in | 22 Feb 2018

The Main Myth About Protein in Plant Based Diets Debunked

Us at the Juicery, we don't like to pirouette around the truth. We like sincere, sustainable righteousness. As the moral compass we are trying be, we are going to serve a debatable topic that is up there right there next to politics and some fashion trends like fishnet tights. Ladies and gentleman, in the ring today: plant protein versus animal protein.


Now protein generally is very 'in', and so it has been for many many years. You'll have a hard time talking to most gym-guys or #fitgirls about what they eat to get SO FIT AND GAIN ALL THIS MUSCLE without bumping into the word. And no wonder, it seems to be the safest option for your fit journey, especially when trying to duck micro-nutritional evils like carbs and fat. With lean protein filling you up, you can't go wrong, more is more. Oh and the best way to hit that level of sufficiency is with good old eggs, turkey, and chocolate milk. Right? Let’s have a look.


Defining protein. 

Proteins consist of twenty essential amino acids, nine of which we get from the foods we eat. The rest your body makes by itself, clever as it is. We need all of these amino acids to:

- Support our immune health

- Build and repair muscles and a lot of other internal tissues

- As a main component to the structure of your hair, bones, nails

- Provide enzymes that drive biochemical reactions affecting your breathing, metabolism, and nervous system

- Regulate hormones


Pretty important, it seems. We do get the hype. But here's the myth: we can not get sufficient amino acids when living a plant based life.


Plant power.

The nine essential amino acids we need to eat can be found in the animal domain, yes. They are there complete and ready for us to engulf in. However, we find most of those amino acids tucked away there because of the plants these animals have eaten. The elephant, hippo, gorilla, they all live off of plants. And so do many highly successful athletes, like ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll, or gold medal winner Carl Lewis (click that link and find him saying his best performances were when he was on a vegan diet) (and a recipe for a vegan lasagna with egg-free mayonaise which we think is very outside of the box). World records are broken, champions are built, all on a vegan diet. None of the above seem to be malnourished or lacking strength. They must be doing something right.


The winner is...

The fact of the matter is, in a way, your body doesn't care where you get your protein from. As Dr. Walter Willett, the chair of Harvard’s Department of Nutrition, says: “To the metabolic systems engaged in protein production and repair, it is immaterial whether amino acids come from animal or plant protein. However, protein is not consumed in isolation. Instead, it is packaged with a host of other nutrients.” So the main difference is that in plant form, protein often comes cleaner, with a side of essential fibre, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, which is why he suggest picking the best protein packages by choosing plant sources over animal sources. Apart from the fact that it is healthier for you yourself, it is also a lót healthier for the environment. We have all seen Cowspiracy, we all know the current agricultural industry has seriously damaging consequences for our planet - lots more to say about environmental benefits of veganism, but lets keep focusing on your body for now.


The right amount.

The basic Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0,8 grams per kilogram of body weight. So for a guy who weighs 70 kg, that would mean 56 grams of protein. That's equal to one cup of mung beans and two tablespoons of peanut butter. After that, he's done! If he would bulk up on those beans and also have a protein shake, a protein bar, and some other extra protein stuff, it will probably go at the cost of his (complex) carbs, which he need as his main fuel for energy, or (healthy) fats, which he need for his heart and brain health. Also, keep in mind your body can only absorb 35 grams of protein per sitting. That's it! Anything over that, chances are high your body will recognize it as a surplus and store it as fat, or just flush out. What a waste of protein!


The right plants. 

If you eat a balanced, healthy diet consisting of whole and organic foods, you probably get enough amino acids. Whether you are a vegan or an omnivore, when really opting for the best and most complete palate of amino acids, it is advisable to take supplements for taurine and L-carnitine (apart from your vitamins).


Here is a list of a few examples of high protein plant foods. 

Organic edamame: 18 g per 1 cup serving

Organic tempeh: 16 g per serving

Organic tofu: 8-15 g per serving

Lentils: 9 g per 1/2 cup serving

Black beans: 7.6 g per 1/2 cup serving

Lima beans: 7.3 g per 1/2 cup serving

Peanut butter: 7 g per 1/4 cup serving

Wild rice: 6.5 g per 1 cup serving

Chickpeas: 6 g per 1/2 cup serving

Almonds: 6 g per 1/4 cup serving

Chia seeds: 6 g per 2 Tbsp

Steel-cut oats: 5 g per 1/4 cup serving


Our Juicery products of choice: The Mango Green Protein Smoothie, The Pret-a-Protein Juice, The Cauliflower, Lima Bean & Quinoa Soup, the Pea Mint Soup, The Kabocha, Butternut Squash & Quinoa Curry, The PB and Salted Caramel Oats, The Strawberry Lemon Chia Seed Pudding. 


... we try to make it easy for you.