Scientists have not yet put an end to this question. For a long time it was thought that meat, milk, fish and eggs had essential amino acids. At the same time in non-meat food is also present protein, but of a different nature – vegetable. It was considered secondary to the animal. That is, according to nutritionists, it could not replace animal protein.
However, people who gave up animal foods do not experience any health problems. Moreover, the world knows vegan athletes, who are not inferior to meat-eaters in their performance.
Modern studies (conducted by scientists from Sweden and Germany, the Max Planck Institute) have proven that animal and plant proteins are of equal value. A few facts:
- nuts, seeds have the same set of amino acids;
- they’re excellent for human digestion, being a source of both fiber and fat;
- a balanced vegan diet is able to provide a normal level of protein.
Therefore, it can be said, without touching the ethical side of the issue, that plant foods have protein and are as good as animal foods. Vegans get enough of all the nutrients if they make the right diet.
Protein for vegans: sources in food
The main source is food. It is a balanced diet that allows you to get the full range of vitamins and micronutrients. Already debunked the myth that vegans do not get essential types of protein.
Plant protein for vegans in large quantities is in:
- Seitan. This is wheat gluten, a popular meat substitute. It absorbs the flavor of spices and vegetables. Seitan is used to make vegan sausages, steaks.
- Nuts. Rich in micronutrients, fats and vitamins, but high in calories. When losing weight, use in dosage.
- Seeds. In the diet of a vegan can be hemp seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds. And chia is poured with water or juice and eaten as a separate dish.
- Soy. This crop is used to make milk, tofu (soybean curd), and tempeh (fermented beans). In Asia, edamame, green soybeans in pods, is a favorite. It’s a great snack or side dish rich in protein.
Plant-based protein for vegans is found in green vegetables, legumes (beans, chickpeas), cocoa cheese, and quinoa. Remember that the protein component is not the only thing in the diet. It should include vegetables, fruits, porridges – sources of carbohydrates and fiber, fats and essential acids.
Instead of coffee and tea for breakfast, opt for a smoothie or smoothie. Take 100 ml of soy milk (or any vegetable milk), add 50 ml of yogurt, fruit puree (fresh fruit), sweetener and some nuts. Whisk in a blender or shaker. This kind of breakfast will satiate you until your next meal.
Vegan athlete’s diet: must-have foods and supplements
There are many champions in the sports world who have given up meat. Here are just a few names:
- Mike Tyson.
- Serena Williams.
- Frank Medrano.
- Kate Holmes.
- Bruce Lee
- B.J. Armstrong.
Also worth mentioning is Mike Mahler, a world-renowned weightlifting coach who follows a vegan diet.
A vegan athlete’s diet must be enriched with protein. The norm for an adult is his weight multiplied by a factor of 0.8. With intense exertion may increase up to 1-2 g per 1 kg.
Since vegans do not eat eggs or milk, they have to look for protein in other foods. Traditional protein shakes and most ready-mixes do not suit them. The latter have traces of animal origin.
Protein for vegans: supplements
But this does not mean that vegetable protein for vegans is derived only from vegetables, fruits and cereals. Athletes should pay attention to analog products made specifically for vegetarians and vegans.
Plant-based milk. It is made from soybeans, coconut, nuts (almonds). Yogurts and cheese are made from this base. In almost every supermarket you can find oat milk, buckwheat milk – it is cheaper than almond and soy milk.
Special supplements (analogues of ready-made protein mixes). They are labeled vegan, contain no traces of lactose and gluten. Accordingly, there are fats, a minimum of carbohydrates and sugar.
Vitamins. They are developed without components of animal origin, gelatin, iron. The last element in the pharmaceutical industry is obtained from animal hemoglobin, which is unacceptable. Pet-friendly products are available from many well-known brands.
Types of plant-based protein
All protein for vegans is made from plant components. It is found in the corresponding products, but in a supplement – in the form of a concentrate. Protein in one serving from 15-20 g (depends on the manufacturer).
A valuable protein for vegans, it contains almost no methionine. Has the highest level of whey protein equivalents available. Rich in lysine and nutritious. The calorie content is about 100 calories per serving.
Contains a set of useful components: Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, omega fats. The disadvantage of this kind of plant protein is low lysine level, it is necessary to introduce legumes into the diet.
Pumpkin Seed Protein
Has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. There are elements of Iron, Magnesium. Pumpkin is poor in Threonine and Lysine, so you have to pick up compensating foods.
Brown Rice Protein
This plant-based protein for vegans is similar in effect to whey protein: it has a balanced amount of methionine and BCAA. By consuming this protein, you can simultaneously lose weight and gain muscle mass. It is easy to digest, but it does not contain a complete set of essential amino acids.
An excellent substitute for whey and egg protein. It has a lot of substances which are suitable for athletes. Free from cholesterol. Soy protein is derived from soybeans. The supplement has 22 g of protein per serving.
Sunflower Seed Protein
A relatively new product in the field of vegan sports nutrition. The only downside is a lack of lysine, so sunflower protein is combined with quinoa. The 28g of protein contains 13g of protein.
Inca Inchi Seed Protein
A total of 28 g of the product has 17 g of protein, one of the most saturated options for vegetarians. There are all essential amino acids except lysine, as well as arginine, linolenic acid and omega fats.
Chia Seed Protein
There are 10 g of lysine-poor protein per 28 g. Also included are fiber, biotin, and Chromium. Sage Spanish protein is not the cheapest of all the concentrates, but it is perfectly absorbed by the body.