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There seems to be a lot of uncertainty regarding soy-based protein powders and their health benefits for vegans.
Generally speaking, protein powders made from soy are high-quality supplement products, which are great for building muscle mass on a plant-based diet.
This ensures that your nutrition is up to scratch, especially in meal replacement.
Many of them are filled with essential amino acids and protein which are great for bone health and lean muscle.
In addition, some soy protein shakes even come in gluten-free versions for us veggies with food intolerances. Yet, still, there is a lot of bad press about the humble soy plant.
Yep, there’s a soy-based protein product to suit everyone’s tastes, but which are the best soy protein powders for a bodybuilder or weight loss enthusiast on a plant-based diet?
Our Top Soy Protein Powders (2020 Updated)
OUR #1 RATED
OUR #2 RATED
OUR #3 RATED
Bob's Red Mill
OUR #4 RATED
Six Star Pro
OUR #5 RATED
1. Bulk Supplements (Editor's Choice)
BulkSupplements Soy Protein Isolate Powder is 90% pure protein, meaning that you’re getting a lot of nutrition in your soy protein shakes!
This soy protein product is also rich in calcium (258mg) which is conducive to good bone health.
In case you didn’t know, soy protein isolate is a very pure form of soy which is extracted from the soybean plant.
It is rich in essential amino acids and helps you to shed weight and/or build muscle mass very easily.
2. NOW Sports
Being vegan is expensive at the best of times, so if you’re trying to save a few bucks on your lean muscle building, try NOW Sports Soy Protein Isolate.
This protein powder is 90% soy protein isolate, making it an ideal drink after a hard workout session at the gym.
It also contains zero carbs for those of you who are counting those macros intensely!
You can also add this to your baking ingredients and cook yourself some protein brownies if you’re getting a little bored of shakes.
3. Bob's Red Mill
With a name that makes it sound rather homely and nostalgic, Bob’s Red Mill has created an animal-free soy protein product which is free from just about everything – dairy, gluten, sweeteners, and flavorings.
This supplement is great if you’re trying to get back to basics.
Each serving of this product has 17g of protein, so it’s a strong contender if you’re building muscle while trying to keep up an organic vegan diet.
Complete your vegan lifestyle with a protein supplement that can give you an energy boost at the gym.
4. Six Star Pro
This premium soy protein powder provides you with 20g of protein in each serving, making it easy for you to build lean muscle mass and aid fat loss.
The Six Star formula's amino acid content is pretty high, which are brilliant for your overall health and nutrition as a plant-eater.
The formula is also free from trans-fat, cholesterol, and aspartame, so you can rest assured that you’re not polluting your body with any of those particular nasties.
Are you trying to lose weight but your exercise routine isn’t quite cutting it?
We would recommend introducing EAS Soy Protein Powder into your life.
This protein powder contains 20g of high-quality protein per serving, helping with your weight loss and toning in the gym. What’s more, it also contains no saturated fat – the worst of all fats for packing on the pounds!
Furthermore, it also contains all 9 essential amino acids that you need to sustain good health and nutrition on a plant-based diet.
What is Soy Protein?
Soy protein is a type of protein which comes from soybean plants.
It comes in 3 different forms – soy flour, concentrates, and soy protein isolate.
The isolates are commonly used in protein powders and health supplements due to their muscle-building qualities.
The essential amino acid content in soy protein cannot be produced naturally by the body. For this reason, many people on a restricted diet, like vegetarians, consume soy protein supplements for nutritional benefits.
Due to its high amino acid content, soy protein is considered to be a “complete protein” by nutritionists, containing similar benefits to the protein found in legume pulses.
It is also one of the cheapest supplemental sources of protein and can be found in foods such as tofu and soy milk.
Soy protein isolate is often used in protein shakes as an alternative to whey, which some people can be sensitive to or avoid consuming for dietary reasons.
What are the types of Soy Protein?
There are two main different types of soy protein – soy protein isolate and soy protein concentrate.
Soy protein isolate and concentrate both come from soybean meal, which is then dehulled and defatted before being processed into different parts.
The soy protein isolate is a powdered protein supplement which is common in soy protein shakes and supplements. Isolate is 90-95% protein and contains almost no fat or carbohydrates.
Soy protein concentrate, on the other hand, is manufactured by taking the dehulled/defatted soybean meal and removing some of the carbohydrates from it. It is often used in baking, cereals, and as an ingredient for various food products.
The concentrate is very easy to digest and contains a lot of fiber, so it is often recommended for children, elderly people, and pregnant women who need to keep a close eye on their health.
Want more protein options? See this page for our top plant-protein powders.
Soy Protein: Good or Bad?
When it comes to paranoia about foods and intense debates about how good or bad they are for your health, soy is right up there with gluten, red meat, and a few other choice examples.
There are many rumors about it being bad for your health, including unfounded claims that soy can give you man boobs. Some sources even claim that soy can make you infertile (1) (2).
However, according to Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN the Nutrition Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute:
Soy-based foods are some of the best foods you can eat on the planet. Soybeans provide a plant-based protein source; a slew of vitamins and minerals crucial for reducing risk of chronic disease; and fiber that helps you fill up and feel satisfied.
Soy actually contains a lot of nutritional content, with the majority of rumors surrounding it being nothing more than scaremongering.
You can read our full post here where we talk more on this matter: Is Soy is bad for men?
Soy Protein Benefits
1. Meat Substitute
According to the Food & Drug Administration in the US, soy protein can be used as a good substitute for animal products in a plant-based diet. They explain (3):
Unlike some other beans, soy offers a ‘complete’ protein profile. Soy protein products can replace animal-based foods—which also have complete proteins but tend to contain more fat, especially saturated fat—without requiring major adjustments elsewhere in the diet.
US Food & Drug Administration
2. Fights Heart Problems
Soy reduces LDL cholesterol levels in your body, which is instrumental in fighting heart disease problems.
Consuming soy protein helps to reduce your chances of developing heart issues later in life.
In addition, soy also improves the condition of your veins, allowing blood to flow to your heart more easily and efficiently.
3. Great for Bone Health
Soy contains phytoestrogen, which makes it easier to absorb calcium. As a result, many soy protein supplements come fortified with calcium, helping to increase your calcium intake. This helps to prevent a loss in bone mass and fights against osteoporosis, a condition where your bones deteriorate as you get older.
4. Increases Energy
Undergoing some intense exercise? Doing some mad workouts at the gym? Soy contains amino acids which can be used by the body and converted into energy. This way, soy protein not only helps you with muscle-building – it also keeps your energy up when you’re working hard to acquire that lean muscle mass!
5. Helps to Prevent Cancer
Soy contains genistein-phytochemicals that have been found to lower risks of prostate cancer and breast cancer, making it attractive to both male and female health nuts alike. The genistein found in soy protein can actually stop tumor cells from growing altogether, halting cancer in its tracks before it can develop and get worse.
Whey vs Soy Protein
Soy protein is naturally high in protein and low in fat and carbohydrates, making it ideal for sports drinks, protein shakes, and perhaps even vegan meal replacement shakes.
It often comes in the form of soy protein isolate, which has a 90-95% protein content, making it an incredibly potent source of protein.
Whey protein comes from cow’s milk, so it is suitable for vegetarians but not vegans.
Cow’s milk naturally has around 3.5% protein and 4% fat, and once the whey has been separated from the rest of the milk, it is processed to remove excess fats, water, and carbs.
Generally speaking, these two supplements are quite evenly matched in terms of protein content and benefits, with both containing the 9 essential amino acids that your body cannot develop on its own.
You can watch this video below to learn more about the difference between whey and soy protein.
The Best Soy Protein Powder?
When summing up the list of best soy protein powders, it can be difficult to know which one to go with. However, we’ve decided to choose BulkSupplements Soy Protein Isolate Powder as our best overall soy protein powder.
This product really is the complete package – it’s vegan, contains pure protein, and is even fortified with 258mg of calcium to keep your bones strong and healthy!
It’s super easy to blend and mix, which is brilliant if you feel like making some soy protein drinks or smoothies before you hit the gym and it doesn’t taste bad to boot.
Our #1 Soy Protein Powder
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