How to get nutrients on a
Dr. Yousef M. Elshrek
• If you're worried about getting enough protein on a vegetarian diet, you
may be in for a surprise.
• Are you sitting down? The truth is, most people get way too much protein,
and vegetarians can easily get more than enough protein in their diet as well.
• Many people still believe that protein is only available from meat and
animal sources and we will all fall over dead without animal protein! Unless
you're pregnant or an Olympic bodybuilder, you will likely get more than
enough protein without even trying.
• Plant sources of protein alone can provide adequate amounts of essential
amino acids if a variety of plant foods are consumed and energy needs are
• It is no longer deemed necessary to consume complementary proteins at the
• Consumption of various sources of amino acids over the course of the day
should ensure adequate nitrogen retention and use in healthy persons.
• How much protein we need per day?
• Adults are encouraged to get 10% to 35% of their day's calories from protein foods. That's
about 46 grams of protein for women, and 56 grams of protein for men.
• It's not hard to get this amount if you eat two to three servings of protein-rich foods a day,
according to the CDC.
• A small 100 gms piece of meat has about 20
• grams of protein. A typical 8-ounce piece of meat could have over 50 grams of protein.
• One 240 gms container of yogurt has about 11 grams of protein.
• One cup of milk has 8 grams of protein.
• One cup of dry beans has about 16 grams of protein
Table (1) amount of protein needed per day for different ages
• The above Table(1) shows recommendations are for non-athletic,
• Many fitness experts recommend that a person who works out
regularly, take 2 gram of protein for every Kgm of body weight, per
• Example:• RDA recommendations for normal healthy person: 0.8 grams
protein / kg body weight
• For vegans: 0.8 to 1.0 grams / kg body weight
• 10% of total calories should come from protein
• If a person needs 2000 kcal diet, 200 kcal from protein 200kcal x 1
gram divided by 4 kcal = 50 grams of protein
• Protein is found in the following foods:
meats, poultry, and fish
legumes (dry beans, peas and lentils)
nuts and seeds, and peanut butter
milk and milk products , soy milk
Grains and grains products, such as corn , oatmeal, pasta, whole
grain bread , barely.
8. Vegetables, and some fruits
• What is the best protein to supplement with?
• There are many different types of protein to choose from and it can be
• All protein types will help you build muscle & lose weight.
• They all make great meal replacements; the difference is the source of the
• While whey is milk based, or animal sourced, many proteins on the market
are plant sourced.
• The choice is yours.
• While vegetarians and vegans may prefer plant sourced , whey-based
protein is a great choice for athletes, due to its amino acid profile which is
abundant in muscle tissue
• Many companies are now offering blends of pea, hemp, rice, chia
and/or artichoke proteins.
• These blends offer a complete amino acid profile and are a great
choice for vegetarians, vegans or anyone who is lactose intolerant
• Iron:• Transports and stores oxygen.
• Plant foods contain only non- heme iron, which is more sensitive
than heme iron (found in animal foods) to both inhibitors and
enhancers of iron absorption.
• To increase the amount of iron absorbed at a meal, eat a food
containing vitamin C, such as citrus fruit or juice, tomato or
• Cooking food in iron cookware also adds to iron intake.
• How much iron do we
• Recommended dietary
intake (RDI) for Iron
• Iron requirements vary
for different age groups
and life stages and most
people do not achieve
the recommended iron
level from diet alone
• Source of Iron
• Iron is a very important mineral, and
can be found in many foods that you
might not expect.
• Iron is a mineral required to transport
oxygen through the blood and is
essential for providing energy for daily
• The best source of iron is found in
animal foods, as not only do they
usually contain more iron, but our
bodies can absorb it better than the
iron from plant foods.
• The recommended daily intake of
iron for women between the ages of
19 to 50 is 18 milligrams a day
• 12 oysters, 7mg iron
• Great news for people who enjoy seafood
and don't like red meat - oysters are full of
iron and zinc and they're low in calories
• 1 cup cooked silver beet, 2.53mg iron
• Cooking increases the amount of iron
available in dark green vegetables and so
does the presence of vitamin C, so add
lemon juice to maximize the iron
• 150g steak, 5.55mg iron
• Beef steak is a good source of absorbable
iron, but you should stick to a portion of
150g or a piece about the size of the palm of
160g lamb fillet, 5.55mg of iron
Like beef, lean lamb is another good source of
iron. But again, you need to watch your
portion size - a little goes a long way.
30g cashews, 1.5mg of iron
The amount of iron in cashews may not seem like
much, but it all adds up. Toss them through a stirfry with beef, leafy greens and lemon juice to boost
• 20 small mussels, 15mg iron
• Mussels are easy to cook, economical, sustainable
and one of the best sources of iron around. They
are also a good source of selenium and vitamin
• 2 large eggs, 2mg iron
• When it comes to nutrients, there's very little
eggs don't have and, while they may not
contain a huge amount of iron, every little bit
adds up over the course of a day.
• 1 cup prune juice, 3.15mg iron
• A quick, easy and palatable way to get a dose
of iron is through a glass of prune juice. Prunes
are also a good source of dietary fibre.
• Examples for amounts of foods providing 2mg
• Type of food
• Cashews (roasted)
• Whole lentils
• Chick peas (boiled)
• Whole meal bread
• Sesame seeds or tahini
• Black molasses
• Apricots (dried)
In general the source of are:
• Dried beans
• Beet greens
• Blackstrap molasses
• Dried fruit such as dates
• Fortified cereals (Raisin bran)
• Black beans
• Whole wheat bread bulgur
• Prune juice
• Vitamin B-12
• known as cobalamin
• Needed for cell division
and blood formation.
• Comes primarily from
• A diet containing dairy
products or eggs provides
adequate vitamin B-12.
• Plant foods do not contain
vitamin B-12 except when
contaminated by microorganisms, although this is
not a reliable source for
• Source Of Vitamin B12
• Vitamin B-12 is mostly available only in animal foods: meat, fish,
poultry, eggs, and dairy products.
• You can also get this important nutrient in some nutritional yeasts,
as well as from fortified cereals and soy milk. Vegans need to take
a vitamin-B supplement daily.
• Keep in mind that you have many choices when you set a goal of
eating fewer animal foods and more plant foods.
• There’s a whole spectrum of choices.
• Use these helpful tables to learn more about foods that provide
calcium, protein, vitamin D, and vitamin B-12.
• Calcium is a chemical element which is essential for living organisms,
• Calcium's chemical symbol is "Ca".
• It is found in many foods.
• We need to consume a certain amount of calcium to build and maintain
strong bones and healthy communication between the brain and various
parts of the body.
• Calcium continues strengthening the bones of humans until they reach the
age of 20-25 years, or when they reach their peak mass.
• After that age, the element helps bone maintenance as well as slowing down
bone density loss, which is a natural part of the aging process.
• People whose calcium intake is inadequate before the age of 20-25, have a
considerably higher risk later on in life of developing brittle bone disease or
osteoporosis, because calcium is drawn from the bones as a reserve.
• Calcium regulates muscle contraction, including the heartbeat.
• It also plays a key role in normal blood coagulation (clotting).
• Nearly all of the calcium in our bodies is stored in our teeth and
bones, where it supports their hardness and structure.
• Calcium also plays a role in the release of hormones and enzymes,
as well as helping blood vessels move blood around the body.
• An adequate calcium early in life may protect against obesity later
• Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb and retain calcium in the bones.
• Calcium rich diets increase women's lifespans ,women whose diets
are rich in calcium probably live longer than their counterparts
whose diets are low in calcium
• Calcium Source:
• Dietary calcium can be found in
several different foods and drinks;
they also recommend that we
obtain our calcium from a variety
of sources, such as:
low fat dairy products
White dry bean
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible
for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron,
magnesium, phosphate and zinc.
• In humans, the most important compounds in this group
are vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) and vitamin
• Cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol can be ingested from the
diet and from supplements.
• The body can also synthesize vitamin D (specifically
cholecalciferol) in the skin, from cholesterol, when sun
exposure is adequate (hence its nickname, the "sunshine
• Although vitamin D is commonly called a vitamin, it is not actually an
essential dietary vitamin in the strict sense, as it can be synthesized in
adequate amounts by most mammals exposed to sunlight.
• A substance is only classified as an essential vitamin when it cannot
be synthesized in sufficient quantities by an organism, and must be
obtained from its diet.
• In common with other compounds commonly called vitamins,
vitamin D was nevertheless discovered in an effort to find the dietary
substance lacking in a disease, namely rickets, the childhood form of
• Additionally, like other compounds called vitamins, in the developed
world, vitamin D is added to staple foods, such as milk, to avoid
disease due to deficiency
• How much vitamin D do we need?
• 19-50 years: 200 IU
• 51-69 years: 400 IU
• 70+ years: 600 IU
Source of vitamin D
• Zinc is an essential mineral that is naturally present in some foods,
added to others, and available as a dietary supplement.
• Zinc is also found in many cold lozenges and some over-thecounter drugs sold as cold remedies.
• Zinc is involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism.
• It is required for the catalytic activity of approximately 100
enzymes and it plays a role in immune function , protein synthesis
, wound healing, DNA synthesis , and cell division .
• Zinc also supports normal growth and development during
pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence and is required for proper
sense of taste and smell.
• A daily intake of zinc is required to maintain a steady state
because the body has no specialized zinc storage system .
• Recommended Intakes
• Intake recommendations for zinc and other nutrients are provided in the Dietary
Reference Intakes (DRIs) developed by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (formerly National Academy of
• DRI is the general term for a set of reference values used for planning and assessing
nutrient intakes of healthy people.
• These values, which vary by age and gender, include the following:
1. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): average daily level of intake sufficient to
meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%–98%) healthy individuals.
2. Adequate Intake (AI): established when evidence is insufficient to develop an RDA
and is set at a level assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy.
3. Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL): maximum daily intake unlikely to cause adverse
4. The current RDAs for zinc are listed in the following Table .
5. For infants aged 0 to 6 months, the FNB established an AI for zinc that is equivalent
to the mean intake of zinc in healthy, breastfed infants.
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Zinc
* Adequate Intake (AI)
Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for Zinc
• Sources of Zinc
A wide variety of foods contain zinc .
• Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food, but red
meat and poultry provide the majority of zinc in the American diet.
Other good food sources include beans, nuts, certain types of
seafood (such as crab and lobster), whole grains, fortified breakfast
cereals, and dairy products .
• Phytates—which are present in whole-grain breads, cereals,
legumes, and other foods—bind zinc and inhibit its absorption .
• Thus, the bioavailability of zinc from grains and plant foods is
lower than that from animal foods, although many grain- and
plant-based foods are still good sources of zinc
• * DV = Daily Value.
• DVs were developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help consumers compare the
nutrient contents of products within the context of a total diet.
• The DV for zinc is 15 mg for adults and children age 4 and older.
• Food labels, however, are not required to list zinc content unless a food has been fortified with
• Foods providing 20% or more of the DV are considered to be high sources of a nutrient
• Dietary supplements
• Supplements contain several forms of zinc, including zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate, and zinc
acetate. The percentage of elemental zinc varies by form. For example, approximately 23% of
zinc sulfate consists of elemental zinc; thus, 220 mg of zinc sulfate contains 50 mg of elemental
• The elemental zinc content appears in the Supplement Facts panel on the supplement container.
Research has not determined whether differences exist among forms of zinc in absorption,
bioavailability, or tolerability.
• In addition to standard tablets and capsules, some zinc-containing cold lozenges are labeled as
• Other sources
Zinc is present in several products, including some labeled as homeopathic
medications, sold over the counter for the treatment and prevention of colds.
• Numerous case reports of anosmia (loss of the sense of smell), in some cases longlasting or permanent, have been associated with the use of zinc-containing nasal
gels or sprays .
• In June 2009, the FDA warned consumers to stop using three zinc-containing
intranasal products because they might cause anosmia .
• The manufacturer recalled these products from the marketplace.
• Currently, these safety concerns have not been found to be associated with cold
lozenges containing zinc.
• Zinc is also present in some denture adhesive creams at levels ranging from 17–34
• While use of these products as directed (0.5–1.5 g/day) is not of concern, chronic,
excessive use can lead to zinc toxicity, resulting in copper deficiency and neurologic
• Such toxicity has been reported in individuals who used 2 or more standard 2.4 oz
tubes of denture cream per week .
• Many denture creams have now been reformulated to eliminate zinc.
• Meal Planning for Vegetarian Diets
• Choose a variety of foods, including whole grains,
vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and, if
desired, dairy products and eggs.
• Choose whole, unrefined foods often and minimize
intake of highly sweetened, fatty and heavily refined
• Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables.
• If animal foods such as dairy products and eggs are
used, choose lower-fat versions of these foods.
•Is Cholesterol Found in Foods Vegetarians
•Cholesterol is found in foods from animals.
•Eggs and dairy products do have cholesterol.
•Grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, vegetables and
vegetable oils do not have cholesterol or only
contain insignificant amounts.
•We do not need any cholesterol in our diets
since our bodies can make all the cholesterol we
• Fats in the Vegetarian Diet --How much do we need?
• Saturated fats and trans fatty acids are the kinds of fats most likely to cause
• Saturated fats are found mainly in animal products (eggs, butter, cheese, whole
milk and whole milk products), and in coconut, palm and palm kernel oil.
• Trans fatty acids appear in foods containing hydrogenated fats like margarine
• Heart healthy diets should aim at having saturated and trans fats providing no
more than 8-10% of total calories.
Common Vegetarian Foods
• Macaroni and
• Cheese pizza
• Eggplant parmesan
• Vegetable soup
• Cheese lasagna
• Fruit salad
• Peanut butter &
• Grilled cheese
• Bean tacos &
• French toast
• Vegetable pot pie
• Fruit shakes
• Bread & cereals
• Egg Replacers (Binders)
• Any of the following can be used to replace eggs in baking:
• 1 banana for 1 egg (great for cakes, pancakes, etc)
• 2 Tbs cornstarch or arrowroot starch for 1 egg
• 1/4 cup tofu for 1 egg (blend tofu smooth with the liquid ingredients before
they are added to the dry ingredients)
The following can be used as dairy substitutes in cooking:
• Meat Substitutes in Stews/Soups
• The following can be used as meat substitutes in soups and stews:
• Tempeh (cultured soybeans with a chewy texture)
• Tofu (freezing and then thawing gives tofu a meaty texture; the tofu will turn
slightly off white in color)
• Wheat gluten or seitan (made from wheat and has the texture of meat.