A Green Protein Face-Off: Vega Sport vs Garden of Life Sport

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Two heavyweight vegan protein powders go toe-to-toe in this Vega Sport vs Garden of Life Sport comparison.

Welcome to the Plant-Powered Parade

As an active individual looking to nourish your body with the best plant-based protein, you’ve likely come across Vega Sport Premium Protein and Garden of Life SPORT Organic Plant-Based Protein.

Both of these top-tier protein powders have built reputations in the fitness community with their rich nutrient profiles and dedication to plant-based nutrition.

Deciding between the two can be a challenge — How are they different? What things are the same? — and that’s where this article might help.

In this in-depth comparison, I aim to equip you with the knowledge and insight to determine whether Vega Sport or Garden of Life SPORT is a perfect fit for your unique wellness objectives or not.

green scientific beaker and test tubes green icon

Science resources included

As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science and medical resources, clinical studies, & nutritional data used in this article.

 

Ingredients Face-off: Vega vs. Garden of Life

When choosing a protein powder, I think it’s essential to understand the ingredients, as they directly impact the benefits you’ll receive.

Vega Sport Premium and Garden of Life SPORT both offer a range of ingredients tailored to support muscle recovery and growth or improve your overall diet, though their compositions differ.

Let’s take a peek.

 

Vega Sport Premium

Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder

Vega Sport is built around a blend of pea protein, organic pumpkin seed protein, organic sunflower seed protein, and alfalfa protein. This combination delivers a complete amino acid profile, crucial for muscle recovery and growth.

In addition, it contains tart cherry powder, recognized for aiding recovery post-workout. To support gut health, Vega Sport includes 2 billion CFU Bacillus coagulans, a robust probiotic strain known to survive the harsh acidic environment of the stomach and deliver its benefits effectively.

 

Garden of Life SPORT

Garden of Life SPORT Organic Protein Powder

Garden of Life SPORT uses an organic protein blend that consists of:

  • organic pea protein,
  • organic sprouted navy bean,
  • organic sprouted lentil bean,
  • organic sprouted garbanzo bean,
  • and organic cranberry seed protein.

This array of proteins provides a balanced set of essential amino acids.

To boost recovery, Garden of Life incorporates an organic recovery blend with tart cherries, apples, turmeric, blueberries, and goji berries, providing antioxidants and compounds that fight inflammation.

Furthermore, this protein powder also features 2 billion CFU of a probiotic blend, along with a variety of enzymes to enhance digestion and nutrient absorption.

 

Macronutrient comparison

Your body’s response to protein powder goes beyond the protein content. It also involves the complete nutritional profile – fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and more. So let’s compare the nutritional makeups of Vega Sport Premium Protein and Garden of Life SPORT.

 

Vega Sport Premium

Vega Sport Premium packs a nutritional punch with 180 calories per serving, consisting of 30 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber. It also boasts an impressive micronutrient profile with 290mg of calcium, 7mg of iron, and 260mg of potassium.

Any salt restrictions in your diet? Then I want to point out that a single serving comes with a pretty big dose of sodium for a protein powder — vegan or not — at 370 mg. And good news — no added sugars in Vega Sport, a benefit for those looking to stay away from that.

 

Garden of Life SPORT

Garden of Life SPORT is pretty close to Vega with 190 calories per serving. It has 30 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of fiber.

Its micronutrient offerings are robust, with 180mg of calcium, 6.7mg of iron, 400mg of potassium, and 402mg of phosphorus, among other things.

With 2 grams of natural sugars and no added sugars, it also offers a good choice for those mindful of their sugar intake.

 

Vega Sport vs GoL Sport nutrient summary

Overall, both protein powders offer a well-rounded nutritional profile with balanced macronutrients and substantial micronutrients, thanks to the carefully chosen ingredients each product contains.

Both have a minimal sugar content, making them suitable for anyone trying to manage their sugar intake.

Your choice between the two could boil down to your specific dietary requirements and nutrient preferences, or maybe something else like: Which costs less? A: Garden of Life, or maybe, Which has the more people-friendly planet-friendly company? A: Vega Sport.

Now let’s dip our toes into the world of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, to see how these two measure up.

 

Amino Acids Showdown

EAAs and BCAAs are the rock stars of the protein world. Essential Amino Acids, as the name suggests, are “essential” because our bodies cannot produce them, so we need to get them from our diet.

They’re needed for optimal protein synthesis, tissue repair, and nutrient absorption.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), a subgroup of EAAs, are leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

BCAAs are particularly crucial for athletes because they help stimulate protein synthesis, reduce protein breakdown, and may aid in reducing exercise-induced muscle soreness.

 

Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)

Let’s see how Vega Sport and Garden of Life SPORT compare to one another; here’s what each serving of Vega Sport offers in terms of EAAs:

Leucine: 2.4g
Isoleucine: 1.3g
Lysine: 2.0g
Methionine: 0.3g
Phenylalanine: 1.6g
Threonine: 1.1g
Tryptophan: 0.3g
Valine: 1.4g

10.4 grams of essential amino acids per serving for Vega Sport Premium protein powder.

And Garden of Life Sport has this EAA profile:

Leucine: 2.5g
Isoleucine: 1.5g
Lysine: 2.3g
Methionine: 0.3g
Phenylalanine: 1.7g
Threonine: 1.1g
Tryptophan: 0.3g
Valine: 1.5g

They add up to 11.2 grams EAAs per serving.

Although both protein powders offer a strong profile of EAAs for vegan proteins, Garden of Life SPORT slightly edges out Vega Sport, with more Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine content, while Vega Sport has more Lysine, Methionine, and Threonine.

 

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which include leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are especially beneficial for post-workout muscle recovery. Here’s how these two protein powders stack up:

Vega Sport provides 5.1 grams:

Leucine: 2.4g
Isoleucine: 1.3g
Valine: 1.4g

A serving of Garden of Life SPORT has 5.5:

Leucine: 2.5g
Isoleucine: 1.5g
Valine: 1.5mg

A close call, but Garden of Life SPORT beats Vega Sport in this category by 8%. All in all, both protein powders offer a solid dose of BCAAs for a plant-based food supplement.

Taste – Vega Sport vs. Garden of Life SPORT

Taste is highly subjective, and everyone’s palate is different. However, to provide some perspective I’ll share my 2¢ worth, since I’ve had a few tubs’ each of these two vegan powders.

My taste buds say Vega Sport has a “chocolate forward” flavor (yay, I like chocolate), while Garden of Life SPORT’s stevia taste is less in your face than Vega’s (yay, I don’t like things with a lot of stevia).

Checking out the thousands of reviews for both of these, they both score well in buyer satisfaction in the vegan protein powder category, and Vega Sport definitely has the edge there.

But you’ll find that those same satisfied people rate the tastes of both powders lower than the overall rating they give both products.

(In Amazon, reviewers can score a product in a few separate categories, and for protein powders, Taste and Blending Power are among the choices.)

 

Texture & Mixability

I think Vega Sport and Garden of Life SPORT are about the same when it comes to blending them with liquid and their textures.

I drank whey for over 30 years before I tried a plant-based powder, and for someone like that the difference at first is almost startling.

But you get used to it over time, and while you’re waiting for that to happen, you tell yourself “you’re doing a body good”.

Adding a little more liquid than you would to a whey protein powder yields nice results in the mouth texture department, and Garden of Life SPORT & Vega Sport are about the same in this regard.

 

Company Quality & Certifications – Vega vs. Garden of Life

A vital aspect to consider when picking your protein supplement is the brand behind it. Both Vega and Garden of Life are trusted names in the industry with several notable certifications to their credit.

 

Vega – known as eco-friendly & humanity focused

Vega is a reputable brand that’s been around for quite some time. It’s earned trust and respect in the plant-based community for its commitment to clean, plant-based nutrition.

The company has a strong track record when it comes to environmental stewardship. Vega’s commitment to reducing emissions, eliminating waste, and enriching biodiversity, coupled with its partnership with Veritree for reforestation, could be a big plus if you’re environmentally conscious.

Vega’s Sport Premium Protein is also certified by NSF’s Certified for Sport® program. This means the product has undergone rigorous testing to ensure it does not contain any of approximately 270+ substances banned by major athletic organizations.

And Vega has the added accolade of being a B-Corp, meaning they are committed to balancing purpose and profit and consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.

 

Garden of Life – clean but now owned by Nestlé

Garden of Life, on the other hand, carries the USDA Organic badge, emphasizing its commitment to clean ingredients from start to finish and the assurance that the ingredients are 100% organically fed. This label guarantees a minimum of 95% of its ingredients are certified organic.

The brand holds a Non-GMO Verified status (as does Vega), and has the ‘Informed Choice’ certification, ensuring its products are free from banned substances. Notably, Garden of Life SPORT has the NSF Certified for Sport® mark as well.

Years ago, Garden of Life had humble beginnings as a maker of very clean vegan products. Now they’re just a big brand among dozens whose parent company is Nestlé, who definitely doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to the same things Vega stands for.

 

Cost comparison

Prices bounce around a lot these days, especially with protein powders in their very competitive marketplace. I’m using the prices I see today, so you’ll probably see something a little different when you check on them.

Certainly, when shopping for protein powder, it’s always good to keep an eye on the price. Breaking it down ounce by ounce, Garden of Life Sport emerges as a slightly cheaper choice.

Today Garden of Life Sport’s priced at $1.44 per ounce, a modest step down from Vega Sport Premium’s $1.68 per ounce. This amounts to a 19% difference and about $4 per pound, which might tip the scales if you’re keeping an eye on your budget.

 

Buyer reviews – Vega Sport wins

Combining all the reviews I could find across the internet for both products, I learned a few things.

One is — perhaps no surprise — these are two of the biggest selling vegan protein powders on the market these days. (Another whale in this category is Orgain’s main protein powder product.)

Both have well over 10,000 customer reviews apiece, with Garden of Life Sport winning the quantity competition on that. No surprise there either, given the global marketing power of their multinational parent company, Nestlé.

But for me, the main number when gathering all this buyer data is the percentage of people who rated the product they bought either 4 stars or 5 stars.

And in this particular head-to-head comparison, Vega Sport is the clear cut winner. They came out with over 91% of their reviewers giving them  4 or 5 stars, which is an excellent number for a protein powder.

And especially so for a plant-based protein powder, since people routinely dock these vegan products a star or two when the taste &/or texture isn’t as good as good as they hoped.

Garden of Life scored well, down in the low-mid 80s, but close to 10% lower is like the difference between an A and a B in school.

 

Vega Sport Premium

Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder

 

Garden of Life SPORT

Garden of Life SPORT Organic Protein Powder

 

FAQ

Here are answers to a handful of the common questions asked about plant-based diets & athletic performance.

What do vegan athletes need to keep in mind nutrition-wise?

As a vegan athlete, you're going to want to keep an eye on the energy, macronutrient, and micronutrient content of your meals. This is crucial to support your performance, adaptation, and recovery.

The goals here should be tailored to your training regime and personal preferences. So you'll want to take into account factors like the season, your training methods, your type as an athlete, and of course, your personal likes and dislikes.

Make sure you're getting plenty of high-quality protein and key micronutrients like iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.

Can a vegan diet give athletes an edge?

I think the jury's still out on whether a vegan diet can give athletes a leg up on performance, adaptation, or recovery. But what we do know is that athletes can maintain their performance levels on a vegan diet.

However, diving headfirst into a vegan diet without careful thought could leave you short on key nutrients, especially protein and some micronutrients. That's why it's so important to think through your vegan sports nutrition strategy.

What hurdles might vegan athletes face when it comes to nutrition?

Every athlete faces challenges when it comes to nutrition, and being a vegan athlete adds another layer of complexity. With no animal-based foods on the menu, you might find yourself missing out on key nutrients.

Particularly, getting enough dietary protein and specific micronutrients like iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D could be challenging. But with careful meal planning and, if necessary, supplementation, you can definitely meet all your nutritional needs as a vegan athlete.

How does a vegan diet shift an athlete's macronutrient intake?

If you decide to go vegan as an athlete, I bet you'll notice a shift in your macronutrient composition. It's not that carbohydrates and fats will be a problem.

Rather, because plant-based foods are often high in carbohydrates, you may find it harder to adjust your macronutrient intake if you want to follow a low-carb diet, for example. So it's crucial to balance your macronutrient intake to meet your energy needs and maintain peak performance.

What should vegan athletes know about ergogenic aids?

If you're a vegan athlete, you might notice your diet is low in some performance-boosting compounds like creatine, carnitine, and carnosine, though I don't think we have a lot of data on whether lower levels of these compounds affect performance and adaptation.

But in either case, supplementing with ergogenic aids, especially creatine, is something to consider. Creatine can impact exercise performance, muscle growth, and strength.

Since it's found mainly in animal products, taking a creatine supplement could give vegan athletes a bit of a boost towards their training and performance goals.

 

Related articles here on heydayDo

Vega Sport vs. Vega One

Vega Sport Protein Powder vs. Whey

Best Vegan Mass Gainers

Horny Goat Weed With Maca: A Vibrant Dance Of Natural Forces

My 2 Years Of Taking Orgain Collagen Review

A Dive Into The Dietary Deep: Is Whey Protein Vegan Or Not?

Vega vs. Orgain: A Plant-Based Protein Punch-Out

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Vega Sport vs Garden of Life Sport

Wrapping up

Well, we’ve come to the end of our journey comparing Vega Sport Premium Protein and Garden of Life SPORT Organic Plant-Based Protein, and it’s clear that both bring a lot to the table.

A quick recap: Garden of Life Sport

Garden of Life SPORT shines with nearly all organic ingredients, a real winner if organic farming matters to you. Its lower sodium content might also stand out if you’re watching that in your diet.

Not a fan of a strong stevia taste? Garden of Life SPORT’s subtler flavor could be your match. And, let’s not forget, it’s a bit easier on the pocket too.

 

A quick recap: Vega Sport

But Vega Sport Premium Protein certainly isn’t a big step down, since these two powders have fairly similar numbers in the nutrient & macros categories.

Its rich chocolate taste is hard to beat, and its dedication to reforestation & the environment is pretty impressive, plus Vega’s efforts to cut their own emissions, waste less, and promote biodiversity are commendable.

Vega Sport’s not fully organic, but Vega’s still made a name in the plant-based world with quality products and its prestigious B-Corp status.

 

Wrapping up

These two powders both come with a bunch of top-notch certifications, showing their commitment to doing things right when making their protein powders.

Whichever you lean towards, know that it’s a brand that values quality and safety.

As we wrap up, remember it’s about what works best for you and your body. The path to health and fitness is your own, unique like you.

Here’s to finding what fuels you best and brings you closer to your goals. Enjoy exploring these protein options.

I hope this detailed comparison between these two ‘Sports’ helps you make an informed choice, & I wish you well on your plant-based protein journey.

– greg

About The Author

heydayDo author Greg Simon

Hi, I’m Gregory Simon. Fitness training & nutrition researching since 1982. ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutrition) Pro Member. MBA, B.Sc.

Author. Surfer. Organic food grower. Congenital heart disease survivor (so far).

heydayDo.com is my wellness blog that’s about encouraging a healthy lifestyle as we age. 

I share my fitness training experience as well as the sports science research I’ve done on the many benefits strength building, exercise, & good eating habits offer us. 

I also write review articles after product testing and evaluating home gym equipment & fitness supplements.

My hope is that you’ll find useful or encouraging information here on my website that will benefit your unique fitness journey.

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