In the vegan and vegetarian communities, we often hear the idea that consuming too much protein is harmful. However, is such an idea backed up by scientific research or by the general consensus among medical professionals? From what I’ve seen, the answer is no.
This blog post from 2016 popped up in my Fitbit today, and it reminded me about this topic. The author of the Fitbit blog is not promoting vegan or vegetarian diets, and yet they acknowledge that even people who regularly consume animal products are not getting enough protein, especially at breakfast and lunch.
If meat eaters are not getting enough protein throughout the day, imagine the situation for people on vegan and vegetarian diets who are being told (incorrectly) that getting enough protein is not important.
That being said, following a vegan diet, with food like what I normally eat, can definitely provide protein-rich meals. Nowadays, because I focus on protein, I’m pretty sure that most of my delicious and nutritious vegan meals are packed with just as much protein, if not more, as the typical meat-eater meal (especially at breakfast and lunch). However, it wasn’t always this way. Before, when I didn’t pay much attention to protein, I’m sure that I typically consumed less than 50 grams of protein per day.
Over the past couple of years, I have learned about the importance of protein. The benefits of getting more protein, not less, are numerous. Getting enough protein can help a person keep off unwanted pounds, prevent osteoporosis, prevent fraility and muscle loss, and maintain mobility in old age.
I wrote a blog post with more details about this, published on April 19, 2022. Check it out here.
Now I do focus on getting enough protein most days. I’m hoping that this will lead to good health outcomes for me in the long run. Some people are only getting about 40 to 50 grams of protein per day, whether they are meat eaters or following a vegan or vegetarian diet or not. In the past, I would’ve thought that this was good enough.
Based on recent research, I’m learning that aiming for something more like 100 grams of protein per day can be beneficial, for someone my size. If I don’t quite make it to 100 grams and only end up with 80 g of protein for for the day, that’s OK. It’s still a lot better than only ending up with about 40 games of protein on the regular, which is what I was doing in the past.
To be clear, although I would like to do it, I haven’t had time to carefully track my macros and actually count up how much protein I’m getting each day. Instead, what I do is I aim for AT LEAST 30 g of protein at each meal. Ideally, if I were to eat 3 meals per day, that would add up to 90 grams of protein.
Unfortunately. I often only eat 2 meals a day, breakfast and dinner … just because my day is busy doing bridge inspections, and there is no time to stop for lunch. So that’s where the snacks come in! I try to choose higher protein versions of snacks (example: lentil chips) so those will also add up to additional protein for the day.
Even when it’s an individual meal, I don’t normally count up how much protein is there, but I have an idea of things which are protein-rich, and I try to include those. For example, if I have a serving of tofu with a serving of beans and right rice (higher protein rice alternative), with broccoli, and a tablespoon of hemp seeds on top, altogether, that should easily be 30 g of protein or more.
Another thing is that I try to drink at least one or maybe even two of the Orgain plant-based protein shakes each day when I have a lot going on and need to maximize the protein from my snacks on the go. Each Orgain plant-based protein shake is 20 g of protein and only 150 cal. If I only get a chance to eat two 30-grams-protein meals per day, … that’s only 60 grams protein. But: if I add those two shakes, that’s an additional 40 grams to get me to my 100 grams per day protein goal.
One response to “Benefits of Eating More Protein from Fitbit”
Also protein is a bit harder for the body to burn. On average for every gram of protein you eat, you burn a calorie. So when I get somewhere over a 100 grams a day, I’m burning a bit over a 100 additional calories, which isn’t nothing!
And ugh, I get so frustrated when vegan propaganda misuses information. Most Americans aren’t getting too much protein. Yes, plenty are probably getting more than the bare minimum, which is what they are referring to. Yes, that’s probably technically enough to keep people from suffering from protein deficiency. Probably getting 10% or less of your vitamin C a day is enough to keep you from getting scurvy too! And NOOOO, there’s no evidence that protein damages kidneys. Just because you have to eat a low protein diet when your kidneys fail doesn’t mean protein caused it. Things like unmanaged diabetes, hypertension, too many NSAIDs, and genetic issues are generally to blame for kidney failure. Just like I don’t think there’s really any evidence that points to eating sugar/carbs in and of itself causing diabetes (although there’s a good chance you might be eating extra calories in those forms and causing excess body fat), but once you develop diabetes you need to watch your sugar intake and you might be able to manage it through carb restriction.
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