How do you get enough protein on a vegan diet? As a vegan, this is honestly one of the most common questions that I get asked. One of the biggest misconceptions in today’s society is that you have to consume meat in order to get enough protein. When in reality, you do not at all!
What Is Protein?
Protein is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. It plays various roles in our body, from synthesis and repair of muscle, as an energy source and also has structural and functional roles in enzyme, hormones and antibodies. Amino acids are the building block of proteins. Of the 20 amino acids that we find in proteins, nine are essential. This means, we need to get them from our diet as our body cannot create them.
How Much Protein Do Vegans Need?
The amount of protein you need depends on your gender, age and activity.
According to Australian Nutritional Reference Values, approximately 15-25% of calories in the diet should be from protein.
This is equivalent to about 0.84g protein per kilogram of body weight for males 19-70 years old, and 0.75g protein per kg of body weight for females 19-70 years old.
Protein requirements for vegans are often 10-20% more than non-vegas. This is due to the differences in protein quality of plant-based proteins versus animal-sourced proteins.
There are several factors that make up the protein quality of food but the two main things are:
- The protein digestibility – this takes into account how much the protein is absorbed from the total protein quantity of foods
- The amino acid score or profile – this measures the essential amino acid content present in a protein and the protein is rated based on the most limiting amino acid
Therefore, the every day vegan male and female would need approximately 1g of protein per kg of body weight.
What are the best sources of protein on a vegan diet?
Almost all foods have some degree of protein in them. However when looking for protein rich foods, these foods should be high in protein per 100g.
Interested in learning more? Check out our article on How To Build Muscle On A Plant Based Diet.
If you’re following a plant-based or vegan diet and want to make sure you’re meeting all your nutritional needs, take control and book in to see one of our expert vegan dietitians.