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5 Alternative Protein Sources To Fuel Muscle Growth

Protein is essential for fuelling muscle growth, and the most common sources tend to be meat and milk-derived protein sources such as whey or casein. However, these forms of protein may not be for everyone due to dietary requirements, intolerances or preferences.

Thankfully, there are other lesser-known protein alternatives on the market that provide the same gains. You just need to know where to look. They also tend to be much more wallet-friendly than milk-derived proteins. Here are some of the alternatives.

BROWN RICE PROTEIN

We often associate brown rice as a slow-releasing carb staple, but it does contain protein as well. The protein is harnessed for brown rice protein powder, and it also contains numerous health benefits you won't find in whey. For one, it is rich in peptides that can help reduce weight gain, and there are also nutrients that improve heart, as well as liver health. It regulates cholesterol levels too, while being just as effective as whey. Brown rice protein is usually free of additives, and while they don't come with all nine essential amino acids, you could easily supplement that with some chia seeds or quinoa. Each serving easily contains about 20g or more protein.

PEA PROTEIN

Peas are also another fantastic source of plant-based protein. It doesn't contain any allergens, while being free from gluten, soy and dairy. Pea protein powder contains all the essential amino acids, including BCAAs, which checks all the muscle-building boxes you need. It also has far more arginine than what is contained in whey, and because arginine is essential to muscle growth, it definitely makes up for its shortcomings in terms of its slightly lesser protein count. And you still get at least 20g per serving.

SOY PROTEIN

Many people try to avoid soy when bodybuilding due to concerns about how the phytoestrogen in soy may affect their bodies, but this effect varies from person to person. Soy, however, is one of the most popular protein sources aside from whey and brown rice. Defatted soy beans are processed to remove their carb and fat content, leading to a product with over 90% protein, and it also has a nutritional profile that most closely resembles whey. It also reduces cholesterol levels, and reduces the risk of heart disease.

PROTEIN BARS, COOKIES OR BROWNIES

Not everyone stays away from whey or casein protein because of dietary sensitivities. For some, it's just a matter of taste. As much as whey is flavoured to improve its appeal, some people just don't enjoy it. This is where protein bars come in. They provide an alternative to getting your protein fix, while being significantly tastier. Although many look to these as a snack or dessert substitute, you still do get your protein fix from eating them. The best part is, you have so many flavours to choose from, there's bound to be something you like. See our protein snacks here.

NUT BUTTERS

There are people who prefer to go the natural route with their protein intake, and don't enjoy taking whey protein powders and the like. There are other alternatives like high protein nut butters, particularly those derived from almonds. They make great sources of added protein, although it might not be as high of a count as whey per tabespoon. Nut butters also are a great source of added healthy fats, when eaten in moderation. They're excellent for breakfast or a snack too.

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