Innermost discusses concerns for protein on a vegan diet

Published: 13-Jan-2022

In the article below, Innermost Nutritionist Eleanor Thrupp discusses protein intake on a vegan diet

Can I get enough protein from a plant-based diet?

In a word, yes. There is plenty of protein in plant foods, especially tofu, legumes, pulses, grains, nuts, seeds and beans. However, and it’s a big however, the main challenge facing vegans lies with separating protein from other macronutrients. Animal sources of protein are much higher in protein and are considered to be complete sources of protein because they contain all of the essential amino acids that your body needs to function effectively.

On the contrary, plant protein sources are incomplete, as they lack one or more of the essential amino acids that your body needs. It is therefore considered easier for a meat-eater to drill down and hit their macronutrient needs. This isn’t a problem; it just means those on a plant-based diet may need to get more creative and pay closer attention when tracking their nutrition.

As a vegan, do I need a protein powder supplement?

Some will get enough protein from their diet; however, protein supplements could be beneficial no matter your lifestyle. The amount of protein per 100g is going to be less for a plant-based eater, in which case we might advocate the use of a supplement. This is especially true if you’re looking to build muscle or you’re working out regularly and need some help with the repair and recovery process.

How much protein do vegans need?

Vegan or not, a human’s recommended dietary allowance, which refers to the amount of a nutrient you need to fulfil basic nutritional requirements, is around 0.8g per kilo of body weight. While this might satisfy the minimum requirement, it’s not enough for athletes or people who are working out regularly.

Sportspeople training at an elite level eat around 1-2g of protein per kilo of body weight every day, and if you’ve just started an intense workout programme, you should be aiming for closer to that.

Are vegan protein shakes as effective as regular whey protein ones?

Vegan protein is proven to be very effective and this goes back to the importance of how complete a source of amino acids the protein is that you’re consuming is.

When formulating The Health Protein, Innermost used a combination of pea and brown rice protein. Brown rice contains all 9 essential amino acids, while pea protein is the closest plant-based protein to a complete amino acid profile. By combining both together and then enhancing it with antioxidant-rich berries and Japanese medicinal mushrooms, you get an incredible tasting vegan protein that has your health at its heart.

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