“Where do you get your protein?”
It is a question all too common for anyone who has tried to reduce their consumption of animal products. Likewise, it is one of the first concerns one may have after learning about the cruelty and environmental impact of the factory farming industry, or the health risks excess animal products can cause.The idea that a vegan diet is not adequate in protein, even for very active individuals, is a myth that many people believe. However, this is far from the truth.
There are many reasons why this myth is perpetrated, but here are four big ones:
The Incomplete Protein Myth
- The “incomplete protein myth” states that you need to combine certain plant foods to get all of the essential amino acids that your body needs. The reality is that ALL plant foods are complete proteins, but some may have higher amounts of certain amino acids than others. As long as your diet is somewhat varied, combining specific foods during meals is unnecessary. Even the creator of the “protein combining” theory has retracted their opinion on this subject.
Uncertainty As to Which Plant Foods are High in Protein
- People may think they need animal products to get protein simply because they don’t know how much protein plant foods actually contain. Here is a short list of accessible and easy to prepare foods that illustrate how easy it is to meet daily protein requirements as a vegetarian:
- Soybeans dried: 100g = 40g protein
- Lentils: 100g dried = 26g protein
- Split Peas: 100g dried = 25g protein
- Oats: 100g dried = 17g protein
The list goes on!
Weak Anecdotal Evidence
- Since a very low percentage of the population are vegan, one may know few, if any, athletes who eat purely vegetarian. Most who are into strength and exercise have been told they need to a lot of animal protein, and they pass this information onto others. This can even include doctors or professional athletes. However, anecdotal claims are not facts, and can be easily skewed or bias. That’s why it is important to be informed of actual facts from properly conducted research rather than individual claims.
Deceptive Marketing Tactics
- Food companies are constantly promoting their products as a “good source of protein”. This is a bit of a misnomer since “protein deficiency” is nearly impossible if you are consuming your daily recommended amount of calories. Medical protein deficiency, known as kwashiorkor, is very rare and mainly found in starving populations. Foods such as potatoes or whole wheat pasta are adequate sources of protein that would add up quickly if you consumed 2000 calories of it (we don’t recommend this, though). The most current scientific knowledge on nutrient needs suggest a very active 6 feet tall 180lb man only needs 65g of protein a day. You can check your requirements here.
If you’re interested in learning more about vegan protein sources, check out the full article located at: https://thrivecuisine.com/lifestyle/ultimate-guide-vegan-protein