How Much Protein We Actually Need

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The myth that vegans don’t get enough protein is one long powering the meat industry’s disinformation that only the ‘right’ protein comes from animals. This myth has been dispelled many times over, but for a quick reference, here are some key findings.

It’s easy to get enough protein whilst enjoying your favourite vegan meals and no, you don’t need to supplement vitamins or protein shakes in order to do so either.

As humans we tend to overeat with the massive selections of food available to us. You only really need between 0.8 – 1.0 grams of protein for every kilogram you weigh. So if you weigh 60kgs, or 132 pounds you need between 48-60 grams of protein a day.

It’s easy for a vegan diet to meet this daily recommendation for protein. Nearly all vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds contain protein. Conversely, fruits, sugars, fats and alcohol don’t provide as much, so a diet of only these foods wouldn’t be recommended.

Our bodies are made up of varying combinations of proteins and amino acids. Of the 20 amino acids, our bodies can make only half by itself, and the rest need to be consumed by eating a healthy vegan diet.

People believe that dairy, meat and fish is ‘’higher quality’’ protein as it contains large amounts of amino acids; but so does soybeans, quinoa and spinach. What’s more, it’s been proven that eating large portions of meat is linked to endometrial, pancreatic and prostate cancer, of which vegetables are not.

Vegan beans

Diet Example

Let’s say you’re a female vegan weighing in at 58kgs, below is a typical meal plan which would more than satisfy the 58 grams of protein you need on a daily basis to keep going.

Breakfast: Two slices of whole wheat bread, two tablespoons of peanut butter (16 grams of protein.)
Lunch: Small soy yogurt, 2 tablespoons of almonds and 1 baked potato (13 grams of protein.)
Dinner: Cup of cooked lentils and cup of cooked Bulgar (24 grams of protein.)
Snack: Six crackers, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (10 grams.)

That’s already 60+ grams of protein! Obviously you may need to throw in a few extras like fruits, vegetables and the like (after all a baked potato alone for lunch may be quite dull) but it demonstrates the point that we as humans generally overindulge on protein – and food overall.

*References for this article taken from the Vegetarian Resource Group, here.

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