Plant Proteins: The More, the Merrier?
by Callum Allan on Oct 19, 2022
Whenever I'm at the gym, I see people chugging all sorts of different protein shakes. Some are made with whey protein, some with casein, and some with plant-based proteins. And while there's a lot of debate over which type of protein is best, one thing's for sure: there are a lot of options out there. But what about when it comes to plant-based proteins? Is it better to stick with just one source—pea protein, for example—or is it better to combine three or more different plant proteins into one shake? Let's compare and contrast the two approaches to find out.
One Plant Protein vs. Three Plant Proteins: The Pros & Cons
If you're someone who's looking to build muscle, you might be wondering whether it's better to stick with one plant protein or go for a blend of three or more. After all, more protein sounds like it would be better for building muscle, right? Not necessarily. While there are benefits to both approaches, it really depends on your individual goals and preferences as to which is best for you. Here's a closer look at the pros and cons of each option:
One Plant Protein: Pros
- Easier on the stomach: Because plant-based proteins are typically lower in fat and lactose than animal-based proteins, they're often easier on the stomach. This is especially true if you have trouble digesting lactose or are sensitive to dairy.
- Lower calorie content: If you're trying to lose weight or just watch your calorie intake, sticking with one plant protein can be a good way to do that. That's because most plant-based proteins are lower in calories than their animal-based counterparts. For example, a scoop of whey protein has about 110 calories, while a scoop of pea protein has only 80.
One Plant Protein: Cons
- Limited nutrient profile: When you stick with just one type of protein, you limit the number of essential nutrients your body gets. This isn't necessarily a bad thing—after all, sometimes all you're looking for is a quick boost of protein after a workout—but it's something to keep in mind if you're trying to get all the nutrients your body needs from your diet.
- Bland taste: Let's face it, not all proteins are created equal when it comes to taste. Pea protein, for example, is often lauded for its neutral flavor, while rice protein can be quite bland. If you're someone who cares about the taste of their protein shake, sticking with just one type of protein may not be the best option for you.
Three Plant Proteins: Pros
- More nutrient dense: When you combine three or more plant proteins into one shake, you get all the benefits of each individual protein plus more. This includes a wider range of essential nutrients as well as a boost in antioxidants and fiber.
- Better digestion: Because different plant proteins digest at different rates—whey digests quickly while casein digests slowly—using a blend can help your body better absorb and utilize the nutrients in each shake. This means less bloating and discomfort after drinking your shake and fewer cravings later on in the day.
- Greater satiety: Not only will combining different types of plant proteins help your body digest them more efficiently, but it will also help keep you fuller longer thanks to the different amino acid profiles in each type of protein. So if you're looking for a shake that will tide you over until your next meal, a blend might be the way to go.
Three Plant Proteins: Cons
- More expensive: Buying three or more different types of protein powder can be pricier than just buying one type outright. However, if cost is an issue for you, there are plenty of affordable options out there—you just might have to do a little bit more investigating to find them.
- Requires more planning: If you're someone who likes to grab their shake and go without having to think too much about it ahead of time, then using a blend might not be right for you. That's because most blenders require two or more scoops of powder in order to mix properly, which means you'll need to have all the ingredients on hand before heading out the door (or else end up with a clumpy mess).
So which is better—one plant protein or a blend of three? Well, that depends on what your goals are and what matters most to you personally. If convenience and cost are your top priorities, then sticking with one source might be the way to go (just make sure you choose wisely). But if you're looking for maximal nutrient absorption and greater satiety after drinking your shake, then using a blend might be worth the extra effort (and expense). Although, with B'liev protein shakes you have 4 protein sources in one drink, very convenient and well priced. No matter what approach you ultimately decide on, just remember that getting enough protein is important for maintaining muscle mass—so don't skimp on those shakes!