Protein is an essential part of any diet. Protein helps build muscle, lose weight and maintain optimal health and fitness. But what if you don't do meat or dairy? Here are a few things you might not know about plant protein.
One of the main appeals of plant proteins is their name - they’re accessible on any type of restrictive dietary regime like vegetarianism.. Most protein supplement products are based on milk proteins, like whey and casein. Dairy intolerance impacts approximately 75% of the world’s population and plant proteins eliminate the dairy component from protein supplements (1).
Our new Common Ground plant protein combines pea and hemp protein into a plant-based, protein-packed product that’s fully accessible. Rich in amino acids and overall protein content, pea protein makes sense as a first step for many people looking to change their protein source. Clinical studies have shown pea protein’s effectiveness in a training environment. A 2015 study examined increases in muscle thickness in three groups: one consuming whey protein, one consuming pea protein, and a third consuming a placebo. The results showed pea protein supplementation helped increase muscle thickness similarly to whey protein supplementation (2). Another study found similar physiological benefits for training groups ingesting pea protein and whey protein, respectively. The training groups were measured on parameters like strength in the back squat and deadlift, as well as body composition and peak force. There were no significant differences between the groups’ scores following the study period, again suggesting that pea protein consumption can have similar recovery effects to whey protein (3).
However, pea protein isn’t perfect on its own. Like many plant proteins, pea protein lacks a complete spectrum of essential amino acids, primarily lacking in methionine and cysteine while boasting a healthy amount of leucine. Leucine is important for muscle protein synthesis, which could explain pea protein’s impressive strength training benefits (4). However, no diet is complete without all essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are so-called because they are required for normal biological function, but your body can’t produce them if they’re not provided from your diet. This is where hemp protein comes in. Hemp protein boasts a robust profile of amino acids, containing all 9 essential amino acids. Hemp and pea protein balance each other out perfectly. Hemp lacks leucine but has cysteine and methionine, and pea protein has plenty of leucine.
In a world increasingly impacted by climate change, finding more sustainable protein sources is one adjustment wealthy countries are going to need to make. Going grass-fed in animal agriculture is one way to mitigate climate change. Plant proteins can be an excellent alternative to proteins based on confinement-based animal products, and are a great alternative for people with restrictive diets. It is always important to make sure any plant-based diet provides complete proteins, with every essential amino acid accounted for. Especially for athletes who require large amounts of proteins, combining plant protein sources is the best way to know you’re getting enough amino acids. Complete plant proteins are a no brainer for anyone looking to supplement their protein intake.
- West, Helen. “6 Dairy Foods That Are Naturally Low in Lactose.” Healthline, 22 Feb. 2017, www.healthline.com/nutrition/dairy-foods-low-in-lactose#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2.
- Babault, Nicolas, et al. “Pea Proteins Oral Supplementation Promotes Muscle Thickness Gains during Resistance Training: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial vs. Whey Protein.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, vol. 12, no. 1, 2015, p. 3, 10.1186/s12970-014-0064-5.
- Banaszek, Amy, et al. “The Effects of Whey vs. Pea Protein on Physical Adaptations Following 8-Weeks of High-Intensity Functional Training (HIFT): A Pilot Study.” Sports, vol. 7, no. 1, 4 Jan. 2019, p. 12, doi.org/10.3390/sports7010012, 10.3390/sports7010012.
- Herreman, Laure, et al. “Comprehensive Overview of the Quality of Plant‐ and Animal‐Sourced Proteins Based on the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score.” Food Science & Nutrition, 25 Aug. 2020, 10.1002/fsn3.1809. Accessed 14 Sept. 2020.