving Size: 2 scoops
  • Sugar per serving: 0 grams
  • Protein per serving: 22 grams 
  • Fiber per serving: 1 gram
  • Main Protein Source: pea protein isolate
  • Dietary Considerations: dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, organic, non-GMO

Best Hemp: Nutiva Hemp Protein Powder

Amazon


Why We Like It

Nutiva’s Organic Cold-pressed Raw Hemp Seed Protein Powder is third-party tested and has a pleasant taste when mixed into a smoothie. It is lower in protein than some alternatives, with 15 grams per serving, but it has the bonus of being a good source of fiber—including six grams per serving. Fiber is important for digestive health, cholesterol management, and blood sugar stability, but it also keeps you feeling fuller for longer.

We like that the only ingredient is hemp seed protein, as hemp seeds provide a good source of fats, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Omega-3s are a standout heart-healthy fat in these seeds, helping reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. There are higher amounts of omega-3s in fatty fish, but if you aren’t a fan, hemp seeds are another great source. When it comes to minerals, this supplement is a good source of iron (35% DV), zinc (35% DV), and magnesium (60% DV). These nutrients can be hard to get enough of from food alone, so a benefit of using this choice is getting a mineral boost. Zinc plays a role in the immune and digestive systems, while magnesium can help with blood sugar levels and the functioning of muscles and nerves.

It’s Worth Noting

Through our testing, we found that this powder definitely tastes better in a smoothie, which is how Nutiva recommends using it. We felt that its earthy flavor and grittier texture were more noticeable when just mixed with water.

Product Details:

  • Serving Size: 4 tablespoons
  • Sugar per serving: 1 gram
  • Protein per serving: 15 grams 
  • Fiber per serving: 6 grams
  • Main Protein Source: hemp seed
  • Dietary Considerations: organic, non-GMO

Best Chocolate: Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder

Amazon


Why We Like It

If you want a deliciously sweet chocolate protein powder that is high in protein, we recommend Vega’s Premium Sport Protein Powder. It has the highest protein content—30 grams per serving—of all the protein powders we tried. This high protein can help active people—specifically strength-based athletes—repair and strengthen muscles after a tough workout. This protein powder is also NSF certified for sport, meaning it has been third-party tested to ensure its label is accurate and that it doesn’t contain unsafe levels of contaminants or banned substances for athletes.

We found this protein had a thick, rich, creamy texture that we loved when blended as a smoothie, and it has a sweet, tootsie roll smell. It uses protein sources, including peas, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, and alfalfa, which leads to a well-rounded and complete amino acid profile. It also provides 6% DV calcium and 40% DV iron per serving. Calcium can be especially important for athletes to maintain strong bones and support muscle contractions during exercise. Iron is needed to deliver oxygen to muscles during exercise, and it can be harder to get enough iron when following a vegan diet.

This athlete-targeted protein powder also has tart cherry powder, beet root powder, and turmeric extract added to provide anti-inflammatory benefits, and some research suggests these ingredients may help promote muscle recovery. Athletes will appreciate each serving is higher in sodium—17% DV—which can help restore electrolytes after sweating in longer or intense workouts.

It’s Worth Noting

This protein powder contains probiotics and digestive enzymes, which may not be helpful for everyone, especially if you have underlying digestive issues. It is sweetened with stevia, but we found that no aftertaste lingers very long compared to some other protein powders.

Product Details:

  • Serving Size: 1 scoop
  • Sugar per serving: 0 gram
  • Protein per serving: 30 grams 
  • Fiber per serving: 1 gram
  • Main Protein Source: pea, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, alfalfa
  • Dietary Considerations: non-GMO

Best Nutrient Boost: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Organic Max Protein Protein Powder

Courtesy of Amazon


Why We Like It

Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Yeah! Max Protein powder is a great option for those who want a boost of both protein and fiber. It has an impressive 13 grams of fiber per serving, making it easy to have a high-fiber breakfast or snack when added to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, or baked goods. Fiber is a carbohydrate that we cannot digest and gets fermented in our large intestine by gut bacteria. This process produces beneficial compounds like short-chain fatty acids that help reduce inflammation and give gut bacteria the energy they need to survive.

On top of the high fiber amount, this pick is also a great way to get more minerals in your diet. Each serving provides 30% of your daily needs (DV) of iron, 40% DV magnesium, 25% DV zinc, and 80% copper. It also provides lesser amounts of potassium and calcium.

It’s Worth Noting

While we love that this powder is high in fiber and minerals, it is on the lower side for protein—13 grams per serving. However, if you were to blend it in a smoothie with non-dairy yogurt or nut butter, that could help boost the overall protein amount. Manitoba Harvest also has hemp protein powders that are higher in protein and lower in fiber if you want a more balanced blend between the two nutrients.

In our testing, we did find that this protein powder had a gritty texture that was not very visually appealing. It was mostly masked when blended into a smoothie, but it was still more noticeable than some other picks.

When we spoke with Manitoba Harvest, they reported their products are internally and third-party tested for levels of heavy metals.

Product Details:

  • Serving Size: 4 tablespoons
  • Sugar per serving: 1 gram
  • Protein per serving: 13 grams 
  • Fiber per serving: 13 grams
  • Main Protein Source: hemp 
  • Dietary Considerations: non-GMO, organic

Best Nutrient Boost (Runner-Up): Navitas Organics Hemp Powder

Amazon


Why We Like It

Navitas Organic’s Hemp protein Powder has only one ingredient: hemp protein powder. It’s also rich in fiber and iron. It has no sweeteners—including stevia—making it versatile and easy to add to baked goods, oatmeal, smoothies, and more. It’s a great option if you want a boost in fiber and protein. 

Similar to other simple hemp powders, it is lower in protein than other options, with 13 grams per serving, but it’s also a great source of fiber, with seven grams per serving. Each serving also provides 35% of your daily needs (DV) of iron and 4% DV calcium.

Navitas Organics’ website says this product is third-party tested, but we don’t have more detailed information on that testing. 

It’s Worth Noting

We loved that this hemp powder’s earthy flavor was neutralized in a smoothie, and it had a more pleasant texture than other hemp powders we tested. However, it did have a somewhat earthy aftertaste

Product Details:

  • Serving Size: 4 tablespoons
  • Sugar per serving: 1 gram
  • Protein per serving: 13 grams 
  • Fiber per serving: 7 grams
  • Main Protein Source: hemp
  • Other ingredients: N/A
  • Dietary Considerations: organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher

Best with Greens: Vega Protein & Greens

Amazon


Why We Like It

Sometimes you may want more than a protein boost; you may also be looking for a boost in nutrients from green vegetables. Vega’s Protein and Greens Plant-Based Protein Powder does just that. It includes a blend of vegetables and other plant foods to provide a good source of micronutrients like vitamin K, calcium, and iron. It also provides a small amount (6% of your daily needs) of vitamins A, C, and potassium.

The protein in this powder is from peas, providing all essential amino acids and making this a complete protein, and each serving has 20 grams of protein. The greens in this powder come from powdered spinach, kale, alfalfa grass, and broccoli. An added bonus is it has two grams of fiber per serving—7% of your daily needs.

It’s Worth Noting

It’s important to note these powdered greens may interfere with some medications, so you should talk to a healthcare professional before taking this choice if you’re on any medication. In particular, Vitamin K can interact with medications like blood thinners, those for lower cholesterol, or controlling seizures.

It does not appear this product is third-party tested, but other products by Vega have been approved by third-party testers. Since it is sweetened with stevia, we found it had a pretty sweet, somewhat artificial aftertaste. But we still liked it when blended as a smoothie.

Product Details:

  • Serving Size: 1 scoop
  • Sugar per serving: 1 gram
  • Protein per serving: 20 grams 
  • Fiber per serving: 2 grams
  • Main Protein Source: peas
  • Dietary Considerations: non-GMO, gluten-free

More To Consider

While these protein powders didn’t reach our top ratings, they may still be of interest to you.

  • Sunwarrior Warrior Blend: We noticed this protein powder had a stronger medicinal, chalky aftertaste compared to other powders we tried.
  • Garden of Life SPORT Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder: We appreciate the higher protein amount and strong third-party testing for this powder, but we found it to have a stronger, more artificially sweet flavor compared to other protein powders we tested.
  • Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder: We liked the third-party testing for this powder and that it’s a good source of minerals. However, we also found this on the sweeter side, and it wasn’t as thick when blended up as other choices.

Should I Use Vegan Protein Powder?

Vegan protein powders are generally safe for most people, but the following people may want to warrant caution before using a protein powder and consult a healthcare professional.

  • People with chronic kidney disease. Protein can tax the kidneys, especially at the high concentrations found in protein powders. If you have chronic kidney disease, you probably need to stay away from protein powders and speak with a healthcare professional on the safest way for you to consume protein.
  • Those who are minimally active. If you are pretty sedentary or only engage in moderate intensity physical activity, you probably don’t need protein powder to meet your protein needs. Focusing on consuming a well-rounded diet should be adequate to meet your protein needs. 
  • Those who eat a variety of food sources of protein. If you have a well-rounded diet that regularly includes a variety of food sources of protein, you probably won’t need protein powder. Plant-based sources of protein include beans, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, soy milk, or pea milk. 

Vegan protein powders can be a beneficial addition for those with higher-than-average protein needs or who don’t consume enough food sources of protein. They could be especially beneficial for:

  • Plant-based athletes. Athletes, especially those doing a lot of strength training, have higher protein needs compared to less active individuals. For vegan athletes who struggle to meet their high protein needs with food or who want a more convenient means of getting protein after workouts, vegan protein powder can help.
  • Older adults. Loss of muscle mass is a health concern for older adults. As muscle mass declines, it can reduce strength and increase risk of injury in the elderly. One way to combat this is to do a combination of strength exercises and eating enough protein (and total calories). Getting enough protein from foods may be challenging for this age group especially if they have a reduced appetite. Protein powders may be especially helpful to boost protein intake.
  • Pregnant individuals. Meeting your increased protein needs during pregnancy can be difficult, especially if you have nausea. Before starting a protein powder, always consult a healthcare professional for individual guidance. If a healthcare provider has recommended using a protein powder as part of a well-balanced diet, always choose one that is clearly third-party tested for contaminants and heavy metals.

Our Supplements Testing Process


Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here.

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third-party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab.com.

It’s important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend and gives more details on what we specifically look for in supplements.

To get our top-rated picks, we have personally taste-tested more than 60 protein powders, and we continue to test different powders every quarter. We research the top brands on the market and any new products, looking for different main protein sources and options across a variety of price points. Our staff dietitians carefully look through the ingredients and if a powder is third-party tested. We tasted each protein powder blended with just water and as a smoothie with plant-based milk, banana, and nut butter.

We evaluated these powders based on how they performed on the following attributes.

  • Flavor: We judged each product on how good it tasted overall. Was it overly sweet, bitter, or artificial-tasting? We also rated each powder on whether it provided an enjoyable taste, if there were any unexpected flavors, or if it was off-putting.
  • Texture: We noted if the powder was smooth and finely milled and easy to drink or if it was clumpy, grainy, or unpleasant. We also took into account mixability and how long you have to shake the protein powder with liquid before it dissolved enough to be drinkable.
  • Aftertaste: We considered whether there was an aftertaste after consuming the protein powder and how long it lasted. We also noted whether there was a smell upon opening the protein powder and whether it was consistent with the flavor listed on the packaging. Because taste and smell are linked, we considered whether the smell of the powder impacted taste when consumed.
  • Value: We looked at a range of price points that could accommodate a variety of budgets. We asked our testers to evaluate the appropriateness of the price point for each product they tested.
  • Nutrition: Our dietitians reviewed the ingredients and assessed the nutritional profile of each product. 
  • Third-Party Testing: As we mentioned above, we prioritize products that have been successfully third-party tested for heavy metals, banned substances, and other harmful ingredients, purity, potency, and labeling accuracy.

The Experts

We use expert advice at every stage of writing, reporting, and testing the products in this story. Here are the people we consulted for this piece.

  • Blair Persyn, MS, RDN, LDN, CNSC, vegan registered dietitian and owner of Bites With Blair, LLC
  • Mary Wirtz, MS, RD, CSSD, board-certified sports dietitian and consultant for Mom Loves Best
  • Allison Knott MS, RDN, CSSD, board-certified sports dietitian and founder of Anew Well Nutrition, helped us research what to look for in a vegan protein powder and which powders to test.

Ingredients: What To Pay Attention To

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included, relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to a healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.

The biggest difference in form between vegan protein powders is the protein source. Common sources are soy, peas, seeds, brown rice, hemp, or a combination of these sources. Soy, pea, and hemp proteins are considered complete proteins because they contain all nine essential amino acids.

Vegan protein powders can also come in raw form, meaning the protein source is as close to its natural state as possible. Beans, nuts, and seeds can also be sprouted which could help ease the way be digest nutrients from these foods.

Flavored protein powders can contain artificial sweeteners that, in large amounts, may cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Vegan protein powders may also contain adaptogens, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and other herbal-based ingredients that are not as well-researched and may not be safe for some people, especially in large amounts.

How Much Vegan Protein Powder Should I Use?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for adults is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. For a 150-pound individual, this means 55 grams of protein, and for a 200-pound individual, this means 73 grams of protein. However, your protein needs can vary greatly based on your physical activity level, whether you are pregnant or lactating, or if you have other medical conditions that affect protein needs.

The protein needs of a competitive athlete can be 1.4 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight–over double that of a sedentary person. For this reason, athletes may benefit more from protein powders to help make sure they are getting the recommended amount of protein.

While it can be safe to take vegan protein powders daily, we recommend also consuming a variety of food sources of protein. Food sources of plant-based protein will contain other important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber that protein powders don’t have. 

While there is no tolerable upper limit (UL) for protein, research has shown that consuming over 2 grams per kilogram long-term could increase the risk for kidney, heart, or digestive problems. Some people who have been told to follow a lower protein diet, like those with kidney disease, can have a lower upper limit for daily protein. Ultimately, a healthcare professional can help you determine what specific protein amount is best for your health.

Vegan Protein Powder and Heavy Metals

Vegan and non-vegan protein powders will also naturally contain some heavy metals since heavy metals are naturally found in soil. So, if you consume many servings of protein powder per day, you could risk getting higher amounts of heavy metals, especially if the powder is not third-party tested for heavy metal amounts. Keep this in mind, especially if you are pregnant and considering adding a protein powder to your eating routine. ConsumerLab.com has more information on heavy metals found in protein powders that they tested. 

Another consideration for how much vegan protein powder is too much is the amount of fiber or other added ingredients in vegan protein powders. Getting a lot of fiber, thickeners, or sweeteners in protein powders could cause some side effects for some people when eaten in high amounts.

Risks of consuming too much vegan protein powder could include:

  • Digestive upset
  • Consuming higher levels of heavy metals
  • Not getting enough of other important nutrients not in protein powder

Your Questions, Answered

Is a vegan protein powder just as good as whey protein?

Research on some sources of vegan protein is sparse since they are relatively new compared to whey protein. Soy, peas, and hemp are complete proteins like whey, while protein sources like brown rice are not complete proteins like whey protein. 

Blair Persyn, MS, RDN, LDN, CNSC, registered dietitian and owner of Bites With Blair, LLC says, “Pea protein powders can be just as helpful as whey protein in maintaining and building muscle.” She also says, “People with lactose-intolerance can have issues tolerating whey and may benefit from switching to a vegan protein powder.” Wirtz highlights soy protein, saying, “Consuming soy and whey protein has no significant differences in muscle growth and strength development. Furthermore, soy is a complete protein and contains all essential amino acids.”

What is the best source of protein in a vegan protein powder?

Persyn says, “My favorite vegan protein powders are pea-based protein powders because they often have a more optimal nutrition breakdown. Look for vegan protein powders that have 120–130 calories and 20–30g protein per scoop. This will ensure that your protein powder is mainly just protein and doesn’t include excess fat or carbohydrates.”

Overall, the best source of vegan protein for you will depend on your unique nutritional needs, taste preferences, and budget.

Who We Are

Isabel Vasquez RD, LDN is a Latina registered dietitian who counsels clients through the private practice Nutritiously Yours LLC. Her work is especially focused on helping individuals divest from a one-size-fits-all approach to health and connect with their unique needs.

Shushy Rita Setrakian, MS, RDN, CDN, is a registered dietitian and one of our nutrition and supplement commerce editors. She sifts through all the data from testing protein powders to make sure we are recommending the top picks, and she has tried many of these powders herself.


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