A plant-based diet and the protein myth

Some people have missed the memo because I still hear the myth that meat consumption is necessary for protein. It’s like the myth that the MMR vaccine causes autism. Despite evidence to the contrary it continues to spread around the blogosphere, like a zombie that never dies. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I’m beginning to wonder whether people have been brain-washed!

A plant-based diet will give you all the protein you need. If you’re eating enough calories each day, and let’s face it, most people in our society are eating too many, then you’re getting enough protein. The question you should be asking is are you getting enough fibre?

Whenever someone questions protein and plant-based diets I feel like Dr Milton Mills in the following video where in frustration he jokes that he’s going to jump off the building. It’s one of those things that has to be said over and over and over and over again. Will it ever stop?

And one last thing, this quote is a straight copy and paste from the American Dietetic Association::

It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.

If you’re eating meat and dairy products then it’s simply because you like the taste and not because it’s necessary for good health.

10 thoughts on “A plant-based diet and the protein myth

      1. When someone says “protein though” just stare at them without blinking and slowly slide a vegan burger across the table to them and whisper “you’re welcome”

    1. I wouldn’t say that they are unhealthy per se, more that red meat without an adequate gut flora and saturated fats along side a high carbohydrate diet within a sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to humans. There are study’s new and old out there that defend saturated fat and pound for pound animal produce contains a higher level of protein with a broader amino acid profile than any other food. But that said I agree it is possible to live without animal produce and anyone who manages to get all their necessary nutrients from plants and sustain it deserves as much respect as they can get. Its commendable.

  1. Animals, including humans, do synthesise some proteins, so not all proteins are second hand from plants.
    There are other nutrients that vegans need to ensure are included in their diets,

    1. I think Dr Mills is referring to the process of fixing nitrogen from the air to create the building blocks needed to create amino acids which is only done by photosynthetic organisms and not something animals can do.

      Vegans need to ensure they get B12 either through supplements or fortified foods since this is not found in plants. It’s made my bacteria that live in the soil. Interestingly, I read recently that we give B12 to livestock – http://eerainuh.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/vitamin_b12_deficiency.pdf
      So meat-eaters are also taking B12 supplements, it’s just they’re getting them second-hand.

  2. One of my friends at college went on to do pharmacology at university, and told me all about dairy food one night – that our bodies tolerate it – and that apart from a little bit of calcium and fat, it’s almost useless to us.

    1. Ah interesting! Dairy is such a strange product. It’s baby food for another species and not designed for us at all. If I ever stopped being vegan I would continue to avoid dairy. I think we’re better off eating venison from the highlands of Scotland (which is culled anyway) than consuming dairy products.

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