Protein Basics

By Jenn Randazzo, MS, RD, categorized in Stylish Science

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Protein, protein, protein. It is becoming the most popular of all the macronutrients, and with good reason. Once just adored by bodybuilders looking to build muscle, now more people are examining their protein intake.

So, we are here to cover those protein basics and common questions!

What is protein?

  • Protein is one of three macronutrients—including carbs and fat–and is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks needed to build tissues in your body
  • There are a variety of different amino acids your body needs. Some of these are known as essential amino acids because your body cannot create them, they must be provided through food
  • Proteins make up many of your body’s structures, including muscle tissue, bone, skin and hair
  • Proteins play a major role in the creation of enzymes, hormones, vitamins and neurotransmitters

How much protein do I need?

Reference intakes (RI) are a useful indication of how much of a specific nutrient you need for a balanced diet each day. For adults, the RI of protein is 50 g per day, and is based upon the protein and amino acids needed to maintain body tissues and replace losses (you even lose protein in your sweat!).

What are the different types of protein?

Animal, soy and hemp based proteins tend to be complete, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids in adequate amounts that your body needs to build and maintain proteins. Most plant-foods, are lower in one or two of the essential amino acids, and are referred to as incomplete proteins. 

But, what we do know is that eating a variety of plant-based proteins throughout the day can meet the essential amino acids needs. 2 Therefore, all Vega®'s nutritional and protein powders use a multisource blend of plant-based protein. The different protein sources complement each other to provide you with a complete multisource blend of plant-based protein containing all those essential amino acids!

What are some sources of plant-based protein?

Some of my favourite sources of plant-based proteins include:

Personally, I love any plant-based protein source that I can easily use in some of my favourite go-to recipes. For instance, I quickly pull together a lentil based Spaghetti Bolognese on a regular basis!

Why is everyone I know hopping on the low-carb, high-protein diet?  Should I be on one too?

While protein is a super-important macronutrient in our diet, it shouldn’t be the only one. Don’t leave out those quality carbohydrates, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and good fats, like avocado and walnuts.

So, go ahead and include high-quality, plant-based protein as part of your balanced diet, but do so in a way that’s right for you.

How are you going to include more plant-based protein in your diet this week!? Let us know @VegaTeam_UK


1. Schlenker, E. D., Roth, S. L., & Williams, S. R. (2007). Williams' essentials of nutrition & diet therapy. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby. P67.

2. Young VR, Pellett PL. (1994). Plant proteins in relation to human protein and amino acid nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr;59(suppl): 1203S-1212S.


*At Vega® clean means: non-GMO, suitable for vegetarians and vegans, gluten-free, non-dairy ingredients