5 dense protein options for vegans; nutritionist suggests
People who are turning to or follow a vegan diet must include sources of dense protein in their diet and not just rely on legumes, grains, or nuts as they may not be enough to fulfill protein requirement. Here are 5 dense protein options for vegans
Many people around the world are turning to vegan diet and studies suggest that it can offer an array of benefits from better heart health, stable blood sugar levels, weight loss to low cholesterol. Vegan foods have rich nutritional profile too. They have fibre, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds, apart from being a storehouse of potassium, magnesium, and other essential vitamins. (Also read: 'Protein hunger' drives overeating in large-scale population: Study)
People who follow a vegan diet give up animal-based dairy products and go for plant-based substitutes like soy milk, almond milk or tofu. It also contains all plant-based proteins like legumes, nuts and seeds. People who are turning to or follow a vegan diet must include sources of dense protein in their diet and not just rely on legumes, grains, or nuts that may not be enough to fulfill their protein requirement.
"It's not practical to complete protein intake from only legumes/grains or even from only nuts/nut butters. There is a need for dense protein in diet. So here are some good vegan protein options to add to your diet," writes nutritionist Bhuvan Rastogi in his latest Instagram post.
Here are 5 dense protein options for vegans suggested by Rastogi.
1. Soy milk
Soy milk is a filtered mixture of soya and water with additives. Out of available vegan milk alternatives, only soy milk provides comparable protein. It's also low in carbs and low in fat. Soy milk usually provides 8g protein and 4-5g fat per 250 ml, which is very comparable to skimmed milk.
Please note this is from some common brands, the nutrition can vary, so check the label always. Some brands are usually soy protein + a lot of additives instead of soy, so always check the label.
Tofu is just curdled soy milk which is set. It is a low fat, low carbs dense protein option. 100g of tofu has 7-9g of protein with just 3g fat and 4.5 g carbs and no fibre (in the most commonly available brands)
The protein can vary with the amount of water content of the tofu. Hence the protein content can be as low as 4g protein with silken tofu and as high as 16g in the super firm variant.
What is tempeh? It's fermented soy legume compressed into cubes or strips. It's more protein dense than soy milk and tofu, and because of the presence of fibre and fat, the satiety from tempeh is high too, just like paneer. 100 g of tempeh provides 19g protein, 7g fat, 8g fibre and carbs sans fibre 2g.
4. Soya chunks/granules
Also known as soya textured vegetable protein, these are defatted soy legumes. It is a protein option with very low fat and carb content. 100g of soya granules or chunks has 52g of protein. Even though the total amount of protein is high, as it takes up a lot of warm water, the amount of protein in 1 serving is less than other options. A practical serving size of 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cooked chunks has only 6-10 g of protein. So it's good to weigh them to be sure.
5. Vegan protein supplements
They are the densest source of vegan protein. Most common are soy and pea. This is a very good source of protein with no fat and very little carbs. Most vegan protein supplements are heat stable. If getting pea protein, try to get an option with only grain protein as that improves the protein quality.