Any vegan can attest that there are certainly challenges that come with their dietary choices, and while confirming the contents of food becomes second nature, sometimes it is more difficult to find the vegan option you are looking for, especially if you live in Japan. Protein powders are a clear example of this difficulty. Whether you are a serious vegan bodybuilder, or would just like to incorporate vegan protein shakes into your dieting regimen, knowing what your best options are is indispensable. Today we will be taking a look at the top 5 vegan protein powders in Japan, which will meet your dietary needs and give you that protein boost you are looking for.
What is vegan protein? What’s the difference between vegan and non-vegan protein?
So what is vegan protein exactly? First of all, let’s clarify the difference between Vegan and vegetarian protein powders. Simply put, a vegan diet cuts out all animal products and byproducts, which means no milk or eggs.
A vegan restriction happens to cut out the go-to form of protein for supplemental powders, whey and casein, which come from milk. These two are the most popular and are scientifically shown to be most effective protein powders, so what are the alternatives for vegans looking for the same results? We’ll take a look at some vegan options a little later in the article. You can also check-out my article on the top 10 plant-based protein sources in Japan.
Vegetarian vs. vegan protein powder
A vegetarian will not eat meat but may consume milk and eggs as part of their diet, so whey and casein protein are still on the table for them. The stigma about vegan proteins is that they are incomplete, as in they are missing at least one essential amino acid. However, this lack can be overcome by blending various kinds of plant-based proteins to produce a super vegan protein cocktail.
So, the good news for vegans is that if you choose the right plant-based protein powders in a combination, there does not seem to be a significant difference between them and milk based proteins.
Why take protein powder at all?
Protein powder shakes are considered indispensible in today’s fitness climate, and if you really want to build muscle, the fastest and easiest way to is take supplemental protein. However, protein shakes are not just a tool for fanatic gym goers.
Many people use protein shakes as a meal replacement option when dieting to cut down on their calories, as protein shakes do a good job of making you feel full.
Benefits of using vegan protein powder: Why vegan protein rather than other types?
Health conscious individuals may choose vegan protein over whey and casein for a number of reasons. Benefits of taking plant-based proteins over dairy based ones have easy digestion near the top of the list. Anyone who regularly consumes high amounts of whey protein, myself included, can attest to the negative gastrointestinal effects. More simply put, the increased flatulence and bloating can be uncomfortable.
Other benefits to vegan proteins include prevention of cruelty to animals, being more sustainable and environmentally friendly, and also being also a good source of fiber and vitamins.
What are top 5 vegan protein powders in Japan available to you?
How do you go about getting vegan protein in Japan? Well, there are actually quite a few options available to you from soy, to hemp, to pea and more. Brown rice and quinoa protein powders are also touted as great option for vegans you should consider.
Please have a look at the details for each vegan protein powder below:
Some people could consider this the king of vegan protein powders, as it gets a level one PDCAA (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score), putting it on par with whey and eggs. There still seems to be some of back and forth on the benefits of soy protein, but overall it is positive.
Pea is a good vegan protein powder as it also contains all 9 essential amino acids, giving it a complete protein profile as well. Many vegans will mix this protein powder with other plant-based powders to make up for any amino acids those powders lack.
If omega 3 fatty acids and fiber are your thing, hemp protein powder is for you. It’s easy to digest, and though it gets a low rating on the PDCAAS, it is an excellent source of protein and amino acids. It has also been shown to improve productivity and metabolism.
Quinoa protein has a good lPDCAAS, and there are lots of other things about it that make it great. It’s gluten free, high in fiber and vitamins, and also contains beneficial antioxidants. As mentioned above, it can be mixed with other powders to great effect.
Find various quinoa protein powders available in Japan using the above link.
This is also a good contender in the race for vegan protein powder champion.
Studies have shown it to be as effective as whey when it comes to building muscle, and it’s other great qualities include being high in fiber, gluten free and chock full of Vitamin B. However, its one shortcoming is that brown rice protein lacks some essential amino acids, and thus should be paired with another vegan protein powder such as quinoa.
Even if you are an omnivore like me, switching over to vegan protein powder is not a bad idea. There are accounts of athletes that tried changing over to vegan protein powders, praising its ease of digestibility without losing any results in their training.
If you’ve tried whey before and found the gas and bloating to be an issue, hopefully you will now be convinced to switch over to one of the top 5 vegan protein powders options listed above.
If you want to find out more, please read my article on the top 10 plant-based protein sources in Japan.
Before you go, just remember:
- Vegan protein powders have been shown to produce the same training results as that of whey protein
- Many vegan protein powders contain all essential amino acids and other nutrients
- Vegan protein powders are better for the environment
- There is a large variety of vegan powders to choose from and meet your tastes