Protein and amino acids

All food contains protein - some more than others. Patatoes and carrots, for example, contain little protein, while beans (particularly soybeans) and legumes contain a lot of protein.

Protein are built from amino acids. A number of those amino acids are called 'essential amino acids' because they can't be formed by any living creature. The only true source for these essential amino acids are plants. It's only because animals get essential amino acids from their feed, that meat contains these amino acids.

The exact composition of protein can vary per type of food. All types of meats contain more sulphurous amino acids. This used to be considered an asset, which is the reason why people mistakenly call animal protein 'high-quality' protein. Nowadays, people are told to limit the intake of animal protein and to up the intake of vegetable protein since those protein do not have that flaw.

Vegetarians and protein

People always wonder where vegetarians and vegans get the protein they require each day. It's a misconception that eating nothing but plant foods would result in a shortage of protein. Moreover: the meat centered dietary pattern most people follow supplies too much protein. And in the case of protein, more is not better.

When switching to a vegetarian eating pattern, it's important to know where to get protein. An easy way to do this, is to bring variety in your meals: add some legumes, or maybe add some seitan to your dish. It's not enough to have an extra portion of patatoes, or to eat just any burger. It's better to choose products like tofu and seitan.

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