Dispelling An Instagram Vegan Protein Myth - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 02-03-2017, 01:37 AM
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Dispelling An Instagram Vegan Protein Myth

Anyone that is on Instagram and follows other fellow vegans has probably seen the meme where it says broccoli has more protein than beef right?
Although there are definite misconceptions outside of our vegan community saying we can't get enough protein, which is of course not true, there are misconceptions within our vegan community as well. The biggest misconception within the vegan community is that everything has protein in it.
I want to dispel a myth here that I see all of the time on Instagram and I want to hear your thoughts. As mentioned above, the meme comparing broccoli to beef.
It says for "100 calories" of Beef there are 6.4g Protein and Broccoli it is 11.1g of Protein. First of all those protein numbers are slightly wrong. But the big issue here is they're comparing in terms of calories and not actual grams of the food. 100 calories of broccoli is way larger than 100 calories of beef.
They should be compared by grams. If you look at the nutrition facts on standard broccoli and lean beef.
85g of Broccoli get you 3g protein
85g of Beef get you over 18g protein

This meme is complete BS and unfortunately misguides vegans looking for good protein and nutrition advice. I love greens! Broccoli and other greens are loaded with micro nutrients and you should eat a ton of it. However, greens are NOT A LEGIT SOURCE OF DIETARY PROTEIN. I really hope this clears up this silly myth and I would love to hear what other fellow vegans think.
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#2 Old 02-03-2017, 02:10 AM
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A quick check brings up 8.4 grams for 100 cal broccoli
I dislike that type of comparison too because it doesn't deliver the message it's attempting to get across. I think a lot of people only think of meat as protein and while beans, lentils, nuts lentils and seeds and their products are higher sources than veggies, it is good to understand all the foods we may overlook contribute to daily values.

Knowing the nutritional content of foods is necessary when changing your diet, and all veggies contribute to protein, which is something to consider. If weight loss is a consideration it's esp true

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good
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#3 Old 02-03-2017, 12:16 PM
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I think we do need to make sure that vegan diets are promoting without exagerations or mis-truths, the truth alone is strong enough argument!

I'll agree with you that beef has more protein that broccoli but I dispute the amounts.

You say:
85g of Broccoli get you 3g protein
85g of Beef get you over 18g protein

That doesn't look right to me. I would have thought the protein % would be closer. That video "where do you get your protein" with song says Broccoli is 33% protein and I have seen such numbers elsewhere too. Meat typically has 40% protein excluding water.

Actually, compared to various other sources I don't believe your claim above that protein content in Beef is 6x Broccoli is accurate. I'd like to see the link to the page with that info on nutrition facts if you can find it (I can't).

It's very important to clarify on water content. If we are including water in the % then a food with 15% protein is a high protein food, but if we are not including water that is a low protein food.

Perhaps your figures include water but is that appropriate? I"d like to see the grams protein per total of your figures without water.

I also disagree with your comment that greens are not a legitimate source of dietary protein. Many have 20-30% protein excluding water content.
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#4 Old 02-03-2017, 12:31 PM
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The Becoming Vegan book I has says 23% of broccoli calories are protein. I suspect that on a calorie basis broccoli is only slightly less than beef. However it you looked at it on a weight basis brocolli starts to look worse, but only because it is full of water.

Likewise if you judged based on how much space broccoli is taking up on the plate, you'd need to eat even more to get the same protein (or just to fill yourself up) because it is full of air.
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#5 Old 02-03-2017, 12:37 PM
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I agree with you. It's something I have commented on before too. Broccoli does have a good amount of protein per calorie, but it's so low in calories that you would need to eat a big amount in order to get a decent amount of protein from it, which most people don't want to do.
Like you said, you should definitely eat greens for other nutrients, and they can add a little extra protein to your meal, however, in my opinion, they should never be in any list titled "Good Sources of Protein".
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Last edited by jessandreia; 02-03-2017 at 12:40 PM.
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#6 Old 02-03-2017, 07:22 PM
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I don't know what is meant by "legit" source of protein but vegetables usually have about 1 or 2 grams of protein per serving, or sometimes more (I have cans of chopped spinach with 3 grams of protein per serving). Eating 5 servings of vegetables per day will result in 5 to 10 grams of protein (out of 40-70 grams required per day, depending on body size). I often get more than 5 servings of vegetables per day. Although the protein from vegetables is not enough to be a primary source of protein, it is enough to add a significant amount to the diet. Foods with more protein than vegetables will still need to be eaten but the protein in vegetables can still help meet daily requirements.

I looked up nutrition data on nutritiondata.self.com and found broccoli has 9.7 grams of protein per 100 calories and beef has 9.3 grams of protein per 100 calories. From Google I found, "These weights are approximate: the uncooked weight of our hamburger patties is 45.4g. After cooking, they weigh 30g." Google got the text from yourquestions.mcdonalds.ca. From the data on nutritiondata.self.com, 51.9 grams of raw beef has 100 calories, which would be about 1.14 hamburger patties that are the same mass as what I got from the Google search. 100 calories of broccoli is 293.5 grams, so 100 calories of broccoli is six times as much food as 100 calories of raw beef (or nine times as massive as cooked beef). Most people would not want to eat that much broccoli at once, although I often eat more than 200 grams of broccoli in one meal.

In any case, I agree that it is misleading to compare 100 calories of beef to 100 calories of broccoli because broccoli has more mass per calorie and would thus be more food to eat.

The specific pages on nutritiondata that I used:
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