PLANT-BASED PROTEIN: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
AM I GETTING ENOUGH PROTEIN?
Proteins are made up of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids, 9 of which must be obtained from your diet, as they cannot be produced by your body. Protein is found in nearly every cell and plays many important roles: It helps your body repair and build cells and body tissue, is necessary for proper development in childhood and during pregnancy and is a major component of your muscles, bones, skin and hair. It is also important for several processes in your body such as fluid balance and hormone and enzyme production.
The recommended daily protein intake for healthy adults is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. As part of your daily caloric intake, protein should make up anywhere between 10-35 percent. An individual's protein requirement is dependent on their body weight and activity level. The presence of wounds, injury and certain diseases may increase a person's daily requirement.
THE BEST PLANT-BASED PROTEIN SOURCES
There are three different types of proteins: complete, incomplete and complementary. Complete proteins are sources that contain all 9 of the essential amino acids. Examples include soy, quinoa, buckwheat, spirulina, chia seeds and hemp seeds.
Incomplete proteins are those that contain little or no essential amino acids. These include nuts, legumes, vegetables and grains. These proteins need to be paired with other incomplete proteins in order to have a complete protein profile and become what are known as complementary proteins. These proteins include rice and beans, spinach and almonds, and hummus and whole-grain pita. It is not required to eat complementary proteins in the same meal. They just need to be eaten within a 24-hour period since they are not readily stored in the body.
SHOULD I CONSIDER TAKING PLANT-BASED PROTEIN POWDER?
Plant-based foods provide us with a wide variety of protein sources, but it may be challenging to get the recommended amount of protein you need in a day.
If your diet is lacking in any of the plant-based protein sources previously listed, then it is advisable to incorporate a protein powder. It is acceptable to start with just one serving per day and adjust as needed, especially if exercise is part of your daily routine. We recommend using powders that are clean and minimally processed, with/without enzymes,with no added colors, preservatives, additives and ideally without sweeteners.
Some individual plant-based foods are not a complete protein, but when paired together, they can provide all the amino acids you need. Therefore, it is important to ensure you are incorporating a variety of foods in your diet. Check out our meal plans to find a well-balanced one that's right for you.