Plant vs. Animal Based Protein Supplements

Q & A: Is a VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER okay to drink during Ramadan?

(NOTE: This is a very long answer to a seemingly simple question. Skip to the end of this article if you don’t care about the science and just want a straight answer)

Protein is an essential macro nutrient and adequate protein is essential to a fit lifestyle. Let’s talk about the purpose of protein first.

Protein contain Amino Acids which is literally the building blocks of life. As a matter of fact, the amazing human body manufactures all types of substances — from hormones to muscle tissue, blood cells, enzymes, hair, nails, and many others — given the right proportions of amino acids.

Human being need 21 different Amino Acids to live (and be healthy). Of the 21 amino acids in your body’s proteins, nine are called ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS. They are “essential” to your diet because your cells cannot manufacture them: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. A tenth amino acid, arginine, is essential during times of rapid growth – for example, during childhood – because, although you can synthesize it (i.e. Create it internally) you can’t always produce enough of it.

Although all vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains contain some combination of these Amino Acids, there are only two know non-animal foods that contain all nine of them, Soy and Quinoa. This is why non-animal proteins are referred to as “incomplete proteins” – because they do not contain a complete 9 essential amino acids.

Proteins from animal source foods contain all nine essential amino acids. Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs and Dairy are considered COMPLETE PROTEINS for this reason.

To meet your body’s protein needs, you must consume sufficient overall protein that includes all essential amino acids. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is a daily minimum intake of 0.8 grams of high-quality protein for each kilogram you weigh, or 0.4 grams per pound, can be adequate to meet your amino acid requirements.

This is the recommended minimum requirement to maintain health to maintain nitrogen balance in the body for the average adult; a negative nitrogen balance indicates that muscle is being broken down and used for energy.

This RDA has been shown to meet the needs of 97.5 percent of the population. For a woman weighing 125 lbs (57 kg), her needs would be met with an intake of 46 grams of protein per day. For a man weighing 154 lbs. (70 kg), his needs would be met with 56 grams of protein a day.

Older adults, growing children, athletes and pregnant or nursing women may require more protein than this to supply cells and tissues with all necessary amino acids.

To determine your protein needs according to the RDA, divide your body weight in pounds by 2.2, which gives you your weight in kilograms, and then multiply that number by 0.8.

Yes, Recreational athletes (i.e. People who exercise consistently and live active lifestyles) is recommended to consume more protein because the body uses and needs more protein for additional energy expenditure, muscle repair and to build more muscle to improve performance.

Studies suggest that recreational athletes should aim for daily intakes closer to 1.1 to 1.4 g/kg of body weight per day, 38% to 75% greater than the current RDA recommendations. Endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, should be in the range of 1.2 to 2 g/kg of body weight, and strength athletes, such as weight lifters, should be in the range of 1.4 to 2 g/kg of body weight.

(To determine your protein needs according to the RDA, divide your body weight in pounds by 2.2, which gives you your weight in kilograms, and then multiply that number by 1.2 (or the appropriate number above)

For most people getting adequate amount of protein isn’t very hard. Even people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet that eat foods from a variety of sources will consume adequate amounts of protein to get the minimum RDA requirements.

However “recreational athletes” [Thats YOU my Fit Muslimah] have a more challenging time getting adequate amounts of protein to meet their needs. And most people just don’t want to eat the amount of animal protein required (Thats a lot of baked chicken and fish) Vegan and vegetarians simply can not get the amount of protein needed without going over their daily caloric need or eating too many carbohydrates. So using a protein powder is a simple solutions.

Thanks to a combination of technology and our knowledge of food science the vegan proteins on the market today are creations of very smart food scientist. They are created to contain all nine essential amino acids. Vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds are reconstituted to simulate complete proteins. So essentially the answer is YES.

In my option is doesn’t matter which brand or rather its hemp protein, pea protein or any other vegan source. Each of these brands contain its said protein as a base for the powder but also contains other foods to make up the rest of the amino acids (remember vegetables, nuts and seeds are not complete proteins – so they need other foods to add to the missing protein profile )