Do Vegans Get Enough Protein

Vegetarian Proteins That Are As Good As Meat

How Do Vegans Get Enough Protein?

Submitted by Alexandra Bozanis on Thu, 22/12/2016 – 22:01

How do you get enough protein if you dont eat meat? It sounds hard at first but there are plenty of great vegetarian proteins that taste amazing and don’t require you to eat a bucket full to get the nutrition you need to stay strong.

There are many alternatives to meat that have similar amounts of protein and we’ve put together a list of the 49 best vegetarian proteins that are as good as meat.

All the vegetarian options we have listed have at least 10g of protein per 100g when raw, putting them right up there with a meat lovers favorites.i

13 of them have as much as or more protein than chicken.

How much protein is there in meat anyway? Here are some popular choices:

Type of Meat

Protein Content

Skinless and boneless chicken breast


Source: Nutrient data provided by USDA SR-28.i

There are plenty of reasons to eat more meat-free meals:

  • Theyre on average cheaper.

  • You’ll be helping to save the planet with each bite.

  • The health benefits which include a happier and longer life.

You probably know and love a few of the ones on our list already.

For each vegetarian protein we’ve included three delicious recipes so you can try any of them out today.

With so many tasty vegetarian options now you have plenty of variety to chose from, enjoy!

Maybe youve decided to go meatless from time to time. Maybe you’ve adopted a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, either way you need to keep nutrition on the front burner.

Why Getting Enough Protein On A Vegan Diet Is Important

So you want protein, and you need it to fuel your fitness goals, but you want to avoid animal proteins. Easy! Youre plant-based!

Eating enough calories every day will ensure you get enough protein for health and longevity. As long as you are eating a variety of foods! Not a ton of different foods, but if you eat only bananas every day for weeks on end, youre not going to get all the amino acids you need .

But you have goals! And you want to get protein to fuel those goals, not just be healthy. You want better than just healthy.

I get that. Me too! Heres a list of my favorite ways to make sure Im hitting higher levels of complementary proteins to keep me active and chasing my dreams.

Vitamin B12 Sources For Vegetarians

Vitamin B12 is important for red blood cell production it helps to maintain healthy nerves and a healthy brain. People following a vegan diet are at risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency because it is only found in animal products. Vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 include:

  • dairy products
  • some soy beverages
  • some vegetarian sausages and burgers .

If people following a vegan diet dont get their B12 requirement from these foods, they are advised to take B12 supplements to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency including anaemia. This is particularly important for breastfeeding mothers where vitamin B12 deficient breastmilk can interfere with normal brain development of the baby.Vitamin B12 absorption becomes less efficient as we age, so supplements may also be needed by older people following a vegetarian diet.Check with your doctor before starting on any vitamin and mineral supplements.

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Vegan Bodybuilders Share Their #1 Tip For Getting Enough Protein On A Vegan Diet

June 10, 2019 by Jeffrey Trull

When you think of vegans, what first comes to mind? It might be challenges with getting enough protein from vegan food, or maybe its weakness and lack of muscle. Youre not thinking of bodybuilders, right?

Since many people probably think this way, I figured Id call on the irrefutable evidence that vegans are not weak and can get enough protein from plants: vegan bodybuilders.

These bodybuilders arent just serving as proof, but theyve also shared their top tips for anyone who wants to get protein from plants. Heres what 19 top vegan bodybuilders had to say.

Can You Get Enough Protein On A Vegan Diet


FYI: You can find more information on this subject in the NASM course on plant-based diets – which condenses a section of the NASM nutrition certification course into a bite-sized portion.

People choose to go vegan for a variety of reasonsperhaps they aspire to be Tom Brady , or land on veganism for ethical concerns around eating animal products, or the environmental impact that animals raised for food have on our planet, or they simply dont like meat, eggs, dairy, etc.

Even those who go vegan may dabble in their frequency and commitment to the diet. Some use it as a way to hit reset or detox for a few days or weeks then theres a group that eats vegan during the day, but not at dinner , or one day of every week .

Wherever you areor are consideringon the spectrum, there are benefits, and challenges, to skipping all animal products.

The benefits to going vegan are legitand, in fact, the list is quite robust. Research shows that people who follow a plant-based diet have lower BMIs than their omnivore counterparts, and vegans are typically the leanest. You can also use a vegetarian or vegan diet to help you lose weight. Vegan diets help people improve their heart disease risk , lower their blood pressure, cholesterol, and risk of type 2 diabetes, and protect against cancer. In fact, following a vegan diet offered the most protection against cancer compared to any other diet in one study. Seeso. many. benefits.

  • Spirulina
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Soybeans

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How Much Protein Did I Eat On The Green Thickie Challenge

So with that information I went to MyFitnessPal where Id logged my food for the week to have a look at my own protein levels. . After calculating the average amounts of protein across the whole week, I was pleased to see I had consumed 46 grams of protein on average across the week. I then had to find out what percentage of my calories this was. To do this I found that there were 4 calories in each gram of protein meaning that I had consumed 187 calories from protein which is just under 10% of my total calories per week being protein. So Im very happy about that too.

It can get quite complicated and Im sure I consume more than this with my normal diet, but Im very pleased that this Green Thickie challenge worked out to contain the optimum levels of recommended protein.

MyFitnessPro actually recommended that I eat an average of 76 grams of protein a day which is about 15% of calories per day from protein which I still think is fine.

Is Vegan Protein Of The Same Quality As Animal Protein

Proteins are made up of amino acids, of which there are nine that human adults need in their diet. These are leucine, isoleucine, histidine, valine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and lysine.

However, there are 20 amino acids found in protein. The remaining 11 are deemed as non-essential.

BNF notes, amino acids do not have to be provided by the diet. This is because the amino group of these amino acids can be transferred to another amino acid with a different amino group by a process called transamination. In this way, the body is able to make some amino acids itself.

The quality of protein we consume is important, as experts note that we need to consume the essential amino acids. The pattern of amino acids in an animal-based protein is similar to that of human cells, meaning they have a higher biological value than those from plant sources.

This doesnt mean that plants are a second class source of protein, as was commonly assumed in the past. As long as a varied, balanced diet is consumed, we can get all the amino acids we need from a vegan diet. You dont even need to combine plant protein sources in one meal, as was once believed, as your body keeps a sort of pool of amino acids from each of the foods you eat.

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How Do Vegan Bodybuilders And Athletes Get Enough Protein

Looking at protein in foods is one thing, but translating that to a meal plan that you can actually follow is another. Obviously, try to focus on making meals with the best vegan protein sources for athletes.

I mentioned Nimai Delgado before. Hes a vegan IFBB professional bodybuilder who I believe has been vegetarian from birth .

He has some videos on YouTube about his training and diet. Heres one where he goes over what he eats in a typical day:

If you dont have time to watch that, heres a summary:

Meal 1

Will Soy Affect Testosterone Or Estrogen

Do VEGANS Get Enough PROTEIN? How Much Do You Really Need?

Soy increasing estrogen is an old myth that refuses to die.

Soy contains phytoestrogens, which are processed by our bodies very differently than the hormone estrogen.

I did a detailed summary of studies looking at if soy raises estrogen levels. The gist of that review is that unless youre eating a ridiculous amount of soy, it wont affect your hormones at all.

You can have a block of tofu a day with 0 worry .

One study from that post that I will highlight is a meta-analysis of 15 controlled studies that concluded :

No significant effects of soy protein or isoflavone intake on T, SHBG, free T, or FAI were detected regardless of statistical model.

Where T is testosterone.

In other words, theres no particular reason to worry about soy consumption on a typical vegetarian or vegan diet.

Soy has no statistically significant effect on testosterone or estrogen levels.

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How Can I Get Enough Iron

Although meat is the best source of iron, other good sources include:

  • pulses, such as beans, lentils and peas
  • nuts
  • dried fruit, such as raisins
  • dark-green vegetables, such as watercress, broccoli and spring greens
  • wholegrains, such as brown rice and brown bread
  • cereals fortified with iron

As long as you remember to regularly include these foods in your diet, you should be getting enough iron.

Adult men need about 8.7mg of iron a day, and women need about 14.8mg a day. Women over 50 years of age need 8.7mg of iron a day.

The Case Of Specific Issues In Specific Populations

Data on protein and amino acid intakes from vegetarian diets remain scarce in the general adult population, and are insufficient to assess the status of more specific populations. However, as we will discuss here, there are good reasons to consider the case of older people as being more complicated than that of adults, while the situation in children is even simpler. We will briefly present these cases and the background limitations as we know them, as well as possible lessons regarding the shift towards high plant protein diets.

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Can Vegans Get Enough Protein To Build Muscle

One common myth about protein on a vegan diet is that vegans cant get enough protein to build muscle.

But recent research has shown that when it comes to athletics, vegan diets stack up well to omnivores :

Both groups were comparable for physical activity levels, body mass index, percent body fat, lean body mass, and muscle strength. However, vegans had a significantly higher estimated VO2 max and submaximal endurance time to exhaustion compared with omnivores.

Im telling you right now from experience that it will take more meal planning as a vegan, but you can be just as good of an athlete as you were before going vegan. There may even be health benefits.

I played multiple seasons of semi-professional soccer after going vegan, and it helped me if anything .

How Much Protein Should I Eat

Can Vegans Get Enough Protein?

I get asked this all the time, How much protein should I eat? This is also one of the most commonly asked questions for vegans Where do you get your protein? We are a nation obsessed with protein, and really theres no need, but since its on everyones minds Im going to break down exactly how much protein you really need a day and show you that Green Thickies contain exactly the right amount of protein.

To give you a bit of background, I did my own Green Thickies challengewhich meant I drank nothing but Green Thickies for 7 days. Green Thickies are vegan smoothies containing fruit, leafy greens, water or dairy free milk, some nuts or seeds and some filling healthy carbs such as oats or quinoa.

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Is It Healthier To Eat Organic Fruit And Vegetables

Vitamin and mineral levels in food vary, depending on the soil the plants were grown in, when they were picked and how they were stored. There’s no scientific evidence that organic food is healthier.

Eating organic food is a personal choice and many people choose to do so for environmental reasons. It’s important to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, whether they’re organic or not.

Page last reviewed: 2 August 2018 Next review due: 2 August 2021

Why Is Protein Important

Every cell and tissue in your body contains protein – theyre fundamental structural and functional elements in every cell. Your body also uses proteins to make enzymes and hormones so theyre also involved in a vast range of important metabolic interactions. So protein is essential for growth, repair, and maintenance of general good health.

Also Check: What Is Recommended Amount Of Protein Per Day

The Main Problem With Protein Is Excess Animal Protein

The average American consumes close to 100 grams of protein a day4. This is almost double the amount of protein that is needed. Contrary to popular belief, excess protein cannot be stored. Any excess protein is either converted to sugar and burned as energy, or converted into fat with its waste products eliminated through the kidneys. When protein is metabolized, some toxic substances such as urea are created during the breakdown process because of the nitrogen content. Sulfur, a by-product of the breakdown of amino acids such as methionine and cysteine also must be eliminated and is turned into sulfuric acid. These then must be eliminated through the kidneys. Therefore, one of the adverse side effects of high intake of protein is that a tremendous strain is put on the kidneys to eliminate the waste byproducts5. However, the risks associated with all protein are reduced when consuming plant proteins because the concentration of protein from plant sources is less than the concentration from animal sources.

Getting Protein From Vegetarian

Do Vegans and Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?
  • 1Don’t ignore the basic protein sources from the vegan diet.XTrustworthy SourceUSDA Center for Nutrition Policy and PromotionU.S. agency responsible for promoting good nutrition based on scientific researchGo to source A vegetarian diet isn’t as strict as a vegan one, in that it allows eggs and dairy products. That doesn’t mean you should dismiss plants as a protein source, though. Most of your protein should still come from whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and nuts and seeds.
  • 2Eat eggs in moderation. A single chicken egg can provide 6 g of protein with just 71 calories and no carbohydrates.XResearch source You can start your day off with boiled or scrambled eggs, or add boiled eggs to your salads. You can also add scrambled eggs to a soba noodle stir fry or fried brown rice dish with vegetables and tofu. Overindulging in eggs, though, can lead to high cholesterol.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • Eating up to 1 egg each day is healthy for people who have otherwise normal cholesterol levels.
  • If you have diabetes or heart disease, don’t eat more than 3 egg yolks a week.XResearch source
  • Goat’s milk has 8.7 g of protein and 10. g of fat per serving.
  • Sheep’s milk has 15 g of protein and 17 g of fat per serving.
  • If you are lactose intolerant, soy and nut milks can help you boost your protein intake.
  • Most cheeses, like cheddar, brie, or gouda, have 6 â 7 g of protein per ounce.
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    How Much Protein Does A Vegan Need

    As a vegan, your protein needs are the same as a non-vegan with the same training goals. However, you need to consider the quality and variety of your food sources, including the bioavailability of amino acids.

    If your goal is muscle gain, you should aim for 2g-2.2g protein per kilogram of bodyweight, to compensate for the lower essential amino acid levels in vegan food.

    The main challenge facing vegans lies with separating protein from other macronutrients. Animal sources of protein are much higher in protein than vegan foods. It is therefore easier for a meat-eater to drill down into their macronutrient numbers and get specific.

    Vegan foods tend to be combinations of proteins and fats , or proteins and carbohydrates . This isnt a problem, it just means youll need to get more creative and pay closer attention to your macronutrient numbers if you track your nutrition.

    Protein Sources For Vegetarians

    Protein is essential for many bodily processes, including tissue building and repair. Protein is made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. These amino acids are classed as non-essential and essential .A complete protein has all the nine essential amino acids necessary for dietary needs. Most plant foods, however, are not complete proteins they only have some of the nine essential amino acids. Soy products, quinoa and amaranth seeds are some of the few exceptions of a complete vegetable protein.It was once thought that vegetarians and vegans needed to combine plant foods at each meal to ensure they consumed complete proteins . Recent research has found this is not the case.Consuming various sources of amino acids throughout the day should provide the complete complement of protein. Generally, if energy intake is sufficient, vegetarian diets can meet or exceed their protein requirements, but some vegan diets may be low in protein. Some good vegetarian sources of protein include:

    Its recommended that vegetarians and vegans eat legumes and nuts daily, along with wholegrain cereals and pseudo-cereals, to ensure adequate nutrient intakes.

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