Total Access Medical - Direct Primary Care Blog

A Guide To Plant-Based Protein

Posted by Total Access Medical on Feb 24, 2021

Screen Shot 2021-02-24 at 6.11.53 AMPlant-based foods typically contain fiber, which promotes good gut bacteria, smoother digestion, and, in the case of soluble fiber, better heart health.

Research has suggested that a plant-based diet could play a role in cancer prevention. Other studies have shown plant-based eating can be a helpful strategy for weight loss and type 2 diabetes management.

Beyond their advantages for personal wellness, proteins from plants also make a difference for the environment. In terms of land use, freshwater consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions, plant foods have a definite upper hand over animal products.

Drawbacks of plant-based protein

Despite their many benefits, proteins from plants do have some drawbacks.

Though most plant-based choices provide ample amounts of protein, in many cases, they simply can’t compete with the high levels in animal products like beef or chicken. 

Similarly, don’t expect plant-based proteins to provide one-to-one levels of micronutrients with animal products. Many have lower amounts of B vitamins, iron, and vitamin D3.

It’s important to note that commercially prepared plant-based proteins are often processed. A diet high in processed foods has been linked to weight gain and a possible increased risk of cancer.

To distinguish your many plant protein options, here’s a look at the various categories:

Plant Protein types:

  • Soy-based: tempeh, tofu, edamame, Impossible Burger, soy milk, soy crumbles (textured vegetable protein)
  • Bean- or legume-based: lentils, beans and rice, chickpeas, black beans, bean burgers, eggless eggs
  • Pea protein-based: Pea protein, pea milk
  • Grain-based: seitan, Ezekiel bread, whole wheat flour, spelt, teff
  • Nut- and seed-based: almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios, chia seeds, flax seeds, quinoa
  • Veggie-based: potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, asparagus
  • Other: mycoprotein, spirulina


Plant-Based Protein Service Size Protein
Edamame 1/2 cup 7 g
Pea protein 1 tbsp 24 g
Lentils 1 cup, cooked 18 g
Beans and rice 1 cup, cooked 12 g
Chia seeds 2 tbsp 5 g
Quinoa 1 cup 8 g
Chickpeas 1 cup 15 g
Almonds 1/4 cup 6 g
Green peas 1/2 cup 4 g
Seitan 1 oz. 21 g
Tofu 3 oz. 8 g


New Call-to-action