To build muscle using plant proteins, it’s important to ensure an adequate intake of protein, calories, and essential nutrients. Regardless of the specific type of plant-based diet you follow, whether it’s vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based.
So, if you want to build muscle quickly, here are the amazing benefits of plant proteins. If you’re aiming to build muscle fast, focus on eating more plant-based foods throughout the day. To make sure you get the right amount of high-quality protein and tackle any digestibility concerns with certain plant sources, aim for about 30g of protein per meal. This approach will help you maximize your muscle-building efforts.
Can plant-based proteins help with muscle building? In the past, people often believed that animal-based proteins were more efficient for gaining or building muscle mass. However, recent research indicates that a vegan diet or plant based diet, with protein sources such as nuts and beans, can be equally beneficial for building muscle.
Benefits of Plant Proteins in Muscle Building
Plant proteins can be just as effective as animal proteins for building muscle. While animal proteins were once considered more effective for muscle mass growth, new research shows that a vegan diet drawing protein from products like nuts and beans can be just as helpful. Plant-based proteins are ideal fuel to bulk up and build muscle, and every plant you eat will contain fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients that provide additional health benefits.
However, plant proteins are generally of lower quality, with a less favorable amino acid profile and reduced bioavailability, so a higher amount of plant protein may be needed to achieve muscle growth similar to animal protein. It is important to eat a variety of plant-based protein sources to get the protein and amino acids needed for muscle building.
Some of the best plant-based protein sources for muscle gain include spirulina, seeds and kernels, peanut butter, nutritional yeast, nuts, beans, and legumes. While animal protein is likely better at building muscle given its complete amino acid profile and better digestibility, plant protein can support muscle growth as long as you’re getting the right amounts, both of total protein and the amino acid leucine.
What are Some High-Quality Plant Based Protein Sources for Muscle Building
High-quality Plant-Based Protein Sources for Muscle Building:
- Quinoa: Contains 8g of protein in one cup, cooked.
- Buckwheat: Provides 5.68g of protein in one cup, cooked.
- Amaranth: Offers 9.3g of protein in one cup, cooked.
- Hemp: Contains 9.5g of protein in 3 tablespoons.
- Chia seeds: Provide 4g of protein in 2 tablespoons.
- Spirulina: A blue-green algae with a very high protein concentration of 70%.
- Beans, lentils, and chickpeas: Good for 20 to 25g of protein per 100g.
- Pistachios and pumpkin seeds: Also good sources of plant-based protein.
Actually, it’s important to eat a variety of plant-based protein sources to ensure you get the protein and amino acids needed for muscle building. While plant proteins are generally of lower quality compared to animal proteins, they can still support muscle growth as long as you consume the right amounts and ensure adequate intake of essential amino acids, particularly leucine
The following effective tips can help you build muscle:
- Consume Sufficient Protein: Plant-based sources of protein include beans, lentils, quinoa, tofu, tempeh, nuts, and seeds. It’s essential to eat a variety of these protein sources to ensure you get all the essential amino acids your body needs for muscle building.
- Eat an Adequate Amount of Calories: Building muscle requires a caloric surplus, so make sure you’re consuming enough calories to support muscle growth. This should include a balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
- Consider Supplementing with Creatine: Creatine is a natural compound found in small amounts in animal products, but it can also be supplemented and is effective for promoting muscle growth, strength, and exercise performance in vegetarians and vegans.
- Use Plant-Based Protein Powders: Plant-based protein powders, such as those made from peas, rice, hemp, or soy, can be a convenient way to increase your protein intake, especially around workouts.
- Plan Your Diet Well: A well-planned plant-based diet that meets your daily energy requirements and contains a variety of plant-based proteins can provide enough protein to gain muscle mass.
- Eat Protein Throughout the Day: Include a quality source of protein with each meal and snack to ensure you’re getting a consistent intake of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.
- Consult a Dietitian or Nutritionist: If you’re unsure about how to meet your specific nutritional needs on a plant-based diet, consider consulting a registered dietitian or nutritionist who can help you plan a well-balanced diet for muscle building.
Some studies indicate that choosing plant-based diets might be a bit more effective for weight loss. In a comparison between plant-based and non-plant-based diets, those on plant-based diets lost around 3 pounds more than non-vegetarians.
By following these guidelines and maintaining a well-rounded plant-based diet, it is possible to build and maintain muscle effectively, regardless of whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or following a plant-based diet.
What Makes a Healthy Plant-Based Diet?
Recent research reinforces the effectiveness of a vegan diet for weight loss. The study compared two groups: one following a vegan (plant-based) diet and the other an omnivorous (including both plant and animal sources) diet. Additionally, the researchers emphasized the importance of the quality of the plant-based diet for overall health and weight loss.
A nourishing plant-based diet, according to the healthful plant-based index, revolves around whole foods. This includes nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, tea, coffee, and vegetable oils.
Vegetables are particularly beneficial due to their rich prebiotic fiber content, supporting the health of the microbiome and digestive system. They also contain various phytochemicals like indoles, found in broccoli and Brussels sprouts, offering benefits ranging from protecting cellular DNA to deactivating carcinogens from our environment.
Fruits are a potent source of antioxidants. Phytochemicals found in fruits, such as ellagic acid, have been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers. Legumes, nuts, and seeds provide essential amino acids, while whole grains contribute B vitamins and trace minerals like manganese and copper.
In short, a healthy plant-based diet emphasizes whole, nutrient-rich foods that offer a variety of health benefits, from supporting digestion to reducing the risk of chronic diseases like cancer.
Can you get strong muscles by eating only plant protein?
Absolutely! If you prefer not to eat animal products, you can still build muscle effectively with plant-based proteins. Just make sure to include complete plant protein sources in your diet to get all the essential amino acids your body needs for muscle growth.
How Many Grams of Plant Based Protein Should I Consume Daily to Support Muscle Building?
If you are following a vegan diet and want to build muscle, you should consume around 1.8 grams of protein per kg of your weight in protein per day and add 10% to that number in grams. For example, if you weigh 70 kg, you should consume around 127 grams of protein per day.
This is because the bioavailability of many plant protein sources is lower than animal sources, meaning you may digest and absorb slightly fewer amino acids in plant food versus animal protein. You can get plant-based protein from sources such as beans, broccoli, chickpeas, greens, lentils, nut butter, nuts and seeds, peas, potatoes, quinoa, seaweed, soymilk, spinach, tempeh, tofu, and veggie patties. You can also use vegan protein powders, such as LADDER Plant Protein, My Protein Vegan Protein Blend, The Protein Works Vegan Protein Extreme, and Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant-Based Protein Powder.
So, if you’re aiming to build muscle on a vegan diet, a good starting point for your daily plant protein intake is 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of your body weight. To ensure you’re getting enough, add 10% to that number in grams. This extra 10% accounts for the fact that the body absorbs plant-based proteins less efficiently compared to animal-based ones.
What Happens if You Only Eat Plant Protein?
Opting for plant-based protein can reduce the likelihood of chronic diseases. Although certain lean meats provide protein, the American Heart Association suggests that cutting down on meat consumption lowers the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), and high cholesterol.
A recent study suggests that choosing a plant based or vegan diet might be more effective for weight loss than other diets. However, it’s essential to emphasize that the success of weight loss and muscle building on a vegan diet depends on the overall quality of the food choices made.
What are Some Vegan Protein Powders that are Good for Muscle Building
Some of the best vegan protein powders for muscle building include:
- Huel Protein Powder
- MyProtein Vegan Protein Blend
- The Protein Works Vegan Protein
- Form Performance Protein
- PhD Diet Plant High Protein Lean Matrix
- NGX bodyfuel
- Innermost Health Protein
- Free Soul Vegan Protein Blend
- Tribe Cocoa Shake
- Neat Nutrition Vegan Protein
- Foodspring Vegan Protein
- LADDER Plant Protein
- MyVegan Pea Protein Isolate
- Motion Nutrition Peanut Butter Protein Shake
- Bulk Vegan Protein Powder
- Indi Build
- Misfits Protein Powder
- Ritual Essential Vegan Plant-Based Protein Powder
When choosing a vegan protein powder, consider factors such as the type of protein used, available flavors, nutritional profile, and cost. Look for products that have undergone third-party testing and are free of fillers, preservatives, and artificial flavors or sweeteners.
- Cholesterol Improvement: After 8 weeks, twins following a vegan diet experienced a notable reduction in LDL-C, with an average decrease of 13.9 mg/dL, compared to those on an omnivorous diet.
- Metabolic Benefits: The vegan diet resulted in significant improvements in fasting insulin levels, showing a mean decrease of 2.9 μIU/mL. Additionally, participants on the vegan diet lost an average of 1.9 kg in body weight over the 8 weeks, even though weight loss was observed in both diet groups.
- Other Health Outcomes: In the vegan diet group, there were larger, though statistically nonsignificant, absolute median decreases in fasting HDL-C, triglycerides, vitamin B12, glucose, and trimethylamine N-oxide levels after 8 weeks.
In short, adopting a vegan diet or plant-based protein diet for 8 weeks demonstrated positive effects on cholesterol levels, metabolic markers, body weight, and muscle. So, you can build muscle with plant proteins very quickly. While some additional health parameters showed improvements, further research may be needed to establish their significance.
Can you gain muscle with just plant-based protein? While some used to think animal-based protein was better for building muscle, recent studies reveal that a vegan diet, with protein sources like nuts and beans, can be just as effective.
Absolutely! For athletes, following a whole-food, plant-based diet provides more than enough protein without the need for supplements like protein powders or bars. You don’t even have to fixate on foods high in protein, like beans—there are plenty of delicious options to meet your protein needs naturally.
Among various beans, lentils stand out as the richest source, providing approximately 18 grams of protein per cup.
If you’re following a vegan diet and aiming to build muscle, a good starting point is to consume 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram (or 2.2 pounds) of your body weight each day. After determining this baseline, add 10% to that number in grams. Why the additional 10%? This adjustment accounts for the fact that the bioavailability of many plant protein sources is lower compared to animal sources. This approach helps ensure you’re getting enough protein to support muscle growth on a plant-based diet.
Absolutely! Both whey protein and plant protein are great for meeting your protein requirements and boosting muscle strength. While whey protein is known for being slightly more effective at building muscle, plant proteins come with extra benefits derived from plants. So, whether you go for whey or plant protein, you’re giving your muscles a healthy boost.
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