Protein Power Series Pt 3: Plant Proteins

Plant proteins are a worthy alternative to anyone avoiding animal proteins for ethical, or other reasons.  Peas, potatoes, rice, buckwheat are all common sources of concentrated plant proteins. Some would argue that plant proteins are inferior to animal because they can lack certain amino acids, but all in all, plant proteins remain a fine choice for those looking for an alternative to animal based.  Let's dig into some of the choices below:

Pea Protein

Did you know that as far as plants go, peas are fairly rich in protein?  In fact, pea protein powder has almost 3x the amount of arginine as whey.  Probably helpful to mention here that according to WebMD, arginine has been known to help with blood flow, improved kidney function, improved immune function, and wound healing of all things.  It also contains a healthy amount of BCAA's and glutamine.  Be forewarned, pea protein powder can have a more pungent taste and thicker consistency than the whey you may be used to.

Brown-Rice Protein

Brown rice has to be treated with a special enzyme in order to separate the protein from the carbs.  Why do manufacturers go through the trouble?  Because of the large amount of arginine found in brown rice protein, compared to other types of vegetable proteins.  More arginine means more arginine benefits, like more nutrients to the muscles, and a better recovery afterwards.  

Hemp Protein

You do know that hemp won't get you high right?  Okay just making sure.  Hemp protein is sourced from hemp seeds.  Hemp is high in arginine and BCAA's, but isn't exactly the best source of protein.  It simply isn't concentrated enough.  It has some other slight benefits, but none significant enough to mention here really that you can't get in other parts of your diet.

Soy Protein

Soy is an interesting protein.  It has demonstrated many of the benefits of whey like increased muscle mass. It also has some additional benefits that whey does not have, like being high in anti-oxidants.  The two big strikes soy has had against it are that

1) Almost all soy is derived from genetically modified crops

2) The negative press it received surrounding its isoflavones which were demonstrated to mimic the hormone estrogen, the female sex hormone, in men.  Some studies have since been released to refute this claim but the stigma still lingers.  We will leave the decision to you.

So that's it, those are some of the most popular plant based proteins for those vegans in the crowd.  From everything I've read, if you're not a vegetarian or vegan, there isn't much reason to go for plant based proteins over animal. Animal proteins will typically be more concentrated and more complete in their makeup.  

Comment below, let us know your experience with plant based proteins versus animal based.  And if you like what you see, make sure you subscribe below.  Also meet us back here next week when we discuss the differing levels of protein processing.  Any questions or suggestions, you can email us at  

Other Articles You May Like:


Rob Wildman, PhD., Protein Powder Guide, 2015.

Steinbaum, Suzanne. Arginine Heart Benefits and Side Effects.  WebMD 2015.


Steinbaum, Suzanne. Arginine Heart Benefits and Side Effects.  WebMD 2015.