How to Get Enough Protein on A Vegetarian Diet!

Posted on October 23rd, 2012 at 6:11 am by

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Getting enough protein in your diet is very important if you want to build muscle.  Weight training sessions break down your muscle tissue and amino acids broken down from protein is needed to repair and regenerate them.  If you are not getting enough protein then you might start losing muscle.  Bodybuilders need more protein than the average person since they have a more physically demanding lifestyle than the average person.

It is Possible to Get Enough Protein On A Vegetarian Diet

Many persons wanting to build muscle are afraid to become vegetarians because they fear that they won’t get enough protein in their diet since they won’t be able to eat meat.  While it is true that animal derived sources of protein have a higher Biological Value than plant based sources, (translation: the protein from animal sources is in higher amounts and a more usable form than that from plants), plant based sources of protein is still good enough to help you reach your daily protein requirement.  Weightlifters typically need 1 kg of protein per pound of bodyweight so if you weigh 160 lbs you are going to need 160 kg of protein and this is totally possible on a vegetarian diet.

It’s Easier Than You Think

Obtaining one’s daily protein requirement is a breeze for ovo-lacto vegetarians because they have access to high quality protein from milk, cheese and eggs.  For those who do not consume meat derived products (vegans), they can meet their daily protein requirements by consuming a wide variety of plant based foods.  Moringa, quinoa and soy are three plant based foods that are complete sources of protein so they are very essential in the diet of a vegan.

Plant based foods are usually deficient in one or two esential amino acids.  There are over twenty amino acids but eight of them are essential and the rest are non essential.  Non essentail amino acids mean that they are produced naturally by the body.  Eight of them however cannot be produced by the body so one has to obtain them from the foods one eats.  Animal and animal derived products contain all eight essential amino acids but plant based products are usually limited in one or two essential amino acids making them incomplete sources of protein.

It’s All About Eating A Wide Variety of Foods

Being an incomplete source of protein is not a bad thing.  It just means that you have to combine plant based foods limited in a particular essential amino acid, with another plant based food that is rich in that particular amino acid to obtain a complete protein.  For example grains, nuts and seeds are limited in essential amino acids that beans, legumes, and peas are rich in and vice versa.  You don’t even have to combine them in one sitting because your body will store amino acids until their complimentary amino acid is available for metabolism to take place.  It’s therefore unecessary to plan out your eating schedule in an effort to combine your foods at every sitting, but as long as you eat a wide variety of plant based foods you won’t have a problem getting enough protein.

The Myth Has Been Dispelled

So the myth has been dispelled, you can get enough protein on a vegetarian diet.  Do not be fooled into thinking that consuming meat is the only way to get protein because that is definately not true.  As long a you consume a wide and varied supply of plant based foods you can easily meet your daily protein requirement to build muscle.

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