Food / 05.08.2015

5 things you need to know about vegetarian protein

By Roisin Dervish-O'Kane
Getting enough probably means tweaking your diet. Here's why it's worth it

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The macronutrient of the moment can often be in short supply in a vegetarian diet. But there’s no need for plant-based eaters to miss out on protein’s health boosting and beautifying benefits – nor live on seeds or reconstituted mushroom protein.  Director and Nutritionist for Pulsin bars lays out the facts.

For more on how protein can power up your fitness, read our feature in the new Healthy magazine – out now!

1. You’re probably not eating enough
‘Current official UK guidelines recommend 55g protein per day for the average adult. This is based on the calculation 0.75g per kg of bodyweight per day, a reasonable intake for those with a relatively sedentary lifestyle. For greater accuracy I would recommend doing the calculation yourself, e.g. if your bodyweight is 60kg, then 60 x 0.75 = 45g protein per day.’

2. If you’re working out, you need more
‘It depends on your body type and training schedule but I would recommend between 1.0 and 1.5g protein per kg of bodyweight per day. It is important to listen to your body to determine which level suits you best, and this will also be related to the intensity of your training. If you are hitting the weights everyday go for 1.5g per kg.’

3. Eating more can  help you lose weight
‘Protein is needed to repair muscle tissue after exercise, and as active muscles burn more energy, protein helps to keep up your basal metabolic rate which encourages weight loss.’

‘Secondly, as protein is more slowly digested than carbohydrates in a meal, the protein reduces the overall speed of release of blood sugar following that meal. This moderation of blood sugar levels results in your body storing less body fat and can give you a feeling of higher energy levels.’

Read more: These 5 things are stopping you from losing weight

‘Protein in a meal also triggers the release of satiety hormones following a meal so you feel naturally fuller and are less likely to be tempted to over eat or indulge in a dessert.’

4. Ignore the skeptics. There are loads of natural sources
‘There is a good amount of naturally-occurring vegetarian protein in nuts and seeds, and surprisingly, in wholegrains like brown rice and oats, too. When combined, it is easy to get a complete meal.’

Read more: High-protein vegan farro salad recipe

5. This green stuff has almost four times more protein than chicken
‘It’s more affordable too, compared to good quality meats and vegetarian ready meal alternatives. if you brought 1kg of pea protein for £25, your average daily allowance of 55g protein would only cost £1.72.’

And it’s good for more than protein shakes…

Pea Protein Houmous

Serves 2

Ingredients
40g pea protein
140ml water
10g tahini
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed

Method
Weigh the ingredients into a small bowl
Mix until creamy, then chill before serving
Serve with an optional pinch of ground cumin or cayenne pepper

How do you do make sure you get enough vegetarian protein? We’d love to hear your tips! Tweet us @healthymag or join in the conversation on our Facebook page.

Photography: JoytheBaker.com | Pinterest

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5 things you need to know about vegetarian protein
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5 things you need to know about vegetarian protein
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Vegetarian protein is essential for a healthy veggie diet. Here's how to get protein's health boosting benefits - no meat or dairy necessary.
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Healthy Magazine
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