Do Fighters Consume Vegan Protein Powders?

Do Fighters Consume Vegan Protein Powders?

Nutrition plays a crucial role in enhancing an athlete’s performance, recovery, and overall well-being. As fighters continuously push their physical limits, they require optimal sources of protein to fuel their bodies and maintain peak performance. Furthermore, with the increasing popularity of plant-based diets and a growing awareness of their potential benefits, many are wondering whether vegan protein powders have found their way into fighters’ nutritional arsenals.

Fighters do consume protein powders as part of their plant-based diet. They make plant-based protein shakes, put it in the pancake or waffle mixture, or make more complicated recipes such as protein cookies. Some of the well-known fighters that consume vegan protein powders are Nate Diaz and Mac Danzig.

In this article, I will delve into the recent trends and research surrounding vegan protein sources, uncovering whether elite fighters are embracing plant-based options and examining the impact of these choices on their performance and recovery, and make a list of the best vegan protein powders you can try.

What Do the Studies Say?

According to Men’s Health, a recent study has demonstrated that substituting whey protein with rice protein provides the same results for elite mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters. The study, titled “The Body Composition Effects of Extra Protein in Elite Mixed Martial Artists Undergoing Frequent Training Over a Six-Week Period,” observed 11 fighters and found that plant-based protein supplements are equally effective as whey protein in building and maintaining muscle and aiding recovery. The key is to consume the protein shake at the right time.

ESPN also cites researcher Kalman, who explains that non-dairy and non-meat proteins have often been considered inferior to meat-based proteins. However, there is now mounting evidence that rice protein is just as effective for maintaining body weight and muscle mass in elite athletes, including MMA fighters.

Some athletes prefer non-dairy options, either for dietary reasons or due to taste and digestive issues. UFC bantamweight fighter Andre Soukhamthath, as quoted by ESPN, had difficulties with whey protein, as it made him feel overly full and took a long time to digest. He found that plant-based protein offered a more suitable alternative, providing him with energy and satiety without the unwanted side effects associated with whey protein.

As you can see, plant-based protein powders are becoming more and more preferred by bodybuilders, weight lifters, and strength athletes as they aid in quicker recovery cycles. 

Vegan protein powders are known to be cleaner and easier to digest, and they’re also ideal for individuals with dietary restrictions, including whey allergy or lactose intolerance, or those looking for added nutrients like vitamins and minerals from plants.

Not All Vegan Protein Powder Is Created Equally

When it comes to vegan protein powders for muscle building, it’s essential to find a product with a well-rounded macronutrient profile, as well as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) that support muscle growth and repair. BCAAs, including leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are vital for muscle development but cannot be produced by the body, so they must be consumed through diet or supplements. These amino acids promote protein synthesis, which helps build and repair muscle tissue.

Selecting the best vegan protein powder can be difficult given the plethora of options. However, many brands now offer high-quality plant-based proteins with BCAAs and other ingredients that promote muscle recovery. Here are five top plant-based protein powders for muscle building:

Vega Sport Protein

  • Protein sources: Pea protein, organic pumpkin seed protein, organic sunflower seed protein, alfalfa protein
  • Protein content: 30g
  • BCAAs: 5g
  • Additional benefits: Tart cherry, probiotics
  • Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla

Orgain Simple Protein

  • Protein sources: Golden pea, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, chia seeds
  • Protein content: 20g
  • Additional benefits: Organic, grain-free, amino acid-rich
  • Flavors: Creamy Chocolate, Creamy Vanilla, Peanut Butter. Also, it’s one of the best-tasting plant-based protein powders based on this comprehensive Orgain review

Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Protein

  • Protein sources: Pea, hemp, cranberry protein
  • Protein content: 18g
  • BCAAs: 4g
  • Additional benefits: L-glutamine, low-sugar, ketogenic diet-friendly
  • Flavors: Multiple, including Natural (stevia-free). Based on reviews, it’s one of the best-tasting plant-based protein powders on the market.

Green Regimen Elite Protein

  • Protein sources: Organic pea, organic hemp protein
  • Protein content: 25g
  • Additional benefits: High fiber (4g), phytonutrient greens blend

LEGION Plant+ Vegan Protein Powder

  • Protein sources: Pea, rice protein
  • Protein content: 24g
  • BCAAs: 4g
  • Additional benefits: No stevia, low sugar (1g)
  • Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Mocha Cappuccino

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has been training in the art of kickboxing for over seven years, holds a Taekwondo black belt, and has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. He's a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster.
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Vladimir Vladisavljevic

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He has been training in kickboxing for over seven years and holds a Taekwondo black belt. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. Vladimir is a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster. He was known as The Bulgarian Cowboy in the Western world. In addition, he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his love of esports, one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Our testing and reviewing method.
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