30 Bananas a Day!

i seriously was hitting my head against the wall when she told me this, but today my friend (who tried to go vegan before but only lasted a month) who is now a vegetarian, said that since making the switch she has gotten a blood test and the results said she was protein deficient. I questioned her for a bit saying about how i didn't think that was even possible and was she sure thats what it said, and she just kept on insisting. she thinks she needs to eat lots of eggs because of this and i really just wanted some more info on protein deficiency, because i thought i read on here that as long as your eating food, its impossible to be protein deficient. any thoughts on what i could tell her?

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I think this video explains it: http://youtu.be/vW_pTitYaRU
Basically it is impossible. She might just be lying. I hate to say that but I've known so many people who decided not to be vegan and their reasoning is that they had some kind of horrible illness which is impossible to get from being vegan.

The funny thing is, I always seem to see low-energy, moody, overweight people on a SAD diet asking high-energy, happy, skinny vegans where they get their protein from.  It's such a popular question that no one really thinks about! And I always see the "bros" at the gym chugging protein shakes & protein bars so they can get 2x grams vs. bodyweight of protein daily (with "bulking" as a guise for simply getting fat & eating whatever they want, instead of working on growing lean muscle), versus the guys with great defined physiques who manage their diet & get between .6 to 1x gram of protein vs. bodyweight daily on meat-based diets.  It's not rocket science, you just have to be willing to look & listen for the answers, which very people do, and even fewer people actually make changes to implement, which is why having a great body is such a valued thing in our society - very few people have great physiques, and not because of genetics, but because they lack information & don't want to put in the work!

Haha :D I so know guys like this who hit the protein powders and get all fat (bulking - funny as :) )...and when they get on the scales they have less muscle than me and a way higher percentage of fat :D 

Thoughts on what you could tell her:

1. Sure, eat a bunch of eggs.  One of my gym buddies eats 70 to 80 eggs per week.  His cholesterol is perfect because he burns it all off through intense workouts.  He is huge & strong.  That's certainly one way to go...if you like eggs.

2. But...what are the actual requirements?  Let's start out with WebMD:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/protein

They say that an adult woman needs 46 grams of protein per day.  Assuming that most women weigh at least 100 pounds as adults, that's less than 0.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.  If your only goal is to meet your protein requirement for the day, then you can add 2.5 scoops of whey protein powder (= 50 grams of protein) to a smoothie & be done for the day.  And the average weight in the U.S. for adult females is currently 160 pounds, which makes it less than a third of a gram per pound of bodyweight to get the required protein in daily.  The CDC also has a similar published figure of 46 grams of protein daily for an adult female:

http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html

So according to the CDC, she could chug one mega-protein shake in the morning & eat ice cream for the rest of the day, and still meet her protein requirement for the day.  So that's a good starting point: here's what science says, so ask her - are you tracking what you're eating every day & tallying up how much protein you're actually taking in?  Because you really don't need an awful lot to survive & thrive, based on scientific studies.

Its hard sometimes to understand what the dr is telling you regarding test results. I'm thinking her dr may have told her that her albumin was low, and she thought he meant that she was protein deficient. Albumin is a protein in the blood often measured in general blood panels. Lots of things can cause low albumin, not a diet deficient in protein...  http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/albumin/tab/test?g...

just reread what I wrote and maybe it doesn't make sense. What I' was trying to say is, the doc probably said her protein was low, referring to the protein (albumin) level in her blood. Docs don't always explain things well so "regular" people can understand it. It would be easy for your friend to interpret this as him saying she was "protein deficient" when in reality it is her blood serum levels. The link I posted refers to possible causes of low serum albumin.

probably she had low urea and the doctor said that's because of low protein intake, and she interprets that as being protein deficient, while there's nothing wrong with it cause the normal thing is just the average of unhealthy westerners, it's a waste product of the break down of protein.

Not sure what her health issues really are, but I know that when many people try to go veg* they end up eating almost exclusively process foods (potatoes chips, pastas, white bread, white rice, so on...) and almost no Whole Foods or Fruits & Veggies. 

+1 Kenny

I am not sure what her issues are.  There may be some rare genetic disorders where people cannot process protein well, low enzyme levels, kidney disease and spillage (I spill a lot of protein and blood, that may be my personal reason for eating 80 10 10 plus when it comes to protein and fats.)

Still, whatever her issue, protein is made up of amino acids.  We do not have to eat animal or so called complete proteins.  

You can show her on a site like cronometer.com where most raw fruits have some protein, and then to quickly add up, lettuce greens and nuts and seeds.  If she is low on a specific amino acid, then she can find foods high in that one.  

I concur with Kenny here that many people when they go veg, plant based, or vegan, are still eating a lot of processed foods that provide little to no benefits.  

People with eating disorders or malnutrition may also have protein deficiency and or a condition called:

Kwashiorkor

Perhaps talk to her more in detail and find out what medical condition she has and or what amino acid(s) she is lacking and then we can help her.  

If symptoms severe, she may need to talk to a nutritionist who can help her no matter what diet she chooses.  

Good luck and Peace, PK

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