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From: Bryanna (
Subject: Re: protein supply
Date: May 9, 2005 at 8:43 pm PST

In Reply to: protein supply posted by natalie on May 9, 2005 at 3:51 pm:

Unfortunately, unless your mother knows the protein content of dfferent foods and understands how much (or how little) protein you need, keeping track of it all may not calm her fears. Here is some information from registered dieticians and doctors that may help. Below that is an article and a LONG list of vegetarian foods with the protein content. This may help.

Teen nutrition:

Vegan Children" (inclides teens) by Carol M. Coughlin, RD
(a nutrition article by a registered dietician)

"Tips for Parents: Help vegetarian teens get the nutrients they need"

Check your library for books on vegetarian nutrition, such as "Becoming Vegetarian", and "Becoming Vegan" by registered dieticians Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis, and "The Vegetarian Way" by registered dietician Virginia Messina.

Here is a link to the position of the American Dietetic Association on vegetarian diet.

What About Protein?
The following is an excerpt from Vegan Nutrition; Pure and Simple by Michael Klaper, M.D.
Much unnecessary worry has been generated over "getting enough protein". Two important facts must be kept in mind:
1. Too much protein is unhealthy, and Americans eat too much protein! The actual requirement to make new hair, blood and hormones is only 20 to 40 grams of protein daily - about the weight of ten pennies. The R.D.A.'s are intentionally set substantially higher than actual metabolic needs, to insure abundant intake in every case. Because of meat's concentrated protein loads, most people on the meat-laden American style diet eat an average protein load of 90 to 120 grams each day - the weight of 40 pennies!
These excessive protein loads can cause damage to the kidneys by clogging the "filter units," leading to kidney failure as well as contributing to osteoporosis. Meat-laden, high protein meals are no bargain for your health.

2. The idea of plant protein being "incomplete" and lacking some amino acids has been shown to be a myth. Nature simply cannot make a soybean, potato, or grain of wheat without using all the same amino acids (the "building blocks" of protein) required by the metabolism of humans. Rice, corn, potatoes, and wheat, have all been shown to keep people in positive protein balance when used as the sole protein source. It is almost impossible to design a calorically adequate (2000 calorie) diet, utilizing foods from all the "Vegan Six" groups, and not obtain at least 50 grams of high-quality, "complete" protein.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to combine proteins at each meal. The protein from the whole grain toast enjoyed at breakfast, as well as the tofu in the dinner casserole, are "complete" in their own right, and will each find their way to your liver and other tissues and will be well utilized. However, the more variety in protein sources, the better.

To assure yourself abundant protein while planning your lunch and dinner main dishes, accent the following "Protein All-Stars" from the first four of the "Vegan Six".

GRAINS - Brown rice, oats (cereals - oatmeal, granola, etc.) millet, corn, barley, bulghur, wheat (including whole wheat bread, pastas, cereals, flour, etc.)
LEGUMES - Green peas, lentils, chick peas, alfalfa sprouts, mung beans, and beans of all kinds (kidney, lima, aduki, navy beans, soy beans and products made from them; e.g., tofu, textured vegetable protein granules [TVP], tempeh, soy milks), peanuts, etc.
GREENS - Broccoli, collards, spinach, etc.
NUTS AND SEEDS - Almonds, cashews, walnuts, filberts, pistachios, pecans, macadamias and nut butters made from these. Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds (including tahini butter made from ground sesame seeds), pumpkin seeds, etc.

Now that we have just learned that protein-rich foods do have high nutritional values when eaten separately, let it be said that combining protein-rich ingredients does increase the protein absorption by about 30 percent, and thus variety is always a good strategy in vegan meal planning.

So, to provide examples for help in meal planning (and not cause worry about possible protein deficiency), here are some classic high-protein combinations from vegan cuisine.

These protein-rich dishes will replace meat and dairy products in the human diet, while avoiding the burden of saturated fats and adulterants.

Two ample helpings of any of the following combinations average 15 to 35 grams of high-quality protein, and thus will provide a large measure of the daily protein requirements for a healthy adult.
• Corn Tacos with Pinto Beans
• Oat Bran Muffins with Soymilk
• Brown Rice with Green Peas and Tofu
• Tempeh Burgers on Whole Wheat Bun
• Whole Grain Bread with Peanut Butter and Jelly
• Tofu Yogurt with Walnuts
• Tofu Cutlets with Green Beans Almondine
• Sunflower Pate & Sprouts on Pita
• Meatless (T.V.P) Loaf with Tahini Dressing
• Noodles with Sesame Seeds
• Oatmeal with Sunflower Seeds
• Brown Rice with Almonds & Cashews
• Avacdo, Sprouts & Almond Butter on Whole Wheat Bread
• Corn or Wheat Flakes w/ Chopped Almonds & Filberts
• Chickpea Hummus (made w/Sesame Seed Butter) on Pita

In my many years of medical practice, I have never seen a case of protein deficiency in a vegetarian. Hopefully, this section has allayed any cases of "protein panic," and has increased your confidence in the nutritional adequacy of the vegan diet.



"If you don't eat meat, chicken, or fish, where do you get your protein?"
"You don't eat dairy products or eggs either? How can you live without protein?"
"You can't get enough protein on a vegan diet."
"My doctor told me I could not stay healthy on a vegan diet"
"I tried a vegetarian diet, but I got sick."
"I was on a vegetarian diet but I always felt tired. I needed more protein."

Vegetarians and vegans have heard these statements over and over. Myths such as these simply will not go away without the solid facts to prove otherwise. We've attempted to reassure friends and family who shake their heads and click their tongues in utter amazement that we've survived many years on a vegan diet and still haven't keeled over from lack of proper nutrition. Our only doctor visits consist of the annual check-up and accompanying lab tests that continue to affirm our excellent health. But simply telling people apparently isn't enough.

The hard fact that constantly comes to the foreground is that the focus on protein borders on obsession in countries of the Western Hemisphere. One glance at restaurant menus and the plates that come to the table is proof that the centerpiece of the meal is the large serving of meat, chicken or fish frequently smothered in creamy sauces or melted cheese. The portions served at one meal alone come close to fulfilling a day's worth of protein needs.

The meat and dairy industries spend billions of dollars to project their message right into your shopping cart through television commercials, magazine ads, and grocery store ads. These powerful industries even recognized it was important to teach young children "good nutrition" at a very early age. Since the end of World War II they spread their protein message to our nation's youth by providing schools across the U.S. with colorful charts of the "important food groups" that emphasized meat, dairy products, and eggs. For the decades following World War II, one simply could not ignore the emphasis on protein.

Could we fail to ignore the large billboards flaunting larger than life-size images of cheese, eggs, and milk? And who can forget the successful ad campaigns for "Where's the beef?" and "Milk does a body good" ? The protein message comes at us from all directions, even on bus benches.

Don't misunderstand, we fully recognize that protein is a necessity to a healthy body, and that it is important to replenish our store of protein every day. Because the body doesn't store protein as it does other nutrients, we're aware it must be replaced each day as a source of nourishment for building and repairing new cells, hormones, antibodies, enzymes and muscle tissue. But, just how much protein do we really need?

Calculating Protein Requirements
Recently, studies on nitrogen balance provided more accurate ways to measure the body's protein requirements. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. in his book Eat to Live writes that an easy way to calculate your own daily protein requirement according to the RDA is to multiply 0.36 (grams) by your body weight. That translates to about 44 grams for a 120-pound woman and 54 grams for a 150-pound male. In metric terminology the RDA is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Brenda Davis, R.D., and Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D., in their book Becoming Vegan consider 0.9 grams per kilogram of body weight to be more ideal for vegans eating whole plant foods such as legumes, whole grains, and vegetables. Multiplying 0.45 grams by your body weight in pounds will give you the approximate protein need for your body. These figures are a little higher than actual RDA requirements but were considered necessary as a safety factor to account for reduced digestibility of whole plant foods versus more refined foods such as tofu, textured soy protein, and meat substitutes.

With this slightly higher figure a 120-pound person would need 54 grams of protein daily and a 150-pound person needs 67.5 grams. Another way to calculate your RDA for protein is to take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.3 kg to determine your weight in kilograms. Then figure1 gram of protein for every kg of body weight. Those who include tofu, textured soy protein, meat substitutes, and refined grains will find 0.8 grams per kilogram of protein daily quite adequate.

Protein Needs During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Reed Mangels, PhD, R.D. says, "The newest RDA has looked at all the places where additional protein is needed in pregnancy (fetus, placenta, amniotic fluid, uterus, breasts, blood, etc.) and has recommended that protein intake in pregnancy should be 1.1 grams per kilogram per day or 25 grams more of protein than the RDA for non-pregnant women.

"The same recommendation is made for lactation to account for the protein content of milk."

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, protein needs can easily be met by adding a little extra of the foods higher in protein, such as enriched soymilk, beans, tofu, tempeh, nuts, and nut butters in addition to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

While the focus on protein is important, the leafy green vegetables such as collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, and spinach are also necessary for their high content of folate known to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Protein for Recuperating Patients
Patients recuperating from surgery or serious bodily injuries, such as burns, require extra protein to help rebuild tissue. Their protein intake should be at a level of about 20 % of their calorie intake.

Protein for Athletes
If you're an athlete or one who works at serious bodybuilding, one or more of your trainers may have suggested using protein powders or amino acid powders on a regular basis. Sports nutrition has focused heavily on protein.

In relating the position of the newest RDA information, Dr. Reed Mangels says, "Professional athletes may need more protein than those who are not in serious training, but how nuch more and even whether or not their protein needs are higher is a matter of differing opinion. I think the research supports slightly higher protein needs for athletes, but not everyone goes along with this."

Recent studies suggest that strength athletes (weight lifters) and body builders need to consume up to 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight to maintain sufficient amino acid balance. Some trainers recommend higher levels of protein intake, even exceeding 3.0 grams per kilogram. Endurance athletes require 1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram of body weight to provide for repair of muscle cell damage.

A diet that consists of 12 to 15 % protein is considered ideal for both strength and endurance athletes who follow a vegan diet. For vegan athletes who want to keep their body weight low, 15 to 20% of calories should be protein. About 10 to 12% of calories as protein may be all that is required of those on very high calorie diets such as ironman athletes.

Dr. Ruth Heidrich, vegan ironman athlete, expresses the protein needs of athletes very simply. She says, " With greater calorie burning, comes greater calorie consumption with its automatic increase in the absolute amount of protein." For people who want to build more muscle, Dr. Heidrich discourages the use of protein supplements and stresses that ". . . if you want to develop a muscle, you have to overload it by putting more stress on it than it can handle. This is the ONLY way a muscle will get bigger and stronger."

Vegan Protein Sources
Where do vegans get their protein? It's simple. The plant-based diet includes a wide variety of whole foods consisting of beans, whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, along with products made from these natural foods, such as tofu, tempeh, and meat analogs. Those who believe plant protein is inferior to animal protein may be surprised to learn that plant proteins contain the same 23 amino acids as animal proteins.

If a person is eating a broad selection of plant-based foods and consuming adequate calories, it is unlikely he or she will be protein deficient. Physicians in the United States rarely encounter patients who are deficient in protein. Deficiency is uncommon and is seen mostly in countries where serious shortages of food exist, and malnutrition is prevalent.

Probems Caused by Too Much Protein
More common are the problems resulting from eating too much protein. In contrast to the USDA RDA figure, the average person in America consumes foods containing 100 to 120 grams of protein a day, mostly from animal products. Americans are also noted for their sedentary lifestyles. Excess protein especially of animal nature puts a great deal of stress on the kidneys resulting in premature aging of this important organ. A diet too high in protein causes deterioration of the nephrons, which are the kidney's filtering system. That same diet places people at risk for developing kidney stones.

Other health conditions resulting from excess protein include calcium leaching from the bones and causing osteoporosis, acid reflux, obesity, plaque build-up in the arteries, high blood pressure, pain from arthritis, high cholesterol, bad breath from sulfur-containing amino acids, and increased risk of cancer, especially colon cancer.

Protein in Plant Foods
The charts below, using figures from the USDA Nutrient Database, list the protein content of the plant-based foods that comprise the vegetarian and vegan diets. People are often surprised to learn that all plant foods contain protein. In fact, it is protein that gives all plants their structure. Whether plants grow upright or sprawl on a vine, protein is a basic component of their cell structure.

(shelled) Nut/Seed, 1/4 cup, Protein in Grams

Almond 7
Brazil nut 5
Cashew 4
Chestnut 1
Coconut (shredded) 2
Filbert/Hazelnut 5
Flax seed 5
Macadamia 2
Peanut 8
Pecan 2
Pine nut 4
Pistachio 6
Pumpkin seed 7
Sesame seed 7
Soynut 10
Sunflower seed 8
Walnut 5

(cooked) Bean, 1 cup, Protein in Grams

Adzuki (Aduki) 17
Anasazi 15
Black Beans 15
Black-eyed Peas 14
Cannellini (White Beans) 17
Cranberry Bean 17
Fava Beans 13
Garbanzos (Chick Peas) 15
Great Northern Beans 15
Green Peas, whole 9
Kidney Beans 15
Lentils 18
Lima Beans 15
Mung Beans 14
Navy Beans 16
Pink Beans 15
Pinto Beans 14
Soybeans 29
Split Peas 16

(cooked) Grain, 1/4 cup, Protein in Grams

Amaranth 7
Barley, pearled 4 to 5
Barley, flakes 4
Buckwheat groats 5 to 6
Cornmeal (fine grind) 3
Cornmeal (polenta, coarse) 3
Millet, hulled 8.4
Oat Groats 6
Oat, bran 7
Quinoa 5
Rice, brown 3 to 5
Rice, white 4
Rice, wild 7
Rye, berries 7
Rye, flakes 6
Spelt, berries 5
Teff 6
Triticale 25
Wheat, whole berries 6 to 9
Couscous, whole wheat 6
Wheat, bulgur 5 to 6

Product, Serving Size, Protein in Grams

Boca Burger Original Vegan 2.5 oz 13
GardenVegan Verggie Patties 2.5 oz 9
Health is Wealth Chicken-Free Patties 3 oz. 14
Health is Wealth Yummie Burger 2.5 oz. 12
Lightlife Gimme Lean 2oz. 8
Lightlife Smart Cutlets ;
Seasoned Chicken 3 oz. 26
Lightlife Smart Deli Combos 2.7 oz. 17
Lightlife Smart Dogs 1.5 oz. 9
Mon Cuisine Breaded Chicken Patties 3 oz. 7
Morningstar Farms Original Grillers 2.3 oz 15
Nate's Meatless Meatballs (3) 1.5 oz 10
Natural Touch Vegan Burger 2.7 oz 11
Natural Touch Veggie Medley 2.3 oz 11
SoyBoy Vegan Okara Burger 3 oz. 13
SoyBoy Vegetarian Franks 1.5 oz. 11
Starlite Cuisine Soy Taquitos 2 oz. 7
White Wave Seitan 3 oz. 31
Whole Foods 365 Meat Free Vegan Burger 2.5 oz. 13
Yves Canadian Veggie Bacon (3 slices) 2 oz. 17
Yves Veggie Burger 3 oz. 16
Yves Veggie Chick'n Burgers 3 oz. 17
Yves Veggie Dogs 1.6 oz. 11

*All items vegan

(cooked) Cereal, serving size, Protein in Grams

Arrowhead Mills Corn Grits 1/4 c. 3
Arrowhead Mills 7 Grain 1/4 c. 4
Bob's 8 Grain 1/4 c. 4
Bob's 10 Grain 1/4 c. 6
Bob's Kamut 1/4 c. 5
Bob's Triticale 1/4 c. 4
Bob's Whole Grain Cracked Wheat 1/4 c. 5
Cream of Rye 1/3 c. 5
Kashi 1/2 c. 6
Mother's Multigrain 1/2 c. 5
Quaker Old Fashioned Oats 1/2 c. 5
Quinoa Flakes 1/3 c. 3
Roman Meal Hot Cereal 1/3 c. 5
Wheatena 1/3 c. 5

(cooked) Vegetable, Serving size, Protein in Grams

Artichoke medium 4
Asparagus 5 spears 2
Beans, string 1 cup 2
Beets 1/2 cup 1
Broccoli 1/2 cup 2
Brussels Sprouts 1/2 cup 2
Cabbage 1/2 cup 1
Carrot 1/2 cup 1
Cauliflower 1/2 cup 1
Celeriac 1 cup 1
Celery 1 cup 1
Chard, Swiss 1 cup 3
Chayote 1 cup 1
Chives 1 oz. 8
Collards 1 cup 4
Corn, Sweet 1 large cob 5
Cucumber 1 cup 1
Eggplant 1 cup 1
Fennel 1 medium bulb 3
Jerusalem Artichoke 1 cup 3
Kale 1 cup 2.5
Kohlrabi 1 cup 3
Leeks 1 cup 1
Lettuce 1 cup 1
Okra 1/2 cup 1
Onion 1/2 cup 1
Parsnip 1/2 cup 1
Peas 1/2 cup 4
Peppers, bell 1/2 cup 1
Potato, baked with skin 2 1/3 x 4 3/4" 5
Potato, boiled with skin 1/2 cup 1
Radish 1 cup 1
Rhubarb 1 cup 1
Rutabaga 1 cup 2
Spinach 1 cup 1
Squash, Summer 1 cup 2
Squash, Winter 1 cup 2
Sweet Potato 1 cup 3
Tomato 1 medium 1
Turnip 1 cup 1

(raw) Fruit, Serving size, Protein in Grams

Apple 2 per lb. 0
Apricot med. 0
Avocado med. 4
Banana 1 1 to 2
Blackberry cup 2
Blueberry cup 1
Boysenberry cup 1
Cantaloupe cup 1
Casaba Melon cup 2
Cherimoya 1 7
Cherry cup 1
Cranberry cup 0
Currant cup 2
Date(pitted) 1/4 cup 1
Durian 1 cup 4
Feijoa med. 1
Fig 1 0
Gooseberry cup 1
Grape cup 1
Grapefruit 1/2 1
Guava med. 1
Honeydew cup 1
Jackfruit cup 2
Jujube, dried 1 oz. 1
Kiwi large 1
Kumquat med. 0
Lemon 1 1
Lime 1 0
Loganberry cup 1.4
Loquat 1 0
Mango 1 1
Mulberry cup 2
Nectarine 1 1
Orange 1 1
Papaya cup 1
Passionfruit 1 0
Peach 1 1
Pear 1 1
Persimmon 1 0
Pineapple cup 1
Plum 1 1
Pomegranate 1 1.5
Pomelo 1/2 2.3
Prickly Pear med. 1
Quince med. .4
Raspberry cup 1
Rhubarb cup 1
Sapote med. 5
Star Fruit cup 1
Strawberry cup 1
Tangerine med. 1
Watermelon cup 1

(2 Tablespoons) Protein in Grams

Almond 5 to 8
Cashew 4 to 5
Peanut 7 to 9
Sesame Tahini 6
Soy Nut 6 to 7

1 cup Protein in Grams

Soy Regular 6 to 9
Soy Low/Nonfat 4
Rice 1
Rice and Soy 7
Almond 1 to 2
Oat 4
Multigrain 5

Product, Serving Size, Protein in Grams

Tofu :
Medium to Extra Firm 3 oz. 7 to 12
Soft or Silken 3 oz. 4 to 6

Tempeh 4 oz. 12 to 20

Textured Vegetable Protein:
TVP 1/4 cup 10 to 12

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