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Protein deficiency in fruititarian/ vegetarian diets?

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  • Protein deficiency in fruititarian/ vegetarian diets?



    I've been reading the blogs of some fruititarian/ vegetarian and vegan people. Sometimes they will eat nothing but fruit all day, other days things like crackers and seeds with fruit/ veggies.


    My question is, how can anyone live on so little protein? Wouldn't this lead to an inevitable heart attack eventually? I know the 'incomplete' proteins complement each other and add up, but I'm reading that people are only getting a few grams of protein TOTAL let alone if they can even add up to form a 'whole.' Worse yet you read about people pursuing their animal and fat free diets yet their health issues worsening - I feel terrible that they, I hate to say it, don't know any better. Anyways, my issue is with the protein. People can't live long on a low protein diet, can they?? Seems like heart issues are imminent.


  • #2
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    Actually there are quite a lot of amino acids available in raw fruits and veggies. It's just that our traditional nutrition model doesn't allow us to understand that. There are some amazing athletes doing

    unbelievable stuff on a raw vegan diet.


    I have been dabbling in raw foods for a few years and it will remain an anchor in my diet but I know that I am not going to give up fish, eggs and occasional yogurt. I am thrilled to have found this site because it shares the same approach to foods being whole and organic as the raw food movement. Also, the desire to not be any part of the traditional medical/ pharma model. I will be mixing the raw food element with the protein element because I believe they are both crucial for ultimate health and performance.

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    • #3
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      I think proteins is the last thing we risk a deficiency of. I'd be worried about lack of fat more than lack of proteins. The average person gets more proteins than he will immediately need. I remember reading about a population of islander eating mostly tubers and getting 50 grams of proteins a day and still showing no sign of low albumin level or protein deficiency.


      My fascination with fasting for therapeutic reason made me found out about Dr. Vivian Vetrano. She is in her 80's but healthy and have been eating a raw vegan diet for 60 years. She eats nuts, veggies and fruits but advise against eating lot of fruits and developing a "fructose intoxication"





      As I have already said I focus on what works for me and try not to theorize about what will work for others because I have seem the weirdest diets undoubtedly working for certain people.

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      • #4
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        Ooh. I saw a programme last week where a woman went from eating a CW healthy diet, to vegetarian, to vegan to fruitarian. She ended up in hospital - her hair was falling out in clumps, her teeth were in terrible shape, she had no energy....


        But that was just for her. I wouldn't try it though.

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        • #5
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          I've gotta agree with Del Mar Mel and Niklas; most people underestimate the amount of amino acids in "non-protein" foods. Even if you look it up on a chart you don't get the whole picture, because the charts only account for the foods that neatly compliment each other, like rice and beans. But if you're eating a big salad with a variety of veggies, 2 + 2 + 2 (grams of protein, that is) does not add up to six: It's more likely to add up to 10.

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          • #6
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            I just did a quick Fitday hypothetical for a raw vegan consisting mostly of 1 cup each broccoli, sprouts, cauliflower, almonds, and salad, and 1/2 c. of coconut milk and 4 oz of tahini. Just tried to pick some typical things.


            Guess what? Perfect PB ratios: 72-12-16 (F,P,C) The total protein was 69 grams and calories 1989. Now, as to the essential amino acids, I don't know.


            What a flippin' boring diet!

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            • #7
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              Too funny OTB! That is why I'm venturing in this direction. You can get quite a lot of amino acids directly from greens and veggies (straight broccoli clocks in at just below 30% protein). My problem is that I often crave some greek yogurt and I am not parting with fish. I don't see myself going overboard with consuming meats all day long but I think I need a little more variety. I run a lot and though there are many athletes doing entirely plant based diet I feel like I really need a bit more variety. The bottom line for me is organic, REAL food and nothing that comes out of a can or a box.

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              • #8
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                Sounds like you're heading a similar direction to Mark's wife (I have a memory like a sieve, I think her name is Carrie?).


                A few weeks back she did a column on the main MDA page, with a few Q&As too.


                She eats chicken, fish, and veg / fruit / salad.


                Daft as it sounds, I think the PB and "raw" / vegan do have *some* things in common - like you say, it's about REAL food.

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                • #9
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                  I dont know how women that are pre menopausal manage to be athletic and vegan and or vegetarian. Speaking from experience, I did raw vegan and vegetarian about two years back on a heavy training load and I really effed myself up. My iron stores got totally screwed plus it caused a bunch of hormonal issues because I wasnt getting enough of what my body needed, even though I was eating lots of good veggies etc. I will have to take supplemental iron for some time now even though I eat meat on a regular basis.


                  I am serious though when I say that raw vegan food is fantastic but for me it will never be a complete meal again.

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                  • #10
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                    Northern Monke - Yes, I found Carrie's post yesterday and I was really excited. I don't think she eats chicken or red meat at all. Will have to review again but her way looks about perfect for me. I had already been cruising the site and just bought the book so when I read her post I was really excited. She will be my model for certain.


                    62Shelby - Agreed re: the iron situation. I have a long history of being severely anemic and have been prescribed the heavy duty iron in the past. I ended up going back to eating red meat once a week to correct it and part of my journey has been realizing that I'm back in that place and I don't want the iron Rx from the doctors. I will definitely continue with a lot of raw foods but I need some more concentrated protein in my diet and it looks like the occasional red meat as well.

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                    • #11
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                      DMM, the thing about plant amino acids that I'm sure you know but I don't see indication of that, is how many are the Holy Essential Eight?


                      Yes, there can be complementary amino acids, but isn't it possible that one or two will be lacking in sufficient quantity to do any good? Especially on a give day?

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                      • #12
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                        @OTB

                        I once checked the RDA for essential amino acids

                        And then calculated how many essential amino acid one would obtain from 1800 calories of a food source considered "incomplete".


                        The result was that every essential amino acids exceeded the RDA so I discovered that "incomplete" is a relative term. Sometimes in a certain protein one amino acid is lower than the others but this doesn't mean the amount is absolutely inadequate.

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                        • #13
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                          OTB, unless labeling laws have changed the last few years, any time you see protein listed as a certain amount of grams, that is indicative ONLY of all eight essential amino acids; it does not take into account all of the left-over bits which the body is well able to connect to all the other left over bits to make more complete proteins.


                          And you do NOT have to have all of these amino acids present in a single meal. T-Nation published some articles a while back (sorry, I'm too lazy to look them up) citing research that amino acids can float around your bloodstream for around 24 hours, just waiting for your body to match them up with their buddies to make more complete protein.

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                          • #14
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                            DM, you are usually right on, but not on the protein count. All they do is measure how much nitrogen is in the subject food, nitrogen being a direct indicator of protein and protein only.


                            That's why the Chinese put powdered melamine into pet food, hoo boy, look at that nitrogen level!


                            Analysis by each amino acid is expensive, although it's been done for the entire USDA database.


                            Yes, I recall the old belief of having the AA's in the same meal being superceded with what you say.

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                            • #15
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                              OTB and DM - Yes, we are past the point of believing that all of the amino acids need to be present in a singular meal. Also, there are foods such as hemp seed that offer a complete amino acid profile. Hemp seed and hemp protein powders are a regular part of my diet. Also, eating a large variety of greens, veggies and fruits in a day supplies a lot of intact amino acids that are freely available to be used by the body without having to do the work of first breaking down a hunk of muscle to free up the aminos.


                              Regardless, I am obviously consciously deciding to embrace my desire for fish and some other sources of protein. I'm excited to see what changes I notice.

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