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Proteins are organic compounds made from amino acids. Protein is required for the maintenance of tissue, muscles and bone, blood cells and other cells throughout the body. Recommended protein requirements are easily met in vegan diets. All whole plant foods contain protein.

Foods such as tofu, textured soy protein and meat substitutes contain high levels of highly digestible proteins comparable to animal proteins. Other excellent sources of protein are whole grains and beans which contain high levels of photochemical, trace minerals and vitamins.

Proteins derived from animal sources, though of a high quality, also contain high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. Plant sources contain no cholesterol (vegan diets themselves are free of cholesterol) and relatively little fat, almost all of which is unsaturated. The protein from plant sources protect against heart and kidney disease while protein from animal sources increase their likelihood.

The American Dietetic Association's position paper on vegetarian diets state that "Plant sources of protein alone can provide adequate amounts of essential amino acids if a variety of plant foods are consumed and energy needs are met."

The recommended allowance of protein for adult vegans on whole foods diets is .9 grams per kilogram of body weight. There are certain circumstances when this should be increase. Body builders, pregnant woman, mothers who are breast feeding, and people recovering from burns or surgery will require more.

Because most of us grow up learning to get our protein from animal sources some people may feel at a lose when it comes to planning high protein vegan diets. It's important to spend time getting acquainted with vegan nutrition. Attending cooking classes, reading and learning can make a big difference in building these new dietary skills.

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