Vegan Protein: What you should know about plant proteins

Who would like itself vegan nourishes or would like to change its nutrition, surely at least once the question was asked: "And where do you get your proteins from? That's why today we want to clear up all the myths around vegan protein, answer all the questions and help you to eat a balanced diet with enough protein.

You just want some really good vegan protein powder?

No problem - of course you don't have to deal with the theory behind protein and protein. If you are just looking for the best vegan protein powder, you have come to the right place. 

How much protein do you need as a vegan anyway? 

The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends an average protein amount of 0.8 grams per kilogram body weight per day for an adult between 18 and 65 years of age. 

So with a body weight of 60 kilograms, that would be 

0.8 x 60 = 48 grams of protein a day. 

Whether the recommended amount of protein is taken in through a vegan or omnivorous diet makes no difference here. 

Please note: The 0.8 gram is only a guideline value - for certain groups of people, such as athletes, pregnant women or nursing mothers, the requirement can be significantly higher. 

Vegan protein sources: These foods will help you meet your protein needs

A protein-rich diet doesn't always have to be animal - in the following table we list vegetable protein bombs with which you can cover your needs well. 

As a reference value: turkey breast, so popular with omnivorous athletes, has 21 grams of protein per 100 grams, an egg has only about 7 grams of protein. Vegetable alternatives can easily keep up with this - hemp seeds, our favourite superfood, contain a proud 37 grams of protein per 100 grams. 

Vegan food with high protein content: nuts and seeds

Hemp seeds with Bowl31,56 g
Pumpkin seeds30,23 g
Almonds21,15 g
Sunflower seeds20,78 g
Pistachios20,16 g
Cocoa powder19,6 g
Linseed18,29 g
Cashew nuts18,22 g
Poppy seed17,99 g
Sesame seeds17,73 g
Cashewmus17,56 g
Chia seeds16,54 g
Walnuts15,23 g
Hazelnuts14,95 g
Brazil nuts14,32 g
Pine nuts13,69 g

Vegan foods with high protein content: Pulses

Soya seeds, roasted43,32 g
Soybeans36,49 g
Lupine seeds36,17 g
Lenses24,63 g
Red Lenses23,91 g
Mung beans23,86 g
Kidney beans23,58 g
Chickpeas20,47 g

Do I have to eat vegan protein powder?

Yes and no: If you take care to eat a protein-rich diet, you can get by without protein powder. However, if you do a lot of sport or don't want to spend a lot of time counting protein and calories, protein shakes can be a great help in covering your protein requirements. 

In order to really do something good for your health, we recommend that you pay attention not only to the protein content, but also to the list of ingredients and use natural ingredients of organic quality. 

What to look for when buying vegan protein?

Whether a protein powder can be classified as high quality is determined by various factors, for example

  • Protein amount
  • Amino acid profile
  • biological valence
  • chemical score

Protein amount in grams: Simple, but a little too simple

That protein shakes should be about the amount of protein in grams sounds logical and simple at first - unfortunately this consideration is a bit too simple, because proteins are only useful if they can be absorbed and used by the body. 

For this reason it makes little sense to pay attention to the amount of protein alone. 

Amino acid profile

Proteins, as you may know, are made up of amino acids. There are 20 basic amino acids in all, nine of which are essential. These nine amino acids cannot be produced by the body itself, so they must be supplied to the body through food. 

Depending on the protein source, the 20 amino acids are available in varying amounts - but our body needs a sufficient amount of all amino acids. Therefore, it makes sense to eat proteins that have a balanced amino acid profile.

Biological valence

The biological value indicates how well the protein from a food can be converted into the body's own protein. Animal protein generally has a higher biological value than plant protein - at least when only a single source of protein is used. 

For this reason we recommend combining different protein sources with different amino acid profiles to increase the biological value - cleverly combined, a vegan protein is in no way inferior to the classic whey protein. 

In purely chemical terms, biological valence is calculated by dividing the amount of nitrogen that remains in the body after eating the food by the amount of nitrogen absorbed through protein consumption. The result is multiplied by 100.

chemical score

"Chemical Score" sounds very scientific and fancy at first, but simply compares the amount of individual amino acids in a particular food with the amount of the same amino acids found in a reference food, such as a hen's egg.

The hen's egg serves as a reference here because in the past it was assumed that the proteins from the egg could be absorbed and utilised particularly well.

In principle, the chemical score is therefore quite similar to the biological score, which is why the two methods for protein evaluation are often confused - one major difference: the chemical score also takes food combinations into account.

PDCAAS: Protein digestibility

The Chemical Score therefore gives a good understanding of how the protein contained in a food is composed, but says little about how well digestible the proteins are. This is where the PDCAAS comes into play. PDCAAS stands for Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score and includes the tolerability and digestibility of the food to be consumed as a source of protein. 

For example, wheat protein is more difficult to digest than pea protein, for example, and therefore has a lower PDCAAS value.

Everything too complicated? 

We admit: This all sounds quite complicated at first - healthy food in all honours, we don't want to calculate the PDCAAS or the biological value before every meal. That is why our protein powders contain all essential amino acids in sufficient quantity and with high biological value. So you don't have to worry about it and can simply enjoy - according to our motto "make change easy". 

One-component protein vs. multicomponent protein

Another type of distinction is that between single and multi-component proteins. Classical one-component proteins are for example rice, pea or soya protein, but also the classical whey protein.

One-component proteins have the disadvantage - especially if they are purely vegetable - that they do not provide all essential amino acids in sufficient amounts.

That is why we rely - and recommend - on a multi-component protein. This simply means that several different proteins are combined to obtain a complete amino acid profile and the highest possible biological value. 

In nupro, for example, we combine sunflower protein and pea protein.

Vegan protein or whey? What's the difference?

Whey is another name for whey protein - so the main difference to vegan protein is that it comes from milk, while vegan protein is purely vegetable. 

Vegan protein powder usually contains additional nutrients, trace elements and fiber and is naturally lactose-free. If one pays attention additionally to a complete amino acid profile, vegan protein is in no way inferior to "classic" whey.

Cooking and baking with vegan protein: May protein powders be heated? 

Whether protein powders are suitable for cooking and baking depends strongly on the ingredients. For example, some artificial sweeteners should not be heated. The more natural the ingredients of your protein powder are, the more likely you are to be able to cook and bake with it without any problems. 

Nupro does completely without artificial additives and is therefore ideal for delicious cakes. Of course we also share our favourite protein recipes with you: 

Have fun recooking! 🙂