Protein "deficiency". Is there such a thing? And a question about "animal" protein? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-11-2012, 09:23 AM
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After constantly hearing "where do you get your protein!?" from trillions of my acquaintances... I decided to look up information about protein deficiency. All I found was Kwashiorkor and Marasmus, which both sound like CALORIC deficiencies to me. Sure, an individual who has this condition does not have enough protein, but it is because they are starving. I have yet to find a name for someone who is consuming sufficient calories, but not enough protein. Does such a term even exist? 

I've been vegetarian for 4 years, and have barley glanced at the nutrition label to see the nutrients I'm receiving, yet I have never had an deficiencies. 

 

Also.. another question. I've heard that "animal" protein is generally bad for humans, because in animal products there is a particularly large amount of the amino acid "methionine". Apparently this amino acid breaks down into sulfuric acid in the blood.. and the high acidity in the blood needs to be neutralized. In order to do this, our body draws calcium-phosphate from the bones. Phosphate is used to neutralize the acidity, and then we pee out the calcium. Thus we lose calcium from our bones, eventually leading to osteoporosis. Supposedly this is the reason why countries who have the highest rate of dairy consumption also have the highest rates of osteoporosis.

 

Now I just learned that from research... but is it true? Because I posted this on another website only to get about 15 or so "thumbs down" and attacks from meat eaters saying everything I said was BS. Any other opinions? 

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#2 Old 07-11-2012, 06:36 PM
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I don't really have a lot of knowledge about the differences between plant and animal protein but I've heard what you posted before.

I do know it's super easy to get protein on a veg*n diet, I've never really heard of anyone having a specific protein deficiency that wasn't just the result of eating too little in general either.

There definitely isn't a good reason for all the "where do you get your protein?" questions, people are just misinformed. That's what happens when you get all your nutrition information from commercials funded by the meat and dairy industry tongue3.gif

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#3 Old 07-12-2012, 01:47 PM
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From what I read, Kwashiorkor is when you are getting enough calories, but not enough protein. I haven't read much that clarifies this, but it appears that Kwashiorkor is not enough protein, Marasmus is not enough calories, and they are two extremes on a scale. This really never happens in the US and other first world countries, and often people are more in the center of the scale because they just straight up lack food. This is just some brief reading though. Not sure about the other question, I'll have to read into it. Where did you hear this by the way?

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#4 Old 07-13-2012, 01:02 AM
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Restriciting Methionine has been shown to increase the life span of some animals (not sure about humans), so there might be some truth, but Methionine is not only foudn in red meat, it's found in lots of things a vegetarian or vegan would eat instead of meat:

http://nutrient.javalime.com/nutrient.php/506

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#5 Old 07-13-2012, 01:35 AM
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I saw it on a video on youtube by Freelea. 

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#6 Old 07-14-2012, 12:57 AM
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Apparently this amino acid breaks down into sulfuric acid in the blood.. and the high acidity in the blood needs to be neutralized.

 

Vegan  Outreach's Jack Norris has addressed this and found the evidence lacking: http://jacknorrisrd.com/?p=2136


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#7 Old 07-14-2012, 01:31 AM
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Here are Dr. McDougall's ideas about protein from

http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/apr/protein.htm

 

Quote:

People Require Very Little Protein

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that men and women obtain 5% of their calories as protein.  This would mean 38 grams of protein for a man burning 3000 calories a day and 29 grams for a woman using 2300 calories a day.  This quantity of protein is impossible to avoid when daily calorie needs are met by unrefined starches and vegetables. For example, rice alone would provide 71 grams of highly useable protein and white potatoes would provide 64 grams of protein.8 

 

Our greatest time of growth—thus, the time of our greatest need for protein—is during our first 2 years of life—we double in size. At this vigorous developmental stage our ideal food is human milk, which is 5% protein.  Compare this need to food choices that should be made as adults—when we are not growing. Rice is 8% protein, corn 11%, oatmeal 15%, and beans 27%.8  Thus protein deficiency is impossible when calorie needs are met by eating unprocessed starches and vegetables.

 

The healthy active lives of hundreds of millions of people laboring in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America on diets with less than half the amount of protein eaten by Americans and Europeans prove that the popular understanding of our protein needs is seriously flawed.

the rest of the article is very interesting too.


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#8 Old 07-14-2012, 05:58 AM
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the quantity of protein isn't the problem though. Isn't it more about getting enough of each of the nine essential amino-acids(which make up protein). I have read that grains are low in lysine, and that legumes are low in methionine. So you have to make sure that what you eat covers these deficiencies.
I'm still not sure about the protein situation for vegans.
Although I do realise that you can get all the essential amino-acids via a vegan diet, I'm just not sure how careful you have to be.

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#9 Old 07-14-2012, 11:15 AM
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I'm still not sure about the protein situation for vegans.
Although I do realise that you can get all the essential amino-acids via a vegan diet, I'm just not sure how careful you have to be.

As long as vegans eat plenty of legumes (including beans or soy foods), there is no issue. Here is a post from Ginny Messina on the issue: http://www.theveganrd.com/2011/01/vegan-food-guide-protein-and-new-book.html

It is certainly not difficult to get enough protein and lysine with a vegan diet, but the issue deserves attention. You can't eat only grains and veggies and assume you'll be ok.
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#10 Old 07-15-2012, 02:36 AM
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Well supposedly all the essential amino acids can be found in fruit. So if you snacked on just fruit and veggies all day (fruitarian/raw vegan diet) you'd consume around 10% protein, which seems to be the healthy amount. 

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#11 Old 07-15-2012, 09:00 AM
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Well supposedly all the essential amino acids can be found in fruit. So if you snacked on just fruit and veggies all day (fruitarian/raw vegan diet) you'd consume around 10% protein, which seems to be the healthy amount. 

Would love to see a reference for this.
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#12 Old 07-15-2012, 09:44 AM
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Would love to see a reference for this.

my link includes an amino acid breakdown of tomatoes, so you might look at that.


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#13 Old 07-15-2012, 09:55 AM
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my link includes an amino acid breakdown of tomatoes, so you might look at that.
Fruits are not included there, and it is also curious that legumes are not included for comparison. The text is too long and I am not inclined to read it with the sensationalist headings. McDougall definitely has a tendency toward the extremes, and is far from and unbiased source of information.
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#14 Old 07-15-2012, 11:43 AM
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Fruits are not included there, and it is also curious that legumes are not included for comparison. The text is too long and I am not inclined to read it with the sensationalist headings. McDougall definitely has a tendency toward the extremes, and is far from and unbiased source of information.

Like I said, tomatoes (which are a fruit) are included, and there is a chart with an amino acid breakdown, so you really don't need to read text.  Make of it whatever you want, but I'm interested in dealing with the actual info, not ad hominems against McDougall. 


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#15 Old 07-15-2012, 12:11 PM
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Like I said, tomatoes (which are a fruit) are included, and there is a chart with an amino acid breakdown, so you really don't need to read text.  Make of it whatever you want, but I'm interested in dealing with the actual info, not ad hominems against McDougall. 

Regardless of the McDougall issue (and I do think it is important to consider the source of the information, as he may be using outdated data, for example, if it supports his theories), I hardly think we can take tomatoes to be representative of all fruits, and I do think legumes are an important comparison.

Here is a better chart from Jack Norris, a registered dietitian, which includes fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains - http://veganhealth.org/articles/protein#table3

Per his recommendations, we should be getting approximately 1 gram/kg body weight/day of protein and 38 mg/kg body weight/day for lysine. For a 140 pound person, that would mean eating 41 bananas a day, which would be approximately 4100 calories. Now, there may be more lysine dense fruits that are not listed, but from what I can tell, there is no reason to think that someone can reasonably meet their protein and lysine needs with only fruits. Some veggies do contain more lysine, but still pretty large numbers of servings would need to be eaten to meet requirements.
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#16 Old 07-15-2012, 12:33 PM
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Regardless of the McDougall issue (and I do think it is important to consider the source of the information, as he may be using outdated data, for example, if it supports his theories), I hardly think we can take tomatoes to be representative of all fruits, and I do think legumes are an important comparison.

I didn't say tomatoes were representative of all fruits and I don't know enough about fruitarianism to say much about it.  I just gave you a source to see that fruits - at least this one - can in fact be a protein source because it has all the essential amino acids.  Do I think it should be the only protein source?  No, and I doubt McDougall does either - the point of the article is to show that whole plant foods can provide complete proteins and people are far too worried about veg*ns and protein, when those veg*ns eat a whole foods diet.  And really, I'm sure it's not difficult at all to find a table listing the amino acid breakdowns of various foods, so his data can be easily checked.

 

I don't find McDougall a terrible source either, but like I said if you have a problem his sources are easy to verify.  But everyone has an opinion, especially about nutrition.


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#17 Old 07-15-2012, 05:06 PM
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I read that in the 80/10/10 book. It is also talked about in Freelea's Protein video.

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#18 Old 07-15-2012, 07:11 PM
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You can be protein- deficient.

It will show up as a low Urea value on your blood test. Its fairly rare if you are getting enough calories in your diet because most things contain some protein.

In cases of anorexia nervosa or other illnesses where people experience loss of appetite, then urea levels may drop which indicate that the body is not turning over sufficient protein. This type of deficiency will probably take several years to occur though! Your body will burn a lot of excess anything before it starts to break down needed proteins from muscle tissue etc. (that occurs when not intaking enough protein in diet). 


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#19 Old 07-16-2012, 06:39 AM
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I just ordered some lysine pills from Holland&Barrett..

http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/pages/product_detail.asp?pid=117&prodid=1076&cid=172


I need to be cutting down on the food I eat, not stuffing my face with beans and peanut, just to make sure I'm getting my 3g/day lysine requirement.grin.gif

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#20 Old 08-04-2012, 03:06 PM
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You seem to be looking for a disease attributable to protein deficiency....and there aren't too many.   But that doesn't mean that low protein intake doesn't have consequences, especially long-term.    Similarly....is there a disease directly associated with a diet high in saturated fat? Not really....though it too has consequences.  

 

Your body responds in many ways to low protein intakes, it reduces the amount of proteins synthesized, it will start to break down non-critical proteins in the body (lean muscle mass, etc).   But all of this has long-term consequences if the protein intake remains chronically low.   Reduced protein synthesize means your body won't regenerate as much tissue.  So, for example, your nails/hair may become thin, your skin may become dry and brittle, you can become "skinny fat", etc.    And....you can certainly observe these consequences in some vegetarians and vegans.  

 

Personally I feel that every vegetarian and vegan should analysis their diet to ensure that they are consuming appropriate protein, not only the amount but of the right quality as well.  Not something you want to play around with.....

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#21 Old 10-28-2016, 02:47 AM
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Hey there mates!

The truth is: protein is an abundant macro nutrient in nature.
It can be found in grains, seeds, legumes, and even some leafs and vegetables.
But while most foods contain a little bit of protein, there are some *special* ones that just pack HEAPS of proteins per serving.

The problem is: most people have NO IDEA about those foods. For instance, did you know that LUPINI BEANS have 36g of protein per 100g? That's MORE THAN MEAT. I was just BAFFLED when I found out about it.

I seriously recommend you check out the link in my signature (it's a table with vegan sources of protein). Most foods there have more than 15g of protein per 100g (which is very good) - many have more than 20g (which is excellent), and a few have more than 30G OF PROTEIN PER 100G! That's just insane.

When you have the right information, it gets pretty easy to reach an optimal daily intake of protein on a vegan diet. And you don't even need vegan protein powders - although I love them


Hope it helps! cheers
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#22 Old 10-28-2016, 04:03 PM
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As an athlete - though not professional anymore -, I've read about this a lot. Long story short, there are contradictory opinions, but there is more evidence that supports that from a health standpoint, you are more than fine on a vegan diet, until it is diverse enough. This means eating lentils, nuts, and all kinds of vegetables. Spinach has bunch of protein in it (compared to plants), same with mushrooms, etc.

If your goal is to stay healthy and lean, and you don't carry too much muscle, you have nothing to worry about. If you are an athlete who does resistence training, and you have considerable muscle mass, it is more complicated, because this means you have to have a higher protein intake, otherwise you will not be able to keep that muscle mass.

It is harder to do that on a vegan diet, but it is possible. I use rice protein, and so far I haven't seen any negative side effects. I went vegan around three weeks ago, and my weight is the same, though I also make sure to eat the same amount of calories, before I went vegan. I eat lots of portobello muschrooms, lots of spinach, lots of nuts, all kinds of onions (soup, grilled, deep fried), bunch of quinoa, and around 3-4 protein shakes a day. I feel really fine, will give you an update around Christmas, if you want me to.
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#23 Old 11-11-2016, 01:33 AM
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Soy products such as soy milk and tofu are rich in proteins. These foods contain complete protein that are needed for good health of body. Proteins are used to make muscles and body tissues as well.
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