How Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein

Is Protein Deficiency A Real Thing

How Do Vegans Get Enough Protein?

However, since doing research for this post, Im wondering if I should get my vitamin, nutrient, and protein levels checked by my doctor, just to assess if my current approach to my diet is adequate. Although, surprisingly, none of my doctors have mentioned this when Ive shared that Im vegetarian.

Im not sure if protein deficiency is even a real thing, although there are tons of sites out there listing the symptoms of protein deficiency. There is widespread belief that protein deficiency can be experienced by vegetarians who do not include sufficient amounts of a variety of plant-based protein sources in their diet. A few of the supposed symptoms of protein deficiency include:

  • mental or physical tiredness,
  • inability to focus or concentrate,
  • hair loss and brittle nails,
  • headaches and nausea, and
  • cranky, anxious, or depressed moods, just to name a few.

However, Im discovering it is difficult to find medical doctors or medical sites that support this idea. Some sources suggest that protein deficiency only really shows up in the U.S. in places like hospitals or in populations such as the elderly who may not be getting adequate nutrition of any kind.

Other sources imply or outright state that protein deficiency is a very real danger for vegetarians, though many of these are selling their own product or service to combat this issue, so take that with a grain of salt.

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.

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.

You May Like: Where Can I Buy Premier Protein Shakes

The Best Veggie Protein Sources

If youre cutting out certain food groups such as meat and fish, you might think your protein options are somewhat limited, but there are lots of options for packing in the nutrients.;

Grains and pulses

And its well worth having that bowl of porridge in the morning ;50g of oats made with milk contains around 2g of protein.

Try our warm;roasted squash and Puy lentil salad, or our quinoa salad with grilled halloumi.;

Dairy products

Try our milk-based super berry smoothie;to kick off your day.;

Eggs

Soya and tofu;

Try our smoky tofu tortillas for an extra hit of protein in your wraps.Discover more info in our health benefits of tofu guide.

Nuts and seeds

Get more information on the health benefits of nuts in our essential guide.;

Want to bulk up the protein on your plate? Check out our high-protein recipe collections;for more inspiration:

So How Much Iron Do You Need To Consume On A Daily Basis

25 Best Vegan Protein Sources for Plant

The answer to this question varies a bit from person to person. Adult men and women of menopausal age require only 8mg/day. Women of childbearing age need 18mg/day and during pregnancy iron needs increase to 27mg/day.

Not getting enough iron in your diet can result in iron deficiency, which can range from simply having depleted iron stores up to to iron deficiency anemia, the most severe form of iron deficiency.

Iron deficiency anemia affects the operation of several major organ systems. According to the Center for Disease Control, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the US.

Signs of iron deficiency anemia might include one or many of the following symptoms:

  • feeling tired and weak
  • susceptibility to infection.

Someone in the early stages of iron deficiency may have no symptoms, so it is important for at-risk groups to be screened. In fact, it can take several years of iron deficiency before a problem is noticed. If youre concerned that you might be iron deficient, speak to your health care provider about getting some blood tests.

The most simple way to prevent iron deficiency is to eat a diet rich in iron.

Read Also: What Is The Best Protein To Buy

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.;

Types Of Vegetarian Diets

Although vegetarian usually means plant-based there are a few different types of vegetarian diets. What version of vegetarian diet a person follows depends on many things including health, environmental, ethical, religious or economic reasons.

The main types of vegetarianism are:;

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian people who do not eat any meat and seafood, but include dairy foods , eggs and plant foods
  • Lacto-vegetarian people who do not eat meat, seafood and eggs, but include dairy foods and plant foods
  • Ovo-vegetarian people who do not eat meat, seafood and dairy foods, but include eggs and plant foods
  • Vegan people who avoid all animal foods and only eat plant foods.

Two other diets that are not strictly vegetarian but still focus on reducing or limiting the amount of animal products eaten are:

  • Pescetarian people who do not eat any meat, but include seafood, dairy foods, eggs and plant foods
  • Flexitarian people who mainly have a plant-based diet but that sometimes includes small portions of meat and seafood; sometimes also called semi-vegetarian.

People following pescetarian or flexitarian diets often do so to get the health benefits of eating a largely vegetarian diet without giving up meat entirely.

Recommended Reading: What Is Milk Protein Isolate In Formula

How To Add More Protein To Your Vegetarian Diet

2 Minute Read

There are many ways to get more protein into your vegetarian diet ;it just takes a little planning.

Protein provides energy and helps your body function properly. Its one of three macronutrients that the human body requires. The other two macronutrients are fats and carbohydrates.

You can get protein either through meat or plants, but studies show that eating protein from plants is often healthier. A 2016 Harvard University study of more than 131,000 people showed that those who got their protein from plants had a lower risk of death from heart disease and other causes. This was especially true among people who had at least one unhealthy lifestyle factor, such as smoking, heavy drinking, being overweight or obese, or lack of exercise.

How Much Protein Do I Need

How Can Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?

Protein is essential because its used to build and repair cells. The NHS says we need 0.75g of protein for each kilogram of body mass.

So if you weigh 70kg you should aim for around 52.5g of protein each day.

On average, if your BMI is in the healthy range, it works out at 55g for men and 45g for women.

But if like me, youve started vegetarian life floundering around in the fridge wondering how much protein a lettuce contains, heres a handy guide to some common foods:

  • Medium-sized egg 6.4g
  • 400g tin of Heinz beans 20g
  • 100g of peas 5g
  • 100g of non-fat Greek yogurt 10g
  • 100g of Quorn 14.5g
  • 100g chickpeas 19g
  • 100ml of milk 3.5g

So if you have a tin of beans as part of a plant-based lunch and add some grated cheese, youre roughly there. Or try a chickpea salad with a Greek yogurt for lunch and add some peas to your dinner bingo.

You May Like: How To Get More Protein Without Carbs

Healthy High Protein Vegetarian Recipes To Eat Enough Protein

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy an item through one of those affiliate links, Successible Life may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps keep the blog running so we can continue to provide you with the best content.
This article is part of the Meal-Prep series. to learn more.

Theres a common misconception that you need to eat meat and other animal products to reach your protein requirements. As its widely believed, meat is considered a major source of protein, but there are also many plant foods that are excellent sources of protein. In fact, you should know that if you choose not to consume meat, you can still get enough protein by eating plant foods. All it requires is a small bit of thought and planning. In fact, with the help of some high protein vegetarian recipes, you can easily get all the protein you need without eating meat.

Meeting Nutritional Needs On A Vegetarian Diet

If you choose to be vegetarian or vegan, plan your diet to make sure it includes all the essential nutrients. This is even more important if you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, breastfeeding or have young children following a vegetarian diet. Eating a wide variety of foods;will make it easier to meet your nutritional requirements.;Essential nutrients that are harder to obtain in a vegetarian diet, if not carefully planned include protein, some minerals , vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Read Also: Where To Buy Ump Protein Powder

What Are Some Plant

Im a big fan of quality eating, no matter what macronutrient we are talking about. Its also why I think vegan protein sources have a leg up; they are usually of higher quality.

We dont eat in a protein vacuum. All foods are going to contain other nutrients that we have to take into consideration. When I eat a cup of lentils, not only am I getting 18 grams of protein, I also have the benefit of 16g of fiber and almost zero fat. Contrast that with a similar amount of chicken which contains zero fiber, fat, and cholesterol.

The Case Of Specific Issues In Specific Populations

How do Vegetarians get Protein!?  All Day Fit

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.

You May Like: When To Eat Protein Bars

Choose Leaner Slightly Larger Cuts Of Meat

Selecting leaner cuts of meat and increasing portion sizes slightly can significantly boost the protein content of your meal.

Whats more, your meal may even end up being lower in calories.

For example, compare the nutritional value of a 3-ounce serving of these two steaks (

34 ).

Peanut butter can also boost the flavor and nutritional value of firm fruits like apples and pears, which are rich in fiber and antioxidants yet low in protein.

In fact, spreading 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on sliced fruit can boost the total protein content by 7 grams .

Peanut butter also works well with a wide range of other ingredients, including oatmeal, celery, whole wheat toast, or yogurt.

Summary

Adding peanut butter to your diet can boost your protein intake. It may also help decrease appetite, improve heart health, and lower blood sugar.

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.

Read Also: Where Can I Buy Whey Protein

Football Legend Joe Namath

Uber-famous New York Jets player Joe Namath became a prominent vegetarian, stating in an interview, I have been a vegetarian for a few years. Fred Dryer of the Rams has been one for ten years. It shows you dont need meat to play football. Although not much is known about the details of Joe’s diet, it is evident that Namath continued his healthy eating lifestyle after leaving football, and later also successfully recovered from years of over-indulgence in alcohol.

Vegetarian Proteins That Are As Good As Meat

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

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

22.5g

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.

Read Also: What Kind Of Protein Is In Muscle Milk

What Makes A Complete Protein

A complete protein is one that contains all nine essential amino acids. The reason these nine are called essential is because of all the amino acids necessary for the healthy functioning of the body, these are the only ones the body cant produce itself.

Many experts agree nearly all sources of plant-based protein contain all the amino acids needed by the body, although the quantities of each amino acid vary quite a bit from food to food. A person could survive on a very limited diet, provided they were ingesting enough calories.

Apparently whole grains and legumes, taken in some combination together, contain all the amino acids in large enough quantities needed to build the human body. If you make sure you get beans and grains regularly, not even necessarily in the same meal or even every day, youll get enough variety to make complete proteins. A helping of rice and beans is a great example of a complete protein meal.

Unfortunately, for many of us, that prescription is going to be problematic. Since grains spike my blood sugar, I try to stay away from them. Ive got to get sufficient amounts of protein in appropriate combinations to get all those amino acids regularly without eating grains too often.

Popular Articles

Related Articles