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Thread: Vegetarian - How Much Protein Do I Need?

  1. #1
    heydude
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    Vegetarian - How Much Protein Do I Need?

    I am a vegetarian and wondering how many grams of protein I need to make sure to get a day.

    I take a powder now that is 25g. I wonder if I should double it or triple it or something.

    I mostly eat grains, pastas, cheese (lazania, pizza, spagetti).

    I take a multivitamin.

    I eat veggies sometimes, but not a lot.
    Fruits, is the same. Mostly bananas.

    I do not eat junk food. I do have granola bars though.

    I am a boy.

    I work out twice a week for about a half hour (nothing major).

    Anyone know that formula and how to follow it?

    thank you,

  2. #2
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    Really, you'll need to look at it in terms of ratios.

    I follow a paleo diet (not vegetarian, but some vegetarians follow these ratios), and it's 45% fat, 35% protein, 20% carbohydrate. We are grain free and dairy light (I use butter, DH/DS also have raw yogurt), which means we are eating mostly just veggies/fruit, as opposed to grains/etc.

    But what is relevant here is the ratios. You might flip the fat and carbs (20% fat, 45% carb) and still end up with 35% protein.

    So, how do you calculate?

    1 gram fat = 7 calories;
    1 gram protein = 4 cals;
    1 gram carb = 4 cals.

    I tend to get 80 g of carbs per day from veggies and fruit. This is 320 cals per day. I eat 1600 cals per day which means it's 20%. I get about 130 g protein on average, so that's 35% (ish). And for fat, I get 100 g of fat per day.

    Most of this fat is not added fat. It's in the meat, eggs, avocados, coconut cream, and other foods that I eat, plus I might cook something in butter (i.e., eggs) or add some fat to my salad as a dressing (i.e., a bit of olive oil). It's not difficult to get a good amount of fat, and it's good for the body (yes, healthy as a horse over here. ). The meat, eggs, and fruit/veggies also have protein, too.

    I would look at your health requirements and needs and see if you are getting "enough" for you. You may need more or less than 35% of your daily caloric intake from protein. From there, you can use something like fit day or spark people to track your percentages, see if you are getting enough grams.


  3. #3
    Senior Member Kestra's Avatar
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    I've been vegetarian almost my whole life and have no idea how many grams of protein I eat, though I try to have something at every meal - legumes or nuts, generally. Sometimes I eat eggs.
    But the fact that you're eating mostly grains is very concerning. You should really eat lots of veggies and fruits daily. And eat real protein, not just a powder. I think some people will supplement with protein powder, but I don't think it's a substitute for real food.
    Is just eating carbs a preference thing? Or because you're new to it? Healthy fats are also important. I know I'd be very ill if I ate mostly carbs.

  4. #4
    Senior Member HumboldtGurl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kestra View Post
    I've been vegetarian almost my whole life and have no idea how many grams of protein I eat, though I try to have something at every meal - legumes or nuts, generally. Sometimes I eat eggs.
    But the fact that you're eating mostly grains is very concerning. You should really eat lots of veggies and fruits daily. And eat real protein, not just a powder. I think some people will supplement with protein powder, but I don't think it's a substitute for real food.
    Is just eating carbs a preference thing? Or because you're new to it? Healthy fats are also important. I know I'd be very ill if I ate mostly carbs.

    I was going to say the exact same thing about my own diet as well as yours heydude.

    When I first went veg I gained a TON of weight because I was filling up on grains and carbs. My diet is way more balanced now and almost identical to Kestras. It's been 25 years and I've never had any deficiencies. I can just sense when I need more protein, when I get a huge craving for eggs or peanut butter or something like that. I've tried going vegan but I'm pretty much a failure at it because I'm not finding enough protein in legumes and nuts.

    If you have a health situation where you feel a lack of protein might affect you negatively, I would consult with a holistic doc specializing in nutrition.

  5. #5
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    The human protein requirement to sustain life is not that high. You can get it with grains and beans and/or you can get it if you consume eggs or decent amounts of dairy (as long as you are consuming diary with protein and not just dairy fat like butter). Any whole foods, non-refined, diet should get you there as far as protein goes (although yes a little more care needed for veganism). That said a lot of people FEEL better with more protein than just that needed to prevent deficiency diseases.

    And your diet seems one destined to produce at least low level deficiencies, although maybe not in protein. Lasagna, pizza, spaghetti - all highly refined grains. But don't some of the people in the Mediterranian eat a lot of pasta? A lot is relative - from what I've read they eat it regularly although not in huge portions - but they also eat a LARGE amount of greens - so really a lot of very vitamin rich vegetables cooked in olive oil and so on, and legumes (and of course they aren't strictly vegetarian either although some diets are semi-vegetarian). It really isn't a subsisting mostly on refined carbs diet, even when refined carbs are *part* of the diet.
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  6. #6
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    i found, as a vegan, vegetarian and now paleo, going beneath 35% for me would give me dizzy spells.

    It really depends upon the individual.

  7. #7
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    This link gives a good overview: http://www.ehow.com/facts_7496045_mu...egetarian.html.

    Note, if you are young and still growing rapidly, you need more protein, and if you're an athlete you need more yet. That said, your current diet is cause for concern, as refined starches are deficient not only in protein but in minerals; indeed, refined starches will strip vitamin C, magnesium, and chrome, from your body, as well as spiking your insulin levels, with the potential for creating insulin resistance down the line. Protein is only one of the vital nutrients your body needs; pay particular attention to the B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamins A, D, E and K. Bananas are sugar-heavy, and have a high glycaemic index. While Italians do eat pasta, they slather it with vegetables, and they like dairy produce and meat.
    Last edited by Suzanne; 3-18-12 at 8:49pm.

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    I think that if you eat protein in powder form its ok even then.Its just a matter of taking protein in.

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    I'm rather nervous about protein powders; these are used in lab experiments in which animals develop cancer, which might be due to the process by which protein powders are made. In my opinion, it's better to eat whole foods of high quality because then one is assured of getting the co-nutrients as well.

  10. #10
    Senior Member HappyHiker's Avatar
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    Our daily protein needs range from 40-70 grams depending on age, gender and activity level. As a young male, if you're active, you're likely at the higher level.

    If you add nuts, legumes, soy products (tofu, tempeh, edename) an egg or two (if you eat them), Greek yogurt (if you eat dairy) and drink milk such as soy or almond, you're likely getting your 70 grams when you add in your protein powder. Peanut, cashew or almond butter can be slathered on sliced apples for a high protein snack.

    Sometimes, it's good to get your protein from whole food sources instead of isolated, manufactured sources...but that's just my opinion. I like whole foods and not made-in-a-factory foods.
    Author of the green eco-thriller: Falling Through Time http://fallingthroughtime.com Editor of http://vibrantvillage.com

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