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How Much Protein Do We Really Need?


A blog written for Flave 💕

One of the most common reasons for people thinking they need to consume animal products is that they exercise a lot and believe they need high amounts of protein, or simply that plant foods aren’t of equivalent quality or don’t contain all the amino acids that are required to support human health. 

Ironically, it’s actually pretty challenging to consume a plant-based diet which doesn’t provide adequate protein and there are many benefits to consuming plant proteins over animal proteins, not least for the animals and the environment. By keeping a few key things in mind, it’s very easy to meet your protein needs on a plant-based diet.

So how much protein do we need?

Depending on age and activity levels, protein requirements differ considerably. However, for most adults 0.83g/kg of body weight is considered safe, with some experts suggesting a goal of 0.9g/kg of body weight for vegans, due to the slightly lower digestibility of some plant proteins. These are not difficult numbers to shoot for; this means that an adult weighing 60kg would require 54g of protein throughout the day.

Strength athletes may wish to aim for between 1.3-1.9g/kg per day, especially whilst gaining muscle, whilst endurance athletes may wish to aim for between 1.5-2.0g/kg per day whilst training. Conversely, these numbers are pretty high and more readily reached by including protein shakes or high-protein bean pasta in addition to regular meals.

For infants, pregnant women and the elderly, nutrition needs should be discussed with health care providers.

What do we need to be mindful of?

You may have heard of amino acids which are individual compounds that the body uses to make proteins and help the body break down food. The good news is that all the essentials are found in the plant kingdom in varying amounts! Some foods such as soy products (tofu, tempeh or soy milk), quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth are considered “complete proteins” since they have high levels of all of these required amino acids. Other whole grains and beans have lower levels. There is an outdated notion that these foods need to be eaten together, in the same meal, to adequately meet protein needs but this has been long debunked, with a caveat for young children and infants who may still require this style of meal planning.   

For adults, ensuring a varied intake of beans or bean products, whole grains, nuts and seeds throughout the day should more than adequately cover protein requirements.  It’s interesting to note that in many culture’s traditional cuisines, foods from the bean family are combined with food from the grain family anyway; think lentil dahl, or rice and beans.

What are the best sources of protein?

Soy products are an outstanding protein source with an amino acid profile and protein quality to rival meat, but trading the other components that compromise health for antioxidants and fibre. Luckily, soy is found throughout the Flave menu!  

Quinoa, amaranth, beans and whole grains are also good sources of protein and should be eaten throughout your week.  Nuts and seeds also contain good amounts of protein but can be calorie-dense and should be eaten in moderate quantities.  Like meat, these foods that are higher in protein also tend to be good sources of zinc and iron. 

One nutrient which is not present in plant foods, though, is B12 and if eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, or above the age of 50, you should discuss supplementation and testing with your doctor, nutritionist or naturopath.

Now that we’ve address meeting protein needs on a plant-based diet, make sure you check out our post on the health benefits of eating this way!

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Camilla Clare Naturopathy
Based on 18 reviews
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Matt Gussin
Matt Gussin
16:41 22 May 21
I've had a pretty horrid time with gut and fatigue problems for over two years and in this time, I have seen countless... doctors, naturopaths, gastroenterologists, Chinese medicine practitioners and so on...Some of which told me to stop my vegan diet, so this was when I searched for a vegan Naturopath and found Camilla.Camilla has been nothing but outstanding since our first contact. She is the first person in my health journey who I feel is genuinely invested in my health and has worked tirelessly to help and provide answers. She is always quick to reply to my lengthy emails and although currently at the early stages of my treatment, every piece of advice and treatment given has been based off facts and logical reasoning.I really recommend Camilla. I have felt very comfortable with her from day one and you will get someone who is knowledgeable, passionate but most importantly, will do her utmost to help you through any more
Sophie Smith
Sophie Smith
02:36 22 May 21
I would without a doubt recommend Camilla to anyone looking for a naturopath. She is so warm, caring, knowledgable and... helpful. I sought Camilla’s help to work on my severe PMS, heavy and painful periods and PTSD and mental health. From the moment I saw her she went above and beyond and is always there to help whenever I have any questions or concerns. I have just started my treatment plan and feel confident that I will see an improvement with my concerns.Thank you so much Camila xread more
Laura Harper
Laura Harper
02:59 07 Apr 21
I have been working with Camilla for a couple of months now with the aim of treating and managing hair loss, stress,... and anxiety. Camilla's process is incredibly thorough and informative and it has been amazing to not only feel better, but learn SO much in the process. My treatment plan has been very manageable, and Camilla has always made sure I understand why we are doing things rather than just telling me. This ​has really helped me to feel more in control and kept me committed to the lifestyle changes. Prior to working with Camilla, I felt a pretty overwhelmed with information, none of which I could be certain was true or even relevant to my symptoms whereas Camilla's process is so personal, and completely tailored to the individual.Camilla has been so kind, and understanding and has made the whole experience as comfortable and easy as possible. I have been shocked by how quickly I began to feel positive changes, and cant wait to see them continue!read more
Millie Guest
Millie Guest
02:45 04 Mar 21
Camilla is an incredible naturopath. I was recommended by a friend. I was struggling with my energy levels and needed... help to figure out why. The consults were thorough and in-depth and camilla made me feel super comfortable the whole way through.I had bloods done which confirmed i was low on iron as she had predicted. She wrote me an amazing in depth treatment plan, which included when and how to take my supplements with loads of tips & tricks on how to get the most out of them and include more into my diet. She also gave me loads of great recipes to cook to help with my iron intake.It has been over a month into treatment and i feel super energetic and full of life again. It was exactly what i needed to help get back to myself.I couldn’t recommend her enough. If you’re struggling with anything her in-depth knowledge in her field will help you.Thankyou more
Sophie Farrelly
Sophie Farrelly
03:42 29 Dec 20
Camilla is very knowledgeable, helpful and has a wonderful nature. She’s caring and goes above and beyond to help. I... can’t recommend her enough. Thank you!read more
02:07 06 Nov 20
Highly recommend. Camilla is a delight, very passionate and committed to getting clients back to their best!
Vivian Ruth
Vivian Ruth
09:03 28 Oct 20
I’m so grateful for the treatment that I received from Camilla. My results improved within a month!! She is very... attentive, knowledgeable and caring. I highly recommend her for everyone!!read more
Chloe Compton
Chloe Compton
10:20 24 Sep 20
I had several online consultations with Camilla. She was a pleasure to work with and very knowledgeable. Her treatment... plan has really helped me and improved my skin condition. Highly more
Lilla Magyari
Lilla Magyari
11:16 01 Sep 20
Camilla is an amazing Naturopath! Her knowledge and enthusiasm is absolutely fantastic! She helped me a lot in the past... and still does whenever I need. You can count on her 100%. I only can recommend her!!! 💚 🌱 💚🌱💚🌱💚🌱💚read more
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