Consuming protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. Constructed from chemical blocks called amino acids, protein aids in many of our bodies’ necessary functions. Like carbohydrates, protein also delivers energy, but it also plays a significant role in the building and repair of muscles and in the production of hormones.
While no one can negate the importance of protein, there are myths and facts about protein that can be confusing or misleading. Let’s discover the 5 truths behind protein and dispel myths surrounding its forms.
1. Vegetarians don’t get enough protein.
When we consider about protein-rich foods, we automatically think about meat. And animal protein is a valuable source; it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
However, it is still possible for vegetarians or vegans to incorporate protein into one’s diet. While it may take some research and tweaks to one’s meatless diet, it is entirely possible to have enough protein in a vegetarian or vegan diet.
2. Animal protein is the only ‘complete’ protein.
While it’s true that animal protein is a complete protein, other food items also contain 9 essential amino acids. For example, soy is considered to be a complete protein. Soy products include tofu, edamame, and tempeh, which are wonderful in providing enough protein within a vegetarian diet.
3.There is no protein found in grains.
In general, most grains do not contain enough protein to be considered a complete source. However, quinoa is an example of a seed that cooks like a grain that delivers all 9 amino acids, making it a complete plant protein. Quinoa is a versatile item that you can use to replace rice if you want your vegetarian meal to offer enough protein for your daily requirements.
4. A high-protein diet is better than a high-carb diet.
A healthy, nutritious diet is balanced. Carbs do get a bad rep making due to their link to sugar and other simple carbohydrates, such as white bread. However, a diet that is too high in protein is not necessarily healthier. Protein should make up between 15%-20% of your total caloric intake.
5. Protein shakes are a complete source.
Whey or vegan protein shakes are particularly popular as a post-workout meal. However, not all protein shakes are created equally. Shakes that contain a higher amount of sugar and fat made add unwanted calories. Also, not all protein powders deliver a complete source of nutrients. Varying your sources of protein to include whole foods and shakes is a better step towards meeting your protein requirements.
Protein plays a big role in the overall success of our health. However, there are myths around protein that can cloud the truth about sources and how much protein we should consume. Regardless of your preferred eating habits, it’s possible to find complete protein sources in a variety of foods, as long as your diet is balanced and versatile.