If you’ve ever gone vegetarian or vegan and been asked—over and over again—“but, where do you get your protein?” you’re not alone. 

And, if you’re thinking about taking the plant-based plunge, maybe you’re wondering the same thing.

Let me clear this up once and for all.

Scientists recently completed the largest study in history on people who consume plant-based diets. They compared the nutrition of around 5,000 vegans and flexitarians, 30,000 non-vegetarians and 20,000 vegetarians in order to finally, finally, set the record straight.

“Do vegetarians get enough protein?” 

We have a definitive answer at last.

On average, adult humans need 42 grams of protein a day. Those who eat meat get much more than that minimum requirement…and so do those who don’t eat animal products.

Studies indicate that vegetarians and vegans actually get 70% more protein than the daily minimum. Less than 3% of Americans are protein-deficient—and the ones who are deficient are probably just not eating right and lacking loads of other nutrients, too. 97% of Americans (and presumably the number is similar for Australians) are just fine when it comes to protein.

Do you know what Americans (and, again, presumably Australians) are seriously lacking, though? We’re talking 97% are deficient.

I’ll give you one guess…

Fiber!

97% of Americans don’t meet their suggested daily intake of fiber, averaging just 15 grams per day. The minimum requirement? 31.5 grams. Yikes.

A study of almost 13,000 Americans found that 0% of men between 14 and 50 years of age are meeting that daily minimum. Zero! None!

This is even more concerning when you consider that studies have linked adequate fiber consumption to lowering risk of all kinds of health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, several cancers, and obesity.

It probably doesn’t help that so many of us don’t know how to get the nutrition we need. I kid you not, 50% of Americans think they’re getting their daily fiber from steak!

To be clear, fiber is something you can only get from plants. Animal products have zero fiber content. Junk foods (or “non-foods”) aren’t much better. Want to get your fiber count up? Eat more fruit, veggies, legumes and whole grains. Whole plant foods. It’s so simple, yet 97% of Americans aren’t doing it!

What’s crazy is you don’t even have to go fully plant-based to get those minimums. Even partial vegetarians make the cut. Fully plant-based? Triple that sad, sad American average. 

The benefits of a plant-based diet are so, so worth making the change. Lower in fat (especially saturated fat), cholesterol, and pathogens, and higher in fiber, vitamins and phytonutrients—it is the lifestyle for preventing disease, improving overall health and wellness, and thriving!

Want to learn more about eating for your best health and happiest body? Need a little help transitioning to a healthier way of eating? In my latest book (click here >)HEALTHY, SEXY, VEGAN. I show you how.  Check it out now!

For life,

Donna

Resources:

Michael Greger M.D. FACLM nutritionfacts.org

A Moshfegh, J Goldman, L Cleveland. What we eat in America, NHANES 2001-2002: Usual nutrient intakes from food compared to dietary reference intakes. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service 2005.
N S Rizzo, K Jaceldo-Siegl, J Sabate, G E Fraser. Nutrient profiles of vegetarian and nonvegetarian dietary patterns. J Acad Nutr Diet 2013 113(12):1610 – 1619.
S M Krebs-Smith, P M Guenther, A F Subar, S I Kirkpatrick, K W Dodd. Americans do not meet federal dietary recommendations. J Nutr 2010 140(10):1832 – 1838.
D E King, A G Mainous III, C A Lambourne. Trends in dietary fiber intake in the United States, 1999-2008. J Acad Nutr Diet 2012 112(5):642 – 648.