Within the last five to ten years, plant proteins have gained an escalating interest with consumers. It’s been considered to be one of the hottest and newest trends on the market, allowing plant-based vegetarians, vegans, and others alike an easy way to receive more protein in their diets. Some studies have shown the benefits of consuming a plant based diet related to reduced risks of heart disease, obesity, hypertension, type II diabetes and certain forms of cancer.
Considering the many different reasons why consumers are choosing to go more plant-based, vegetarian, or full vegan, the ability to do so is pretty easy if you can sustain the lifestyle diet. The food industry and other related businesses are picking up on their consumers cues and quickly coming out with new products to entice this audience. It’s a booming business and everybody wants a piece of it, but what exactly does that look like? How do plants contain enough protein to provide lasting and sustainable energy to humans?
Plant proteins come in different qualities, making some plant proteins better than others for living a sustainable diet. The basic profile of a protein is a chain of amino acids. There are 20 different kinds of amino acids, 9 of which must come from the diet because our body cannot produce them. Back in the 70’s, the common theme for protein consumption was ‘complementing’ amino acids. This meant the different amino acids in each food were supposed to be paired together for better absorption and usage of protein throughout the body. Today, Dietitians are thinking about protein a little differently. Instead of pairing complementing proteins during one meal, it has been shown that the liver stores various amino acids throughout the day to be utilized when needed.
Incorporating more protein in your diet should not be your main focus, instead look to incorporate better quality proteins and distributing the amount evenly throughout the day. Using these two techniques can help sustain a plant based diet without feeling tired, sluggish or eating too many carbs at one sitting. Below is a list of higher quality proteins, their serving size, and how many grams of protein they contain.
Regardless of where you stand in the plant-based world, plant proteins can fit into any lifestyle- giving you protein, energy, and good healthy benefits.
|Protein Food||Serving||Protein in grams|
|Soybeans||1/2 cup||11 grams|
|Tofu||1/2 cup||10 grams|
|Hemp Seeds||3 Tbsp||9 grams|
|Cooked lentils||1/2 cup||9 grams|
|Cooked black beans||1/2 cup||8 grams|
|Cooked chickpeas||1/2 cup||8 grams|
|Cooked kidney beans||1/2 cup||8 grams|
|Peanut butter||2 Tbsp||8 grams|
|Cooked pinto beans||1/2 cup||8 grams|
|Cooked split peas||1/2 cup||8 grams|
|Cooked white beans||1/2 cup||8 grams|
|Cooked black eyed peas||1/2 cup||7 grams|
|Fava beans||1/2 cup||7 grams|
|Peanuts||28 nuts||7 grams|
|Pumpkin seeds||3 Tbsp||7 grams|
|Almonds||23 nuts||6 grams|
|Pistachios||3 1/2 Tbsp||6 grams|
|Flaxseeds||3 Tbsp||5 grams|
|Sesame seeds||3 Tbsp||5 grams|
|Sunflower seeds||3 1/2 Tbsp||5 grams|
Source: Plant Proteins. Today’s Dietitian. Volume 19; No 2, February 2017: 27-31. Sharon Palmer, RDN
All photos used were taken by and for The Healthy Chew, all rights reserved.
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