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Thread: Protein question

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    New Hope, MN

    Default Protein question

    I was talking with my neighbor this weekend and he was saying that he had been a vegetarian for nearly ten years but began eating chicken again around a year ago. I asked him why and he said that he was running marathons at the time and couldn't keep enough weight on. He said that humans are able to absorb only 40-70% of plant protein but 90% of animal protein. Is this right? Couldn't a person just eat more plant protein instead of eating meat? I've never heard of anyone getting too little protein but a co-worker told me the same thing a few months ago; she was a veg for about 8 months and then began eating meat again when she started running. I'm just curious because my neighbor seems very informed and yet I couldn't imagine eating chicken after several years of not eating it.

  2. #2
    baffled harpy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Default Re: Protein question

    If you type "vegan athletes protein" into Google you'll see that there are lots of sites telling you how you can stay vegan and be an athlete, and I think quite a few examples of people who've done it. I suspect some of the people who start eating meat may be looking for an excuse but as I'm nothing like an athlete I should probably shut up

  3. #3
    burl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: Protein question

    As a person who is very physically active I feel I can comment with some authority on this subject. The one thing you have to remember is that protein is in everything. Every bit of food you eat give you protein. Some have more than others. Leafy greens are incredible sources of protein. You also must remember that people in the U.S. are obsessed with protein because the indoctrination is that you need a ton of it and that plant proteins are "incomplete" or inferior. That always irks me.
    I am a runner, rock climber, biker, and wildland firefighter. I eat a mostly raw diet and am in great shape and feel awesome. I build muscle and recover quickly without the help of supplements or additional protein added to my diet.
    Wonderful would be the day if I never had to field a question about protein from anyone ever again. The vegan dream.

  4. #4
    Veganrose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Protein question

    I think this was once mentioned on an older thread:

    It talks about how a plant-based diet is totally adequate for our protein needs. Not being able to keep weight on is a function of calories burned versus calories consumed; no matter where those calories come from (carbs, protein, or fat). It does not have to do with the amount of protein you consume-so I don't think your neighbor is as informed about nutrition as you think (not that I'm an expert...)

    Becoming vegan around a year ago has not affected my normal running routine. But the fact is that if you start running or doing any type of exercise (or increase your intensity) you are going to feel achy and tired sometimes...

    He may be right that animal protein is more efficiently absorbed by humans (the calcium that is also present in plant foods, like spinach, reduces the absorption of iron in the digestive system). But if you read that link you will see that we don't need that much protein in our diet and that a vegan diet provides us with plenty of it.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Protein question

    Protein for running is the biggest BS ever, especially for long distance runners.
    These two should be enough:
    Dave Scott
    Scott Jurek

    Dave Scott won more of the Iron Man Kona World Championships than anyone else. That's a 2.4 miles (3.86 km) swim, a 112 miles (180.25 km) bike and a marathon (26 miles 385 yards, 42.195 km) run. And he won the World Championship more than anyone else, as a vegan. He finished the whole thing off with a marathon. That's much more than a weekend warrior's needs. Protein needs my butt.

    Scott Jerek is an ULTRADISTANCE runner. That's more than your marathons. Like 100 mile races. His records: Won the Spartathlon 152-mile (245 km) race from Athens to Sparta, Greece three consecutive times (2006-07-08). The Badwater Ultramarathon describes itself as "the world's toughest foot race". Won the Badwater Ultramarathon twice (2005, 2006), and held the course record for two years (2005). Badwater is a 135 mile (215 km) course starting at 282 feet (85 m) below sea level in the Badwater Basin, in California's Death Valley, and ending at an elevation of 8360 feet (2548 m) at Whitney Portal, the trailhead to Mount Whitney. Jurek set a course record in the Western States Endurance Run in 2004 with a time of 15:36:27, and another course record in the 2005 Badwater Ultramarathon with a time of 24:36:08.

    Carl Lewis, the most dominant track and field athlete of the 1980's and 1990's who won 10 Olympic medals including 9 gold, and 10 World Championships medals, of which 8 were gold.
    In 1991, Lewis competed in the Track and Field World Championships. In the 100 m final, Lewis faced the two men who ranked number one in the world the past two years: Burrell and Jamaican Raymond Stewart.[8] In what would be the deepest 100 metres race ever to that time, with six men finishing in under ten seconds, Lewis not only defeated his opponents, he reclaimed the world record with a clocking of 9.86 s.Lewis credits his outstanding 1991 results in part to the vegan diet he adopted in 1990. The 1991 World Championships are perhaps best remembered for the long jump final, considered by some to have been one of greatest competitions ever in any sport. Lewis faced off against Powell in the long Jump, both setting world records (against a record that had stood for years and years) in the process.

    That's a vegan SPRINTER (aka ostensibly needs more protein to bulk up).

    The protein need for a weekend warrior is a total bunch of BS. How much your body uses depends not on how much you intake, or what type you intake, but WHAT YOUR BODY NEEDS! If a weight lift a lot, I will use the protein my body takes in, and piss the rest out. If I sit on my rump, I could eat a straight up protein diet, and my body will not use the protein I eat as muscle or for repairs, but rather for fuel or turn it to fat, or piss it out. A weekend warrior will NOT need that much protein. They could eat bananas all day and get enough. Heck, Carl Lewis ate vegan and won more gold medals than anyone at the office.

    Your weekend warrior friends are BS'ing themselves.
    context is everything

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    New Hope, MN

    Default Re: Protein question

    Thanks for all the great info, you guys! I just love this message board because everyone on here is so cool, and really smart, too!

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