Busting Food Myths with Nicole Senior

Nicole Senior

Myth: You need to eat meat to get protein
Fact: There’s plenty of protein in plant foods
It’s a popular view that you need to eat meat to obtain protein, however this is far from the truth. Protein exists in many plant-based foods and in appreciable quantities.

How much do protein do we need? Well, not as much as you might think. The recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) in Australia is 46g a day for women and 64g a day for men aged 19-70 years. Check out how much protein you get from these different foods (we have rounded the figures).

Eggs contain perfect quality protein against which all other proteins are measured. Protein quality is a reflection of the number and balance of essential amino acids (protein building blocks) present.
Dairy foods are great sources of protein.
Fish & seafood are excellent sources of protein. Pesco-vegetarians eat fish but not meat.
Legumes (pulses) are great low GI sources of protein.
Breakfast cereals, breads and grains are surprisingly high in protein, and the relatively high protein content of wheat is one of the reasons it has become such a widely grown staple food crop. Here are some low and moderate GI examples:
Nuts and seeds are super nutritious foods that also contain protein.
Menu: If you enjoyed the following plant foods over the day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, you’d easily meet the RDI for protein for men (the highest requirement).
So, you don’t need to eat meat to get enough protein because it is easily available in plant foods. However the nutrients meat does provide more efficiently than plant foods are iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Vive le Meatless Monday!

Nuts, seeds and legumes

Nicole Senior is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist and author of Eat to Beat Cholesterol, Heart Food and Belly Busting for Blokes.