Vegetarian protein sources? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-17-2012, 07:37 PM
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Ok so I am trying to lose weight and stick to my vegetarian diet.. The problem is I am always hungry.. everybody keeps saying add beans and lentils.. but if you look at the calorie count the calories are way higher vs. a piece of chicken..


For example:

3 oz of Chicken is is 94 calories and 19.64 grams of protein and black beans are 227 calories and only 15.2 grams of protein Lentils are 226 calories and 17 grams of protein


See my dilemma? Please HELP!! Thanks :)

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#2 Old 07-17-2012, 07:45 PM
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You don't need THAT much protein.

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#3 Old 07-20-2012, 02:00 PM
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I really don't see a problem there.  


First, you don't need quite as much protein as you might think.  You should do some research into the nutritional support of a vegetarian diet by visiting sites like Physicians' Committee for Responsible MedicineChooseVeg.comThe Vegetarian Resource Group or several books readily available at for sound nutritional information.


Second, let's compare 4 ounces of boneless skinless chicken breast, 4 ounces of black beans, and 4 ounces of lentils.



  • Calories 120
  • Fat 1.5 g (13.5 calories from fat >10%)
  • Saturated Fat 0.5 g
  • Cholesterol 70 mg
  • Carbs  0g
  • Fiber  0 g
  • Protein  24g



Black Beans:

  • Calories 140
  • Fat 1g
  • Saturated Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0g
  • Carbs 25g
  • Fiber 6g
  • Sugars 0g
  • Protein 7g



  • Calories 128
  • Fat 0g
  • Saturated Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0g
  • Carbs 24g
  • Fiber 8g
  • Sugars 1g
  • Protein 12g


Calories per ounce isn't that hugely different.  Assuming, of course, that you're cooking your chicken breast in a fat-free method and adding no added fats by marinating in oil, frying in oil or serving with a high fat or sugary sauce.


One HUGE difference is that lentils and beans have fiber. Fiber actually helps you feel full faster and stay full longer.  Fiber also promotes intestinal health and leads to more regular bowel movements and more effective water absorption and elimination (which is helpful in many areas beyond weight loss).


From the PCRM:






Most individuals are surprised to learn that protein needs are actually much less than what they have been consuming. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for the average, sedentary adult is only 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.2


To find out your average individual need, simply perform the following calculation:


Body weight (in pounds) X 0.36 = recommended protein intake (in grams)


However, even this value has a large margin of safety, and the body’s true need is even lower for most people. Protein needs are increased for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In addition, needs are also higher for very active persons. As these groups require additional calories, increased protein needs can easily be met through larger intake of food consumed daily. Extra serving of legumes, tofu, meat substitutes, or other high protein sources can help meet needs that go beyond the current RDA.


Let's do the calculation for a couple of different people

a person weighing 150 pounds.  150 x 0.36 = 54g

a person weighing 200 pounds  200 x 0.36 = 72g


It's not as much as you think, really, broken up over a day of eating high quality foods.


You also need to remember that cells are made up of protein. All plant matter contains cells.  Thus all plant matter contains some amount of protein.  Even potatoes, which are often reviled for being "nothing but carbs" contain protein.  Roughly .71g per ounce.  So a 4-ounce serving of potato will yield nearly 3g of protein.


When you start talking about dishes like curried lentils (easy to make and virtually fat free if you do it right) served over brown rice, you're looking at a very filling meal that will keep you full because of the fiber content and quite a bit of protein.  


Many people have successfully lost weight on vegetarian and vegan diets.  The key to doing so is simple.  Choose nutrient dense, whole foods and don't replace meat with high-fat, low nutritional value foods like cheese and milk. 

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#4 Old 07-20-2012, 02:21 PM
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Here is some information regarding veggie sources of protein, and how to build a balanced veggie diet:

It is important to pay attention to protein, and I'm glad you are giving it some thought. Good points have already been made - we really don't need as much protein as omnivores typically eat, and legumes are excellent sources of fiber and other nutrients as well as protein, which, IMHO, makes them nutritionally superior to meat. Also consider soy foods - tofu is incredibly versatile, and prepackaged meat substitutes can help you make tasty and convenient meals.
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#5 Old 07-22-2012, 08:15 AM
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As long as you eat enough total calories, you don't need to worry about protein. In addition to the links above, this link has some good info.:

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#6 Old 07-22-2012, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Bonn1997 View Post

As long as you eat enough total calories, you don't need to worry about protein. In addition to the links above, this link has some good info.:

I don't agree with that. It depends where the calories are coming from.

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