Plant protein = calories! Help!

Helen Davis

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My husband and I have only been vegan for a month. We have both had weight problems in the past and so are now very calorie conscious. I have noticed that, to get the right amount of protein each day,- whether via tofu or other soya products, nuts, rice mixed with beans etc- you have to consume quite a few calories - more than the amount we stick to in order to avoid putting on weight! How do other vegans deal with this?? I can't think we're the only ones with this problem.
Thanks.
 

gab

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Hi Helen,

There is no need to be obsessive about your protein intake - you would naturally get more than enough of it. 'Protein deficiency' is a common scare, but it is really a myth, there is no disease called 'protein deficiency' which means that it either does not happen, or it happens in such a small numbers that it was not worth recording in the medical journals.

Body builders ingest higher protein quantities to grow ... and you want to lose weight, surely it is not the same treatment for both weight gain and weight loss.

For more scientific words see the article below:
https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/apr/protein.htm

Gab
 
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Helen Davis

Helen Davis

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Thanks Gab (and apologies for the delay in replying!) The article you recommended is extremely informative - so much so I've shared it on Facebook.
 

Jamie in Chile

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I suggest you eat the right number of calories to stay the same weight. If you are eating soy and beans and if you feel healthy and feel full after heating, then you may not need as much protein as you think. The amount of protein we need is not really that well known. Whatever reccomednation you have about a specific amount can likely be treated as a very rough guideline.

I deliberately include a few plant foods with higher than average protein (legumes, mostly) in my diet but I certainly don't try to measure any amounts and I've been fine so far, and that is consistent with the opinion of professionals like nutritionists as far as I know and have read.
 
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Helen Davis

Helen Davis

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Thanks Jamie, - this advice also happens to be consistent with the article that Gab linked to above.
 

Jamie in Chile

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Didn't read the article but I think it's a fairly safe consensus position.
 

Elizabeth Lucile

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Hi! I totally understand where you're coming from being worried about calories, but calories are not actually what will contribute to weight gain. It is the quality of the calories that matter. I second the post above about protein. The average diet actually gets too much protein in it! I would recommend eating high carb low fat vegan. Lots of fruits and veggies! Hope this helped xoxo.
 

Drew

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Hi Helen,
The first mistake people make in regard to weight loss and leaning out is counting calories as opposed to keeping track of your macros. Macro-nutrients are nutrients measured in grams (fat, protein, carbs, fiber, sugar, etc). The reason why counting calories is not ideal is because different types of calories have different effects on your weight loss goals. For example you could take in 500 calories of pure fat (45g fat=500calories) and it would go straight to fat. You could take it 500 calories of carbs (125g carbs=500 calories) and it would restore you muscles' glycogen levels and the remaining carbs would be stored as fat. You take in 500 calories of protein (125g of protein=500calories) and it would either go to muscle maintenance or you would excrete it out in the toilet. Protein CAN'T go to fat. This is why counting your macros per meal is a lot more effective in losing weight than just counting calories.
Being that protein cannot go to fat, an effective way to lean out is to up your lean protein intake through your diet, cut down on fats, and eat a moderate healthy level of good carbs (oats, sweet potatoes, brown rice, etc). Being vegan does make it more difficult to tailor your macros to high protein without the excess carbs. Your best vegan protein food options are black beans, split peas, and lentils. They still have a 1:2 or 1:3 Protein to Carbs ratio. You need a protein supplement to really help tailor your macros in the direction of more lean vegan protein without the carbs. I would suggest Real Pro Life Nutrition's plant protein. It has the industry's highest gram for gram protein concentration. The fake meats are also good (Beyond Meat is my favorite). However you really have to look at the nutrition facts to see the fat content. Some of them have a lot of fat in comparison to protein.
The lesson here: count your macros, not calories. Always look at the nutrition facts and do the math. If you have any questions hit me up, I am happy to help. Good luck Helen!