Our modern field of nutrition is full of contradictions and misleading information due to the widespread reductionist approach and corporate interests. None of the macronutrients—carbohydrates, fats, and protein—have been spared along the way from being misrepresented.

When it comes to protein, today we are faced with the task of undoing many of the protein myths and erroneous ideas that have become ingrained into our society over the years. These deal with the protein quantity and quality as they relate to plant and animal food sources.

Below, you will find an infographic that illustrates the nature of protein in plant foods. Further down, you will find more information about the quantity of protein in plant foods and other resources to follow-up with to increase your understanding of this nutrient for optimal health and wellbeing.

There is no real evidence of dietary protein deficiency. People are actually more likely to suffer from protein excess than protein deficiency. The adverse effects associated with long-term high protein/high meat intake diets may include disorders of bone and calcium balance, disorders of kidney function, increased cancer risk, disorders of the liver, and worsening of coronary artery disease. Considering all of these potential disease risks, there is currently no reasonable scientific basis to recommend protein consumption above the current recommended daily allowance.

Michael Greger, MD — Changing Protein Requirements

Protein Quantities in Whole Plant Foods & Fungi

Protein in Fruits

Protein in Fruit Vegetables

Protein in Vegetables

Protein in Legume Vegetables

Protein in Legumes

Protein in Grains

Protein in Nuts

Protein in Seeds

Protein in Mushrooms

For further information about this topic and to learn more about protein myths, quantity, quality, and different food sources, consider any or all of the following resources:

  1. Protein: Too Much? Too Little? a recorded online video class by Evita Ochel

  2. Changing Protein Requirements by Michael Greger, MD ~ Nutrition Facts

  3. Protein: Everything You Think You Know is Wrong by David L. Katz, MD

  4. Setting the Record Straight by Michael Bluejay

  5. The Protein Myth ~ Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

  6. Plant Foods Have a Complete Amino Acid Composition by John McDougall, MD ~ American Heart Association

  7. How Plant Protein Wins Over Animal Protein ~ Joel Fuhrman, MD

  8. The Myth of Complementary Protein by Jeff Novick, MS, RD ~ Forks Over Knives

  9. ‘Complete’ and ‘Incomplete’ Protein is Complete BS by Ryan D. Andrews, RD, CSCS ~ Furthermore Equinox

  10. Vegetarian Protein Is Just As ‘Complete’ As Meat, Despite What We’ve Been Taught by Kristen Aiken ~ Huff Post

  11. 7 Ways Animal Protein is Damaging Your Health by Sofia Pineda Ochoa, MD ~ Forks Over Knives

  12. Plant vs. Animal Protein and Heart Disease by Michael Greger, MD ~ Nutrition Facts

  13. The No-B.S. Guide to Vegan Protein by Courtney Davison ~ Forks Over Knives

  14. Where Do You Get Your Protein? by John McDougall, MD

  15. Where Do You Get Your Protein? by Alan Goldhamer, D.C. ~ T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

  16. Protein in the Vegan Diet by Reed Mangels, PhD, RD ~ The Vegetarian Resource Group

  17. Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein? by Michael Greger, MD ~ Nutrition Facts

  18. Are BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids) Healthy? by Michael Greger, MD ~ Nutrition Facts

  19. Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Human Nutrition - World Health Organization (2007)

  20. Plant proteins in relation to human protein and amino acid nutrition ~ American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; May 1994 vol. 59 no. 5 1203S-1212S

  21. Meta-analysis of nitrogen balance studies for estimating protein requirements in healthy adults ~ American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; January 2003 vol. 77 no. 1 109-127