Is It Healthy To Only Eat Protein and Vegetables?

Is It Healthy to Only Eat Protein and Vegetables

I’ve been looking into different kinds of diets, and wondered about only eating protein and vegetables cutting out things like bread and pasta etc. So, I did some research to find out what would happen.

So let’s get into it;

So, is it healthy to only eat protein and vegetables?

Only eating protein and vegetables can be a healthy diet for many.  It can also help you to lose weight, according to WebMD.com.

Although, cutting out things like bread, pasta, dairy, and sweets from your diet can help with weight loss, it isn’t by default healthy for everyone, and very much depends on how you and your body. 

Everyone’s body is unique, some people respond really well to a carnivore diet, or to a vegan diet.

Whereas, others get sick and lose too much weight.

But, read on where I’ll explain the results of scientific studies that looked at eating protein with vegetables and also eating only vegetables and meat.

What Happens If You Only Eat Protein And Vegetables?

What Happens If You Only Eat Protein And Vegetables

A diet that consists of eating only vegetables, and supplementing it with foods high in protein such as protein shakes, nuts, and seeds is generally very healthy.

Vegetables are very healthy for your diet, and you can eat as many of them as you want in your diet without gaining weight.

But, most vegetables are very low in protein.

Some of the highest protein vegetables are:

Vegetable Protein per cup 4.5 oz (128 g)
Soybeans 48g
Lentils 17.9g
Pinto beans 15.4g
Chickpeas 14.5g
Mung beans 14.2g
Fava beans 12.9g
Lima beans 11.6g
Green beans 8.6g
Quinoa 8.1g

*Data provided by Healthline.com

The following table shows how much protein is found in meat:

Meat Protein per cup 4.5 oz (128 g)
Lean chicken breast 46g
Lean pork chops 46g
Tuna 45g
Beef 44g

*data from myfooddata.com

Most professional bodybuilders recommend that you eat 1.5 to 2 times your weight (in kgs) of protein a day.

For example, if you weigh 80 kg (175 pounds), you should eat about 160g of protein.

If you are eating the highest protein vegetables, for example Pinto beans, you would need to eat 10 cups a day to get enough protein.

That’s about 3 cups of beans at each meal. Which is way more than most people could eat.

Therefore, eating only vegetables, means you need to supplement your diet with protein shakes to get enough protein.

eating only vegetables

If you choose a plant based protein shake then all of the research into the vegetarian and vegan diets will apply to your diet.

A study was done that looked at the difference between people who eat a vegetarian diet versus meat and vegetables and found that on average men weighed 7.3kg less, and women were 3.3kg lighter.

As you may be aware, there is a measurement known as a body mass index, which is a ratio of your height to your weight.

The study also showed that overall people who ate a vegetarian diet had a body mass index that was 2 points lower.

Therefore, a vegetarian diet will help you lose weight.

In my opinion the weight loss might be losing muscle mass because they didn’t get enough protein to maintain a healthy muscle mass. And they might have needed to supplement their diet with a protein shake.

But, if you are doing a protein and vegetable diet, you should do your thorough research before buying protein shakes. Some have been found to contain lots of additives, and filler. Which isn’t as good as a protein shake that is made with only a few ingredients.

Also, most nutritionists recommend eating a balanced diet which also includes fruit.

That way you get nutrients from many different sources.

The nutrient levels that are shown to be in certain fruits, vegetables, and protein shakes, aren’t necessarily taken up by the body because of the different chemical reactions that occur during the digestion process.

Therefore, it’s important to vary your diet, and get nutrients from many different sources to maximize your health.

What Happens When You Only Eat Meat And Vegetables?

What Happens When You Only Eat Meat And Vegetables

A diet that is only meat and vegetables is very similar to what is known as the paleo-lithic or paleo diet.

Which has become quite popular in recent years with books like

The Paleo Solution’, by New York Times best selling author Robb Wolf,

Primal Blueprint’ by Mark Sisson.

They argue that eating mostly meat and vegetables, and only eating small amounts of processed food, bread, rice, and sugary food, is much better for your health.

And claim it was the original diet that humans ate, before the industrial era.

The reason they say MOSTLY meat and vegetables is that it’s very difficult for people to eat a strict diet. Especially, when you go to family gatherings, birthdays, and weddings.

Therefore, small amounts of other foods here and there are fine.

There was a comprehensive study done on the effects of eating mostly meat and vegetables over 2 years, which showed that it leads to weight loss.

The biggest difference was seen in the first 6 months, where participants lost between 14 and 5.7 pounds (6.5 kg to 2.6kg).

When they studied the participants after 24 months the total fat mass they lost over that time was between 10 and 6.4 pounds (4.6 and 2.9 kg).

Which means they kept the fat off over the long term.

Therefore, eating only meat and vegetables is good for losing fat.

Can I Get Fat Eating Only Vegetables?

Can I Get Fat Eating Only Vegetables

The main determining factor of whether you get fat or not is the amount of calories you eat versus how many calories you burn throughout the day.

For example, if you eat 3000 calories, but burn 2500 calories, you will have 500 calories left over in your body that will get stored as fat.

Vegetables on average have a lot less calories than other food. So you can eat nearly unlimited amounts of vegetables in a day and not reach an amount of calories that is high enough to make you fat.

But, if you do no exercise and eat vegetables that are really high in calories, then your body can be in a calorie surplus every day, and you will get fat.

Therefore, you want to calculate how many calories you consume based on what you eat, and look into how many calories you burn in a day.

That way you can see if you are usually in a calorie surplus or a calorie deficit.

You can track this data in a spreadsheet like Google Sheets, or use an app on your phone.

The easiest way is to search the app store for ‘calorie tracker’ and look for one with a lot of positive reviews.

Conclusion

It is healthy to eat only protein and vegetables.

Eating a vegetarian diet will help you lose weight, but you will generally need to supplement your diet with protein shakes to get enough protein.

Most vegetables don’t contain a lot of protein and to get the protein you need, you have to eat much more than what would make you full.

Eating only vegetables and meat has also been shown to reduce body fat.

It’s known broadly as the paleo-diet.

As long, as you eat lots of different fruits, vegetables, and meat you’ll be sure to get all the nutrients your body needs to maintain good health.

Chris Watson

I'm the founder of EatForLonger.Com. I'm an enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuff and lifestyle based insights. Simple food based concepts for optimising your Healthspan, nutrition and all-round well-being. I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes and add some life to your years. Read more About Me here

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