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Protein Take 2

June 16, 2010

Some interesting comments on my post about protein powders.  It seems like many of your stay away from the stuff (like I plan to from now on), and prefer to get your protein from REAL FOODS.  I tend to rely on real foods, I was just using protein powder as a supplement, which I won’t be doing anymore!

Several of you asked if the Consumer Reports article mentioned how to know which protein powders are actually safe, and unfortunately there was no information on that.  I’ve also found a lot of articles out on the web disputing this information, but those seem to be coming from the protein powder industry themselves.  I do think that once in awhile this is definitely not toxic in VERY small doses, but I just don’t know how to choose, or if I will ever choose protein powder again.

Several of you also shared information with me on what people need for daily protein requirements.  It seems like there is actually quite a bit of debate (really Justin!) and a variety of what is recommended.  The RDA has set some standards, which I have pasted below:

RDA The CDC has similar recommendations:

CDC So where can you get this protein in your diet?  The CDC suggests the following:

  • a glass of milk has 8 grams protein
  • 3 oz. meat has about 21 grams protein
  • 1 cup dry beans has about 16 grams protein
  • and 8 oz. container of yogurt has about 11 grams protein

It’s easy to get your daily protein without any meat at all.  For example, today I had a very eclectic mix of foods, but plenty of protein:

  • a serving of Greek yogurt at 20 grams
  • a spoonful of peanut butter that has 8 grams
  • 2 servings of hummus having 4 grams
  • a soy hot dog with 8 grams (I eat these or other meat substitutes MAYBE twice a month!)
  • a cup of raspberries has 1 gram (yes!)
  • a cup of strawberries for 1 gram (for real!)
  • granola that contained 4 grams
  • sweet potato which had 3 grams
  • 1 cup bell peppers with 2 grams
  • enough onions for about 1.5 grams
  • black beans at about 19 grams
  • about 6 grams in vegetarian refried beans

That’s not even everything I ate, and comes to about 77.5 grams, without even trying!  Plus, of course, I’m not done.  There is some banana soft serve (1-2 grams) and watermelon in my immediate future (about 1 gram), and who knows what else?  I actually found some interesting information at Averie’s blog, showing some surprising sources of protein, like in produce.  She found some great charts over here, which really surprised me.  For example, take a look at this one (just a snippet of the chart):

veggies I don’t know about you guys, but I find that so interesting!  So basically, by eating a fiber rich diet (which I do…all I want is fruit ALL THE TIME), you are also getting in some protein!  In a way, it’s almost impossible to not get protein!

On the other hand, it is also suggested that too much protein is actually problematic.  It is argued that too much can lead to dehydration, digestive problems, increased risk of osteoporosis and kidney problems.  It is suggested also that our bodies assemble enough amino acids from what we eat that we don’t need to worry about getting MORE protein.

Here are some interesting blog posts:

Gena at Choosing Raw
Averie at Love Veggies and Yoga
Danielle at Runs on Greens (3 part series)

I’m really surprised to learn how much protein I actually get without even trying…I thought as soon as I became vegetarian, I’d need to find some extra ways to get protein into my diet, hence the powders.  That’s not the case!  I certainly have no interest in starting a debate (many vegans say you hardly need any, and heavy lifters get a ton of protein), just to continue the conversation that started yesterday!

So what’s your favorite source of protein?  If you are vegetarian, do you rely on meat substitutes for protein?  Do you just not worry about it at all?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Danielle permalink
    June 16, 2010 9:41 pm

    Yes, it’s *so* easy to get protein! I think it’s funny that vegetarians/vegans get asked that question the most. No one ever brings up B12 to me lol

    My favorite source of protein would be chocolate 😀

  2. June 17, 2010 8:29 am

    My stepdad and sister are both super into protein powder right now, even though they’re also big meat eaters. (They both work out with the same trainer, so I think it’s his influence.) I’ve never used it, but I do occasionally get a vivanno smoothie at Starbucks, which has whey protein in it.

    We’re pretty much pescatarians at this point, so my favorite way to get protein (besides sushi!) is through peanut butter or beans. Black bean salad, hummus, burritos, roasted chickpeas… there are so many ways to eat beans without getting bored. I also eat eggs at least a couple times a week.

    p.s. The FDA just issued a salmonella warning for hydrolyzed soy protein (what fake meat is made of), so be careful!

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