Choosing a vegan lifestyle can come with a fantastic range of benefits, but it also requires some special considerations. No matter what your dietary preferences are, a well-rounded diet is vital. For many vegans, one of the biggest nutritional concerns is protein. So, do you get enough protein on a vegan diet?
The answer is yes. With the right approach as a vegan, you can figure out how to get enough protein.
What is Protein?
Protein is one of the essential macronutrients, made from more than 20 building blocks known as “amino acids” (BCAAs). Protein is found throughout our bodies in our muscles, bones, skin, hair, and virtually every other tissue and body part.
Protein is the fuel that helps power many crucial chemical reactions and functions and is an essential component of our muscle mass. Although protein often comes from animal sources, there are also many plant sources for protein.
How Much Protein Does a Vegan Need?
According to the National Academy of Medicine, adults should get a minimum of approximately 7 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight (0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight). So, for a person weighing 140 pounds, that works out to about 50 grams of protein per day.
This guideline applies to all adults, regardless of their dietary preferences. Keep in mind that if your goal is to build muscle, your protein needs will be higher.
Can You Get Enough Protein as a Vegan?
One of the most common questions about vegan diets is, “Do vegans have protein deficiency?” And while it’s true that getting protein can be somewhat more challenging as a vegan, it is certainly not impossible.
So, the idea that vegans are deficient in protein is a myth.
Can athletes get enough protein on a vegan diet?
Having an active lifestyle, like athletes, will increase your protein needs considerably. If you engage in sports or intense exercise, determining how much protein you need depends on several factors (such as your body size, weight, fitness goals, and the duration/intensity of the physical activity).
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that athletes consume between 1.2 and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. Ideally, protein should be spaced throughout the day and after workouts.
How to Get Enough Protein on a Vegan Diet
It is a common misconception that vegans will struggle to get enough protein. Obviously, in a vegan lifestyle, animal proteins are off the table. However, there is plenty of protein found in a wide variety of plant sources, including foods such as:
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Navy beans
- Nutritional yeast
- Nuts (including jars of nut butter)
- Hemp seeds
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Certain vegetables
- And of course, one of the best vegan protein sources is high-quality, plant-based protein powder.
Amino Acids in Non-Animal Protein
You may have heard nutrition experts say that, particularly in America, the importance of protein is often overblown. Many people are eating an overabundance of protein. Ultimately, your primary focus shouldn’t be limited to total protein.
Instead, it is essential to build a diet that includes a balanced variety of amino acids – especially as a vegan.
Plant proteins often lack some critical amino acids, so you may need to pay extra attention to this part of your diet.
Examples show that leucine, an essential nutrient, can often fall below ideal levels in a vegan diet, as it is most commonly found in animal proteins. Leucine is crucial for muscle building, whether or not you consider yourself an athlete.
This is where a great protein powder comes in handy for many vegans. Look for ones that contain amino acids for the most significant benefits. Beans, rice, and peas are other excellent sources of a broad range of amino acids.
So, how do vegans get enough protein in their diet?
The answer often comes in the form of a quality protein powder. Convenient, versatile, and rich in nutrients, the right protein powder can be a staple in your vegan diet.
It’s often recommended to choose a protein powder that is a blend of proteins (such as pea and soy proteins) to maximize your amino acid intake.
Is vegan protein of the same quality as animal protein?
Technically speaking, certain sources of protein are not “better” than others. However, looking at the total package of high-protein food, you can see why some would come out ahead.
For example, a cheeseburger contains around 15 to 20 grams of protein. It can also have 14 grams of fat (5 grams of saturated fat), 41 mg of cholesterol, and a significant amount of sodium. The numbers show that a cheeseburger isn’t necessarily the best option for a health-conscious diet.
On the other hand, a refined vegan protein powder can contain around 24 grams of protein per serving.
Our signature protein blend has only 2 grams of fat, no sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of sugar – you can’t argue with those facts.
So, when comparing vegan and animal protein, it’s essential to look at the big picture. And in many cases, vegan protein sources can be just as “delicious” as typical animal sources.
Are vegan protein shakes healthy?
Critics of the vegan lifestyle will sometimes argue that popular vegan foods are too processed, full of sugar, or otherwise “unhealthy.” And while it may be true that some vegan foods aren’t of the highest nutritional quality, the same could be said for any animal product.
Whether you are vegan or not, the quality of your diet relies entirely on the foods you choose to eat – and this applies to vegan protein shakes as well.
Not all vegan protein powders are created equally; some contain large amounts of sugar, artificial flavors, and other less-than-healthy ingredients.
So, look for a 100% organic vegan protein powder made by a reputable brand that is entirely transparent about its products and manufacturing practices. That way, you can be confident that you are choosing the best vegan protein powders and supplements to suit your goals and needs.
Need Protein in Your Vegan Diet While on the Go?
Wondering where to get your protein as a vegan? A nutritional, well-rounded diet is 100% possible for vegans, and it doesn’t have to be a hassle – especially not when you have the convenience of Core Culture’s 100% Organic Plant Protein.
Our protein powder is made using the highest-quality, plant-based protein, featuring naturally-occurring amino acids and 24 grams of protein in a single serving.
It’s easy to use, has a neutral flavor, and contains only 1 gram of sugar. Plus, since it’s free from gluten, all-natural, and non-GMO, our Organic Plant Protein makes the perfect addition to a wellness-conscious lifestyle.
Make sure your vegan diet includes a great source of protein – try Core Culture’s 100% Organic Plant Protein today.