Vegan protein powder or also called dairy free protein powder – is an effective alternative to whey protein powder.
Vegan protein powder produces fewer side effects, tastes better than whey protein, mixes well with most beverages, and provides all the amino acids you need to enjoy optimal benefits from your workouts.
There are scores of vegan protein powders on the market today. Some are well worth your investment. Others try to hide their shortcomings behind a barrage of questionable additives. We examined dozens of options and concluded that the following are the best vegan protein powders of 2020.
1. Bodylogix Vegan Protein Powder
Bodylogix Vegan Protein is 100% plant-based protein. This protein powder is not derived from soy, yet still manages to provide the full complement of nine essential amino acids that are so necessary to muscle building and workout recovery. Bodylogix Vegan Protein Powder is NSF certified, indicating it has passed government muster and contains no heavy metals, pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
You will not find any artificial sweeteners, fillers, or colors in this protein powder (although there is a bit of Stevia to take the edge off the taste). Bodylogix protein is lactose and gluten free and will not produce any adverse effects for those allergic to soy.
2. Nutiva Organic Plant Protein
Nutiva Organic Plant Protein is another highly effective, soy-free protein powder that will optimize the results of your workouts without saddling you with odious side effects. Nutiva uses a mixture of hemp, sunflower, pumpkin, and pea proteins in order to ensure you get the full range of amino acids you need to build lean, strong muscle.
The formula also includes probiotics to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption as well as vitamins and minerals just for good measure. We found Nutiva Plant Protein mixes well with most non-carbonated beverages and that it does not leave an unpleasant aftertaste. If you are not a bodybuilder, this dairy free protein can be used to make an ideal replacement meal shake.
3. NOW Sports Nutrition Plant Protein
Now has built an enviable reputation over the past decade for anticipating the needs of their customers and providing top-quality supplements to fill those needs. Their Plant Protein powder is another example of this M.O. in action. Now Plant Protein is derived from a combination of hemp, pea, brown rice and quinoa and is free of GMOs at every stage of the production process.
Each serving provides a rich assortment of amino acids, along with calcium, potassium and magnesium. But the real star of the show here is the 22 grams of highly effective, bioavailable protein you get in each of those servings. All Now supplements are made in the US in a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility.
4. Organifi Vegan Protein Powder
Each serving of Organifi Vegan Protein Powder is packed with 20 grams of plant based protein derived from peas, quinoa and pumpkin. You get the full spectrum of essential amino acids to speed recovery from strenuous workouts and to optimize muscle building. But Organifi does not stop there.
They also add an array of vitamins and minerals to bolster overall health and to complement the action of the amino acids. Vitamins A, C, D, K and more are all represented, along with calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper and other minerals. Organic cocoa and natural fruit flavors are used for taste. Organifi is so confident you will love this product they offer a 30-day no questions asked money-back guarantee.
5. Vegansmart Plant Based Vegan Protein
Vegansmart Plant Based Vegan Protein combines pea, quinoa, potato, and chia protein with prebiotics, probiotics and an array of vitamins and minerals. If you are looking for a protein powder to create replacement meal shakes, this is the type of powder to consider.
You get 20 grams of highly effective plant based protein in every serving and no gluten, soy, cholesterol or trans fats. A Vegansmart protein shake is the perfect way to bolster your workouts, or to provide you with the energy you need to make it through your busy day at work. This protein powder is certified vegan, contains no genetically modified organisms and has prebiotics and probiotics to facilitate nutrient absorption.
6. Vega Sport Protein Powder
Vega Sport Protein Powder is completely free of gluten, soy, cholesterol, and genetically modified organisms. Each 44 gram scoop of Vega Sport Protein Powder is packed with 30 grams of protein that provides the full array of essential amino acids.
In order to ensure optimal digestion Vega Sport throws in some probiotics, and some black pepper extract to enhance bioavailability. The end result is a potent protein powder supplement whose 5 flavors pretty much ensure you will find one that agrees with you. Vega Sport Protein Powder is vegan-friendly, keto-friendly, free of allergens and produced in a GMP facility under the supervision of the FDA.
7. Purely Inspired Organic Protein
Purely Inspired Organic Protein provides 20 grams of pea and brown rice protein in every 38 gram scoop. Each serving also provides 3 grams of fiber to promote digestive efficiency, as well as iron, potassium and magnesium for strong bones. This protein powder mixes exceptionally well with most non-carbonated beverages and does not immediately create a layer of mud on the bottom of your glass.
Purely Inspired is free of GMOs, free of gluten and soy, and free of artificial flavors, fillers or colors. The company may not have the nationwide name recognition of Now Foods, but this organic protein powder is a high-quality supplement that will light a fire under your workouts and keep you going through the day.
8. Isopure Plant Based Protein Powder
Isopure Plant Based Protein Powder is a simple but effective protein powder that derives its protein from organic peas and organic brown rice. Each serving delivers 20 grams of bioavailable protein to your stressed-out muscles and does so without leaning on artificial additives, sweeteners, or fillers. Whether you use this protein powder to create replacement meal shakes, or to help you recover from strenuous free weight sessions you will find it answers the call.
Isopure Plant Based Protein Powder contains no soy, no gluten, no sugar, and is unflavored. As such, it is one of the few you can consider mixing with certain fruit juices. If you like your supplements simple and pure you will probably take a shine to Isopure Plant Based Protein Powder.
9. Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal
As usual Garden of Life goes the extra mile to find the best ingredients for this supplement. Their Raw Organic Meal is marketed as a meal replacement shake, but it will serve you just fine if you decide to use it to get more from your weight lifting sessions. Each 36 gram scoop delivers 20 grams of plant-based protein derived from buckwheat, chia, brown rice, amaranth and peas.
You also get 7 grams of fiber in every scoop to facilitate digestion and keep things moving. Just to make sure they leave no stone unturned they also include nearly 2 dozen vitamins and minerals to bolster overall health and complement the action of the protein. Raw Organic Meal from Garden of Life is certified vegan and kosher. It is free of GMOs, soy, and gluten, and is produced in the company’s GMP-certified facility in the US.
10. Inno Sups Clean Vegan Protein
Last but not least on our list is Inno Sups Clean Vegan Protein. The protein here is derived entirely from organic peas and each serving provides 4 grams of muscle-building branched chain amino acids. Inno Sups Clean Vegan Protein mixes easily with most non-carbonated liquids and has a pleasant enough chocolate taste that does not overwhelm or linger too long.
The company also includes a smattering of digestive enzymes which facilitate availability of the protein. Inno Sups protein is free of gluten, soy, and GMOs and has no artificial sweeteners or colors.
What Is Dairy Free Protein Powder?
Dairy free protein powder is an alternative to the very popular whey protein powder that has been used by bodybuilders and athletes for decades. Whey is a milk byproduct and therefore can be problematic for people who are allergic to dairy or who are lactose intolerant.
Dairy free protein powder – often called ‘vegan protein powder’ or ‘non-dairy protein powder’ – on the other hand is derived entirely from plant sources. This provides an obvious benefit to those with the aforementioned dairy allergies and lactose intolerance. But there are also a slew of other benefits we will get into in a moment.
If you are worried that by switching from whey protein to plant-based protein you will have to compromise muscle building, rest assured there is no need to worry. You can get all the muscle-building amino acids you need from dairy free protein powder
What are the Benefits of Vegan Protein Powder??
Vegan protein powder does not contain hormones or antibiotics. – Through no fault of their own the cows bred for commercial dairy purposes are fed a steady diet of hormones and antibiotics (1). The hormones are intended to make them more productive, and the antibiotics to help them live longer. Those hormones and antibiotics inevitably make their way into whey protein powders and your body. That does not happen with non-dairy protein powders.
Vegan protein powder facilitates digestion. – Unlike dairy-based whey protein, dairy free protein powder is packed with nutrients and, just as important, fiber. Some of these fibers perform a prebiotic function and work as fuel for probiotics (2). This enables a higher degree of nutrient absorption. Other types of fiber pass through the digestive tract, facilitating regular bowel movements and helping to keep things clean.
Vegan protein powder is just as effective at building muscle. – Some folks are wary about vegan protein powder, thinking there is no way it can pack the same muscle-building punch as dairy based protein. They’re wrong. Some dairy free protein powders may not have the same high protein concentrations as whey protein. But the protein itself is just as effective. If you feel you need more protein, simply increase your serving size a bit.
Vegan protein powder is great for people who are lactose intolerant. – It is thought that as many as 65% of humans suffer from some degree of lactose intolerance (3). As such, the idea that dairy free protein powder is some kind of niche product is incorrect, to say the least. Dairy free protein provides a majority of physical fitness enthusiasts with a safe, effective alternative to potentially harmful whey protein.
Vegan protein powder helps improve bone health. – Dairy products are typically rich in calcium, and there is no doubt that calcium supplementation can help a person buttress the integrity of their bones. But there are other ways protein powders help your bones. Scientific studies confirm the very act of resistance training helps build stronger bones (4). So your dairy free protein powder can help strengthen your bones by enabling more effective strength training. Plus, if you want more calcium you can always take a calcium supplement.
Vegan protein powder tastes great. – Whey protein powders have a flavor problem. Because they are all derived from the same source, they all tend to have the same bland flavor. This is why manufacturers tend to load them down with sweeteners and artificial flavors. Dairy free protein powder is derived from a variety of sources and are often blended with other natural flavors to produce a distinctly flavorful protein shake experience.
Vegan protein powder may reduce the risk of some cancers. – A landmark study by the University of Sydney has concluded that strength training reduces the odds of dying from cancer better than aerobics or other types of cardio exercise (5). The study concluded that cardio alone does not change that odds of dying from cancer, while strength training actually reduces the risk by more than 30%. So pick up some dairy free protein powder and get lifting.
Vegan protein powder can help you lose weight. – Some people use protein powder shakes as a type of replacement meal. This can be a very effective strategy for losing weight since it provides a high degree of control over calorie input and it helps you feel full faster, which prevents overeating.
Dairy free protein powder has more nutrients than dairy-based protein. – Unlike whey protein powders dairy free protein powder is often chock full of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A, C, D, and K, along with B-complex vitamins and calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium can all be found in various dairy free protein powders. Many are also rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from oxidative stress (6).
Vegan protein powder is allergy free too. – It is all-too-common for whey protein supplements to produce reactions in people with whey allergies. Symptoms of this type of allergy include diarrhea, bloating, stomach pain, fatigue, depression and more. You will not experience that with dairy free protein powder. You may not even connect stomach pains to your whey protein until you switch to dairy free and the discomfort disappears.
Vegan protein powder is environmentally friendly. – Billions of people worldwide partake of dairy products without ever thinking how those products came to be. The fact is, commercial livestock use up millions of square miles of land worldwide (7). And every year the amount of land set aside for dairy cows and other animals grows larger. Dairy free protein powder is one small step back in the direction of a sustainable world.
Dairy free protein powder is good for your heart. – Studies conducted on lab animals suggest that dairy free protein may help reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. While the same type of test has yet to be conducted on humans, animal tests are typically a good indication of how people would react. On top of that, resistance training alone will provide a multitude of benefits for your entire cardiovascular system (8).
Vegan protein powder can boost your metabolism. – Anytime a person eats plant-based food, carbohydrates, or protein it causes a slight boost in their metabolism. This boost is called the ‘thermic effect of food’ (9). This metabolic boost is not created, however, by the consumption of fats. A faster metabolism is, of course, better for maintaining a healthy weight than a slow metabolism.
Vegan protein powder is affordable. – Plant based, dairy free protein powder does sometimes cost more than whey protein powder. That is simply because whey is a byproduct of the enormous global dairy industry and millions of tons are produced every year. That said, while dairy free protein powder will sometimes cost more, that increased cost typically works out to just a few pennies per protein shake. So it should not break your bank.
Are There Side Effects to Vegan Protein Powder?
Vegan protein powder is typically very well-tolerated by the body and produces few, if any, notable side effects in healthy individuals. Some people do occasionally complain of feeling bloated after consuming a protein shake. Particularly non-dairy protein shakes since they can be high in fiber. This feeling, however, does not affect most people and typically passes in short order.
Some lower quality dairy free protein powders may contain ingredients that create adverse side effects. For instance, some discount protein powders load up on the sodium as a cheap way to bolster flavor. Others may contain artificial colors, fillers, or flavorings that will produce adverse effects. The best dairy free protein powders, however, steer clear of these types of additives.
What Should I Look for in Dairy Free Protein Powder?
You should be mindful of which type of plant the protein powder is derived from. Especially if you suffer food allergies. Some dairy free protein powders are derived from peanuts, for instance. Anyone with a peanut allergy will need to steer clear of this.
Soy, is the only plant source that contains all nine essential amino acids (10). Yet at the same time soy is another potentially problematic source of protein, as quite a number of people have soy allergies.
Vegan protein powder is considered tastier then whey protein powder. At the same time though, dairy free protein powder can leave what some people consider, an unpleasant aftertaste. As a result, manufacturers often add cocoa powder, lemon, vanilla or other natural flavors. If you want to avoid the potentially unpleasant aftertaste, consider getting a vegan protein powder with one of those flavors.
What’s Wrong with Whey Protein Powder?
Whey protein has helped countless folks pack on the muscle. But it is not without its downsides. Here are several good reasons to switch from whey to dairy free protein powder.
Whey protein powder can produce adverse effects in the lactose intolerant. We mentioned this earlier but it bears repeating. A majority of people are thought to have some degree of lactose intolerance. Which means a majority would have some kind of problem with whey protein. For these folks there is dairy free protein powder.
Whey protein does not always play well with medications. It is thought whey protein can interfere with the osteoporosis drug Alendronate and the Parkinson’s drug Levodopa (11).
Whey protein may interfere with diabetes treatment. Whey protein is known to affect blood glucose levels under certain conditions (12). As a result, anyone being treated for diabetes or taking insulin should consult their doctor before taking supplemental whey protein.
Whey protein can cause fatigue. In most cases this is a side effect of lactose intolerance but it deserves its own mention on this list. The last thing you want is to head into a workout feeling low on energy. But ironically, the very thing that is supposed to power you through your workout – the whey protein shake – may take the legs right out from under you and make you susceptible to injury.
The Bottom Line
Vegan protein powder is a safe, effective, affordable alternative to whey protein. Whey has held down the protein powder fort for decades, but it has also caused innumerable people stomach upset, nausea, fatigue and more. The bottom line is that, with so many high-quality dairy free protein powders on the market today, there is no reason to continue to subject oneself to the downside of whey.
The dairy free protein powders on our list are from reputable manufacturers, are derived from high-quality, non-GMO sources and will help you achieve your athletic goals without exacting a toll on your digestive tract. Use the information above to help you determine which dairy free protein powder is right for you.