Food Pharmacy

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At Risk of Protein Deficiency?

The most commonly asked question when talking about replacing meat with vegetables is about protein deficiency.

– But what about protein? Are you sure you’re getting enough protein?

Nothing wrong with that question, obviously. We’ve asked it ourselves. But then we did some research and realized that only a very, very unbalanced diet will lead to protein deficiency. In fact, it seems almost impossible to not get enough protein. Common sources of protein include things like spinach and oats, and if you eat a wide variety of foods (vegetarian or not – we should all do that), you’ll do just fine.

Maybe it’s about the amino acids? All proteins are composed of amino acids, but you may have heard that the best sources of essential amino acids are animal products. However, all you need to worry about is eating a varied and well-balanced diet and you will have no problem getting enough amino acids into your diet. Just remember to eat your legumes, peas, beans, lentils, seeds and nuts (again, same rules for everyone – vegetarian, vegan or meat-eater).

A while ago, we learned some more from the Swedish dietitian Sara Ask in the daily newspaper SvD – you don’t have to include all essential amino acids in every single meal. Well, you do need to eat a variety of vegetables to get all of the essential amino acids. But the good thing is, you don’t have to eat these foods at the same time. Your body can’t produce essential amino acids, but it can recycle them.

– Many parents are worried that their children won’t get enough protein, but that’s rarely the case. Most Scandinavian kids eat two or three times more protein than they actually need.

So, next time someone asks if you’re getting enough protein, you will know how to answer.

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