Is It Possible To Get Enough Protein If You Dont Eat Meat
It’s absolutely possible to meet protein and other nutrient needs without meat, says Cynthia Sass, RD, a dietitian who specializes in plant-based nutrition. From a young age we’re taught that our bodies need meat. In reality, our bodies need key nutrients that are found in meat, but we can obtain adequate amounts from plant-based foods, she explains.
Swanson Greenfoods Vegan Protein Powder With Probiotics
Why you should avoid it: It contains a significant amount of added sugar
Even plant-based products are not all good. Swanson combines two strains of bacteria with hemp, rice, and pea protein to create their tub of scoopable nutrition. In theory, this all sounds like a good thinga terrific two-for-one option for smoothie and protein shake lovers alikebut unfortunately, the makers behind this blend also packed in tons of brown rice syrup solids, which ups the sugar count to a whopping 20 grams in a standard three-scoop serving. Skip it.
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Eat This, Not That!
Harnessing The Power Of Plant Protein
Daily protein intake varies from person to person. It also depends on how active you are, and what other dietary concerns you may have. A simple way to determine how much protein you need on the daily is to multiply your weight by 0.36. That total is the # of grams of protein you need per day.
So a 150 lb person should consume at least 54 grams of protein per day if they live a sedentary lifestyle. While scientists are def at odds on how much protein is the right amount, they all seem to agree that more protein is better than less, and protein from whole food sources is incredibly important.
How Much Protein Is Needed
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the average adult should consume approximately 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of their body weight, or 0.35 grams per pound. For example, an individual weighing 153 pounds would need to consume at least 53.5 grams of protein per day. However, this is just a minimum recommendation. Other lifestyle factors should be considered, such as activity level, health goals like weight loss or muscle gain, whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and other medical conditions in order to modify ones protein needs.
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.
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What I Look For In The Best Protein Bar
Since there are literally supermarket shelves stuffed with myriad brands of protein bars, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind.
If you’re like me and keeping total calories and carbs is your goal, look for a protein bar that provides less than 220 calories, 10 or more grams of protein, and sugars are limited to no more than 10 grams or 2 ½ teaspoons.
If you need calories and carbs to fuel your active lifestyle, then follow these guidelines of keeping calories to about 300 calories, 12 or more grams of protein, and less than 20 grams or 5 teaspoons of sugar.
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One thing is going all-in on plant-based protein foods another is to be able to lose weight. Unfortunately, veggies, fruits, and nuts are not a guarantee that you will lose weight and burn fat.
So if you are starting to become desperate because you are losing weight? Then check out PhenQ! It is a fat burner that gives you a lot of different qualities that can help you to solve most of the issues you are dealing with when trying to lose weight. Also, read the full review here.
Another approach you can use, that also works with plant-based protein foods is to suppress your appetite. It is a great way to lower your calorie intake without getting hungry. Here you can use a supplement like Zotrim or one of the best OTC appetite suppressants.
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What Are Some Easy Ways To Incorporate Plant
According to Sass, when you’re eating healthfully, the bulk of your meals should be plant-based anyway: veggies, a plant-based fat, like extra virgin olive oil, avocado, or tahini and a whole grain or starchy veggie, like quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato or spaghetti squash.
That means the only switch you need to make is to trade your meat for a plant alternative, which is easier than you think, she says. For many people, when they think about what to make for dinner they focus on meat first. Change that pattern by adding pulses and pea protein-based meat substitutes to your protein list, she suggests.
To get more comfortable with plant proteins, Jackie Newgent, RDN and author of “The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook”, recommends starting off with plant protein-rich ingredients, like peanut butter or hummus, which youre already acquainted with and then taking it from there. For instance, if youre already enjoying hummus as a dip, use it as a sandwich spread or a toast topper, she says.
Amy Gorin, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition, suggests a similar approach in this case, for smoothie lovers: Blend plant proteins, like edamame, tofu, or canned chickpeas in for a protein punch. These mix-ins pick up the flavors of the other ingredients, and so they wont taste as strong as if you were to eat them alone.
Try this recipe:High Protein Vanilla Bean Smoothie
Try this recipe: Vegan Breakfast Tacos
Best Plant Protein Sources
If youre a vegetarian but not a vegan, you might incorporate these other protein sources into your diet:
- Eggs or egg whites: Eggs are a low-cost and nutritious source of protein. Each egg provides 6 to 8 grams. If you use egg whites, youll get fewer calories, but youll miss out on vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins housed in the yolk.
- Dairy products: Milk, cheese and yogurt are excellent sources of protein and calcium. To get the most protein bang for your buck, choose cottage cheese or plain Greek yogurt. Both pack 13 grams of protein or more per serving, and you can dress them up with fruit, nuts or granola for a filling breakfast or snack.
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How To Use Plant Proteins
If youre new to plant-based eating, rest assured that there are plenty of ways to get enough protein without much effort.
Here are some of the best plant sources of protein and how much youll find in them:
- Tofu, 1/2 cup serving: 10 grams
- Tempeh, 1/2 cup serving: 15 grams
- Black beans, ½ cup canned: 7.5 grams
- Chickpeas, ½ cup canned: 7 grams
- Green peas, ½ cup cooked: 4 grams
- Lentils, ½ cup cooked: 8 grams
- Peanut butter, 2 tablespoons: 8 grams
- Flax seeds, ¼ cup: 7 grams
- Seitan, 3 oz serving: 20 grams
- Quinoa, ½ cup cooked: 2 grams
- Broccoli, 1 cup cooked: 5 grams
Tofu, tempeh, and seitan work great in stir fry dishes, sliced and used in sandwiches, or sautéed into a breakfast scramble or taco filling. Beans can be thrown into any soup or salad, used to make bean dip or hummus, included in homemade veggie burger patties and enchiladas, or marinated as a side dish. Heck, I even use them in brownies and smoothies..
I love adding nuts and seeds to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, and pudding, or made into a crunchy trail mix. Quinoa and other grains can be used as a base for roasted veggies, made into a cold grain salad with dressing, or even cooked into a breakfast bowl. And of course, veggies can be eaten raw or cooked, added to just about any meal or snack.
Weigh-in: What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy plant-based protein sources?
Dive further into the science on protein with these articles:
Protein Is One Of The Most Talked
People have been led to believe that protein is such an essential nutrient that one must actively pursue foods that contain high amounts of it, even when those foods, such as meat and dairy, compromise our health in so many ways. We have also been led to believe that only animal-based foods contain sufficient protein and, furthermore, that we need to eat those foods to avoid becoming protein deficient. The reality is that protein deficiency is almost exclusively seen in people suffering from a calorie deficiency. In these cases, there will be an overall nutrient deficiency, not just protein deficiency, and when this happens the concern should be getting more calories and all nutrients, and not just more protein.
As for how much protein a person needs, the answer is the amount that a diet of whole, plant-based foods provides. Are you concerned about not getting enough protein? Dont be. All whole, plant-based foods have protein. People thrive on a plant-based diet without ever going out of their way to find sources of protein. Indeed, weve evolved over millions of years without ever aiming for a source of this or any other nutrient.
You should not concern yourself about how much protein youre getting any more than you should worry about the perfect number of breaths you should take in a day.
Here are some of the best plant-protein sources in our list:
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Ask A Nutritionist: What Are The Best Sources Of Plant
Maybe youve heard of the EAT-Lancet Commission Report that outlines a healthy-people, healthy-planet eating pattern. This report, which was developed by 37 scientists and released earlier this year, found that the best diet for both people and the planet includes a variety of plant-based foods, is low in animal proteins, favors unsaturated over saturated fats, and limits refined grains, highly processed foods, and added sugars.
Evidence suggests this pattern of eating is linked with a longer life expectancy, and just as importantly, a quality of life that includes a healthier body and mind.
Eating more plant-based foods can do your body a world of good. Past studies show this eating pattern may reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes promote a slimmer waistline and healthier body weight provide higher levels of important nutrients, such as magnesium, potassium, iron, folate, and fiber reduce inflammation and oxidative stress that can promote cell damage , and promotes a sharper mind with fewer memory problems over time.
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.
If You Dont Eat Meat How Do You Get Enough Protein
Its true, of course beef, chicken and other animal proteins are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and fatty acids.1 But, meat isnt the only significant source of protein nature provides.
In fact, we are living in an age of protein obsession. It seems most people are protein-aholics.
Theres a chance you probably eat too much protein from meat and too little from veggies. And thats unhealthy for your heart and the environment.
What The Experts Say About Plant
Before we move onto good vegan and vegetarian protein sources for getting this amount, lets take a look at what some well-known and credentialed vegans say about protein.
- In the documentary Forks Over Knives, China Study author Dr. T. Colin Campbell says that you need 8 to 10 percent of your calories to come from protein.
- Vegan Ironman Brendan Brazier, in his appearance on No Meat Athlete radio, says he eats about 15 percent protein when training for short events, and close to 20 percent protein during periods of heavy training for long endurance events.
- Tim Ferriss writes in The 4-Hour Body that ultrarunner Scott Jurek gets 15 to 20 percent of his calories from protein.
- Matt Ruscigno, in the post he wrote for No Meat Athlete about protein for vegetarians, says he recommends that his athlete clients get 10 to 15 percent of their calories from protein.
Notice that everybody expresses things in percentage protein instead of grams, in order to more easily account for different body masses.
How does our 83 grams of protein, for a 140-pound female endurance athlete stack up in terms of percentage of total calories?
Well, the first thing to note is that a gram of protein contains four calories. So:
83 grams * 4 calories/gram = 332 calories of protein
322 calories of protein / 2375 total calories = 13.6% of calories from protein
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Garden Of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder
Protein source: Organic sprouted protein blend
This complete protein showcases 13 raw and organic sprouts, with 17 grams of protein per serving, all the essential amino acids your body needs, plus tea and cinnamon extract. Just make sure you whip up a smoothie using a healthy fat like nut butter or avocado. The makers of this powder load it with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which can only be fully absorbed by your body when paired with a healthy fat. Their original unflavored powder works in any post-workout shake, but we’re suckers for slimming, satisfying chocolate versions.
When you’re looking for an option with rice, make sure the brand uses sprouted brown rice , not just “rice protein.” Sprouting the rice reduces the amount of carbs and heightens the amount of protein, which lowers the glycemic effect and increases the nutritional profile. Plus, when rice protein is sprouted, it changes in genetic makeup to make its nutrients more bioavailable to the body, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.
The Best And Worst Protein Sources To Eat For Your Health According To Dietitians
It’s important to get enough protein, but not all are created equal.
It’s important to eat enough protein throughout the day, as it aids in muscle recovery and repair, boosting your metabolism and keeping hunger at bay. However, it’s all about quality, too, and different types of protein bring different nutrition to the table.
“When determining what types of protein are the best, I first think in terms of bioavailability, which is the portion of a nutrient that is absorbed in the digestive tract, its essential amino acid composition and its digestibility. But we also must consider sustainability and other nutritional benefits that are included in the source,” says Nicole Magryta RDN, author of Nourish Your Tribe: Empowering Parents to Grow Strong, Smart, Successful Kids.
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And that means considering whether it’s a whole food, made of good ingredients, offers a hefty dose of protein per serving and tastes just as good as it is for you. These are the best and worst sources of protein to eat for your health, according to dietitians.
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Muscle Milk Protein Powder
Why you should avoid it: It’s full of toxic contaminants, chemical additives, and sugar.
Besides the fact that Muscle Milk also adds a slew of sweeteners , that might not even be the worst thing about it. According to a 2010 list from Consumer Reports, Muscle Milk was number one on a list of protein-promising powders that had toxic heavy metal contamination from all their chemical additives. They found levels of cadmium, arsenic, mercury, and lead that nearly reached or surpassed the United States Pharmacopeia daily intake limits. Cadmium raises special concern because it accumulates in and can damage the kidneys, the same organs that can be damaged by excessive protein consumption. There’s even more concern in this case, because these toxic heavy metals are found in a product that is marketed for daily use. We’d recommend you put down the Metal Milk.