The vegan diet and weight gain part 2


Last week we talked about how vegans could maintain a healthy weight by controlling their carbs, please see this link for the article http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/the-vegan-diet-and-weight-gain.html It is also important to ensure your diet has enough protein. Protein can help maintain a healthy weight in a number of ways. Firstly it takes more calories for your body to digest protein than carbs. Further, because they take longer to break down, proteins stay in your stomach longer and so are more satisfying than carbs. Having enough protein also means that you are more likely to burn fat than break down muscle.
So how do you know if you are getting enough protein? As a rough guide, an adult needs 0.9g of protein for every kilogram of their body weight each day (or 0.41g for every pound of their body weight) which may not be as much as you thought. Below is a list of the protein content of some foods you may eat.

Soy milk-4.6g per 100ml
Tofu-8g per 100g
Chickpeas-19g per 100g
Cannellini beans-6g per 100g
Quinoa -14g per 100g
Lentils- 9g per 100g
Brown rice- 2.6g per 100g
Almonds-21g per 100g
Soy beans -36g per 100g
Pumpkin Seeds- 24g per 100g
Wholemeal bread-5g per 2 slices

Vegans should be aware that unlike meat and fish, there are very few plant based foods that contain the complete complement of amino acids.The exceptions to this are quinoa, buckwheat, and tofu.  Vegans should practice combining foods with different amino acids to ensure they are getting all 21amino acids in their diet.  For instance grains are low in lysine, but beans are high in lyseine. Beans are low in tryptophan, methionine and cysteine but grains are high in these. A lunch of beans on toast therefore would provide a complete complement of proteins.  
Just one cautionary word. Excess protein is not better than enough as excess protein will be broken down by your body into carbs and excess carbs will be stored as fat.
Next week we will look at the importance of fibre to weight maintenance.

Eat well, be happy 
Janet x 


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