The Australian recommended daily intake (RDI) of protein for the average healthy man is 64g and 46g for women. High protein diets may provide individuals with between 100-200g of protein per day, depending on the type of program.
Protein is made up of smaller molecules known as amino acids. There are 8 essential amino acids (referred to as complete proteins) that the body cannot make, nor function without therefore they must be... consumed in the diet.
The quality of protein and how well the body can utilize it is determined by the composition of these 8 essential amino acids. Less protein is required if the quality is high. Quinoa is a high quality complete protein that also contains essential fatty acids, vitamins (B6, folate & E) and minerals (magnesium, potassium, calcium, manganese and iron). Other complete proteins include: meat, fist, eggs and soy beans/tofu.
Other proteins (amino acids) consumed in the same 24 hour period may be joined to form a complete protein. These include nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, rice, fruit, vegetables and milk.
Most Australian’s are prone to consuming too much rather than not enough protein. So what’s the problem. Foods high in protein (especially meat and dairy) produce acid when they are metabolised (broken down and used by the body). The increased acid alters our blood ph levels and triggers the body to use sodium and calcium to neutralise this reaction. When the body requires additional calcium to balance ph levels it demineralises calcium from our bones. The more excess protein you consume, the more calcium you may lose from your bones.
High protein diets also put more stress on the kidneys which is magnified in people whom already have a mild kidney dysfunction.
A quality vegetarian diet will supply the majority of individuals with an adequate amount of protein assuming you are consuming sufficient calories. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that individuals consume 10% of their total calories from protein. Nearly all lentils, beans, nuts, seeds and grains provide more than 10% protein.
Here are some example ranges:
Beans range from 52% (soya) to 26% (kidney)
Vegetables range from 49% (spinach) to 11% (potatoes)
Nuts/seeds range from 21% (pumpkin) to 12% (cashews)
grains range from 15% (quinoa – technically a seed) to 4% (corn)