Fact or Myth? “There is not enough protein in a vegan diet.”
Let’s analyze this comment by doing some calculations on a vegan/plant based diet.
To get a complete protein with all your essential amino acids when eating only a plant based diet, it is best you eat two of the three of the following food groups every day :
#2 Whole grains
The one nutrient that is impossible to get enough of is Vitamin B12. So you have to supplement with Methylcobalamin supplement. This is available at Costco!
How to calculate your daily Protein needs:
- You need to know your ideal body weight. NOT your actual weight unless you are one of the fortunate few whose weight is between a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 19-24.9. Majority of Americans have a BMI is 25 or more (Asians that number starts at 23 or more). A BMI of >25 is in the overweight or obese categories. This would not be considered your ideal body weight. To calculate your ideal body weight use a BMI chart to figure this out. Below is a BMI chart I screen shot from internet (apologies for blurriness but you can get a better view from this link https://www.hmrprogram.com/resources/getting-started/bmi-chart ).
- Find your height by looking in the first column- I circled 5’4″. After you find that on chart, go across to your weight. If it is not in the Green zone, then you need to calculate your ideal weight. Go back to Green zone for you height level. Pick any of the weight from Green zone for your height. Big boned folks pick BMI of 24. Average person pick 23. For example for someone who is 5’4″ and a BMI of 21. That persons ideal body weight is 122 lbs. For BMI of 23, that 5’4″person’s ideal body weight would be 134 lbs.
- This will be the weight you use to calculate your daily protein needs.
3. Once you know your ideal body weight, you will need to multiply it by the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of protein per pound of ideal body weight. So for average adult that factor would be 0. 36.
The chart below gives you some estimations.
Back to our example. Ideal body weight 122 lbs X 0.36 = 44 gm of protein per day is the RDA. Using the weight of 134 lbs ->48 gm
4. Here is a chart of foods and the amount of protein that it contains.
Sample diet for our 5’4″ example person who needs 44gm pf protein per day.
As you can see a Vegan Diet supplies plenty of protein.
Our example person needed 44 gm of protein a day and the sample diet supplied 55-72 gm of protein per day.
Of course if you are a bigger person, you portion sizes would be larger and hence protein amounts increases accordingly. Plus for athletes, there are many varieties of protein powders and drinks to meet increase protein needs.
So there we have it. “There is not enough protein in a vegan diet.” IS A MYTH