Vegetarian Protein Sources

Vegetarians who want to lose weight need to be aware of the vegetarian protein sources. It is not essential to follow a high protein vegetarian diet if you want to lose weight but you need to ensure you have a small portion of protein with every meal if you want to lose weight and get the best results possible.

Many people nowadays are becoming vegetarian for a variety of reasons. For some it is a moral issue because they don't want to eat animals, for other it may simply be because they don't like the taste of meat and for some it may simply be because they believe it is the fashionable thing to do. Whatever the reason, it is an individual's choice.

Vegetarian Protein Sources

Despite the perception that vegetarians tend to be healthier than the general population, the fact is that vegetarians are sometimes quite unhealthy. It is common for vegetarians to become nutrient deficient, particularly in iron, zinc, calcium and some amino acids including taurine and methionine.

For example, vegetarians don't consume any meat and red meat is rich in 'haem' iron. This means that they can only get iron from 'non haem' sources like eggs, wholemeal bread, brown rice, beans, cereals and grains. 'Non-haem' sources of iron aren't as bioavailable as 'haem' sources and therefore you need to consume much more of these foods in order to get the same amount of iron.

Vegetarian protein intakes tend to be quite low as a general rule. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the best vegetarian protein sources and make sure you include them in your diet on a regular basis.

Since vegetarian protein intakes tend to be low, they may have trouble building muscle or repairing tissues of the body. Since the protein sources they do consume are generally not 'complete' protein sources (contain all of the essential amino acids), it is imperative that they combine their proteins correctly and in the right proportions in order to get their required daily protein intake and to ensure they get all the essential amino acids.

Combining vegetarian protein sources

Here how you can combine vegetarian protein sources in order to get all of the essential amino acids:

  • Legumes (beans) with grains

  • Legumes with nuts and/ or seeds
  • In order to achieve protein intakes similar to omnivores (creatures that eat both plants and animals, including most of us), the vegetarian protein intake must include very large amounts of these 'incomplete' protein sources.

    For example, 100 grams of cooked chicken breast (about the size of a deck of cards) contains approximately 25 grams of protein and contains all of the essential amino acids. This amount is what the average exercising person should consume in their 5 daily meals.

    In order to get the same amount of protein from vegetarian sources, like beans, you would need to consume around 400 grams; and you still won't be getting all of the essential amino acids. Add to this, the fact that 400 grams of beans will give you around 140 grams of carbohydrate, it is likely there will be an excess of carbohydrates consumed throughout the day resulting in increased fat storage.

    Accordingly, protein supplementation is absolutely essential for vegetarians who are involved in a regular exercise program. It will ensure they get adequate amounts of protein in their diet. The best protein protein source from supplements is whey protein.

    However, if you are a vegan (a vegetarian who consumes no animal products whatsoever, including eggs and dairy products), you will need to consume a soy protein powder instead of a whey protein powder (whey comes from milk).

    In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a vegetarian. In fact, for the average person who tends to have poor nutritional habits becoming a vegetarian would certainly be an improvement in their dietary habits. It would ensure they ate a wider variety of foods, reduced their fat intake and included more fiber (fibre) in their diet. I believe, however, consuming a small amount of meat is better than none at all.

    If you are vegetarian make sure you put a high-quality whey protein supplement at the top of your supplement shopping list and make sure you enjoy eating eggs. These two vegetarian protein sources are essential if you want to lose weight and achieve your best body possible. Protein, as you are aware, is an essential part of our daily diet. An adequate intake ensures optimal functioning of the body and maintenance or growth of lean body tissue (muscle), which enhances fat loss. It is imperative that protein is a component of every meal consumed throughout the day.

    Here are the best vegetarian protein sources

  • Whole eggs

  • Egg whites

  • Beans

  • Almonds

  • Cashews

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Pistacio nuts

  • Skim cottage cheese

  • Whey protein powder

  • Tofu

  • Quinoa

  • Amaranth

  • Buckwheat

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