Thrive Plant Protein


PROTEIN POWDER - PLANT BASED

OKAY, we know exactly what you are thinking. "Why in the world is there a Vegan Protein on an outdoor/hunting based supplement website?!!" It's pretty simple actually. There are hundreds of thousands of people out there that are allergic to dairy products, including many people within the outdoor community. Given that information, it’s hard to find a vegan protein powder that checks all the same boxes as popular animal-based options like whey, casein, and egg.

You know, one that…

  • Tastes great
  • Mixes well
  • Provides 20+ grams of protein per scoop
  • Is easily digested, well-absorbed, and rich in essential amino acids
  • Is affordable

Instead, most plant-based protein powders either taste like a chalky mess, contain a low-quality blend of cheap proteins, or provide, at best, 15 grams of protein per scoop.

They often cost a pretty penny too.

That’s exactly why we added THRIVE by Legion Athletics.

It’s an affordable vegan protein powder that provides you with 25 grams of high-quality plant protein per scoop, 30 additional nutrients, including 10 that vegan and vegetarian diets tend to be low in, and 4 enzymes to help you better digest and absorb it all.

The Truth about Plant Protein

A long list of impressive health benefits is associated with getting most—or even all—of your calories from plant foods, but this style of eating also presents a problem: [1]

It makes it difficult to get enough high-quality protein.

You see, dozens of studies have proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a high-protein diet is superior for building muscle and losing fat. [2]

Specifically, research shows that the optimal protein intake for maximizing muscle growth is between 0.8 grams and 1.2 grams per pound of body weight per day, with needs varying based on body composition and training intensity, frequency, and experience. [3]

This amount is easy to achieve with an omnivorous diet because people’s favorite animal-based foods—meat, eggs, and dairy—also happen to be rich sources of protein.

Vegetables, on the other hand, aren’t.

For example…

  • Broccoli contains about 13 grams of protein per pound. [4]
  • Brussels sprouts are slightly better, providing about 15 grams of protein per pound. [5]
  • A cup of green peas contains just 8 grams of protein. [6]
  • And a cup of boiled spinach contains a measly 5 grams. [7]

As you can see, if you need to eat around 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day, it’s going to take a couple of buckets of these vegetables to get you there.

Furthermore, not all proteins are made equal, especially for muscle-building purposes.

To understand why, we first need to talk about amino acids.

Amino acids are the “building blocks” of all tissues in the body, including muscle tissue. The body needs 21 amino acids to stay alive. Nine of them must be obtained from food, which are known as “essential amino acids.”

One of them, leucine, directly stimulates protein synthesis, which is why research shows that the leucine content of a meal directly affects the amount of protein synthesis that occurs as a result. [8][9]

In other words, high-leucine meals have a higher muscle-building potential than low-leucine meals.

 

You’d have to eat 18 cups of broccoli to get the essential amino acids found in just 4 ounces of steak.

You run into the same problems with many other plant sources of protein: middling or worse bioavailability and amino acid profile.

This is why vegan athletes must carefully plan their diets if they are to meet their protein needs and why THRIVE contains a blend of two types of plant protein: [16]

  • Pea protein
  • Rice protein

We chose these specific proteins because they’re easily digested, absorbed well, and, together, provide an abundance of nutrition.

Let’s take a closer look at each.

  1. Why Pea Protein?

    Pea protein truly is an unsung hero of plant proteins.

    It’s highly bioavailable—in fact, it’s comparable to beef in the bioavailability department. And like whey protein, pea protein is also rich in leucine, which, we recall, is the essential amino acid most directly responsible for muscle building. [17][18]

  2. Why Rice Protein?

    Rice protein is another top-tier source of vegan protein because it’s absorbed well by the body and has a robust amino acid profile, similar to soy protein. [19][20]

    It also goes particularly well with pea protein because their amino acid profiles are complementary. Together, they look a lot like whey protein, which is why the blend is often called the “vegan’s whey.”

  3. Why Not Soy Protein?

    You’ve probably noticed that there’s one popular plant protein that we chose not to include in THRIVE, and that’s soy.

    Why?

    Well, while studies show that soy is a high-quality source of protein, it’s also a source of ongoing controversy, especially for men. [21]

    According to some research, the regular intake of soy foods has feminizing effects in men due to estrogen-like molecules found in soybeans called isoflavones.

    For instance, a study conducted by scientists at Harvard University analyzed the semen of 99 men and compared their sperm counts against their soy and isoflavone intake during the three previous months. [22]

    They found that both isoflavone and soy intake were associated with a reduction in sperm count. (Men in the highest intake category of soy foods had, on average, 41 million fewer sperm per milliliter of semen than men who didn’t eat soy foods.)

    On the other hand, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph directed 32 men to eat low or high levels of isoflavones from soy protein for 57 days. [23] Afterward, researchers found that isoflavone consumption had no effect on semen quality.

    Furthermore, literature reviews like those conducted by Loma Linda University and St. Catherine University suggest that neither soy food nor isoflavones alter male hormone levels. [24][25]

    What gives?

    Well, there isn’t a simple answer just yet, but one promising line of research shows that soy’s effects in men can vary depending on the presence or absence of certain intestinal bacteria.

    These bacteria, which are present in 30 to 50% of people, metabolize daidzein, a specific isoflavone in soy, into an estrogen-like hormone called equol. [26]

    In a study conducted by scientists at Peking University, researchers found that when equol-producing men ate high amounts of soy food for as little as three days, their testosterone levels dropped and their estrogen levels rose. [27]

    Related to this is a study conducted by researchers at Sungkyunkwan University, which found that in a high-estrogen environment, isoflavones suppressed estrogen production, while in a low-estrogen environment, they increased estrogen production. [28]

    Now, in the case of women, research suggests that soy is less likely to negatively affect your hormones, regardless of equol production. [29]

    There are other things to consider, however.

    Studies show that soy protein contains substances that inhibit the digestion of protein molecules and the absorption of other nutrients. [30][31] Soy also contains several known allergens. [32]

    While there is evidence that soy might have special benefits for women, such as reducing the risk of heart disease and breast cancer, other studies cast doubt on these findings. [33][34][35] Some studies even suggest that soy can stimulate the growth of cancer cells. [36]

    So, the bottom line is that if you want to supplement with a plant-based protein several times per day, it’s probably best to choose something other than soy.

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