Plant Proteins Aren’t Just Diet Trends Anymore
Plant-based protein is becoming increasingly popular among food enthusiasts and health nuts. Let’s look at why the movement has taken off (HINT: weight loss and overall health) as well as the types of meals you can eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle and achieve your goals.
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Plant-Based Proteins Are on the Rise
Protein is often associated with meat and animal-based products, but it isn’t the only source. Protein may be found in animals (such as meat, fish, dairy goods, and eggs), but there are also plenty of plant-based options – legumes, soy products, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, just to name a few.
Why Plant Proteins?
There are a variety of reasons why more and more people are adopting plant-based proteins, including animal protection, the environment, health, and weight loss.
Plant-based proteins are typically higher in fiber and less calorically dense than animal-based proteins, making them highly useful and effective in weight-loss plans. One-half cup of beans, for example, contains the same amount of protein as an ounce of broiled steak and keeps you full for hours. According to a 2020 study on the effects of plant-based diets on weight status, “A shift to a plant-based diet may have beneficial health effects on body weight and BMI in individuals with overweight, T2DM, cardiovascular risk/disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The weight reduction can be explained by an increased intake of fiber, polyunsaturated fats and plant proteins, including a reduced intake of energy, saturated fats and animal proteins.”
What Are Plant-Based Proteins?
Plant-based proteins are, in fact, more accessible than you might believe. There are many more options available. Tempeh (cultured soybeans with a chewy texture), tofu, or wheat gluten (seitan) may be used in place of meat. Food options include bean burritos or tacos, tofu and vegetable stir-fries, split pea soup, lentil chili, and so much more. Vegan protein powders, which typically provide 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving, are also becoming more popular. They’re made from plant-derived proteins like hemp, peas, and soy, and they can be added to porridges, soups, or smoothies. For a weight-loss boost, try a vegan protein shake before or after your workout.
Five Plant Protein Tips for Weight Loss
- Use vegetarian meat substitutes to add protein to soups and stews without adding saturated fat or cholesterol.
- Nuts and seeds are high in plant protein, but because they are such a concentrated source of calories, eat only small quantities to maintain your caloric intake
- Instead of dairy milk, try calcium-fortified soymilk. It contains roughly the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk, and it is cholesterol-free and low in fat.
- Protein-rich meals around low-fat protein sources such as beans, lentils, and rice should be a target base for your meals.
- Try and highlight a different plant protein each week if possible for you.