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Busting the plant-based/vegan fitness stereotype

The common whole-food plant-based dieter/vegan stereotype isn’t very flattering —  a perpetually tired, rail-thin, gaunt faced wisp whose nutrient deficient body barely has enough protein in it to stay standing, to say nothing of actually gaining muscle tissue. It’s not a nice image, and it’s also not anywhere close to accurate.

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In reality, plant-based dieters (particularly whole-food plant-based dieters) that eat a range non-animal foods — such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and whole grains — enjoy a more complete nutrient profile overall than those who consume a standard American diet. That means that vegans and other plant-based dieters are actually less likely to suffer from nutrient deficiencies.

Ok, but about protein?

It’s true that on average plant-based dieters consumes less protein than meat eaters. Does that validate the idea of the vegan stereotype? Not even close, because whether or not you’re eating meat, there’s a good chance that you’re still getting almost twice the daily protein that your body needs.

Sure, meat eaters generally get a few more grams per day, but even the strictest herbivores still end up with significantly more protein than they need (too much animal protein, by the way, has been linked to some serious chronic diseases). Also, it’s worth noting that despite the flawed public perception that plant protein is somehow inferior to animal protein, research has proven that plant protein actually contains the same complete amino acids you find in meat and dairy. The bottom line is that if you’re building your meals around a variety of plant foods, you’re getting enough usable protein.