Often when I tell people that I eat a plant-based diet, their first response is” but how do you get enough protein? Most people assume that plants do not contain protein and believe that the only source of protein is meat. This is far from the truth.
Protein needs have been incredibly overstated in the U.S. Several years ago, The World Health Organization established protein needs as being 2.5% of daily calories, and set the daily recommendation at 5% just to be safe. The average American is consuming many times that amount daily.
People have also been led to believe that it is necessary to combine foods to get complete amino acids that make up proteins. Again this is not accurate. As long as you eat a variety of whole plant-based foods, you will be getting all the amino acids you need.
Another misconception that I often hear is that we need a lot of protein in our diet especially if we exercise and want to build muscles. Protein does not build muscles; exercise builds muscles.
If you are getting enough calories, and eating an optimal diet, meaning that you are not just eating junk food and lots of processed food, you are getting enough protein.
What happens when we eat too much protein? A high-protein diet is hard on heart kidneys. Animal protein is a strong carcinogen, so eating too much animal protein can lead to cancer. Animal protein consumption is also associated with weaker bones and osteoporosis..