When it comes to plant protein powders, it’s a highly individual affair.
Your age, activity level, health goals, pre-existing conditions, and budget all play a part in determining the best plant-based protein powder for you.
If you’re looking for vegan protein powders with the best ingredients/nutrition, then you’ve come to the right place.
For this review, we analyzed the nutrition and ingredients for 20+ of the (supposedly) best plant based / vegan protein powder brands.
If you want to find the ideal plant protein powders for your health, our reviews will reveal:
- Why most protein powder brands (plant and animal) are not what they say they are (and 5 questions you should always ask to find the cleanest and healthiest ones).
- Why most vegan protein powder reviews you find online are biased.
- What several top health experts (including a world renowned cardiologist) look for in their protein powders.
- How 20+ of plant protein powders compare in terms of ingredients, nutrition, and cost.
Note: We do sell our own organic plant-based protein powders. We’ll show you how our products compare to the competition when it comes to:
- Protein Sources
- Nutrition (calories, protein, and sugar per serving; sweeteners used)
- Ingredients (gums, flavors, fillers used; organic ingredients)
- Cost Per Gram of Protein
Scroll down or click/tap the green and grey boxes below to navigate to each section in the article.
How We Evaluate Plant Based Protein Powders
Protein manufacturers spend lots of dough to convince you their products are “clean” and healthy. We’re talking millions of dollars on marketing and fancy packaging with bogus health claims.
But fear not, because there’s an easy way to cut through their b.s. and find out if a protein shake is actually good for you. The first step:
Read and understand the nutrition facts and ingredients in your protein powder.
It’s the only objective piece of information you have to judge whether the ingredients are “clean” and “healthy” or not.
Here are 5 objective criteria we use to evaluate protein powders:
1. Sugar content
Sugar is sugar. It all turns to fat in your body. Doesn’t matter if it’s from honey, maple syrup, molasses, or coconuts (although I do enjoy raw honey in moderation).
Bottom line: Avoid protein powders with added sugars.
2. Artificial sweeteners
If you see any of those sweeteners, you may want to consider another option. But protein manufacturers are notorious for sneaking so-called “all-natural” sweeteners that may not be so good for you into their products.
If you like your protein a little sweeter, stick with organic monk fruit (luo han guo) or organic stevia extract (or better yet, no added sweeteners at all).
The best plant based protein blends use organic, real food ingredients and all-natural (or no) sweeteners … not fillers and junk.
3. Other “filler” ingredients (flavors, gums, fillers, etc.)
Here are a few ingredients you’ll find in the majority of the so-called healthiest protein powders:
- Natural flavors. Up to 90 percent of “natural” flavors have chemical solvents and preservatives. If you see them on the ingredients list, make sure you ask the manufacturer how they’re made and what’s in them.
- Gums. Many so-called clean plant protein powders contain gums like carrageenan, guar, xanthan, locust bean, konjac, and acacia. Gums make vegetable protein products easier to mix and blend … but there are some reasons for concern with some of them. Many people report gut issues and certain gums have been shown in clinical studies to produce laxative effects, gas, and bloating. I recommend people with sensitive guts and GI issues avoid protein powders that have gums.
- Lecithins. The most common way to make lecithins involves using a petroleum-based neurotoxin called hexane. Avoid powders with this cheap soy- and sunflower-based filler … or at the very least make sure it’s organic if your powder has it.
Bottom line: Avoid vegan protein powder with flavors, gum, or lecithins if you have a sensitive gut.
4. Organic ingredients sourced from the U.S. or Canada
Is organic protein powder better for you?
Not from a nutrition standpoint, but if the ingredients in your vegan protein powder are not organic, chances are it’s sprayed with pesticides, and most of these powdered vegetable ingredients come from countries outside the U.S., where regulations may not be as strict.
A small handful of protein manufacturers will disclose how they make their proteins. Most won’t though. When in doubt, ask. If they don’t know or don’t tell you, this is a big red flag.
Pure Food is one of the only plant protein powders on the market that is USA-grown and USA-produced!
Bottom line: Always ask the manufacturer how their proteins and other ingredients are processed.
How to Find the Best Protein Powders: What Health Experts Say
I asked several health and wellness gurus, “What are the top things you advise people to look for when choosing protein powders?” Here’s what they said:
America’s Holistic Heart Doc, University Professor, Founder, The Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity
“I recommend clean plant-based protein powders to my patients and use them myself in a morning smoothie. When they ask me about whey my answer is “No Whey“!”
Licensed Naturopathic Physician
“In general, I recommend that my patients look for real food ingredients in anything they purchase, and avoid ingredients like artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils. If cane sugar or another refined sweetener is listed, it should be organic and one of the last ingredients listed. Look for organic, hormone-free, non-GMO products. Casein and soy tend to be more allergenic than other proteins and should be avoided in general.”
TV Host & Media Personality, Celebrity Vegan Chef, Holistic Nutritionist
“For me, it must be vegan but after that I look for powders that aren’t full of fillers, sugars and extra junk. I love pure, clean powders that are non-GMO and I know how to pronounce the ingredients ; )”
“Since protein powder can be a daily food, I think it’s important to be sure you are comfortable with every single ingredient. I may not be as particular about a “once in a blue moon” treat, but if it is going to be in my daily diet rotation, I want to make sure it doesn’t have any questionable ingredients.”
Founder, The Happy Health Freak
“I look for vegan protein powders with very few ingredients, no soy or gluten and sweetened naturally without chemicals.”
Vegan Coach and WNBF Bikini Pro
“At this point in my vegan bodybuilding career, I like to think of myself as a connoisseur of the top vegan protein powders. I’ve literally tried ‘em ALL! The ones I tend to gravitate the most towards are of course, the ones that taste good, have a nice texture that isn’t too gummy, chalky or gritty and are high in protein but low in fats and carbs. I prefer to eat my calories rather than drink ‘em so texture and consistency is super important. I want my protein “pudding” to be creamy. I also try to avoid protein powders that are chalk full (no pun intended) of added sugars or fake sugars. Usually the natural sweetness of vanilla and cinnamon is enough for me (and better for staying lean.)”
Plant Protein Powder Reviews and Comparison Chart
In this section, we’ll share reviews of 20+ vegan proteins and help you compare some of the most popular plant protein brands. Let’s start with the reviews …
Pure Food Protein Competitor Reviews
Compare 20+ Vegan Protein Brands By Nutrition, Ingredients, Protein Content, and Cost
Use our plant protein comparison chart to see some of the best protein powder and nutritional shake brands on the market.
All of these make claims about being “clean, “healthy” and “natural”. When you start to peel back the curtain though, you’ll see there’s a lot of hidden junk in pretty much all of most popular brands.
Click/tap the numbers below to skip to each section or just scroll down to compare 20 vegan / vegetarian protein brands.
|PlantFusion Chocolate||Pea protein isolate, artichoke protein, organic sprouted amaranth, organic sprouted quinoa|
|Vega One||Pea protein, sunflower seed protein, pumpkin seed protein|
|Aloha Chocolate||Organic pea protein, organic pumpkin seed protein, organic hemp seed protein|
|Skoop Chocolate||Organic pea protein, organic rice protein, organic hemp protein|
|SunWarrior Warrior Blend Chocolate||Organic pea protein, organic hemp protein|
|Orgain Organic Protein Powder – Chocolate||Organic pea protein, organic brown rice protein, organic chia seed, organic hemp protein|
|Garden of Life Organic Chocolate Protein||Organic sprouted brown rice protein|
|Sprout Living||Pea protein isolate, hemp protein powder, rice protein concentrate|
|Lifetime Life’s Basics||Pea protein concentrate, organic brown rice protein concentrate|
|MRM Veggie Elite Chocolate Mocha||Pea protein concentrate, organic brown rice protein concentrate|
|Body Ecology Fermented Chocolate Protein Shake||Pea protein, mushroom protein blend|
|Healthforce||Organic sprouted brown rice protein, organic hemp protein|
|Kachava||Organic sprouted brown rice protein, organic hemp protein|
|Yuve||Pea protein isolate, rice protein concentrate|
|Philosophie||Organic hemp seed protein, organic reishi mushroom|
|Sann||Pea protein isolate, rice protein isolate, artichoke protein|
|22 Days Nutrition||Organic pea protein, organic ﬂax, organic sacha inchi|
|Growing Naturals Chocolate Power Rice Protein||Organic brown rice|
|Boku||Organic brown rice, organic cranberry|
Calories, Protein, Sugar (g) Per Serving and Sweeteners Used
|Vega One Chocolate||
|Stevia leaf extract|
|Organic coconut sugar Monk fruit extract|
|Organic stevia extract Organic coconut sugar|
|SunWarrior Warrior Blend Chocolate||
|Erythritol Organic rice dextrins Organic stevia extract|
|Orgain Organic Protein Powder – Chocolate||
|Organic stevia extract|
|Garden of Life Organic Chocolate Protein||
|Organic stevia leaf|
|Organic red banana Organic baobab fruit Organic stevia leaf powder|
|Lifetime Life’s Basics||
|Fructose Xylitol Stevia|
|MRM Veggie Elite Chocolate Mocha||
|Stevia extract Monk fruit extract|
|Body Ecology Fermented Chocolate Protein Shake||
|Organic whole stevia leaf|
|Erythritol Oligosaccharides Stevia|
|Stevia leaf extract|
|22 Days Nutrition||
|Organic stevia leaf extract|
|Growing Naturals Chocolate Power Rice Protein||
|Organic brown rice syrup solids Organic stevia|
|Vermont maple syrup Organic lucuma fruit|
Free of Natural Flavors & Gums/Thickeners
|PlantFusion Chocolate||No (natural chocolate ﬂavor)||No (silica, xanthan gum)|
|Vega One Chocolate||No (natural chocolate ﬂavor)||No (xanthan gum)|
|Aloha Chocolate||No (xanthan gum, organic sunﬂower lecithin)|
|Skoop Chocolate||No (organic ﬂavor, natural ﬂavor)||No (organic acacia gum)|
|SunWarrior Warrior Blend Chocolate||No (organic chocolate ﬂavor blend)||No (organic guar gum)|
|Orgain Vegan Protein Powder – Chocolate||No (natural flavor, organic natural ﬂavors)||No (organic guar gum, organic acacia gum, xanthan gum)|
|Garden of Life Organic Chocolate Protein||No (natural chocolate ﬂavor, natural vanilla ﬂavor)|
|Lifetime Life’s Basics||No (natural chocolate flavor)|
|MRM Veggie Elite Chocolate Mocha||No (natural chocolate mocha ﬂavor)||No (konjac gum, guar gum, tara gum)|
|Body Ecology Fermented Chocolate Protein Shake||No (natural cocoa ﬂavors with other natural ﬂavors)||No (natural cocoa ﬂavors with other natural ﬂavors)|
|Kachava||No (natural chocolate ﬂavors)||No (alkalized cocoa, xanthan gum, guar gum)|
|Yuve||No (natural ﬂavors)||No (corn starch powder, guar gum, xanthan gum)|
|Sann||No (natural ﬂavor)||No (glycine, guar gum, lecithin)|
|22 Days Nutrition||No (organic chocolate ﬂavor)||No (organic chocolate ﬂavor)|
|Growing Naturals Chocolate Power Rice Protein||No (organic ﬂavor)||No (organic guar gum, organic gum arabic, organic sunﬂower oil)|
|Boku||No (organic guar gum)|
Organic Ingredients, Probiotics Added and Cost Per Gram
|Vega One Chocolate||No||No||
|Skoop Chocolate||Lactobacillus plantarum Lactobacillus bulgaricus||
|SunWarrior Warrior Blend Chocolate||No||
|Orgain Organic Protein (Chocolate)||No||
|Garden of Life Organic Chocolate Protein||No||Bacillus subtilis Lactobacillus bulgaricus||
|Lifetime Life’s Basics||No||No||
|MRM Veggie Elite Chocolate Mocha||No||No||
|Body Ecology Fermented Chocolate Protein Shake||No||Lactobacillus, Saccharomy ces, Biﬁdobacterium longum||
|Kachava||No||Lactobacillus rhamnosus Lactobacillus acidophilus||
|22 Days Nutrition||No||
|Growing Naturals Chocolate Power Rice Protein||No||
Final Thoughts: What Is The Best Plant Based Protein Powder?
“Best” is subjective and depends on your unique health goals and needs. If you value ingredients and nutrition over taste, then the criteria for finding the healthiest protein powder are pretty simple:
1. Look for ingredients that are organic and come from whole food sources you can pronounce without any sugar and additives like fillers, gums, or flavors.
2. Find out the amount of protein per serving, the protein sources, sugar content, and cost per serving in grams.
Is Pure Food Protein a Good Fit for You?
Here’s me being (probably too) honest: if you’re looking for the best tasting plant protein powder, Pure Food isn’t it. We don’t add sugar, artificial junk, and chemical-ridden flavors to make our product taste better.
But if you’re done settling for “average” protein powders and the junk ingredients that wreak havoc on your body and want to try a product that will actually have a positive impact on your health (and the world), then give Pure Food a try. We offer a money-back guarantee, so there’s nothing to lose!
Not only does Pure Food have the best ingredients, it’s the best value for the money at $.06/gram (the same price as Vega, which is NOT organic and has all types of fillers, additives, and “natural” flavors).