Plant-based Protein- Interest in plant-based protein continues to grow as we enter a new year. The latest Food and Health Survey by the International Food Information Council indicates that 12 percent of Americans are now following a plant-based diet, while 31 percent have been incorporating more whole-plant foods into their meals.
There are many plant-based protein sources to choose from, including new powders, milk, and meat substitutes, as well as traditional options like beans, quinoa, and tofu. if you are considering adding more plant-based protein to your diet, it’s worth noting the latest science behind their benefits, including muscle building, weight loss, and positive environmental impacts.
The science at the back of plant-based protein
if you are considering switching from animal protein to plant-based protein for health reasons, it’s important to analyze the scientific evidence behind the benefits. Although taste and cost are factors to keep in mind, it is helpful to take a closer look at the research before making a decision.
Does plant protein provide the same health benefits as animal protein?
For a while now vegetarians have been worried about getting ” complete” protein from plant-based sources. These proteins are the ones that provide all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own and must receive from food.
it used to be a common belief that vegans needed to mix and match their food to ensure they got all the essential amino acids. For example, combining rice and beans. However, many experts now say that this isn’t necessary. A well-balanced vegan diet is likely to provide sufficient amounts of all 20 amino acids, both essential and non-essential.
Research from 2019 shows that people who follow vegan and vegetarian diets receive sufficient amounts of protein and amino acids. The authors of the study even suggest that the idea of amino acid deficiency has been exaggerated.
while plant-based proteins have many benefits, they lack one important nutrient that animal proteins provide: vitamin B12. This nutrient is essential for proper brain function and red blood cell formation. If someone chooses to follow a vegan diet, they may need to supplement their diet with vitamin B12 to make up for this deficiency.
Foods that undergo processing.
It is important to be cautious about highly processed plant-based protein foods, as they may contain high levels of sodium and saturated fat which could be comparable or even higher than meat. It is suggested to check the nutrition facts panel before consuming such foods. Amy Gorin, a plant-based dietitian, advises limiting the intake of ultra-processed plant-based convenience foods.
According to a recommendation, plant-based meat options are tasty and add variety to meals, but it is advisable to consume them in moderation and not every day.
Dealing with Food Sensitivities
If you have allergies to soy or nuts, a plant-based protein diet may be difficult to follow. Additionally, those with digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome should be cautious of the high fiber content in many plant-based foods.
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