I have received several questions on the protein and carbohydrate content of plant foods recently. The truth is, you will get all the protein you need on a whole food plant based diet and you will not gain weight, even though it is a high carbohydrate diet.
Firstly, protein is an essential macronutrient that is a chain of amino acids which contain nitrogen. Protein quality is determined by the presence or absence of essential amino acids. Essential amino acids must be taken in as food, while non-essential amino acids can be manufactured by the body. Although plant proteins are considered “incomplete” because they are deficient in certain amino acids, all the essential amino acids are present in a variety of plant foods. Therefore, all you need to do is vary the plant protein sources you consume each day. There is no need for specific food combining. You will easily meet the RDA requirement for protein of 8-10% of total calories per day.
As far as high carbohydrates and weight loss are concerned, according to the American College of Sports Medicine “fat burns in a carbohydrate flame.” There is nothing in the scientific literature that suggests that lowering carbohydrate intake improves exercise performance or weight loss. In fact, high animal protein diets have been associated with kidney problems and kidney stones.
For more on this topic read my paper: “The Nutrient Quality of Whole Plant Foods.”
For more information on Plant Protein read Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s recent article in Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine: http://nutritionstudies.org/protein-juggernaut-deep-roots/
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