The Best Low Carb Vegan Protein Powders

The Best Low Carb Vegan Protein Powders for a Ketogenic Diet

One thing that vegans have come to terms with, is that people will always be asking, “where do you get your protein?” It’s a little old and played-out, as we’ve long-established that there is a ton of protein in most plant foods. Nuts, seeds, grains, legumes – all of these foods have a solid amount of protein. Then, there are the amounts in fruits and veggies. The world just has a lot of protein floating around! Of course, keto is a different story. Grains are out, legumes are out (for the most part), and you can only eat so many seeds. So, where do vegan keto dieters get their protein? Well, let’s take a look at the best low carb vegan protein powders!

It’s a great time to be a low carb vegan! The market is overflowing with vegan protein powder options that not only taste good, but actually contain very little sugar! I’ve rounded up some of my favorites, so you’ve got a good starting point for finding the right plant-based vegan protein powder for you!

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Each one of these low carb vegan protein powders has less than 4g of net carbs per serving, and contain greens, other antioxidant-rich foods, vitamins, minerals and even some probiotics, to help you be as healthy as possible on a vegan ketogenic diet. Because I am a health nut, these protein powders are all gluten free, nut free and soy free as well!

I’m only recommending protein powders that I’ve actually tried, and that are free of sugar alcohols. While stevia is a pretty inert digestively, many sugar alcohols can cause pretty bad stomach upset.

The Best Low Carb Vegan Protein Powders for a Ketogenic Diet

The Best Low Carb Vegan Protein Powders

22 Days Plant Power

The Best Plant-Based Low Carb Protein Powders for a Vegan Keto Diet | Meat Free Keto

This protein powder is a combination of pea, flax and sacha inchi, so there’s a good mix of aminos. It also comes in absolutely delicious flavors. In addition to the typical chocolate and vanilla, there’s also strawberry! And it clocks in at just 1g of net carbs per 20g of protein.

Protein Source: 20g of pea, flax & sacha inchi protein

Net Carbs: 1g

Vega Essentials

Protein Source: 20g of pea & hemp protein

Net Carbs: ~4

Vega essentials manages to make a low carb vegan protein powder with 20g of protein, 4g of net carbs, 3 servings of greens, 1g of omega-3s and a load of antioxidants. It is a little higher in carbs, but not too bad considering the additional greens and omega-3s that are included!

I like how smooth Vega’s products are – they mix with water really well, and are silky as opposed to chalky. Vega essentials comes in chocolate and vanilla.

Vega Sport

 

Protein source: 30g of pea protein, sunflower seed protein, alfalfa protein and pumpkin seed protein

Net carbs: 2g

This is the more protein-intense cousin of Vega Essentials. I really like the diversity in plant-based protein sources that the Sport proteins have. The Sport protein also contains anti-inflammatory compounds and probiotiscs. Flavors are chocolate, vanilla, mocha and mixed berry.

Vega Clean Protein

 


 

Protein Source: 25g of pea protein, sunflower seed protein, alfalfa protein and pumpkin seed protein

Net Carbs: 2g

Another offering from Vega, this time focusing just on protein (with bromelain, to aid in digestion!). Again, this protein powder offers diversity of protein sources, and a great taste! Flavor options are chocolate and vanilla.

Sun Warrior

 

Protein Source: 19g of pea, hemp and goji

Net Carbs: between 1g-4g

Sun Warrior aims to provide a nutritious vegan protein powder, that’s sugar-free and full of good ingredients. This raw protein blend comes in five flavors (chocolate, vanilla, natural, mocha and berry), and even uses goji protein, which I didn’t realize was even a thing. Sun Warrior’s products are all raw, organic and non-GMO, which is a-ok in my book. The texture isn’t as smooth as other vegan protein powders, but that bit of chalkiness isn’t overpowering.

Sun Warrior Classic Plus

Protein Source: 19g of pea, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and chia

Net Carbs: between 0g-2g

Sun Warrior has essentially taken their popular Warrior Blend of raw, vegan protein and takes it to the next level. Their raw protein sources are sprouted, and fermented, and this blend contains more types of protein than the traditional blend. The warrior classic plus is also definitely a bit tastier than their original. Flavors are chocolate, vanilla and natural (which they recommend for baking).

Garden of Life RAW

 

Protein Source: 22g of protein from pea, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, cracked wall chlorella, quinoa, chia seed, garbanzo, lentil, adzuki, flax, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, sesame seed

Net Carbs: 1-2g

Garden of Life’s RAW vegan protein blend takes the cake for diversity of protein sources. They use 13 different plant-based sprouted proteins to create this sugar-free, non-GMO, raw, organic protein powder. While the texture isn’t as smooth as some of the others, this is definitely a powerhouse in terms of nutrition. Flavors include vanilla, chai, chocolate and natural.

 

What are your favorite low carb vegan protein powders?

Did I forget to mention your go-to vegan keto protein source? Let me know! I love finding out about new low carb vegan protein powders. The above is a smattering of those I’ve tried, and I’ll certainly update it as I discover more, so let me know in the comments what your favorite protein powder is!

38 thoughts on “The Best Low Carb Vegan Protein Powders

    1. Hi Jennifer! This is a good question – it does kind of look like that, but these are basically just ranked in order of me remembering which brands I’ve used, and then the products within those! Vega definitely makes my favorites overall, though!

  1. The above have more sugars than I’m willing to do. Trader Joe’s just came out with a plain pea protein powder that is great and and it’s HALF the cost of health food store powders!

    1. Hi Angela, thanks for commenting!

      If you don’t want to dedicate 2g of carbs to a protein powder, then plain pea protein is definitely a good choice. I just like the above powders because they contain a blend of proteins for a more balanced amino acid mix, and most of them also contain additional antioxidants, as well as pre- and pro-biotics.

      I love using pea protein for baking, but for shakes, I definitely need some additional flavor! You can also buy the above powders online for about the same cost as the Trader Joe’s pea protein. 🙂

  2. Elevate Plant-Based Perfomance Protein is my go-to. 1g net carbs, 0g sugar, 2.5g fat, 21g protein. Also, Garden of Life has a Sport plant-based protein that tastes so much better than their RAW protein. 2g net carbs, less than 1g sugar, 1.5g fat, 15g protein.

    1. Ooh, I haven’t seen the Elevate one, but that sounds awesome. I JUST tried the Garden of Life sport one – you’re right, it’s soooo much better!

      1. Have you tried Protein + by Blenditup? I just bought it and while it nets out at 5g carbs and has 2g sugar it sounds reasonable and appears to have a lot of great aminos..

          1. Costco.
            I’m just wondering if people here think it’s an ok one for keto or not, I’m a newbie!

        1. Hi Anna! Thank you so much for checking on this. It looks like the label has changed from when I last posted this. Such a bummer, because I was so excited! 🙁

          I’m updating the list to reflect this change, because 5g of carbs is a pretty big difference. I’m so glad you pointed this out!

    1. Hi Kristen! I haven’t tried his protein powder before, but looking at the information and macronutrient profile, it seems great!

  3. Thanks for this article. I’m a newbie wanna-be Keto dieter. I’ve been reading a lot on it. I was going through your list and I noticed some of the ingredients are supposed to be excluded in the Keto diet plan, such as quinoa, brown rice, millet, etc… Please help me understand why would anyone on a Keto diet choose to use such products. Thank you.

    1. Hi there, this is a great question! These ingredients in their whole form are excluded from a keto diet because they are quite high in carbs per serving. However, the protein derived from these sources is carb-free, and is just protein. So, the protein isn’t typically excluded except in cases of an allergy, or if someone is strictly adhering to a paleo protocol.

      So, basically, the protein isolates are not high in carbs like whole quinoa, rice, millet, etc. and are therefore totally

      I hope this clears things up!

    2. Hi there, this is a great question! These ingredients in their whole form are excluded from a keto diet because they are quite high in carbs per serving. However, the protein derived from these sources is carb-free, and is just protein. So, the protein isn’t typically excluded except in cases of an allergy, or if someone is strictly adhering to a paleo protocol.

      So, basically, the protein isolates are not high in carbs like whole quinoa, rice, millet, etc. and are therefore totally keto friendly. 🙂

      I hope this clears things up!

    1. Hi Susan! Orgain is great and I have a few friends who swear by it, but it’s a little higher in carbs than most people want to consume on a keto diet. So, while I do think it’s great, I just didn’t mentionit here. 🙂

  4. True Nutrition is the best in my opinion. So many varieties, delicious flavors, etc… If you’re going to try this, I would recommend getting a pound each of the chocolate fudge brownie and the strawberry banana shake flavorings- very strong flavors that add no carbs or sugar to the shake. Most of TN’s flavors are strong enough to be mixed with just water, although I often use coconut milk to get some extra fats in there:)

  5. I love Vega. But the first one you mentioned on the list has a dried fruit and vegetable blend which includes Apple, cherry, pomegranate, orange, carrot, beet and mango. These foods are prohibited on a keto diet. Shouldn’t this one be avoided?

    1. Hi Michael – I see why you’re confused here, so I want to clarify some points. 🙂

      A ketogenic diet is not a list of foods you can and cannot eat, but rather a high-fat, low-carb way of eating that gets your body into a state of ketosis. So, while the foods you mentioned are all high in carbs, they are not “prohibited on a ketogenic diet.” I definitely recommend you limit these types of foods (though there is certainly a place for beets and carrots in small amounts, and even the fruit if you want), but the tiny amount included in a protein powder is nothing to worry about!

      While there are some people who maintain a very rigid idea of what you can and cannot eat on a ketogenic diet, this isn’t necessary. As long as you keep your carbs low and focus on eating a lot of fat, you should be fine. 🙂

      1. My concern was mainly the sugar in the fruit blend not carbs. there is 1 gram of sugar in a scoop of Vega Protein. Onvoously its not coming from the Stevia. Aren’t you supposed to avoid sugar and hidden sugars on a ketogenic diet?

        Also i wanted to ask you if you read or heard about the report that a couple of plant based protein powders including Vega and Sun Warrior have high amounts of Lead and other metals. A lot of people are concerned but Vega just gave a typical corporate response. They said their protein powders are safe but they dont share their testing results. Alot of people are not buying it.

        1. Hi again, Michael! In regards to avoiding sugar on a ketogenic diet: this is really on an individual basis. Avoiding sugar entirely on a vegan diet would basically mean that you limit yourself to just oils and refined protein powders. Pretty much all plant foods contain some amount of sugar – even spinach contains .1g of sugar per cup!

          Most ketoers choose to avoid refined sugars and sweeteners completely and then to limit total carbohydrates beyond that. This naturally limits foods that are higher in sugars and even eliminates them if the sugar content is too high, like maple syrup or coconut sugar. There is also a small subset of “zero carbers” who choose to eat only meat and avoid carbohydrates entirely.

          I do see what you’re saying – fruit is notoriously high in sugar, but the 1g of sugar present in the fruit blend of a protein powder isn’t so different from the 2g of sugar present in a serving of canned coconut milk, or the 1.5g of sugar in a cup of broccoli. If you’d rather not consume fruit, that’s totally up to you, but I wouldn’t worry too much about this amount/source of sugar. 🙂

          In regards to the study – I did see that! I was disappointed by the response from Vega, though I am equally disappointed with the lack of transparency in the actual study data. While raw data was released, no actual identifying information is presented. We also don’t know what levels or form of each compound was found in each sample, or what is considered to be acceptable by the FDA. That study raised so many more questions than it answered that I’m not sure it’s particularly helpful.

          I would really like to see full data from this study. I would also like to see Vega and Sun Warrior (and the other brands) at least release a lab report from their own analyses though. It seems totally reasonable that if they are regularly testing their products, they could just let everyone see the results!

          I haven’t commented on the study or made reference to it because of the lack of transparency, and the fact that it hasn’t been peer-reviewed. As soon as more info is available though, I would definitely want to look deeper. After that study was released I spent a really long time digging around trying to find out more information that would be useful, but nothing was available. Now it seems they’ve released the raw data, but it’s not particularly compelling. Hopefully, this study inspires a more thorough one where we could see multiple data points and actual figures. 🙂

          LabDoor gives more information and insight into the testing results and the actual content of the protein powders (though more about the nutritional content), if you’re looking for a good site for protein powder comparison! Unfortunately, they only have three vegan protein powders ranked at this time, but they do take requests via email: https://labdoor.com/contact-us

  6. So I was looking at replacing the protein powder I have in my cupboard (it’s high in sugar and carbs, not keto friendly for sure) so I started doing some research. I came across someone mentioning this site:

    https://www.cleanlabelproject.org/

    And unfortunately, pretty much all the plant-based protein powders looked at were identified as having significant amounts of lead, cadmium, and even BPA:

    https://www.cleanlabelproject.org/protein-powder/

    Here’s the Vega ratings, for instance: https://www.cleanlabelproject.org/?s=vega+&product_category=0&post_type=product

    Dang. 🙁

    I was really hoping to find a good addition to help me with the protein struggle without soy. Yet it seems like most veg protein powders are all absolutely awful for environmental/industrial contaminants. Please update if you find anything better out there!

    Thank you for everything. I love your site. 🙂

    1. Hi Allison! I saw that Clean Label Project thing, too, and was super disappointed. Obviously, finding contaminants in a protein powder is bad news bears. 🙁

      However, what was equally disappointing to me was the lack of transparency and actual information provided by the Clean Label Project. I hesitate to call it a “study,” as the data was never peer-reviewed, nor was there an attempt to replicate findings. The study only noted “detectable” levels of these contaminants but didn’t take into account what is naturally occurring. I wish they had provided this information, as well as their reasoning for choosing the thresholds for detection that they did. It’s reasonable to assume that most of those protein powders actually contained these compounds, just at levels below the testing threshold.

      Heavy metals are naturally occurring in the soil, as well as being environmental contaminants from industrial waste. I wish the study had gone into more depth about what actual levels were in everything (BPA notwithstanding – that has no reason to be in a protein powder!), and how they compare to 1) “acceptable levels” and 2) what is to be expected from the whole food.

      A site that does third-party testing of supplements and provides actual numbers and a far better explanation is LabDoor.com. They have only tested three plant-based protein powders so far (https://labdoor.com/rankings/protein – click on “dairy-free” to see the plant-based ones), but their process is more comprehensive and clear. They also tested Vega, Garden of Life and Sun Warrior, so it’s interesting to compare findings.

      That being said, I’ve definitely been a lot more cautious in my use of protein powders in general. I think the Clean Label Project was irresponsible to present the information in such a misleading and obfuscated way. I hope they make an attempt to provide a more transparent analysis with explanations. I also hope that the brands in questions issue their own third-party-validated lab results.

      Sorry for the rambling – I spent a looooong time researching all of this after seeing the initial release of the Clean Label Project’s analysis because I’ve consumed a fair amount of protein powder, and it really disappointed me that they neglected to offer up the actual data. Even now, the “raw data” they provide doesn’t actually state which product is which, nor does it say what form of each compound they test for, nor is there any further information to help contextualize these findings.

      They did other studies using the same methodology, and Forbes had a good write-up about why it’s potentially a problematic approach: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kavinsenapathy/2017/10/31/the-clean-label-project-is-using-bad-science-to-scare-us-about-our-childrens-food/#4a24745971e9

      I’m hoping that the buzz it caused spurred a lot of these companies to offer more transparency, though! I keep waiting for another round of testing results from Vega and the other brands.

      🙂

      1. Do you know which one came up the cleanest? I was about to re-order my Vega Sport powder when I caught wind of these results, and now I’m concerned. Thank you!

        1. Hi there, Claire! Unfortunately, because the Clean Label Project didn’t publish actual data for each individual product – only the vague yes or no for each contaminant – there’s no way to tell which is actually the safest. I think this was a huge misstep on their part, but hope that they do release that information at some point, as it’s so necessary!

          It’s important to remember that the heavy metals in these powders come from the whole food products used to make them. Eating those whole foods would also mean consuming heavy metals, as they are naturally present in the soil. While the results are still alarming, it’s not as horrifying as it seems. I went down a pretty deep internet research rabbit hole after this study came out because it was so jarring.

          LabDoor.com provides better rankings, though only tests three plant-based proteins. Their info is here: https://labdoor.com/rankings/protein (just click the ‘dairy-free’ option and it will show the vegan powders). I would also suggest switching up protein powders in between purchases. So, if you buy a tub of Vega. Once you finish it, switch to Garden of Life or Sun Warrior (or whatever brand you prefer).

          I know that wasn’t super helpful, but until Clean Label Project publishes better data, it’s hard to use their report as concrete guidance. Definitely check out LabDoor – I would use any of the three proteins they tested there. 🙂

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