Vegan Diets and Protein - Bite-Size Info

I often get asked about how whether vegan diets provide people with enough protein. It's why I put this little blog post together. I hope you find it helpful

  • Proteins are made up of amino acids
  • 9 of these amino acids are considered essential
  • Protein requirements are difficult to establish. In other words we cannot be sure how much protein we really actually need on a daily basis.
  • However, what we do know is that diets that provide only the bare minimum of protein requirements are highly unlikely to be adequate in terms of energy or other nutrients. In short, diets that provide very little protein will be so scarce that you'll be unlikely to be able to function on them. 
  • Consequently, it is nearly impossible to become protein deficient if you are meeting your energy requirements with a varied diet of natural foods

Protein requirements for adults

Though there is some debate around this figure as well as some variation depending on your activity levels etc., at present the accepted requirements guidelines are  0.8 g protein/kg/day for adults.

What about vegetarian protein?

In the past it was suggested that if a protein was low in certain amino acids it needed to be complemented with another protein in the same meal that contained the amino acids at higher levels: e.g. rice (low lysine) with beans (lower in methionine)

Today : This concept has been declared as incorrect. It is thought however that ideally you should consume all 9 essential amino acids daily

A good example of the perfect protein rich plant-based meal:

Aim to make your vegan meals protein rich like the image shown below - whole grains, legumes mixed with healthy fats, leafy greens, seeds, herbs and seasonal veg. Try to stay away from making pasta based dishes such as pasta with tomato sauce or bread with olive oil your go to meal on a regular basis. Apart from not being particularly high in amino acids, it's also low on fibre, antioxidants and otehr plant-based goodness. Just sayin'.

Till next month.

Vegan Protein sources
Kimberly Espinel