When you switch to a plant-based diet, you may be concerned about meeting all your protein requirements. Do you need to drink vegan protein powder shakes now that you don't eat meat? As a vegan or vegetarian, getting enough protein in your diet can seem like a challenge, especially if you're new to this type of diet. It's possible to get the right amount of protein by following primarily or strictly a plant-based diet, however, it may require some additional time and planning. Adding some vegetable or vegetarian protein options to the mix is not only beneficial for vegans and vegetarians, but also for omnivores. Incorporating variety into the diet provides a wide range of essential nutrients for health, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Here's what you need to know to get enough protein on a plant-based diet, and how to find the best vegetarian protein sources. And despite the common assumption that eating more protein may be helpful in achieving weight loss goals, eating animal protein is actually associated with weight gain. Generally speaking, athletes can easily get enough protein with an unprocessed plant-based diet, and they don't need to consume protein powders or bars, or even focus on eating whole foods with high concentrations of protein, such as beans, to do so. This is possible if you include legumes or soy in lunch and dinner, eat whole grains at every meal, consume a high-protein vegetable drink, such as soy, and choose protein-rich snacks, such as nuts and seeds, nut butter and crackers, or a soy shake. If your calorie intake is too low, some of the protein in your diet will be used for energy purposes rather than to produce proteins important to your body.
Drinking protein shakes will increase your daily protein intake, but it won't automatically improve your health. It's best to eat a variety of foods that contain protein, however, protein supplements can help increase protein intake if needed. While plant-based protein powders have become much more common options in recent years, whey is still more available and generally has a lower cost. These tiny seeds provide approximately six grams of protein per quarter cup and are increasingly used in protein powders. For vegetarians who need extra protein or who don't follow a balanced diet, healthy protein shakes can make a difference. However, whey protein is made from milk, which is an animal product, and not from meat, so it is generally appropriate for vegetarian consumption.
In addition to the protein sources of eggs, dairy products and fish, vegetarians should ideally also consume a wide variety of plant-based protein sources. These tiny, protein-packed seeds are available in several forms, including whole seeds, hemp protein flour, and isolated hemp protein. This is an area that needs more research, but Davis speculates that vegetable protein could accelerate aging in the same way that protein from animal products does. People who follow a vegan diet will most likely choose not to consume whey protein since they avoid both animal products and those produced by animals (for example, the recommended daily dose translates into about 50 grams of protein per day; if that person consumes 2000 calories a day, 50 grams of protein represents exactly 10 percent of total calories).So do vegetarians need to supplement with protein powder? The answer depends on the individual's dietary needs and goals. If you're following a balanced plant-based diet and getting enough calories from whole foods sources like legumes and grains then you may not need additional supplementation.
However if you're looking for an easy way to increase your daily intake of plant-based proteins then adding a vegan or vegetarian friendly powder may be beneficial.