Guide to Protein in plant-based diets
Interest in adopting a plant-based diet, particularly in the western world, is growing exponentially (1). Top athletes, celebrities and vegetarian movements are at the forefront of advocating for a plant-based diet. Recent research suggests that 1 in every 3 New Zealanders are reducing their meat consumption or eating no meat at all (2). For a country recognised for its farming and Sunday roasts, these figures are remarkable and worth exploring further. It is thought that around 10% of New Zealanders are either ‘mostly or always meat-free” (3) and each year, the number of people supporting a plant-based diet continues to rise (4). Not only is this way of eating becoming more accepted by society, but food retailers are also having to adapt by purchasing more meat alternatives, and providing more vegetarian menu options. The senior director, Julie Emett, of the Plant Based Food-Association retail partnerships remarked that "plant-based foods are a growth engine, significantly outpacing overall grocery sales,".
Environmental, ethical and nutritional motivations are among the top drivers for pursuing a plant-based diet. Many other motivations exist, ranging from religion, value for money, dislike of the taste and/or handling of meat, and social influences. The New Zealand Vegetarian Society President Caroline Jack believes upward trends are related to an increased awareness of farming. Documentaries such as "The Game Changers", "What the Health" and "Cowspiracy" also attract a lot of attention to the plant-based movement.
The first and foremost factor to consider is what is a ‘plant-based diet’? The term ‘plant-based’ means many different things to many different people so we’ve got to be careful with how we interpret anything using the term. For some people, a plant-based diet excludes all animal products and consists of only plant foods while for others a plant-based diet is primarily comprised of plants but animal products still may be included. The main types of plant-based diets are vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian and flexitarians. All the diets have one thing in common, they exclude a form of animal products to some degree with the stricter vegan diet and looser flexitarian diet. The type of plant-based diet that works for one person, may be different from what works for someone else.
Chapter 6: How to choose my plant-based protein powder?
Chapter 7: Why is pea protein the best plant protein?
Chapter 9: Where should I start?
Short on time? Here's the juicy bits
- Yes, you can get more than enough of your daily protein needs on a plant based diet.
- Just like meats, familiarise yourself with high protein plant sources and how to work with them in recipes.
- Yes, People on a plant based diet do need to be more conscious of their protein intake.
- Plant based protein sources lack fatty acids found in animal proteins. As a result, people who follow plant based diets are associated with lower BMIs, diabetes, obesity risk and colorectal cancers.
- It’s recommended 10 – 20% of your calories come from protein each day (for those who are highly active this is closer to 30%).
- Other than protein powder, beans & leafy greens have the highest concentrations of protein per gram.
- Protein powders serve up a whopping 24g of protein per 30g serve, perfect for those who have an active lifestyle and consume a plant based diet.
- What’s more they conveniently blend into almost any recipe, are a relatively cost effective source of quality protein and have a long and stable shelf life.
- There are many different types of plant based protein powders but when it comes to overall nutritional effectiveness pea protein isolate comes out tops.
- Specifically European Golden Pea is considered the highest quality pea protein available.
- Treat protein powder exactly the way you would choose traditional food sources.
- Avoid cheaper products that may contain ingredients harmful for your health and be vigilant when it comes to knowing exactly where the protein has come from and ingredients inside.
- Rule of thumb is that if the product is not transparent with ingredients there is usually something they are trying to hide.
- Remember that protein powder is a health supplement, it should not taste like a sugary treat!
- Pea Protein isolate is a complete protein source (it contains all essential amino acids).
- Pea Protein isolate is shown to be just as effective as whey for muscle gain and retention.
- Pea Protein isolate is great for those with allergies, dietary requirements.
- Pea Protein isolate is a sustainable protein source.
- A 5-year long study concluded that plant based diets are a successful way to lose weight.
- Whole food consumption is typically increased with plant based diets leading to improved heart health, digestion and energy levels.
- Thinking of going plant based? We recommend choosing a quality protein powder to help you with the initial transition and to stay on top of your protein requirements.
- Highly active on the reg? We recommend using a protein powder to supplement your protein requirements on a plant based diet.