Vegetarian Protein

Protein Alternatives to Meat and Fish

Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, swimmer, basketball player or office chair acrobat, protein is an important part of everyone’s diet. The sources for it can be very versatile.

Here you get basic information about proteins and how the body utilizes them. In addition, we have compiled a list of protein alternatives to meat and fish for a balanced diet on a vegetarian or vegan basis. Normally, a balanced diet should have enough protein intake, so there is no need to specifically look to consume more protein. However, if you are specifically aiming for an increased protein intake, for example because you are planning to do strength training, you can plan this better with the following explanations.

First of all some General Information about Proteins

Proteins are the building blocks of the human body that make up cells and tissues such as muscle fibers, organs, and blood, as well as hormones and enzymes. Since body cells are constantly renewing themselves, they need, among other things, regular protein replenishment.

Proteins consist of 20 different amino acids, some of which cannot be produced by the body itself and must be supplied through the diet. Different sources of protein each contain different amino acids, so it makes sense to mix them up to ensure that all the necessary building blocks are consumed in sufficient quantities.

Biological Value

With proteins, it is not only the quantity that is important, but also the biological value. The more similar the structure of amino acids from food is to the body’s own structure, the higher their biological value. A chicken egg, which has a biological value of 100, is taken as a benchmark here. The following list shows the biological value of some exemplary foods (including meat and fish for comparison):

Food Value
Hen’s egg (reference value) 100
Sour milk cheese like cottage cheese 93
Potatoes 86
Edam cheese 85
Milk 84
Soy 84
Yogurt 83
Beef 83
Tuna 83
Rice 83
Rye 83
Curd 81
Pork 76
Shellfish 76
Corn 76
Rye flour 76
Barley 74
Beans 73
Poultry 70
Crustaceans 70
Oats 60
Wheat 58
Wheat flour 56
Peas 43
Lenses 33

Definition: The biological value provides information on how many grams of protein the body can form from 100 g of protein ingested through the diet. Accordingly, less of a protein with a high biological value is needed to meet the requirement than of a protein with a lower biological value.

The biological value of foods can be increased by combining them, as the amino acids of the different foods then complement each other. In this way, a value of over 100 can also be achieved. Combinations that complement each other well are cereals and egg (e.g. in our wholemeal wafers), cereals and dairy products (e.g. in our queso bread), cereals and pulses, potatoes and egg, potatoes and dairy products, pulses and dairy products.

Here are a few combination examples:

Food Combination Value
35% whole egg + 65% potatoes 138
60% whole egg + 40% soy 124
68% whole egg + 32% wheat 118
36% whole egg + 64% beans 108
75% milk + 25% wheat 106
56% milk + 44% rye 101
52% beans + 48% corn 101
50% milk + 50% potatoes 92
77% beef + 23% potatoes 90

The biological value is not to be confused with the general value of a food. It merely provides information about the value of the protein it contains.

How much Protein does a Person Need per Day?

An average adult needs 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. This accounts for about 12-15% of daily energy intake. Different sources see the required protein amounts for athletes between 1.2 and 2.0 g/kg body weight per day, with the higher values for strength athletes and the lower values for endurance athletes. So, for a strength athlete with 100 kg body weight, this would mean that he should consume about 170-200 g of protein per day. This amount should be spread over several meals throughout the day.

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