Protein Myth

First question people usually ask when learning that someone is vegan is: Where do you get your proteins? If I got a dollar, every time I heard this question, I would be very rich 🙂 protein_full1

Proteins are a very important part of our diet, they are a component of the cytoplasm, the building blocks of the tissue cells. More specifically,  a protein consists of 20 amino acid basic nutrients with which the body forms the cells, muscles, tissues, enzymes, hormones, etc.

Where do aminoacids come from?

Plants are able to produce all 20 amino acids thanks to the ability to assimilate carbon dioxide from the air and nitrogen from the soil. Humans produse only 12, so eight essential amino acids must be taken from the diet. Which are:

  • leucine
  • isoleucine
  • lysine
  • methionine
  • phenylalanine
  • threonine
  • tryptophan
  • valine


The biggest and strongest animals in the world are herbivores. They do not produce all of the amino acids, as well as humans. Amino acids that animals must supply with food are the same as ours. So there is nothing to do with the fact that ruminants have different stomachs, because their task is not to produce amino acids. So where do  these huge and beautiful animals  take protein? Hmmm… zwierzeta 3

How much proteins a day?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that 5% of daily intake of calories comes from proteins. This means that men consuming 3000 calories a day  need 38 grams of proteins. How to calculate it? 3000 calories multiply by 5%, gives 150 calories from protein. 1 to 4 grams of protein calories, so 150 divided by four gives 37.5 , rounded to 38. A woman that consumes 2,300 calories a day  needs 29 grams of proteins. But for  safety and security  and just to be sure  we provide enough proteins, consider how much proteins are consumed daily by a human infant in the most heightened period of growth in life. Many people are surprised  that women’s milk has only 2 – 5% of proteins. And after infancy, growth and development certainly do not need more proteins, if not less.

Do plants contain enough protein?

So let’s see the protein content of various foods:

  Whole wheat flour 16
   Oatmeal 15
   White flour 11
   Brown rice 9
   Cornmeal 9
   White rice 7
   Starchy Vegetables
  Peas 28
   Black beans 27
Kidney Beans 27
   Corn 11
  Cassava 10
  Potatoes 8
   Sweet potatoes 7
    Green Vegetables
   Spinach 51
   Broccoli 42
  Asparagus 42
   Lettuce 40
   Onions 32
  Mushrooms 12
   Carrots 10
    Animal Products
   Cottage cheese 68
   Beef 53
Chicken 46
  Salmon 43
 Skim milk 39
  Egg 32
  Pork 29
  Cheddar cheese 25
  Whole milk 21
  Human milk 5

Have you noticed that the percentage of proteins in spinach is more than in chicken? As you can see, the amino acids are everywhere and it is very difficult for the proteins to lack in the diet. The exceptions are African children with swollen bellies, they do not have any kind of food.

Do plants contain all the essential amino acids?

In the 40’s of the twentieth century  Dr. William Rose conducted an experiment on humans to find out  how much proteins humans needed daily. His research showed that just 20 grams per day were needed. Part of his research was the experiment on humans, giving them a single plant product in order to check if it covered  the demand for all 8 essential amino acids.  Below the results of Dr. Rose. As you can see, vegetables have more than enough amino acids:

Amino acids Dr. Rose’s
Corn Brown Rice Oatmeal White flour White Bean
Tryptophan 0.5 0.66 0.71 1.4 1.4 18
Phenylalaline 0.56 6.13 3.1 5.8 5.9 10.9
Leucine 2.20 12.0 5.5 8.1 8.0 17.0
Isoleucine 1.4 4.1 3.0 5.6 5.2 11.3
Lysine 1.6 4.1 2.5 4.0 3.2 14.7
Vailine 1.6 6.8 4.5 6.4 5.5 12.1
Methionine 0.22 2.1 1.1 1.6 1.8 2.0
Threonine 1.0 4.5 2.5 3.6 3.5 8.5
 Total protein 37 109 64 108 120 198

Other fruits and vegetables:

Amino acids Taro Asparagus Broccoli Tomatoes Pumpkin
Tryptophan 1.0 3.9 3.8 1.4 1.5
Phenylalanine 3.0 10.2 12.2 4.3 3.0
Leucine 5.2 14.6 16.5 6.1 6.0
Isoleucine 3.0 11.9 12.8 4.4 4.3
Lysine 3.4 15.5 14.8 6.3 5.5
Vailine 3.5 16.0 17.3 4.2 4.3
Methionine 0.6 5.0 5.1 1.1 1.0
Threonine 2.7 9.9 12.5 4.9 2.7
Total protein 58 330 338 150 115

And animal products:

Amino acids Steak Egg Milk
Tryptophan 3.1 3.8 2.3
Phenylalanine 11.2 13.9 7.7
Leucine 22.4 21.0 15.9
Isoleucine 14.3 15.7 10.3
Lysine 23.9 15.3 12.5
Vailine 15.1 17.7 11.7
Methionine 6.8 7.4 3.9
Threonine 12.1 12.0 74
Total protein 276 238 160

For a long time it was believed (and most people still believe) that bodybuilders and other athletes needed much more proteins than ordinary people. The truth is that athletes need a little more protein, which is easily supplied by an increased calorific value or volume of meals.

A vegan diet is great for athletes.

Here are some of them: joel kirkillis

Joel Kirkillis

Channa Serenity

Channa Serenity


Frank Medrano


Erin Moubray

robert cheeke

Robert Cheeke

Patrik Baboumian

Patrik Baboumian while slogging world record in the transfer of 550 kg at a distance of 10 meters.


Ania Natkowska (me :P)

What if you consume too much proteins?

Over the years, the myths about proteins have been multiplied. Huge  meat and dairy industries stand behind it, they don’t want us to eat less of their products. Pharmaceutical companies also have their deserved share in this because no market gives more income than the diseases. On one hand, we are bombed with commercials of yoghurt, cheese and junk food and on the other hand about medications. Interesting;) I remind your that in the 70’s of the twentieth century doctors declared that smoking was healthy and advertised Camel cigarettes.

The average citizen of the developed countries consume too much proteins, and this is prone to the development of  diseases such as:

  • Kidney Disease: When people eat too much proteins, they provide the body with too much nitrogen compounds, which are very chargeable to the kidneys, causing them to  work hard, so the excesses are removed from the body. There is therefore the risk of kidney stones. People who have trouble with kidneys should maintain a low-protein diet. Nitrites also raise the risk of cancer, can damage hemoglobin leading to hypoxic of tissues and organs.


  • Cancer: meat eaters are exposed to colon cancer as well as other types of cancer, which was confirmed by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, Food, Nutrition, and  Prevention of Cancer and the former Italian health minister Umberto Veronesi, about who I wrote here already.

ProteinChinaStudy rak

  • Osteoporosis: Contrary to general opinion and media promotion, dairy products contribute to the development of osteoporosis. Milk, contrary to popular opinion, does not strengthen bones, but it damages them. Protein included in the dairy products leaches calcium from the bones. In countries where most dairy products are consumed , such as the U.S. and Sweden, there are most cases of osteoporosis, whereas in Asia, where these products are almost not consumed at all, suffering from osteoporosis is very rare.


  • Diabetes: The relationship between diabetes and dairy albumin contained in milk, which cause an autoimmune response of the body, destroys the insulin-producing pancreatic cells. The largest proportion of cases of diabetes occurs in Finland, where milk consumption is the highest in the world.


Percentage is often confused with grams, because we are accustomed to hear that the fat in milk is 2% or 3.2%, and the composition is seen as if there are such  grams of fat for every 100 ml.  This is misleading because carbohydrates and proteins have 4 calories and fat  has 9 calories, so milk, whose fat content is 3% weight, in terms of caloric content is 48%.
In other words, if you pour a tablespoon of oil in a glass of water, the weight will actually be a low percentage, but in terms of caloric value, it will be 100% calories from fat.

protein calories

Comparison of a meal containing 500 calories of plant origin with a meal of animal origin for the content of cholesterol, fat, protein, beta carotene, dietary fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin E, iron, magnesium and calcium.

So spinach has 51% of calories coming from proteins because it’s very low in calories but does not have 51 grams of proteins.  However, this is the perfect proportion for a man, because herbivorous animals are powerful and strong, and vegan bodybuilders are big and have strong muscles. And that’s why eating fruits and vegetables, we are not able to eat too much proteins, so do not help yourself in having the above-mentioned diseases. The addition of seeds, nuts and oils raises both calorific value and the percentage of protein and fat, so they must be used to a limited extent.


Of course, vegans and raw foodists consume large amounts of fruits and vegetables, to provide a proper amount of calories to meet the demand for micro-and macro-nutrients. A person on a traditional diet can be surprised by the amount of food that raw foodists eat, but to us it really tastes good and feels great, thanks.


To wrap up: fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts are great sources of proteins, especially: spinach, broccoli, kale, almonds, chickpeas, lentils, peanut butter, seeds, peas, tofu, brown rice, beans, sprouts, quinoa.

AND YOU? Where do you get your proteins? 😉

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,  “Wszystko o Wegetarianizmie”, Maria Grodecka, “China Study” T.C. Campbell, T. M. Campbell.

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1 Comment

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Reply March 28, 2014

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