Can you get enough protein as a vegetarian or vegan?
Due to the bioavailability index — a measure of protein available to muscles after digestion and absorption, plant based foods are not as available to be utilized by the body. This is due to the fact that whole food plant sources have less EAA (essential amino acids), they lose more EAA on their way to our muscles, and they are partially “burned” before making an impact on muscle growth. So this becomes pretty inefficient. For example, 30g of protein would be equivalent to 1 scoop of whey protein powder, 95g of chicken, or 340g of lentils. The bioavailability of lentils is about 50%. So we would have to double the serving size to 680g to equal 30g of available protein. This would be almost 800 calories and 140g carbs versus chicken at 160 calories and zero carbs. Since all amino acids are required to build new muscle, and EAA are not made in the body, we have to get them from our diet. So putting it all together, the 45-80% bioavailability of plant based protein (compared to 90+% for animal protein) really makes it difficult to meet your protein goals without overshooting your calories for the day! It is possible with careful calculation and food choices to be in a pretty good position for most people to lose weight; however, depending on your specific goals it can be very difficult to achieve that final end goal.