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It’s not just the amount of protein, it’s the type of protein that matters.  Plant-based proteins are healthful for you; animal-based proteins are unhealthy for you.

The Ornish Program uses primarily plant-based proteins and we recommend food sources over powders when possible.

One of the most common concerns when people begin eating a mostly plant-based diet is that they receive enough protein.  We need only about 10 percent of the calories we consume to be from protein. Athletes and pregnant women need a little more, but if you’re eating enough calories from a varied plant based diet, it’s hard to not get enough.

The amount of protein that one needs has been debated for a long time.  Most studies indicate that the healthiest diets have from 8-15% of calories as protein. It appears that a sweet spot in the 10% range exists.  A recent study that compared high protein intake to low protein intake showed that if someone less then 65 years old and is eating a high protein diet there is a 75% increase in overall mortality, a 400% increase in cancer, and a 400% increase in type 2 diabetes.  This was less or none if the proteins were plant based. Our diet, when done properly, is a primarily plant based diet that includes legumes, soy and egg whites and is approximately 10% protein.

If someone is unable to eat legumes, soy, or egg whites and wants to supplement protein, then it’s reasonable to consider other plant protein sources like a plant based protein powder in moderation. There are many options for plant based protein powders including soy, rice, pea, and hemp.

But remember, too much of a good thing can be bad. Like nitrogen on your lawn a little is good and too much will burn the grass.

The Ornish Program uses primarily plant based proteins and we recommend food sources over powders when possible.

Contributed by

Ben Brown, MD
Medical Director, Ornish Lifestyle Medicine

To your best health!

in collaboration with...

Dean Ornish, MD.
Program Founder

Awareness is the first step in healing. Just Ask!

Better Health Begins With You...

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