Is plant-based protein good for athletes?

August 24, 2022
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A common question asked by athletes is whether plant-based protein is good for them or not. After all, many athletes rely on animal protein sources such as chicken, beef, and eggs to help them bulk up and recover from workouts or a major match. However, there is a growing number of athletes who are turning to plant-based protein sources as well.

“People don’t know that plant-based proteins give you that same effect. People say they need meat simply because they grew up on it. It’s just been a part of their life for so long, but they might change their mind if they gave it a shot,” says Max Raudaschl, basketball player and ArleneⓇ’s ambassador. In this article, we'll take a look at the pros and cons of plant-based protein for athletes.

What is plant-based protein?

Plant-based protein is a type of protein that comes from plants. This includes all types of vegetables, grains, nuts, soy, mushrooms, and seeds. Plant-based protein is a good source of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. It is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

There are many benefits to consuming plant-based protein. For athletes, plant-based protein can help improve performance and recovery. Plant-based protein is also easy to digest and has a lower risk of gastrointestinal issues. Additionally, plant-based protein can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

If you are an athlete who is looking for a healthy and nutritious way to improve your performance, then consider adding plant-based protein to your diet.

The best plant-based proteins for athletes

If you're an athlete, you know that protein is essential for helping your muscles recover and grow. But you may not know that there are some great plant-based proteins that can help you reach your goals. Here are some of the best plant-based proteins for athletes:

1. Pea protein: Pea protein is a great source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are important for muscle growth and recovery. Pea protein is also easy to digest, making it a good choice for athletes who have trouble digesting other types of protein.

2. Hemp protein: Hemp protein is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs. Hemp protein is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for inflammation control and joint health.

Quinoa is a complete protein that's high in fiber and minerals.

3. Brown rice protein: Brown rice protein is a slower-digesting protein, making it ideal for taking before bed or during long workouts. Brown rice protein is also rich in B vitamins, which are important for energy production.

4. Soy protein: Soy protein is another complete protein that's rich in BCAAs. Soy protein has been shown to improve exercise performance and help reduce recovery time. 

5. Quinoa: Quinoa is a complete protein that's also high in fiber and minerals. Quinoa is a good pre-workout option because it's digested slowly and can help you feel fuller longer.

Why are athletes choosing plant-based protein over meat?

There are a growing number of athletes who are choosing to get their protein from plant-based sources. There are a few reasons for this trend. First, there is a growing awareness of the impact that meat production has on the environment. Raising animals for food requires a lot of land, water, and other resources. It also generates a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Plant-based proteins require far fewer resources to produce, and they generate much less pollution.

It's easy to switch to a plant-based diet as there are many plant-based foods available.

Second, many athletes are interested in eating more healthfully, and they see plant-based proteins as a way to do that. Meat is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can contribute to heart disease. Plant-based proteins are typically low in saturated fat and don’t contain cholesterol. They also tend to be rich in other nutrients that are beneficial for health, such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Finally, some athletes simply prefer the taste of plant-based proteins. There are many delicious plant-based foods available, and more and more companies are coming out with products that mimic the taste and texture of meat. As the options continue to grow, it’s likely that even more athletes will make the switch to plant-based protein. 

Is plant-based protein enough to support athletic performance?

There is a lot of debate surrounding the topic of plant-based protein and its ability to support athletes. Some people believe that plant-based protein is not enough to support the high level of activity required by athletes, while others believe that it can be just as effective as animal-based protein.

There is no clear answer as to whether or not plant-based protein is enough to support athletes. However, there are some studies that suggest that plant-based protein can be just as effective as animal-based protein. For example, one study found that when cyclists consumed a plant-based diet, they had the same level of performance as when they consumed an animal-based diet.

Overall, there is no definitive answer as to whether or not plant-based protein is enough to support athletes. However, there is some evidence to suggest that it can be just as effective as animal-based protein.

Elite athletes who have switched to plant-based proteins

Athletes have long been interested in the potential benefits of plant-based diets. Early adopters include Billie Jean King, Carl Lewis, and Venus Williams. More recently, several high-profile athletes have made the switch to plant-based diets, including NBA player Kyrie Irving, NFL linebacker Derrick Morgan and Olympic weightlifter Kendrick Farris.

  • Venus Williams - Tennis Player
  • Lewis Hamilton - Formula 1 Racing Driver
  • Scott Jurek - Long Distance Runner
  • Jermain Defoe - Footballer
  • David Haye- Boxer
  • Barny du Plessis - Bodybuilder
  • Hannah Teter - Snowboarder
  • Kendrick Yahcob Farris - Weightlifter
  • Tia Blanco - Surfer
  • Nate Diaz - Mixed Martial Arts
  • Meagan Duhamel - Ice Skater
  • Timothy Shieff - Free Runner

How to transition to a plant-based diet

There are a lot of reasons why athletes might choose to switch to a plant-based diet. For some, it's a way to improve their performance by increasing their energy and stamina. Others do it for health reasons, either to prevent or treat medical conditions. And some athletes make the switch for ethical reasons, as they believe it's cruel to eat animals.

However, making the transition to a plant-based diet can be difficult, especially if you're used to eating a lot of meat and dairy. Here are a few tips to help you make the switch:

1. Find plant-based replacements for your favorite foods. There are now many vegan versions of popular animal-based foods, such as burgers, chicken nuggets, cheese, ice cream, and more. Do some research to find the best plant-based replacements for your favorite foods.

2. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Even if you're not ready to give up animal products entirely, you can still increase the number of fruits and vegetables you eat. Aim for at least five servings per day.

3. Experiment with different recipes. There are endless possibilities when it comes to plant-based recipes. Experiment with different ingredients and cooking methods to find recipes that you enjoy. Plant-based brands such as ArleneⓇ offers omnivores a delectable plant-based experience with their wide range of meals inspired by the world’s cuisines. Olympic medalist, Dan Norton has tried Arlene and was pleasantly surprised by how great they tasted.

4. Seek out support from others. If you're struggling to make the switch to a plant-based diet, seek out support from friends, family, or even online communities. There are many people who are happy to offer advice and support.


Whether you're a professional athlete or just someone who likes to stay active, it's important to make sure you're getting enough protein. For many people, plant-based protein is a great option because it's usually lower in calories and fat than animal-based protein sources. Plus, there are plenty of plant-based protein powders and supplements available that can help you meet your needs. However, it's still important to talk to a doctor or dietitian before making any major changes to your diet, especially if you have specific dietary requirements.