Beans, included in the USDA Dietary Guidelines as both protein and a vegetable, are a preferred source of protein. Gluten, the wheat protein found in meat substitutes such as seitan, veggie chicken, and veggie hot dogs is another healthful source of protein. Plant-based sources of protein don’t have the hormonal baggage of dairy and the saturated fat and cholesterol content of meat and eggs. This helps explain why plant-based low carb diets don’t appear to have the same associated risks. Other potential downsides of animal protein include premature puberty and fertility issues in women.

On average, people who eat a plant-based diet have significantly higher levels of protein plasma in their blood, probably a sign of the anti-inflammatory nature of such diets. Raw food diets may be deficient in protein, among other nutrients.

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