Plant based diet - do I need protein supplements?

Why do I need protein and how much do I need?

You might think that protein is only for big bodybuilders, but it's the most important nutrient that we all need in our diet, whether you exercise regularly or not.

One of the biggest myths about vegan diets is that it's hard to get enough protein - well, we're here to dispel that myth. How much do you need and where is protein found - here is everything you need to know about protein.

What is protein?

Simply put, protein forms the building blocks of many important structures in your body - it's an essential component of every cell. Your hair and nails are mainly made of protein, and it is used in the body to build and repair tissue, as well as to make enzymes, hormones and other chemicals in the body.

Proteins are made of smaller molecules called amino acids - some your body can produce itself (non-essential amino acids), while others must be taken in as part of your diet (essential amino acids).

How much protein do I need?

Protein is the most important building block of all nutrients, which means you need a decent amount of it for your body to stay healthy. The normal requirement is approximately 0.8 g per kg of body weight each day. If you train hard and want to build muscle, the need may be as much as 2.0 g per kg of body weight.

If you have been ill, are pregnant or exercise regularly, you may need to increase your protein intake. This is because the body needs more amino acids to repair and build tissue with.

Where can I get plant based protein from?

Do you want to reduce your consumption of meat and dairy products? You may have been told that getting enough protein on a plant-based diet is a challenge, but it really doesn't have to be. It is often thought that you can only get protein from animal products, but many plants also contain all the protein you need. A large part of the protein in the diet comes from vegetable foods such as bread, pasta, rice, cereals, beans, lentils and nuts. Although plant-based foods often have poorer protein quality, they can be combined so that the quality increases, or supplemented with a full-fledged plant-based protein powder.