Sub-Category Description: Alternative Protein Sources
Sub-Category Heading Title: Alternative protein sources can be a good choice for individuals who want to limit or eliminate the use of animal or milk-based proteins in their diet. Alternative protein sources can consist of non-animal-based proteins such as soy, rice, hemp, chia, cranberry, and even sea vegetation like spirulina (an algae). However, we can also consider egg or beef (yes, BEEF) protein powders as alternative sources, since they are not derived from milk. Vegans and vegetarians can benefit from consuming some of these proteins, due to their excellent amino acid profiles, and unique tastes.
Soy protein is a complete protein that ranks right up there with the best in the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). Soy protein is generally very low in or free of fat, cholesterol, and lactose.
Soy protein is approved for those who are lactose intolerant, and can be used as a meat substitute. Much more than just an ingredient for a protein shake, Soy protein can be used for cooking instead of flour, producing high protein foods that are extremely low in fat, a bodybuilder's dream come true! Soy protein is derived exclusively from soy beans.
Soy protein provides a healthy way to get non-animal protein into your diet. It is great tasting, natural and can have a plethora of healthy effects on the body. It is ideal for high protein/low carb diets. It's valuable constituents include saponins, phytosterols, and isoflavones. Saponins support healthy immune system function and combine with cholesterol to reduce it's absorption into the body through the small intestine. Phytosterols have also been shown to help maintain cholesterol levels already within normal range.
The anabolic isoflavones in soy (genistein and daidzein), not only have exhibited effects as powerful antioxidants, but have been shown to exhibit positive health benefits for both men and women.
Rice protein is a much-mentioned topic for people looking for protein sources that are vegetarian. Unlike whey powder, made from dairy, rice protein is often more easily digested, and shares with the soy the advantage of being completely vegan. Some people on gluten free diets use rice protein powder since it is free of gluten, and others cite the main advantage is that it is less expensive than whey protein powder.
In special processes, brown rice is treated with enzymes that cause separation between carbs and proteins. These enzymes are considered vegan and the processing of rice in this manner is considered a "raw food" technique. The result is usually made into rice protein powder, which may be flavored or not, and can be added to a variety of foods.
Hemp protein can supply any diet with a vegetarian source of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre, chlorophyll and a complete, balanced gluten-free source of the essential amino acids.
Hemp protein supplies enough of each of the essential amino acids to contribute to the human body's requirements. In fact, an important aspect of hemp protein is that it is a quality source of the amino acids arginine and histidine, both of which are important for growth during childhood, and of the sulphur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which are needed in the production of vital enzymes. Hemp protein also contains relatively high levels of the branched-chain amino acids that are crucial in the repair and growth of lean body mass, making a hemp protein shake after a workout a worthwhile investment.
Hemp protein is very easily digested and assimilated. In addition, another one-third of hemp's protein is albumin, another high quality globulin protein also found in egg whites.
Hemp is recognized by the World Health Organization as having what is considered to be an optimal three-to-one balance of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids. It is this ratio that is believed to be ideal in promoting long-term well-being by decreasing the likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes and depression.
Importantly, the fat present in hemp is also one of the few food sources of the fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is showing promise in helping the fight against chronic diseases.
Most nutritious plants are incomplete proteins. Chia however, is a complete protein like meat, but without the high levels of saturated fat. This is good news to people who for health reasons or preference, need to obtain high levels of protein from plants.
Being a complete protein, chia has all the 9 essential amino acids in proper proportions including other nonessentials. It has an amino acid score of 115%. A complete score is 100%. Those nine essential amino acids are: tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine+cystine, phenylalanine+tyrosine, valine, histidine.
Egg Protein has been used by athletes around the world who are looking for a great quality protein. Before the products below were created, bodybuilders were forced to drink egg whites, which can be unsafe, or cook dozens of eggs at a time. The high cholesterol and fat in eggs made this a somewhat unhealthy way of getting your protein.
Eggs have the best amino acid profile available on a single protein. They also have the highest net nitrogen utilization rating, which means that you use more nitrogen which is what actually builds the muscle. Think about it, you're eating a complete animal, it's nature's gift to bodybuilders.
Most experienced physique athletes will tell you they've seen noticeable gains when they increased their egg consumption. Egg is a medium rate digesting protein, about 1.5-3 hours. Egg protein would be good at breakfast, lunch, whenever, save post workout and before bed.