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Protein

Power Up With Plant-Based Protein

A varied plant-based diet of whole grains, vegetables, and beans can easily meet your daily protein needs, without the risks of animal products.

Protein—an important nutrient that helps build, maintain, and repair body tissue—is widely available in beans, vegetables, and grains. Protein deficiency is almost unheard of in the United States. It’s easy to get all the protein you need without eating meat, dairy, or eggs.

An average woman needs about 46 grams of protein per day; the average man about 56. Research shows that most Americans already get more than enough protein.

Plant protein is the most beneficial source. A study published in 2020  found that replacing red meat with high-quality plant proteins such as beans, nuts, or soy may be associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Another recent study found that eating plant-based protein from sources such as bread, cereal, and pasta instead of animal protein reduced the risk of death from heart disease by up to 12%. Research published in BMJ also shows that plant-based protein reduces risk of early death from any cause and from heart disease. For each additional 3% of calories from plant protein the risk of dying lowers by 5%. Consuming animal proteins did not lower risk of death from heart disease or cancer.

Evidence shows that diets high in animal protein can actually lead to early death. A study published in 2019 found that those who consumed more meat and protein from animal-based sources in place of plant-based sources increased their risk of death from chronic disease by 23%. Another study found that participants who ate the most animal protein had a fivefold increase risk of death related to diabetes. Those younger than 65 who ate the most animal protein had a 74% increased risk for death from any cause and a fourfold increase in death related to cancer.

Plant-Based Protein Sources

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein?

Can people on a plant-based diet get enough protein? Dr. Neal Barnard shares the answer in this video!

The Protein Myth

High-protein diets for weight loss, disease prevention, and enhanced athletic performance have been greatly publicized over recent years. However, these diets are supported by little scientific research. Studies show that the healthiest diet is one that is high in carbohydrate, low in fat, and adequate in protein.