How Much Protein Is Really Needed As A Vegan Or Vegetarian Athlete
Well, that depends. There is no research that a vegetarian or vegan athlete has higher protein needs than someone consuming a mixed diet. However, consuming the variety of foods, complementary proteins, and essential amino acids must be taken into account for an overall balanced intake.
According to the Recommended Daily Allowance , the average person needs 0.8 grams/kilogram a day of protein.
An active individual has increased protein needs. Exercising or training five or more days per week requires 1.2-1.7 g/kg per day. With higher intensity exercise there is increased protein utilization for protein development and tissue repair. This roughly equates to 82-116 grams of protein per day for a 150-pound person.
There has to be adequate carbohydrate and overall calorie intake for the muscles to utilize protein as well. Not consuming enough carbohydrate and fat will also force the body to break down protein for energy. However, protein is not our bodies preferred energy source and should be reserved for its main functions of building and repairing tissues.
If too much protein is consumed, as with any other nutrient, the excess is stored as fat. It is not about one nutrient but the whole picture of our intake. Consuming extra protein does not allow the body to store more protein. All extra amounts of food are stored as fat regardless of the nutrient it is consumed from.
Turkey For A Leaner Protein Choice
White meat like turkey and chicken are the leaner options, with the high protein and low calorie composition of the breast meat making these cuts the most desirable. Choosing a high protein food source with a low fat content like turkey breast is a great way to recieve the maximum health benefits from your meal.
- In comparison to chicken breast, turkey has overall less calories, less sodium and more iron. Though turkey breast might be a good option for muscle and cell repairafter workouts, overall it depends on how the meat is cooked to ensure optimum benefits.
- Grilling and roasting are considered the healthiest options, whilst frying should be avoided.
Are All Proteins Equal
Proteins are essential macro-nutrients for your body. But the term protein itself refers to chains of one or more amino acids the brick of proteins.
There are 20 amino acids that the body needs to function, and 9 of them are called essentials, which means they cant be synthesized, created by the body.
The 9 essential amino acids must then come from your food.
All proteins, regardless of their source , are made of various combinations of amino acids.
As a result, not all proteins will bring the right ratio of each amino acid, let alone the right quantity of essential amino acids.
Therefore, whatever the amount of protein you take, it is essential to diversify the sources to ensure that your body will get the right amount of each of its essential and non-essential amino acids.
Use our vegan protein sources chart to mix your vegan sources of protein!
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Tips For Increasing Your Protein Consumption
If you dont like the taste of beans or you have trouble digesting them, you will have a harder time getting enough protein as a vegan. Our beans page offers advice about how to prepare beans in ways that maximize digestibility. You may find that tofu, tempeh, and soy-milk easier to digest than other bean-based foods. Alternately, nuts, seeds, and quinoa are all rich in protein, and easily digested.
Protein powders can be a godsend to anyone who cant tolerate beans or nuts. They provide a big dose of protein, in a form thats more digestible than bean-based meals. Most brands of protein powder deliver about 20 grams of lysine-rich protein per serving. Orgain makes an inexpensive all-organic vegan protein powder that sells for half the price of competing brands. Buy a shaker cup and you wont have to dirty a blender each time you prepare a serving.
Spinach Fresh Or Cooked Fill Your Protein Cup
High in protein, iron, calcium and Vitamin A, spinach is another green vegetable to include on the high protein food shelf in your cupboard.
The difference in protein between a cup of cooked spinach , and a fresh cup comes down to density. As cooking the spinach , generally more is used and as such intake can be increased without too much struggle.
For this reason, many people dont consider spinach to be as rich a source of protein as other green vegetables, however the other nutritional benefits mean that consuming spinach alongside another high protein food , is an amazing way to take in a huge amount of nutritional benefits all in one go.
Can You Build Muscle With Vegan Protein Foods
Yes! While vegan bodybuilders have been doing this for years, now it has also been proved by science.
The results of a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that vegan protein is just as beneficial for muscle mass and strength as animal protein.
Researchers looked at the health records of nearly 3,000 men and women ages 19 to 72, as well as food questionnaires that the participants filled out.
They found that people who consumed the least amount of protein overall also had the lowest measures of muscle mass and strength.
But the type of protein people ate had no impacts on musculoskeletal health, for men or for women.
What Is The Best Tasting Protein Shake For Weight Loss
CalNatural Slim Organic Protein Drink. This product is one of the best protein shakes for women of 2018 for the weight loss program. Unlike other products, CalNaturale Svelte Organic Protein Shake tastes delicious. It is available in different flavors like French Vanilla, Chocolate, Cappuccino, etc.
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Tofu Tempeh And Edamame
Tofu, tempeh and edamame all originate from soybeans.
Soybeans are considered a whole source of protein. This means that they provide the body with all the essential amino acids it needs.
Edamame are immature soybeans with a sweet and slightly grassy taste. They need to be steamed or boiled prior to consumption and can be eaten on their own or added to soups and salads.
Tofu is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheesemaking. Tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans prior to pressing them into a patty.
Tofu doesnt have much taste, but easily absorbs the flavor of the ingredients its prepared with. Comparatively, tempeh has a characteristic nutty flavor.
Both tofu and tempeh can be used in a variety of recipes, ranging from burgers to soups and chilis.
All three contain iron, calcium and 10-19 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces .
Edamame are also rich in folate, vitamin K and fiber. Tempeh contains a good amount of probiotics, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus.
Tofu, tempeh and edamame all originate from soybeans, a complete source of protein. They also contain good amounts of several other nutrients and can be used in a variety of recipes.
What Are Good Vegetarian And Vegan Sources Of Omega
- flaxseed oil
- soya oil and soya-based foods
Omega-3 enriched eggs are also a good source if you’re a vegetarian and include eggs in your diet.
Evidence suggests that the type of omega-3 fatty acids found in these foods may not have the same benefits for reducing the risk of heart disease as those found in oily fish.
However, if you follow a vegetarian diet, you can look after your heart by eating at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day, cutting down on food that is high in saturated fat, and watching how much salt you eat.
How To Get More Protein In Your Diet
The answer to having a high protein vegan breakfast table is surprisingly simple: eat more high protein vegan foods. That means beans, legumes, nuts/seeds , peanut butter, soy products , grains , and various other plant based protein.
Veganism is delicious, healthy, environmentally-friendly, and growing in popularity, but it can be expensive if youre not buying the right vegan protein sources or getting enough of them.
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.
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Enjoyed This Read More
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council . Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
Can You Eat Too Much Protein
There is some evidence to suggest that eating too much protein may be bad for you, but this typically relates to diets high in animal proteins such as dairy and red or processed meats. A prolonged intake of high amounts of protein was once thought to contribute to bone loss and kidney damage. However, studies now suggest that in otherwise healthy individuals there is little evidence of this effect. A high protein diet does appear to be a problem for those with an existing condition or kidney dysfunction, but in otherwise healthy people, including the elderly, higher protein intakes may actually be beneficial by helping to prevent muscle loss.
Little research has been conducted into any risks associated with high protein vegan diets, although it is always important to ensure that there is variety and that attention is paid to vitamin and mineral requirements, especially in pregnancy.
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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
- 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.
Nuts Nut Butters And Other Seeds
Nuts, seeds and their derived products are great sources of protein.
One ounce contains between 57 grams of protein, depending on the nut and seed variety .
Nuts and seeds are also great sources of fiber and healthy fats, in addition to iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin E and certain B vitamins. They also contain antioxidants, among other beneficial plant compounds .
When choosing which nuts and seeds to buy, keep in mind that blanching and roasting may damage the nutrients in nuts. So reach for raw, unblanched versions whenever possible .
Also, try opting for natural nut butters to avoid the oil, sugar and excess salt often added to many household brand varieties.
Nuts, seeds and their butters are an easy way to add plant protein, vitamins and minerals to your diet. Opt to consume them raw, unblanched and with no other additives to maximize their nutrient content.
Soybean Highest Protein Source For Vegetarians
One serving of Soybean 86g has,
Protein Quality Score 118
Notable Nutritions High Fiber, omega-3 omega-6, Calcium, Vitamin K, Iron, Manganese, Riboflavin
Benefits Soybean is low in carb content and high in fiber and protein content, which helps in keeping you full for long and also reduces your caloric intake for the day. As I mentioned above, soybean is one of the top food items for protein intake in vegetarians. It is useful for losing weight as well as building muscles.
How much to eat ¼ cup of cooked soybean is recommended for people trying to lose weight and 100 grams for people building muscles.
When and how to eat You can prepare Indian soybean sabji for lunch or add it in your rice. You can also toss it with fresh vegetables and spices for a refreshing salad, for both, losing weight and building muscles.
|Fat: 0.1 g|
Notable Nutritions Also Good Source of Calcium
Benefits As compare to VERY HIGH PROTEIN quantity, Soya chunks are less in fat content and caloric count. This protein food is effective substitute of meat for vegetarians. They also help in lowering blood sugar levels and keeping you full for longer. It is no wonder that soya is loaded with protein and thus is helpful for building muscles. Soya chunks are also rich in calcium which help in building stronger teeth and bones.
When and how to eat You can boil them and eat raw as Salad or can be mixed with brown rice or made into a Sabji and eaten for either breakfast or lunch.
Going Vegan: The Rise & Challengesyour Browser Indicates If You’ve Visited This Link
However, one of the biggest challenges for the vegan market is to achieve the right taste and texture of plant-based products as that of their meat-based products. This results in a negative outlook among the consumers as they are used to the conventional products leading to a decline in acceptance.
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Veggies Beans And Lentils
Not only do vegetables, beans, and lentils have heaps of protein in them, theyre also superior to animal-based protein sources. Who needs saturated fat, cholesterol, antibiotics, hormones, faeces, and bad karma when you can eat plants loaded with antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, other nutrients, and good vibes? These foods not only dont increase your risk of developing cancer and disease, as meat does, but actually lower it.
Artichokes 8 grams of protein per cup: Great source of vitamin C, fibre, potassium, and magnesium
Asparagus 4.5 grams of protein per cooked cup: Great source of B vitamins and folate
Avocado 4 grams of protein per cup: Loaded with vitamins C, E, K, and B6 as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium
Black Beans 15 grams of protein per cup: Great source of antioxidants, fibre, folate, copper, manganese, thiamine, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron
Broccoli 4 grams of protein per cooked cup: Great source of calcium, vitamin C, fibre, and B vitamins
Chickpeas 15 grams of protein per cooked cup: Great source of fibre, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese
Edamame 20 grams per cup: Great source of vitamin K1, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, iron, copper, and manganese
Green Peas 9 grams of protein per cooked cup: Great source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and several B vitamins as well as fibre, folate, manganese, and vitamins A, C, and K
Other Vegan Protein Sources
In addition to the foods mentioned above, there are a few others that provide you with a good amount of protein.
These include spirulina, a blue-green algae in powder form, which is typically used by vegans as an add-on to their smoothies and salads. A tablespoon has 4 grams of protein.
There are also seeds with a high protein content such as hemp seeds , and chia seeds .
And of course, nut butters such as almond butter, pistachio butter, hazelnut butter, and peanut butter are not only tasty dips and spreads but are great sources of protein for vegans.
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Vegetarian Diet For Weight Loss
Now that we have our list of the best vegetarian protein sources, lets take a look at how to use them for weight loss.
Its important to remember that being high in protein doesnt mean you wont gain weight when you consume them excessively. As with any food, you should keep track of how much you are eating from protein-rich foods.
If youre looking for a well planned vegetarian meal plan for weight loss, weve got you covered! Check out our 7-Day High Protein Vegetarian Meal Plan for Weight Loss for a balanced and delicious plan.
In conclusion, always remember that balance is key. To lose weight, you should eat fewer calories than you burn. Whether youre going overboard on protein, fat, or carbohydrate doesnt matter, you will end up gaining weight if you go over your daily caloric intake.