Protein Deficiency

This is not a problem for vegetarians – in fact we defy you to find a recorded case amongst vegetarians anywhere in the Western world. If you don’t starve yourself you will automatically obtain enough protein.

You occasionally still see references to ‘first class’ and ‘second class’ protein – meat being first class and vegetable sources being second. What it really means is that meat contains all the essential amino acids that we need in our diet, which make up protein while a vegetarian diet provides amino acids from a variety of plant sources. Vegetarians obtain more than enough of all the amino acids. So forget about always having to eat certain types of foods together at the same meal (combining) – it’s unnecessary (105). Although you will do this naturally in a healthy veggie diet, such as pulses (eg chick peas in hummus or baked beans) with wholegrains (eg wholemeal bread) and so on. Soya is now considered as nutritionally equivalent to meat in that it contains all the eight essential amino acids necessary for health in the one plant food. Foods high in protein include peas, beans, lentils, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.

The real problem is not too little protein but too much, particularly for meat eaters. Animal protein is associated with many of the degenerative diseases (including heart disease and cancer) while vegetable protein isn’t. Meat protein is also believed to play an important part in causing osteoporosis and kidney disease according to the WHO. It goes without saying that diets which emphasise excessive amounts of animal protein over carbohydrates are a recipe for disaster as far as health is concerned and should be avoided at all costs.