As Canadians move away from animal-based protein sources, vegan protein powder is finally getting the credit it deserves. It’s nutrient-rich, easier for most people to digest, and is often lower in calories. For that reason, vegans are not the only ones obsessed with vegan protein powder. In fact, more and more flexitarians and omnivores are opting for alternatives to traditional dairy-based protein powder.
With the help of vegan influencers and documentaries like The Game Changers and You Are What You Eat, the fitness community is also increasingly embracing the benefits of plant-based protein on athletic performance and recovery. It’s clear that vegan protein powder is not just a fad. It’s a new and improved way of nourishing your body before or after a workout.
A Quick Look:
- Best Overall: Vega Sport Protein Powder
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- Best Organic: Sprout Living Epic Protein Powder
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- Best High Protein: Orgain Vegan Protein Powder
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- Best For Digestion: Genuine Health Vegan Protein Powder
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- Best Budget-Friendly: Canadian Protein Vegan Protein Blend
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If you’re reading this article, you’re probably wondering which vegan protein powders are the best. Since there are more and more vegan protein powders available in Canada, making a decision can be overwhelming.
I’ve analyzed hundreds of nutrition labels and product reviews to provide you with the best vegan protein powder in Canada this year. Here it goes:
Top Picks For The Best Vegan Protein Powder in Canada
Vega Sport Protein Powder
Founded by a former Canadian endurance athlete, Vega’s protein powders are vegan certified, non-GMO certified, and contain no artificial flavours or preservatives. Their Sport Protein Powder is our favourite vegan protein powder. It contains a whopping 30g of protein per serving, with 5gof BCAAs and 5g of glutamic acid.
Unlike many plant-based powders that contain a single protein source, Vega Sport contains a mix of pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, organic sunflower seed protein, and alfalfa protein. You’ll also find 1 billion CFU of probiotics and some turmeric in there, to help with gut health and inflammation.
Due to its high protein content and the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, Vega Sport is an excellent vegan protein powder for recovery after a strenuous workout.
Genuine Health Fermented Organic Vegan Protein Powder
Genuine Health Fermented Organic Vegan Protein Powder is an excellent vegan protein powder for anyone who experiences digestive issues from protein powder. It’s made from fermented protein sources, making it more readily absorbed and gentler on the stomach. The fermentation process not only enhances digestibility but also breaks down anti-nutrients that can lead to gas and bloating, ultimately promoting gut health.
The power is made up of a unique blend of 7 high-quality organic vegan protein sources, including yellow pea, organic brown rice, spirulina, flaxseed, hempseed, pumpkin, and mung bean. This blend not only provides a substantial 20 grams of clean plant protein per serving, but also delivers a balanced amino acid profile. In addition to protein, each serving contains 33% of your daily recommended iron intake.
While it’s available in very basic flavour options (vanilla, chocolate, or unflavoured), the consensus is that it has a decent taste and texture compared to other vegan protein powders.
Sprout Living Epic Vegan Protein Powder
With 20 grams of protein and 8 grams of fibre, Sprout Living’s Epic Protein is one of the best organic vegan protein powders in Canada. Its protein base is made from a unique mix of yellow peas, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sacha inchi, and cranberry seeds. In addition to protein and fibre, you also get 30% of your iron intake and 10% of your potassium intake per serving.
Another thing we love about Sprout Living’s vegan protein powder is its spiced vanilla flavour. It’s one of the few protein powders that taste great, even when just mixed with water. Overall, if you’re looking for an organic vegan protein powder that tastes great and provides you with an additional nutrient punch, Sprout Living’s Epic Protein is an excellent choice
Blessed Plant-Based Protein Powder
Blessed is a plant-based protein powder launched by sports supplement brand EHP Labs. With a sprouted pea protein base and a whopping 23 grams of protein per serving, it’s a great source of plant-based protein.
Blessed stands out from other vegan protein powders with its exciting selection of flavours available: Vanilla Chai, Chocolate Coconut, Salted Caramel and even Strawberry Mylk. Since the powder is flavourful on its own, you can simply mix it with a glass of water, and it’s good to go.
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powder
Why it's great
- 15g of protein per serving
- Excellent source of minerals (iron, magnesium, zinc, copper & thiamine)
- Very affordable
- Also contains 8g of fibre
- Made from 1 ingredient (hemp protein)
Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Protein Powder is another excellent budget-friendly vegan protein powder made from clean ingredients. Despite being slightly lower in protein per serving than its counterparts, it’s one of the few protein powders that contains a decent amount of fibre, with 8 grams of fibre per serving. While protein is what you’re here for, fibre is useful for sustaining your energy levels throughout the day.
The protein powder contains no added sugar, is a good source of omega-3 and 6, and a great source of iron and other essential minerals. With only one simple ingredient, hemp protein, I wholeheartedly recommend adding a few tablespoons of this to your next shake!
Looking for more protein per serving? Manitoba Harvest also has an organic hemp protein powder that contains 20 grams of protein per serving.
Orgain Organic Vegan Protein Powder
Orgain’s Creamy Chocolate Fudge plant-based protein powder is absolutely delicious and organic. Made from a protein medley of organic peas, brown rice, and chia seeds, Orgain’s protein powder is one of the healthiest protein powders out there. Despite no added sugar, this protein powder is enjoyable with just milk or water added to it. However, that’s largely because the powder is sweetened with stevia.
NAKED Pea Protein Powder
NAKED Pea is a creamy and delicious vegan protein powder option with just one simple ingredient: yellow pea protein. With no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, or flavour, it’s one of the most simple and clean vegan protein powders out there. For that reason, it’s perfect for adding to smoothies, protein pancakes or other recipes where additional flavour isn’t necessary. It’s also packed with 27 grams of vegan protein per serving.
Since it’s made entirely from peas, each serving also gives you 16% of your daily iron intake. With 5.7g of BCAAs per serving, it also has a rich amino acid profile. NAKED Pea is overall a great choice if you’re looking for a clean plant-based protein powder.
Beyond Yourself Vegan Protein Powder
The Beyond Yourself vegan protein powder offers a mix of pea protein and brown rice protein to create a balanced plant-based protein powder. It’s both certified vegan and certified organic. As a bonus, this protein powder also contains some MCT oil, a healthy fat that helps fuel your brain and provide an energy boost throughout your workout.
If you’re looking for a vegan protein powder that tastes good effortlessly, this Vanilla Cupcake protein powder is definitely your guy. Simply mix 1 to 2 scoops of powder in a glass of cold water, and you’re good to go.
Canadian Protein Vegan Protein Powder Blend
Canadian Protein’s vegan protein blend might be the best vegan protein powder in Canada in terms of quality and price. At $25 per kilogram, this vegan protein powder is highly affordable. It also includes a mix of quality non-GMO plant-based protein sources, including pea protein, organic brown rice protein, and hemp protein.
While it’s available in several different flavours (vanilla, chocolate, apple cinnamon, peaches & cream), it also has an unsweetened and un-flavoured option for those seeking a milder taste.
NAKED Brown Rice Protein Powder
NAKED Rice contains only 1 ingredient: organic sprouted brown rice protein. It’s a clean source of plant-based protein for someone who is looking to add additional protein to their smoothies and other recipes. Since it has a neutral taste, it’s perfect for combining with other protein powders for an additional protein boost. Its amino acid profile is also comparable to whey protein.
What is Vegan Protein Powder Made of?
Instead of whey or casein, vegan protein powder is made from plant-based sources to provide a convenient and concentrated source of protein for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet or those seeking alternative protein options. It’s typically made from a blend of vegan protein sources in order to provide a complete or complementary amino acid profile. Common plant-based ingredients used in vegan protein powder blends include:
- Pea Protein: Derived from yellow split peas, pea protein is rich in essential amino acids, particularly lysine. It’s a well-balanced protein source rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). It’s easily digestible and often considered a top choice for vegan protein supplements.
- Rice Protein: Made from brown rice, this protein source is often combined with pea protein to create a well-rounded amino acid profile. When combined with pea protein, it can provide a more complete amino acid profile.
- Hemp Protein: Hemp seeds provide a source of protein that’s also rich in healthy fats and fiber. It also provides essential fatty acids, including omega-3s.
- Soy Protein: Derived from soybeans, soy protein is a complete protein source and contains all essential amino acids. It’s often used in vegan protein powders and has a neutral taste.
- Brown Rice Protein: Similar to rice protein but specifically derived from brown rice, it’s often used in combination with other plant-based proteins.
- Pumpkin Seed Protein: Made from pumpkin seeds, this protein source offers a unique flavor and is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
- Sunflower Seed Protein: Sunflower seeds can also be used to create a protein powder rich in essential amino acids.
- Chia Seed Protein: Chia seeds, in addition to their protein content, provide omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber.
- Quinoa Protein: Quinoa is a complete protein source and can be processed into a protein powder. It’s nutrient-dense and provides a unique flavor.
- Flaxseed Protein: Flaxseeds are rich in protein, fibre, and healthy fats and can be used as a protein source.
Is Vegan Protein Powder Better Than Whey?
Here are some key reasons why plant-based protein is a better source of protein than dairy-derived whey protein.
Plant-Based Protein Powder is Easier to Digest
It’s been found that approximately 65% of the world is lactose intolerant. This means that most of the world can’t even digest the most common protein powder found in stores. For that reason alone, it’s obvious that animal-based protein powders, such as those that are whey-based, are not ideal for most people. Unless you have an underlying digestive condition, plant-based protein powders are easy to digest for most of us.
Plant-Based Protein Powder is More Nutritious
On its own, whey protein doesn’t contain much in terms of nutrients. It’s simply isolated protein. On the contrary, most popular plant-based proteins still contain some essential vitamins and nutrients, such as iron, calcium or magnesium. Many vegan protein powders will combine a few different plant-based protein sources, making them even more nutritious without added supplements.
Cows Get Their Protein From Plants
Animals cannot produce protein on their own. Instead, they get it from the plants that they eat. Why should we be relying on dairy-based protein, such as whey or casein, that is essentially recycled plant-based protein when we can instead get it straight from the source? Animal protein advocates will argue that animal-based protein is a complete protein, while plant-based protein is not, but that argument has been debunked by experts for years.
How to Know if Protein Powder is Vegan?
Unfortunately, the most popular protein powders on the market in Canada are not plant-based. Most commonly, these protein powders will contain either dairy products, animal-derived enzymes, and/or egg ingredients. It’s generally easy to recognize if a protein powder is vegan, since most plant-based protein products will be visibly marketed as such. However, there will always be sneaky brands out there with deceiving packaging, so it’s important to double-check ingredients or look for a recognized certified vegan logo.
Here are some common non-vegan ingredients to look out for in a protein powder’s ingredients list:
Whey, Casein, or Collagen
Nowadays, if a protein powder isn’t blatantly marketed as vegan or plant-based on its packaging, chances are it isn’t. Just look for any ingredient that begins with whey in the ingredients list, such as whey peptides and whey protein isolate. Another form of dairy that may be lingering in protein powder is casein. Examples of ingredients you may come across are calcium caseinate and micellar casein. Some non-vegan protein powders will even contain collagen.
Certain Digestive Enzymes
Another group of potential ingredient red flags to look out for are enzymes. Digestive enzymes are commonly added to protein powders to help our bodies break down the protein we’re taking in. Some examples of non-vegan enzymes that can be found in protein powders are lipase and protease.
You heard right: egg whites. While some protein powders will be straight up marketed as egg white-based, others will sneak egg whites or egg albumen into the ingredients list.
Is Vegan Protein Powder a Complete Protein Source?
Many people wonder whether vegan protein powder provides the same “complete protein profile” as animal-based protein powder. The answer largely depends on the type of vegan protein powder you choose. All plant-based foods contain all 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids. While individual plant-based protein sources may lack certain essential amino acids, combining different sources, such as pea protein, rice protein, and hemp protein, can create a complete amino acid profile.
It’s not necessary to consume all 9 essential amino acids in every meal. The concept of needing to consume all essential amino acids in a single meal, often referred to as “protein combining” or “complementary protein,” has been debunked by nutritional science.
Your body has the ability to store and recycle amino acids, so as long as you consume a varied vegan diet, you will likely get all the essential amino acids you need. By eating a variety of plant-based foods, you can ensure that you’re getting all the essential amino acids over time.
For example, grains like rice and wheat are lower in lysine but higher in methionine, while legumes like beans and lentils are higher in lysine but lower in methionine. By combining these types of foods in your diet, your body can obtain a balanced intake of essential amino acids.
All that to say, the key is to maintain a balanced and varied vegan diet over time, rather than obsessing over getting all essential amino acids in one sitting. If you consume a wide range of plant-based foods, your body will naturally get the amino acids it needs to support your health and well-being.