Dietary Sources Of Protein And The Essential Amino Acids
The protein content of plant origin foods such as nuts, peas and beans is very high and rivals that of meat and fish. Some vegetarians include eggs and/or dairy products as part of their protein intake. Cheese has similar levels of protein to meat and fish by weight, whilst egg is regarded as the perfect protein food for its ideal balance of amino acids.
Whether dairy products and/or eggs are included in our diet, plant foods provide a major part of protein intake. Pulses, such as quinoa, can form the basis of many types of meals and soya products such as milk, tofu, miso or ready made products like burgers and sausages are probably the most versatile source of protein. Nuts can be incorporated into breakfast and sweet or savoury dishes providing an energy-dense source of protein. QuornTM is a form of myco-protein an edible fungus and is sold in a range of different forms from mince to fillets.
Everyday foods that are normally regarded as carbohydrates such as rice and grains, pasta, breakfast cereals and bread contain significant amounts of protein and can play an important part in your intake. For example, 100g of wholemeal bread contains 9.4g of protein. Potatoes eaten in quantity also provide useful amounts of protein.
The Dangers Of Animal Protein
It might seem wise to err on the side of getting too much protein. But doing so poses health risks, particularly if youre consuming animal protein: A growing body of research demonstrates a link between animal protein intake and serious health problems, including cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
A 2018 study of more than 81,000 people found that regular meat consumption was associated with a 60 percent increase in the risk of heart disease. High consumption of animal protein was associated with early death in a 2019 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Another 2019 study found that white meat is as cholesterol-raising as red meat. In a cohort study published in 2014, high protein intake, especially from animal sources, was associated with elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes.And despite a common assumption that eating more protein can be helpful in achieving weight-loss goals, eating animal protein is actually associated with weight gain.
Animal protein is a major cause of weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, and cancer,says Michelle McMacken, MD, director of the Adult Weight Management Program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue in New York City. Contrary to popular perception excess protein does not make us stronger or leaner. Excess protein is stored as fat or turned into waste.
Can Excess Plant Protein Be Dangerous?
What Are The Benefits Of Plant
We live in a society where things like fast food and processed foods are prevalent, but it is important to understand the health risks associated with these foods. Plant-based protein is an excellent alternative to animal products because it has no cholesterol, saturated fats, or preservatives.6
The first and perhaps most obvious benefits of plant protein are its complete amino acids balance. Amino acids are those sugars, molecules, and other nutrients found in all living organisms . Plants contain 22 different kinds of amino acids. Some of the most important and versatile amino acids found in plants are cysteine, methionine, arginine, valine, lysine, tryptophan, cystine, threin, and methionine.7 All these amino acids work together in the human body as essential proteins that build tissue, regulate metabolism, and carry out other important functions such as energy production, inflammation control, regulation of body fluid elimination, and more. Without these essential amino acids, humans are unable to survive.
Specifically, plant proteins have been found to:
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Warning: Dont Ignore Amino Acids
All protein is not created equally. Protein is made up of amino acids, and there are certain ones, called essential, which your body cannot produce on its own and must get through food.
As long as youre eating a wide variety of whole foods a good practice to follow for many reasons youre probably getting a nice mix of amino acids. One, though, thats particularly tough for vegetarians to get, is lysine, as explained in this article on protein from Vegan Health.
Only a few vegan foods contain lysine in large amounts, but fortunately, theyre staples in many of our diets: tempeh, tofu, and legumes. If you dont eat beans or soy, because of allergies or some other reason, youll need to pay special attention to lysine, and it might be worth considering an amino acid supplement.
See another No Meat Athlete article for a breakdown of various plant-based protein sources and their amino acid content.
Using Supplements To Help As You Get Started
It isnt a bad idea to consult with a doctor after a few weeks of taking on your vegan diet. They might be able to run some tests and let you know where youre lacking and what you could do to round out your diet and feel great.
One great thing to utilize is supplements. If youre not getting enough of a certain kind of protein or youre working out and trying to bulk up, there are a lot of vegan protein supplements that will keep you in good health.
You can also incorporate a multi-vitamin into your diet to round out the different areas you might be missing. Its difficult to get started as a vegan, especially considering that there are so many meat-based options that are consumed on a regular basis by the rest of society.
Your mission to stop consuming meat flies in the face of the rest of society in a big way. Huge sections of the economy are based on the unfair treatment and consumption of animals, and those sections have massive budgets that want to get you back on the meat train.
So, if you have to try and use a supplement or two to get on your feet as a vegan, theres nothing wrong with that! Whatever you can do to keep your diet away from meat is justified.
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Urinary Tract Infections Found In Chickens
The agent that causes urinary tract infections in humans is a bacterium. This bacterium is found in chickens’ bodies. Why? It is because many of these bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics. People think that eating chicken meat is healthier than other types of meat. However, this is not the case as they can get infected by many different types of bacteria.
Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein What To Eat & Practical Protein Tips
Vegan athletes at greatest risk for low protein intakes are those who restrict calories or who eat few legumes, tofu, tempeh, seitan, meat alternatives, or other protein-dense foods.
Not sure how much protein is on your plate? Try tracking your intake over the course of a few days or consider signing up for personal coaching with Dani and Giacomo.
If youre new to tracking food or that simply doesnt work for you, use your hand as a guide an appropriate serving of protein-rich foods is generally about the size of the palm of your hand.
To get more protein in throughout the day: Sneak plant-based protein powders into smoothies, soups, and batters, stir lentils into pasta sauce, add extra tofu to stir-fries, add your favorite beans to salads, make dressings with hummus or tahini, add nutritional yeast to popcorn and pasta dishes, choose the vegan foods with higher sources of protein like seitan and meat alternatives, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, TVP, and legumes.
For more helpful tips, check out these videos on selecting high protein vegan foods:
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How Do We Build Muscles Can Plants Be Enough
To build or synthesize a protein, a process called protein synthesis is initiated:
A hormone or growth factor signals a cells DNA to initiate processes called gene transcription and translation, the end result of which is a fully formed, bouncing baby protein.
For exercise-induced muscle protein synthesis, specifically the process necessary to build muscle and the very thing were all working towards for our physique goals, a key signaling molecule called mammalian target of rapamycin or mTOR is stimulated.
What stimulates mTOR to do its thing?
Resistance training and consuming protein from food.
In other words, research suggests that dietary protein may be needed for protein synthesis not only to provide the building block raw materials but also to act as a trigger to stimulate the process of muscle protein synthesis itself.
Animal-based protein sources, like whey, are often considered a gold standard protein source for athletes and bodybuilders especially.
Whey is particularly high in the branched-chain amino acid leucine, which has been thought of as a key in stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
However, this theory has been debated more recently and leucine as a trigger for muscle protein synthesis may be more relevant in the context of isolated protein sources rather than protein-rich whole foods.
So wear the title of Soy Boy like a badge of honor, my friends.
How Can Vegans Consume More Protein
For vegans, supplementing their diet with protein is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Protein provides the body with amino acids for cell growth and repair. The question that many vegans ask is how can they consume more protein? One way that this can be done is by consuming other plant-based sources of protein such as beans, soy products, peas, and other legumes.8
However, it is hard to meet the daily requirement for protein and maintain a vegan diet. This is why many vegans opt for meat substitutes which often contain large amounts of protein. The downside to this option is that most brands of these products are not vegan because they are processed with dairy ingredients or eggs.
A second option would be to supplement their diets with protein supplements in powder form, such as soy protein powder. Vegans can also ensure that they consume enough protein by eating more foods rich in proteins at every meal. Soy protein is an excellent way to supplement your diet with high-quality plant-based protein. It provides all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source thats not only vegan friendly but also gluten-free. With soy being one of the most versatile crops in the world, there are many different types of soy available on the market for vegans looking to add more soy into their diet.9
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Even The Whole Grains Can Help
Youll already get these, so dont worry about looking for other ways to get them into your diet. Quinoa is a great alternative to pasta and excellent mixed in with salads. Granola is a popular option at breakfast with your soy or almond milk.
Oats can be used in alternative and interesting ways. Overnight oats have become a popular option, and there are so many different flavourings that you can use. They do tend to use milk, so opt for the vegan alternatives.
No Meat Doesnt Mean No Protein
Protein is an important dietary element, and meat isnt essential. If you eat pulses and dairy youll be powered by protein, despite what well-meaning relatives may say.
Even if you cant give up meat entirely, you could try replacing it a few times a week. Regular pulse and vegetable based meals can improve your health and help build a more sustainable planet.
Its worth making the effort to go vegetarian so why not give it a try?
Spread the Word
Becky Mathews is a British freelance writer with years of experience in the health and wellbeing niche.
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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.
How To Get Enough Protein As A Vegan: The Complete Guide
Theres a common myth floating around that the vegan diet isnt able to provide individuals with enough protein. Many individuals get most of their complete proteins by consuming meat and meat-based products, so its no wonder that there isnt a lot of knowledge about the alternatives.
If youre looking into how to be a vegan and remain healthy, its important to get enough protein. Were going to explore some ideas on how to get enough protein as a vegan in this article, giving you some insight into different things that you might try.
Lets get started.
Will Eating More Vegan Protein Sources Help You Lose Weight
Its common weight-loss advice that, in order to lose weight, you need to bump up your protein intake.
Kinda wrong, kinda right.
Of all the macronutrients , protein is the most satiating.
Thats just a fancy way of saying that, if you eat more protein at a meal, you will likely feel more satisfied for longer.
Thats a big deal in the weight loss world where a decrease in caloric intake usually means a shift in hunger and fullness levels. Ensuring protein at every meal will increase satisfaction and hopefully, decrease the desire to overeat.
While satiation is important in weight loss, its not the only factor. Adding in amino acids in any variety will work- you dont need to overload your plate with too much protein to get this effect.
Fiber, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will also increase satiation as will a little bit of fat!
High Protein Vegan Meals
Following a high-protein diet powered by plants just requires a small amount of planning and getting to know the protein-rich options you enjoy eating most. And getting good vegan meal prep is a great way to ensure you are always staying on track of your nutrition.
Feeling overwhelmed with planning, prepping, and balancing your vegan meals? Why not opt for a meal prep delivery service that has done all the hard work for you. We’ll send you high protein vegan meals right to your door, all you need to do is enjoy them!
Ready to get started?
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What Are The Best Sources Of Protein
The bottom line: The best sources of protein are whole plant foods, which provide ample protein without any cholesterol.
Ready to get started? Check out Forks Meal Planner, FOKs easy weekly meal-planning tool to keep you on a healthy plant-based path. To learn more about a whole-food, plant-based diet, visit our Plant-Based Primer.
How Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein
Vegetarians may be at risk of having a protein deficiency, so its important to incorporate more plant-based protein into your diet.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture , most adult women should eat about 5 ounces of protein a day, while most adult men should eat between 5.5 and 6 ounces. One egg, one tablespoon of peanut butter, or half an ounce of nuts or seeds is equal to one ounce of protein. Meeting these goals can be done easily by adding plant-based proteins to every meal.
The USDA recommends building your meals around proteins such as beans, lentils, and rice. Think about which of these foods you like and how you can incorporate them throughout your day. Here are some examples of plant-based protein sources for you to try:
After choosing your favorite protein sources from the list above, start looking for recipes to try for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Be adventurous and add new items to your grocery list. Its a lot of fun to research recipes before heading to the supermarket.
For more information on maintaining a healthy diet, consult a registered dietitian at UPMC.
Protein For Vegetarian And Vegan Athletes
Can you be a vegetarian or vegan athlete and meet your protein needs? It is an outdated myth that it is difficult to meet protein requirements from plant sources. Choosing your individual approach to eating needs to fit your lifestyle, whether thats for your individual health needs or other personal reasons.
Additionally, your eating preferences do not need to be labeled. Everything in moderation, right?
Lets explore this more in detail below and dispel some myths regarding vegan and vegetarian diets.
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The Easy Way For Vegans To Get Enough Protein Every Day
As it turns out, I weigh around 140 pounds, so the 83 grams of protein mentioned above is right about what I aim for.
So how do I get my 83 grams of protein per day?
My approach to getting enough protein is very simple:
Make sure you include a decent protein source, even if just a little bit, in every meal or snack.
Mainly, this just keeps you mindful and prevents you from slipping into junk-food-vegan, carbohydrate-only mode.
So what does this mean in terms of actual foods? Try these:
- Adding protein powder to your smoothie.
- Eating a whole-wheat bagel with peanut or almond butter for a snack.
- Including beans in your pasta dishes .
- Lots of lentils.
- Hummus on a whole wheat pita for a snack.
- Putting nuts on your salad or eating them alone as a snack.
- Eating quinoa as part of the main dish or a side.
- Occasionally eating soy products, like tempeh, but dont forget all the high-protein vegan alternatives to soy!
See? No huge numbers here, but mix in a few of them every day, and its no problem at all to get anywhere from 60-100 grams of protein, especially when you count all the other foods you eat that contain smaller amounts of protein. My point here isnt to get you to start counting protein grams throughout the day I certainly dont do that but you can see just how easy it is to get the protein you need.
A few other favorite, high-protein vegan recipes:
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