Plant-based protein foods are sometimes hard for people to find. My guest today dishes out all the options and how the help you!
Protein is a subject we are obsessed with in this country. But when trying to eat a mostly plan-based diet, getting what you need is always in question by others. Today we are clearing that up!
Dr. Sunana Sohi is a Harvard educated board-certified gastroenterologist with a focus on wellness, plant-based health. She has all the knowledge about how to get what you need on a plant-based diet!
What Does Protein Do For Our Body?
Protein is an important part of our diet. It is what makes up our tissue structure and necessary for the growth and turning over of our cells. Protein makes up enzymes, hormones, keratin, collagen, etc.
We need it to build muscles and can also provide energy. It is made up of 20 building blocks called amino acids. We can make up 11 of those ourselves, and the other 9 we need to get from external sources like food.
Overall, protein is important, but we do not need to overdo it an we also need all the other macronutrients.
The general rule of thumb is you need .6-.8 g of protein per kg of body weight. This however can change depending on your goals.
So if you have physical goals (like body building), then the protein you need will increase. But for the average person, the recommended range is sufficient.
The problem is that many overdo it and think they need more. Some studies have shown that 96% of people do not have a protein issue but 96% have a fiber issue. It's important to keep this in mind, as protein deficiency is not something we see much of in this country.
Another issue us that our bodies can get oversaturated when consuming too much protein at once. They think you can't even absorb more than 20-30 grams at one time.
So if you overdo it and try and take in more than you really need at once, you potentially aren't even absorbing it all.
Can You Get Protein From Plants?
There is a misconception that you need to eat meat in order to get a complete protein source. Meaning meat has all 9 essential amino acids.
The confusion lies in that many think that plants are incomplete sources of protein and do not include all 9 amino acids. We know now that is not true.
All plants actually have all 9 essential amino acids, but some have more of one than another. This is why diversity in a plant-based diet is important. If you are eating a diverse diet, you are getting all the amino acids that you need.
While meat can give you the amino acids as well, with meat you are also getting things that may not benefit you like saturated fat and inflammatory stuff. But when you are eating plant-based sources of protein you get things like fiber which is so important for overall health.
Which Plant Foods Have the Most Protein
There are many great plant sources of protein. We can get protein from many plants, but here are some that have a higher amount:
- Soy and Edamame
You can see a great chart on Dr. Sohi's Instagram page. Overall just be diverse and don't stress about focusing on one thing!