Protein Per 7 Oz: 20 Grams
If you’re looking to lose weight and/or build muscle, yogurt should be a staple in your diet. A study printed in the Journal of Nutrition found that probiotics like the ones found in yogurt helped obese women lose nearly twice the weight compared to those who did not consume probiotics. Choose wisely: Skip over low-fat and fat-freethey’re skimmed of nutrients and satiating powerand flavored yogurts, which can contain almost as much sugar as a dessert.
But How Do You Get Enough Protein
If youre vegetarian, vegan, or even just a fan of Meatless Mondays, youve probably been asked this question.
Plant-based protein is a hot topic for plant-based eaters or anyone whose dietary choices emphasize plant foods as important components.
Much of the controversy and confusion revolves around getting enough protein and choosing the best sources.
But theres no one-size-fits-all approach to plant-based protein. Thats because:
- There are lots of different types of plant-based eaters: vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, pescatarians, people who are plant-curious or plant-forward the list goes on.
- Getting enough protein is relative. A persons ideal protein intake depends on their individual body, goals, and preferences.
- The best sources of plant-based protein may vary from person to person. Some sources may be higher-quality than others, but intolerances and allergies need to be taken into account, as well as what a person is able to eat on a consistent basis.
In this article, well cover everything you need to know about protein for plant-based eaters, including how to answer the following questions for yourself :
- Why is protein so important, and how much do you need?
- What are the best sources of plant-based protein?
- What should you do if youre struggling to meet protein needs on a plant-based diet?
Lets get started.
PN coach roundtable: Robin Beier talks plant based protein with Ryan Andres and Brian St. Pierre.
Top 16 Sources Of Plant Based Protein
Plant based Protein food is healthy and easily accessible. Vegans and vegetarians have a wide variety of vegan protein sources to choose from. What are the best vegan protein foods? What are the Top 16 Sources Of Plant Based Protein?
The first foods you might think of include vegetables, beans, and nuts. But dont you have to eat like a huge amount of those things to get enough? No you do not, just implement the proper plant based protein diet foods and you will receive all the nutrients you need!
Pumpkin seeds have 5 grams of protein in 1 oz Hemp seeds have 10.78 grams of protein In 1 oz. Almonds have 6 grams of protein in 1 oz. Pistachios have 6 grams of protein in 1 oz. Flaxseeds have 5.19 grams of protein in 1 oz. Tofu has 10 grams of protein In 1/2 cup. Oatmeal has 8 grams of protein in 1 cup cooked. Lentils have 8 grams of protein in One half cup of cooked. Chia seeds have 4.7 grams protein in 1 oz. Spirulina has 4 grams of protein in 1 tablespoon. Nutritional Yeast has 3.8 grams of protein in 1 tbsp. Soybeans have 11 grams of protein in 1/2 cup. Peas have 8 grams of protein in 1 cup. Kale has 2.9 grams of protein in 1 cup . Broccoli has 2.6 grams of protein in 1 cup chopped. Brussel Sprouts have 3 grams of protein in 1 cup chopped
Tofu is another 1 of the Top 16 Sources Of Plant Based Protein
Lentils are a healthy vegan protein food
Why Do Proteins Matter
Proteins are one of the 3 types of macronutrients that the body needs to properly function. Many of todays cuisines have meat as the primary source of proteins.
However, for vegans , finding healthy plant-based sources of protein is not as easy.
Protein is necessary for the body to repair damaged tissue or grow additional tissue. For things like making more muscle if you are working out or fixing your damaged quads after a long run. Even fixing a broken bone takes proteins.
The body also needs protein to build necessary helpers like hormones, enzymes, or blood. Use our vegan protein sources chart to get your daily ration of protein!
Is Plant Protein As Good As Animal Protein
Some people wonder if humans need animal protein to be healthy. And the truth is, plant and animal proteins are different in some ways.
All proteins are made up of amino acids, which are sort of like different colored Legos. They can be put together in different ways to serve different purposes in the body.
In all, your body uses 20 different amino acids.
Seven of those are non-essential amino acids. Thats because your body can create them on its own.
There are also four conditionally essential amino acids, which your body can make, but not always. For example, your body might have a harder time making enough of them when youre sick or after a really tough workout.
The other nine amino acids are known as essential amino acids . Your body cant make these, so you have to get them from food.
This is important, because EAAs play key roles in building and repairing tissuelike musclebut also in building hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters.
Branched-chain amino acids , a subcategory of EAAs, are especially important for their role in muscle protein synthesis.
Muscle protein synthesis is the process your body uses to repair and build muscle after exercise. While muscle protein synthesis is much more complicated than just one amino acid, leucine plays an integral role in triggering the process, which makes it probably the most well-known BCAA.
These terms refer to whether a food has enough of all nine EAAs to meet your protein needs if you only ate that food.
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How To Cook With Plant
When using a plant-based protein, take into consideration that its cooking properties can differ from that of an animal-based protein. For instance, if using canned beans in a chili in place of raw ground beef, you wont need to sauté the beans. Flavor will differ, too. You may get less umami that savory sense of taste. So, in addition to the plant-based protein, consider punching up taste other ways, like including mushrooms, soy sauce, or other umami-rich ingredients, says Newgent.
Asche shares similar advice. Plant-based proteins, such as tofu and tempeh are incredibly easy to make, but they need to be seasoned or marinated. If you try to just cut up some tofu and grill it in a pan, chances are youre not going to enjoy it, she says.
Just how much protein you can get from plant-based sources can vary. Below is a look at the protein in common sources, along with some low-fuss recipes to help you ease your way into eating more protein from plants.
Can You Get Enough Protein As A Vegan Athlete
Being vegan can have its challenges for athletes and those who exercise, as it is important to ensure there is adequate energy and protein, omega-3 fatty acids as well as some key nutrients such as vitamin B12, zinc and iron, as well as calorie intake.
A recent study by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that vegan diets can be more difficult to maintain and that there may be some issues around digestion and absorption of key nutrients, but with careful management and some supplementation, a vegan diet can achieve the needs of most athletes satisfactorily.
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How Much Protein Do I Need
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the recommended daily allowance for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. Multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36 thats how many grams of protein you should be getting each day at a minimum. Therefore, if you weigh 150 lb, youd aim for 54 g of protein daily. To think of it another way, protein should make up between 10 and 35 percent of your daily calorie intake, says Shira Sussi, RDN, the founder of Shira Sussi Nutrition in Brooklyn, New York.
Thats not a difficult ask for most Americans. We are not terribly worried about getting enough protein most Americans are meeting or exceeding the recommended intake, Sessions says. In many cases that Ive seen working with clients and patients, they are overdoing protein intake while also underdoing the recommended intakes of the nutrient-rich vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.
Sussi suspects its because people are raised with the idea that protein specifically animal protein needs to be the center of the meal, and that a meal without protein is not satisfying or fulfilling. She challenges this thinking and says it doesnt need to be all about a large piece of meat at dinner. You could get your fix by incorporating high-quality protein to meals and snacks throughout the day, such as by adding a serving of beans to a salad or stacking grilled tofu steaks in between slices of bread for lunch, Sussi says.
Why Is Protein Important
Protein is not only necessary for muscle growth and development, but it also provides energy for your body.
Additionally, according to The Food and Drug Administration , protein plays an important part in many functions of the human body including hair growth, cell repairment, bones, immune response, and production of antibodies.
Long story short, we need it and we can get it vegan food products.
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How To Determine If You’re Eating Enough Protein As A Vegan
Those who aren’t sure they’re meeting their protein goals can easily figure that out. Download a food tracking app, such as Cronometer or MyFitnessPal, and record your regular diet for several days. Keep an eye on your protein intake and see if you’re hitting your daily number.
If you aren’t, try incorporating more of the suggested foods below into your meals. Remember, if you have another reason to need extra protein, such as being pregnant or following a rigorous training schedule at the gym, then it’s a good idea to consult a registered dietitian and pay closer attention to tracking your protein intake.
High Protein Vegetarian And Vegan Foods For Runners
Going meat-free? Here’s what to eat.
You’ve been googling ‘which are the best protein sources for vegetarians’ and ‘high protein vegan snack ideas’ so we’ve been doing our research. We all know how important protein is for runners, but if you’re going meat free, it can be daunting doing the first food shop. Below, we’ve been doing the math and working out the best sources of protein for vegetarian and vegan runners:
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Best Protein Shakes Resources
Keep in mind, the body is only able to use but a certain amount of protein at a time.
If it cant digest the remaining protein during a meal, it can go to waste and sometimes cause harm to the body.
Dont forget that you dont just get protein in this whole food plant based protein sources, but you also get many of the essential nutrients needed for good health.
If you are considering supplementing with protein powders, you may want to think twice because all of the nutrients are stripped away leaving you deficient in key vitamins and minerals.
However, aside from the alternative of making homemade protein powders which I have a great recipe for, there are some decent protein powders on the market sourced from whole foods you may enjoy.
Check out my video showing you how to make your own homemade high protein shake.
Check out my article on the 5 Best Vegan Protein Powders to find the most natural, whole food sources of protein powder on the market this year.
If you enjoyed this article, 19 Best Plant Based Protein Sources, please let me know your thoughts in the comments.
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What Are The Downsides Of Protein Isolates
The ingredients that isolates are often paired with may be more of a concern than the isolates themselves. Protein isolates are often found in the company of other ingredients with potential or confirmed negative health effects, such as:
The health of protein powders in particular has been called into question due to potential contamination with toxins like heavy metals or bisphenol A . Soy protein may contain traces of hexane from the extraction process or pesticides if it was made using GMO soybeans. Some animal and cell studies also suggest that consuming isolated soy proteins instead of whole soy may stimulate breast cancer growth.
With pea protein, sodium is a major issue. A sodium solution is often used during extraction, which can bump the sodium content of the final product up to over 300 milligrams per serving, and this may be problematic, especially for those with high blood pressure or kidney disease.
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Complete Protein For Vegans
Edamame, tempeh, tofu, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and quinoa are all considered complete proteins.
A complete protein source is one that contains all nine essential amino acids. We need each of these nine amino acids for a healthy diet hence why they’re called “essential” amino acids.
Many animal products and byproducts, like steak and eggs, are complete proteins, which is one of the main differences between many vegan and non-vegan diets.
Vegan Foods That Are Crazy High In Protein
Have you been told that animal flesh is the only viable source of protein? Lots of us have been but now we know its a lie. Theres protein in just about everything: even a simple bread roll has 11 grams of it. Plus, over half of the calories in the Vegemite on your roll also come from protein! Google it right now. Yep, youd have to eat some kind of weird apples-and-jelly-beans diet to avoid getting enough protein.
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Plant Proteins As Functional Foods
Plant proteins have also been studied for their potential as functional foods. Numerous studies have been conducted to examine the impact on cardiovascular risk, glycemia, or satiety. Many studies have focused on the functional and bioactive properties of soy protein, especially for reducing cardiovascular disease risk, modulating inflammation, or modulating the immune system . A recent systematic review examined the bioactive properties of plant protein sources other than soy, including protein from pea, lupin, fava bean, rice, oat, hemp, and lentil . Most trials reported the benefits of plant protein ingredients by examining postprandial concentrations of blood glucose, insulin, and/or appetite regulating hormones. While there was heterogeneity in results, studies that compared animal to plant protein showed no benefit of plant protein on regulating postprandial glycemia. Similarly, the benefits of plant protein as a functional food for satiety showed mixed results, although there may be some benefit to pea protein. It is likely that the bioactive components of a plant diet are often attributed to whole food sources than isolated protein. It is well known that numerous components in plants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, confer bioactive benefits for health. However, further research on plant proteins and bioactive peptides is needed.
Risks And Side Effects
The American Diabetic Association states that well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes, assuming that enough protein, omega-3s, iron and B vitamins are consumed.
That said, some vegan proteins are better than others. Many meat-avoiders turn to soy-based products for protein, including tofu, soy milk, soy protein powders and edamame.
Soy-rich foods are unfortunately commonly genetically modified and can even operate as hormone disruptors .
If you are a pregnant mother, you might want to know that eating proteins specifically from meat is linked with healthier birth weights, especially later in pregnancy. Consult your OB/GYN about dietary choices during pregnancy if you have any concerns about this.
A vegan diet can also be potentially harmful for young children with risks of inadequate supply in terms of protein quality and energy, as well as fatty acids, iron, zinc, vitamin D, iodine, calcium and vitamin B12.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some plant-based proteins are high in lectins, a group of antinutrients that can cause damage to the GI tract and interfere with absorption of nutrients.
Chickpeas And Most Varieties Of Beans
Kidney, black, pinto and most other varieties of beans contain high amounts of protein per serving.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are another legume with a high protein content.
Both beans and chickpeas contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup . They are also excellent sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and several beneficial plant compounds .
Moreover, several studies show that a diet rich in beans and other legumes can decrease cholesterol, help control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and even reduce belly fat .
Add beans to your diet by making a tasty bowl of homemade chili, or enjoy extra health benefits by sprinkling a dash of turmeric on roasted chickpeas .
Beans are health-promoting, protein-packed legumes that contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds.
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.