13 Of The Best High-Protein Foods For Plant-Based Diets

Complete protein vs incomplete protein

So, what is the best type of protein? In this case, there is no specific winner, because it truly depends on the type of results you’re looking for. If you’re looking for high protein foods to improve overall health, a combination of the two covers most dietary needs. If you’re looking for high protein foods to build muscle, vegetarian protein sources may be easier for the body to break down and absorb, while whey protein, which includes dairy, can have the same effect. (6)

Okay, it may seem like there’s no direct answer, and a few years ago, that may have been true. This is because until now, we have put a lot of importance on complete vs. incomplete protein, complete usually getting the upper hand. 

But new research suggests that it might not be as big of a deal as we thought. Why? Well, for the most part, vegetarian protein options are typically only missing one or two essential amino acids. This is an easy fix. Different vegetarian protein sources are lacking in different amino acids. So, by combining various plant-based proteins, you get a complete amino acid profile. (7)

How Much Protein Do I Need?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. (8) Keep in mind that this number is only the minimum amount you need in order to meet your basic nutritional requirements to survive. In general, people tend to eat a lot more protein than the minimum requirement, which is good in the eyes of most health and nutritional experts. 

The amount of protein you specifically need depends on the results you are looking for. If you’re looking to lose weight, consuming 25-30% of your calories from protein has been shown to boost metabolism. (9) If you want to build muscle with high protein foods, 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is a good starting point. (10) 

If you want to learn more, check out this blog post to learn about calculating your protein intake. 

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