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In response to: 
“Protein is a problem for vegans.”

Article

Perhaps the most frequently asked question to vegans is, “Where do you get your protein?” The implication is that the plant proteins from a vegan diet lack quantity, quality, or completeness.

We should be vigilant about all of our nutritional requirements, including protein. But the evidence does not justify the near-obsessive level of concern that we have regarding protein. Below, we will show that plants can easily satisfy all our protein needs and then point out that in some ways plant protein is advantageous to animal protein.

Plants easily supply abundant protein.

Here are a couple of surprising examples: A peanut butter and jelly sandwich contains more protein than a McDonald’s hamburger. (The calculation assumes two slices of whole wheat bread and two tablespoons of peanut butter.) Broccoli has twice as much protein per calorie as steak.1Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 138

The following list, showing the amount of protein in grams from plant sources, substantiates that the plants we eat have ample protein:

  • Black beans, boiled, one cup: 15.2 grams
  • Chickpeas, boiled, one cup: 14.5 grams
  • Peanut butter, two tablespoons: 8.0 grams
  • Bulgur, cooked, one cup: 5.6 grams
  • Lentils, boiled, one cup: 17.9 grams
  • Broccoli, one cup: 4.6 grams
  • Green peas, one cup: 8.6 grams
  • Quinoa, cooked, one cup: 11.0 grams
  • Spinach, boiled, one cup: 5.4 grams
  • Tofu, firm, one-half cup: 19.9 grams
  • Corn, ten ounces: 7.2 grams
  • Whole wheat bread, one slice: 2.7 grams2“CRON-O-Meter: Track Nutrition & Count Calories.” Accessed October 10, 2017. https://cronometer.com/

The previously hesitant American Heart Association agrees that “you don’t need to eat foods from animals to have enough protein in your diet.”3“Vegetarian, Vegan Diet & Heart Health.” American Heart Association Go Red for Women, March 26, 2014. https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/vegetarian-vegan-diet-heart-health/

Plants readily supply complete protein.

It was previously thought by some that plants were deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids. Authorities now agree that if you eat a variety of plant foods and consume sufficient calories, then you get sufficient and complete protein  all nine essential amino acids, in the proportions needed.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics even says that “using the terms ‘complete’ and ‘incomplete’ to describe protein is misleading.” They further state that “eating a variety of plant foods will supply all the protein you need.”4Melina, Vesanto, Winston Craig, and Susan Levin. “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 116, no. 12 (December 2016): 1970–80. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2016.09.025

The British Dietetic Association agrees: “As long as you’re eating a mixture of different plant proteins you’ll be getting all the essential amino acids your body needs.”5“Food Fact Sheet | Vegetarian Diets.” British Dietetic Association, March 2016. https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/vegetarianfoodfacts.pdf

Dr. Andrew Weil sums it up best: “Research has discredited that notion, so you don’t have to worry that you won’t get enough usable protein if you don’t put together some magical combination of foods at each meal.”6Weil, MD, Dr. Andrew. “Vegetarians: Pondering Protein?” DrWeil.Com. Accessed October 4, 2017. https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/nutrition/vegetarians-pondering-protein/

Finally, Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, NewYork-Presbyterian, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Dietitians of Canada, the British Dietetic Association, the Dietitians Association of Australia, and others have declared a vegan diet to be not only sufficient but advantageous. They would not make this pronouncement if there were a problem with getting complete protein from plants.

Essential amino acids are manufactured only by plants.

Many people are surprised to learn that the essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein that we must get from food, are manufactured only by plants. When we eat animals, we are getting essential amino acids originally made by plants that were then eaten by animals.

Since all the essential amino acids are made only by plants, it’s illogical to believe we must eat animals to get them.7Davis, Brenda, and Vesanto Melina. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition. Comprehensive edition. Summertown, Tennessee: Book Pub Co, 2014, 83

Protein deficiency is rare.

Hospitals don’t have kwashiorkor units. You will find cardiovascular, endocrinology, hematology, nephrology, oncology, pulmonary, and rheumatology units at your local hospital. You would be hard pressed to find a unit for treating kwashiorkor, the protein-deficiency disease. It is almost unheard of in the developed world, and when it happens, the underlying cause of the protein deficiency is a calorie deficit.8Allowances, National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the Recommended Dietary. Protein and Amino Acids. National Academies Press (US), 1989. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234922/

It’s difficult to design a protein-deficient vegan diet. Dr. Joel Fuhrman “tried to compose a natural-foods diet deficient in any required amino acid” and declared, “It was impossible.”9Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 139

Jeff Novick, Registered Dietitian, tried as well: “Any single whole natural plant food, or any combination of them, if eaten as one’s sole source of calories for a day, would provide all of the essential amino acids and not just the minimum requirements but far more than the recommended requirements.”10Novick, Jeff. “The Myth of Complementary Protein.” Forks Over Knives, June 3, 2013. https://www.forksoverknives.com/the-myth-of-complementary-protein/

Animal protein carries health risks.

Animal protein promotes disease. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman (and others), animal protein promotes cancer, bone loss, and kidney disease. It also raises cholesterol and accelerates aging.11Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 140

Animal protein is associated with higher mortality risk. A study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine in August, 2016, the largest study yet to examine the effect of different sources of protein, found that animal protein is associated with higher mortality risk while plant protein is associated with lower mortality risk.12Massachusetts General Hospital. “High Animal Protein Intake Associated with Higher, Plant Protein with Lower Mortality Rate.” Science Daily, August 1, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160801113654.htm

Animal protein is packaged without fiber. When you eat mostly animal protein, you may not be getting enough fiber in your diet. Fiber is packaged with plant protein and does not exist in animals. While a protein deficiency is rare, fiber deficiency is rampant, with only 3 percent of Americans meeting the daily requirements for fiber. Most get less than half the requirement.13Greger, Dr. Michael. “Where Do You Get Your Fiber?” NutritionFacts.Org, September 29, 2015. https://nutritionfacts.org/2015/09/29/where-do-you-get-your-fiber/

You need less protein than you may think.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of ideal or healthy body weight. A safety factor of almost double is built into the Recommended Daily Allowance. Ideal body weight is used because extra fat tissue requires relatively little protein.14Davis, Brenda, and Vesanto Melina. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition. Comprehensive edition. Summertown, Tennessee: Book Pub Co, 2014

For a 150-pound person (based on your ideal or healthy body weight), the RDA for protein calculates to 54 grams  or 34 grams when you remove the built-in safety factor. The average American consumes 100 grams of protein per day, which is unhealthy.15Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 139

The strongest animals get their protein from plants.

Vegans get their protein from the same source that some of the strongest animals on the planet get their protein  plants. These include elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and horses. It’s also noteworthy that almost all the land animals we eat, namely cows, pigs, and factory chickens, get their protein from plants.

Although these nonhuman examples don’t prove anything specific to humans, they do suggest that since plants alone are capable of providing the protein needed by these animals, plants alone might also provide the protein that humans need.

Some prominent bodybuilders rely on vegan protein.

Kendrick Farris, whom Men’s Fitness Magazine called America’s strongest weight lifter, is 100 percent vegan.16Rodio, Michael. “America’s Strongest Weightlifter, Kendrick Farris, Is 100% Vegan,” August 10, 2016. http://www.mensfitness.com/life/entertainment/americas-strongest-weightlifter-kendrick-farris-100-vegan He adopted a vegan diet for ethical reasons.17Steele, Lauren. “Why America’s Best Olympic Weightlifter Is Vegan.” Men’s Journal. Accessed October 11, 2017. http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/articles/why-americas-best-olympic-weightlifter-is-vegan-w434203

Patrik Baboumian, at the time of this writing, still holds the world dead-lift record five years after adopting a vegan diet. He claims that his meat-free diet gave him more energy and endurance in the gym than ever before.18English, Nick. “The 5 Strongest Vegans On Earth.” BarBend, January 3, 2017. https://barbend.com/strongest-vegans-on-earth/

Barny du Plessis, the 2014 amateur Mr. Universe champion, stated that after he went vegan he “found himself in better shape than ever” and “had more energy and endurance than ever before.”19Kirkova, Deni. “Vegan Mr. Universe, 40, Says Meat-Free Diet Has Made Him Stronger than Ever.” Metro News UK, September 24, 2015. http://metro.co.uk/2015/09/24/vegan-bodybuilder-40-aims-for-mr-universe-title-as-he-says-meat-free-diet-has-made-him-stronger-than-ever-5351168/

You need only take a look at the bios page of a single vegan bodybuilding site (http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/?page=bios) to realize this is a robust segment of the bodybuilding community.20“Bios Page.” Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness. Accessed October 11, 2017. http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/?page=bios

Outline

 Talking Points OutlineKnowledge Base
  • Context
    • Perhaps the most frequently asked question to vegans is, “Where do you get your protein?” The implication is that the plant proteins from a vegan diet lack quantity, quality, or completeness.
    • We should be vigilant about all of our nutritional requirements, including protein. But the evidence does not justify the near-obsessive level of concern that we have regarding protein. Here, we will show that plants can easily satisfy all our protein needs and then point out that in some ways plant protein is advantageous to animal protein.
  • Plants easily supply abundant protein.
    • Example: A peanut butter and jelly sandwich contains more protein than a McDonald’s hamburger.
      • A McDonald’s hamburger supplies 13 grams of protein.21“McDonald’s Nutrition Calculator.” McDonalds. Accessed October 9, 2017. https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/about-our-food/nutrition-calculator.html
      • A peanut butter and jelly sandwich provides 15 grams of protein:
        • Two slices of commercially prepared whole wheat bread: 3.6 grams per slice = 7.2 grams
        • Two tablespoons of peanut butter: 4.0 grams per tablespoon = 8.0 grams
        • Total: 7.2 + 8.0 = 15.2 grams
        • Source22“Food Facts, Information & Calorie Calculator.” Self Nutrition Data. Accessed October 9, 2017. http://nutritiondata.self.com/
    • Example: Broccoli has twice as much protein per calorie as steak.23Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 138
    • The following list, showing the amount of protein in grams from plant sources, substantiates that the plants we eat have ample protein:
      • Black beans, boiled, one cup: 15.2 grams
      • Chickpeas, boiled, one cup: 14.5 grams
      • Peanut butter, two tablespoons: 8.0 grams
      • Bulgur, cooked, one cup: 5.6 grams
      • Lentils, boiled, one cup: 17.9 grams
      • Broccoli, one cup: 4.6 grams
      • Green peas, one cup: 8.6 grams
      • Quinoa, cooked, one cup: 11.0 grams
      • Spinach, boiled, one cup: 5.4 grams
      • Tofu, firm, one-half cup: 19.9 grams
      • Corn, ten ounces: 7.2 grams
      • Whole wheat bread, one slice: 2.7 grams
      • Source24“CRON-O-Meter: Track Nutrition & Count Calories.” Accessed October 10, 2017. https://cronometer.com/
    • The previously hesitant American Heart Association agrees that “you don’t need to eat foods from animals to have enough protein in your diet.”
      • American Heart Association (AHA) quote: “You don’t need to eat foods from animals to have enough protein in your diet. Plant proteins alone can provide enough of the essential and non-essential amino acids, as long as sources of dietary protein are varied and caloric intake is high enough to meet energy needs.”25“Vegetarian, Vegan Diet & Heart Health.” American Heart Association Go Red for Women, March 26, 2014. https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/vegetarian-vegan-diet-heart-health/
  • Plants readily supply complete protein.
    • Context
      • It was previously thought by some that plants were deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids. Authorities now agree that if you eat a variety of plant foods and consume sufficient calories, then you get sufficient and complete protein  all nine essential amino acids, in the proportions needed.
    • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics even says that “using the terms ‘complete’ and ‘incomplete’ to describe protein is misleading.” They further state that “eating a variety of plant foods will supply all the protein you need.”
      • Quote: “Vegetarian, including vegan, diets typically meet or exceed recommended protein intakes, when caloric intakes are adequate. The terms ‘complete’ and ‘incomplete’ are misleading in relation to plant protein. Protein from a variety of plant foods, eaten during the course of a day, supplies enough of all indispensable (essential) amino acids when caloric requirements are met.”26Melina, Vesanto, Winston Craig, and Susan Levin. “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 116, no. 12 (December 2016): 1970–80. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2016.09.025
    • The British Dietetic Association agrees: “As long as you’re eating a mixture of different plant proteins you’ll be getting all the essential amino acids your body needs.”27“Food Fact Sheet | Vegetarian Diets.” British Dietetic Association, March 2016. https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/vegetarianfoodfacts.pdf
    • Dr. Andrew Weil sums it up best: “Research has discredited that notion, so you don’t have to worry that you won’t get enough usable protein if you don’t put together some magical combination of foods at each meal.”28Weil, MD, Dr. Andrew. “Vegetarians: Pondering Protein?” DrWeil.Com. Accessed October 4, 2017. https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/nutrition/vegetarians-pondering-protein/
    • Finally, Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, NewYork-Presbyterian, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Dietitians of Canada, the British Dietetic Association, the Dietitians Association of Australia, and others have declared a vegan diet to be not only sufficient but advantageous. They would not make this pronouncement if there were a problem with getting complete protein from plants.
  • Essential amino acids are manufactured only by plants.
    • Many people are surprised to learn that the essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein that we must get from food, are manufactured only by plants. When we eat animals, we are getting essential amino acids originally made by plants that were then eaten by animals.
    • Since all the essential amino acids are made only by plants, it’s illogical to believe we must eat animals to get them.
    • Source29Davis, Brenda, and Vesanto Melina. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition. Comprehensive edition. Summertown, Tennessee: Book Pub Co, 2014, 83
  • Protein deficiency is rare.
    • Hospitals don’t have kwashiorkor units.
      • You will find cardiovascular, endocrinology, hematology, nephrology, oncology, pulmonary, and rheumatology units at your local hospital. You would be hard pressed to find a unit for treating kwashiorkor, the protein-deficiency disease. It is almost unheard of in the developed world, and when it happens, the underlying cause of the protein deficiency is a calorie deficit.30Allowances, National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the Recommended Dietary. Protein and Amino Acids. National Academies Press (US), 1989. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234922/
    • It’s difficult to design a protein-deficient vegan diet.
      • Dr. Joel Fuhrman “tried to compose a natural-foods diet deficient in any required amino acid. It was impossible.”
        • Complete quote: Dr. Joel Fuhrman “tried to compose a natural-foods diet deficient in any required amino acid. It was impossible. Almost any assortment of plant foods contained about 30 to 40 grams of protein per 1,000 calories. When your caloric needs are met, your protein needs are met automatically.”31Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 139
      • Registered Dietitian Jeff Novick states that if you run the numbers, “any single whole natural plant food, or any combination of them, if eaten as one’s sole source of calories for a day, would provide all of the essential amino acids and not just the minimum requirements but far more than the recommended requirements.”
        • Complete quote: “Today, if you calculate the amount of each essential amino acid provided by unprocessed plant foods and compare these values with those determined by Rose, you will find that any single whole natural plant food, or any combination of them, if eaten as one’s sole source of calories for a day, would provide all of the essential amino acids and not just the minimum requirements but far more than the recommended requirements.”32Novick, Jeff. “The Myth of Complementary Protein.” Forks Over Knives, June 3, 2013. https://www.forksoverknives.com/the-myth-of-complementary-protein/
  • Animal protein carries health risks.
    • Animal protein promotes disease.
      • According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman (and others), animal protein promotes cancer, bone loss, and kidney disease. It also raises cholesterol and accelerates aging.33Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 140
    • Animal protein is associated with higher mortality risk.
      • A study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine in August, 2016, the largest study yet to examine the effect of different sources of protein, found that animal protein is associated with higher mortality risk while plant protein is associated with lower mortality risk.34Massachusetts General Hospital. “High Animal Protein Intake Associated with Higher, Plant Protein with Lower Mortality Rate.” Science Daily, August 1, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160801113654.htm
    • Animal protein is packaged without fiber.
      • When you eat mostly animal protein, you may not be getting enough fiber in your diet. Fiber is packaged with plant protein and does not exist in animals. While a protein deficiency is rare, fiber deficiency is rampant, with only 3 percent of Americans meeting the daily requirements for fiber. Most get less than half the requirement.
        • Quote: “Less than 3% of Americans get even the recommended minimum adequate intake of fiber. That’s something we really have to work on. On average, we get only about 15 grams a day. The minimum daily requirement is 31.5, so we get less than half the minimum.”35Greger, Dr. Michael. “Where Do You Get Your Fiber?” NutritionFacts.Org, September 29, 2015. https://nutritionfacts.org/2015/09/29/where-do-you-get-your-fiber/
  • You need less protein than you may think.
    • For a 150-pound person (based on your ideal or healthy body weight), the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) calculates to 54 grams of protein  or 34 grams when you remove the built-in safety factor.
      • The RDA is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of ideal or healthy body weight. A safety factor of almost double is built into the RDA. Ideal body weight is used because extra fat tissue requires relatively little protein.36Davis, Brenda, and Vesanto Melina. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition. Comprehensive edition. Summertown, Tennessee: Book Pub Co, 2014
    • The average American consumes 100 grams of protein per day, which is unhealthy.
    • Source37Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 139
  • The strongest animals get their protein from plants.
    • Vegans get their protein from the same source that some of the strongest animals on the planet get their protein  plants. These include elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and horses.
    • It’s also noteworthy that almost all the land animals we eat, namely cows, pigs, and factory chickens, get their protein from plants.
    • Although these nonhuman examples don’t prove anything specific to humans, they do suggest that since plants alone are capable of providing the protein needed by these animals, plants alone might also provide the protein that humans need.
  • Some prominent bodybuilders rely on vegan protein.
    • Kendrick Farris, whom Men’s Fitness Magazine called America’s strongest weight lifter, is 100 percent vegan.38Rodio, Michael. “America’s Strongest Weightlifter, Kendrick Farris, Is 100% Vegan,” August 10, 2016. http://www.mensfitness.com/life/entertainment/americas-strongest-weightlifter-kendrick-farris-100-vegan He adopted a vegan diet for ethical reasons.39Steele, Lauren. “Why America’s Best Olympic Weightlifter Is Vegan.” Men’s Journal. Accessed October 11, 2017. http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/articles/why-americas-best-olympic-weightlifter-is-vegan-w434203
    • Patrik Baboumian, at the time of this writing, still holds the world dead-lift record five years after adopting a vegan diet. He claims that his meat-free diet gave him more energy and endurance in the gym than ever before.40English, Nick. “The 5 Strongest Vegans On Earth.” BarBend, January 3, 2017. https://barbend.com/strongest-vegans-on-earth/
    • Barny du Plessis, the 2014 amateur Mr. Universe champion, stated that after he went vegan he “found himself in better shape than ever” and “had more energy and endurance than ever before.”41Kirkova, Deni. “Vegan Mr. Universe, 40, Says Meat-Free Diet Has Made Him Stronger than Ever.” Metro News UK, September 24, 2015. http://metro.co.uk/2015/09/24/vegan-bodybuilder-40-aims-for-mr-universe-title-as-he-says-meat-free-diet-has-made-him-stronger-than-ever-5351168/
    • You need only take a look at the bios page of a single vegan bodybuilding site (http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/?page=bios) to realize this is a robust segment of the bodybuilding community.42“Bios Page.” Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness. Accessed October 11, 2017. http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/?page=bios
  • Extra
    • The myth of incomplete plant protein has several origins:
      • The book Diet for a Small Planet.
        • Frances Moore Lappé, in her 1971 book, invented the theory of “protein complementing”  the idea that only certain combinations of foods supplied essential amino acids in the proper ratios. In the 1991 edition of the book, she retracted the statement.43Novick, Jeff. “The Myth of Complementary Protein.” Forks Over Knives, June 3, 2013. https://www.forksoverknives.com/the-myth-of-complementary-protein/
      • Experiments in the early and mid-twentieth century on rats.
        • These experiments led researchers to believe that plant proteins are incomplete.
        • The research did not take into consideration the differences in (1) protein requirements between rats and humans, (2) human and rat physiology, and (3) laboratory conditions of rats and typical eating patterns of humans.
        • Source44Davis, Brenda, and Vesanto Melina. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition. Comprehensive edition. Summertown, Tennessee: Book Pub Co, 2014, 82
      • Science advisory by the American Heart Association (AHA).
        • An advisory published by the AHA in 2001 stated that “although plant proteins form a large part of the human diet, most are deficient in 1 or more essential amino acids and are therefore regarded as incomplete proteins.”45Jeor, Sachiko T. St, Barbara V. Howard, T. Elaine Prewitt, Vicki Bovee, Terry Bazzarre, Robert H. Eckel, and for the AHA Nutrition Committee. “Dietary Protein and Weight Reduction: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association.” Circulation 104, no. 15 (October 9, 2001): 1869–74. doi:10.1161/hc4001.096152
        • In response to a correspondence from Dr. John McDougall in 2002, the AHA acknowledged that “a vegetarian diet based on the AHA guidelines of 5 to 6 servings of whole grains and 5 or more servings of vegetables and fruit would, in fact, supply all of the amino acids necessary for health.” Animal sources of protein were not mentioned.46“Plant Foods Have a Complete Amino Acid Composition.” Circulation, The American Heart Association, 105, no. 25 (June 25, 2002): e197–e197. doi:10.1161/01.CIR.0000018905.97677.1F
        • Much later in 2014, the AHA stated, as cited previously, “You don’t need to eat foods from animals to have enough protein in your diet. Plant proteins alone can provide enough of the essential and non-essential amino acids, as long as sources of dietary protein are varied and caloric intake is high enough to meet energy needs.”47Association, American Heart. “Vegetarian, Vegan Diet & Heart Health.” Go Red For Women®, March 26, 2014. https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/vegetarian-vegan-diet-heart-health/
      • Beef-industry-funded research.
        • Research funded by the beef industry shows that adding animal protein to the diet of some people in some developing countries can improve nutrition.
        • The potential problem arises in developing countries that do not have sufficient variety in their diet; there are other developing countries that eat a primarily plant-based diet that do not demonstrate such a problem.
        • Excellent results can be achieved in developing nations by adding nutrient-rich legumes and vegetables, which are more affordable than beef. For example, peanuts, pigeon peas, and soybeans were introduced as crops for villagers in Malawi, with good results.
        • “In more-prosperous parts of the world today, vegans can select a well-balanced plant-based diet that supports their health and that of the planet far better than does a meat-centered diet.”
        • Source48Davis, Brenda, and Vesanto Melina. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition. Comprehensive edition. Summertown, Tennessee: Book Pub Co, 2014, 82
  • Meta
    • Purpose
      • To counter the common objection to veganism that protein is a problem for vegans.
    • Contributors
      • Greg Fuller  Author
      • Isaac Nickerson  Copy Editor
    • Revisions
      • 2017-10-10 First Draft   glf
      • 2017-10-18 Copy editor’s first pass complete   isn
      • 2017-10-23 Copy editor’s second pass complete   isn
      • 2017-11-20  Edits for consistency   glf
      • 2017-12-02 Minor edits   isn
      • 2017-12-31 Added citation for “It is almost unheard of in the developed world, and when it happens, the underlying cause of the protein deficiency is a calorie deficit.”   glf

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Footnotes   [ + ]

1.Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 138
2.“CRON-O-Meter: Track Nutrition & Count Calories.” Accessed October 10, 2017. https://cronometer.com/
3.“Vegetarian, Vegan Diet & Heart Health.” American Heart Association Go Red for Women, March 26, 2014. https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/vegetarian-vegan-diet-heart-health/
4.Melina, Vesanto, Winston Craig, and Susan Levin. “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 116, no. 12 (December 2016): 1970–80. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2016.09.025
5.“Food Fact Sheet | Vegetarian Diets.” British Dietetic Association, March 2016. https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/vegetarianfoodfacts.pdf
6.Weil, MD, Dr. Andrew. “Vegetarians: Pondering Protein?” DrWeil.Com. Accessed October 4, 2017. https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/nutrition/vegetarians-pondering-protein/
7.Davis, Brenda, and Vesanto Melina. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition. Comprehensive edition. Summertown, Tennessee: Book Pub Co, 2014, 83
8.Allowances, National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the Recommended Dietary. Protein and Amino Acids. National Academies Press (US), 1989. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234922/
9.Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 139
10.Novick, Jeff. “The Myth of Complementary Protein.” Forks Over Knives, June 3, 2013. https://www.forksoverknives.com/the-myth-of-complementary-protein/
11.Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 140
12.Massachusetts General Hospital. “High Animal Protein Intake Associated with Higher, Plant Protein with Lower Mortality Rate.” Science Daily, August 1, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160801113654.htm
13.Greger, Dr. Michael. “Where Do You Get Your Fiber?” NutritionFacts.Org, September 29, 2015. https://nutritionfacts.org/2015/09/29/where-do-you-get-your-fiber/
14.Davis, Brenda, and Vesanto Melina. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition. Comprehensive edition. Summertown, Tennessee: Book Pub Co, 2014
15.Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 139
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23.Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 138
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29.Davis, Brenda, and Vesanto Melina. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition. Comprehensive edition. Summertown, Tennessee: Book Pub Co, 2014, 83
30.Allowances, National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the Recommended Dietary. Protein and Amino Acids. National Academies Press (US), 1989. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234922/
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36.Davis, Brenda, and Vesanto Melina. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Reference to Plant-Based Nutrition. Comprehensive edition. Summertown, Tennessee: Book Pub Co, 2014
37.Fuhrman, Joel, and Mehmet Oz. Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. Reprint edition. Little, Brown and Company, 2005, 139
38.Rodio, Michael. “America’s Strongest Weightlifter, Kendrick Farris, Is 100% Vegan,” August 10, 2016. http://www.mensfitness.com/life/entertainment/americas-strongest-weightlifter-kendrick-farris-100-vegan
39.Steele, Lauren. “Why America’s Best Olympic Weightlifter Is Vegan.” Men’s Journal. Accessed October 11, 2017. http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/articles/why-americas-best-olympic-weightlifter-is-vegan-w434203
40.English, Nick. “The 5 Strongest Vegans On Earth.” BarBend, January 3, 2017. https://barbend.com/strongest-vegans-on-earth/
41.Kirkova, Deni. “Vegan Mr. Universe, 40, Says Meat-Free Diet Has Made Him Stronger than Ever.” Metro News UK, September 24, 2015. http://metro.co.uk/2015/09/24/vegan-bodybuilder-40-aims-for-mr-universe-title-as-he-says-meat-free-diet-has-made-him-stronger-than-ever-5351168/
42.“Bios Page.” Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness. Accessed October 11, 2017. http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/?page=bios
43.Novick, Jeff. “The Myth of Complementary Protein.” Forks Over Knives, June 3, 2013. https://www.forksoverknives.com/the-myth-of-complementary-protein/
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45.Jeor, Sachiko T. St, Barbara V. Howard, T. Elaine Prewitt, Vicki Bovee, Terry Bazzarre, Robert H. Eckel, and for the AHA Nutrition Committee. “Dietary Protein and Weight Reduction: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association.” Circulation 104, no. 15 (October 9, 2001): 1869–74. doi:10.1161/hc4001.096152
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47.Association, American Heart. “Vegetarian, Vegan Diet & Heart Health.” Go Red For Women®, March 26, 2014. https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/vegetarian-vegan-diet-heart-health/
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