The official recommendations for daily protein intake for a person with moderate activity is about 0,8-0,9 g per kg of body weight, which comes to around 55-60 g per day for 70kg of corporal mass.

I found it quite difficult to get to that level with a vegetarian diet allowing dairy products and eggs but avoiding meat and fish.

Does one need to stick quite closely to that recommendation to be healthy? Would it be harmful in the long run to have just half or two-thirds of that recommended protein intake?


4 Answers 4


The WHO recommendations are based on the necessary levels for 97.5% of the population, with a recommendation of 0.83g of protein per kg. However, the median person only needs 0.66g of protein per kg, per their research.

It's likely that you were not actually protein deficient. Most every solid food has some protein, and it can add up: for example, the whole-wheat sandwich bread I buy has 5g of protein per slice, so I'm getting 10 grams of protein just from the bread in a sandwich. A serving of kale has 4g of protein, so even a salad has a good chunk of protein. If you were to get all your 2000 calories from kale alone, you'd be consuming 200 grams of protein per day; if you were consuming all your calories from carrots you'd make it to 41. You'd have to be getting all your calories from sugar-heavy foods to not hit the rough order of magnitude you're looking for for total protein (ex: 2000 calories of apples is only 10 grams of protein).

Source: PROTEIN AND AMINO ACID REQUIREMENTS IN HUMAN NUTRITION Report of a Joint WHO/FAO/UNU Expert Consultation(archived), section 7.10.


A good mix of of beans&nuts&seeds and whole foods should do. I did very well with just 1.0 - 1.5g of protein per kg of body weight while attending the gym 4-5 times a week and training for ultramarathons and Ironman.

Protein was never a problem.

  • Ok thank you, but my question rather was if, say, half of 1 g/kg would be prejudicial in the long term. Anyone knows of scientific studies about that ?
    – huurd
    May 19, 2021 at 9:39
  • @huurd an easy good read from forks over knives would be this one: forksoverknives.com/wellness/vegan-protein-guide-athletes I think this might help you. See also a more detailed study here: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5598028 Furthermore, to develop my example, I have been vegan for 5years+ having a nutrition that involved as mentioned 1g-1.5g protein/body kg with high activity both strength and endurance training and my blood tests are amazing May 19, 2021 at 10:06
  • @Petrica Butusina : thanks for the links, very useful.
    – huurd
    May 19, 2021 at 18:17

There is no reason to lack protein on a vegan diet.

I was concerned about protein intake. Now I just take a 100% natural vegan protein shake with 20g protein per serve. Costs $1 a day and 5 seconds to take away any concern about protein intake once and for all. Its a good deal if you ask me.

  • Out of curiosity, are you also getting significant amounts of protein from other sources, or is the protein shake pretty much it. No judgement or criticism here... just asking so I can learn more. :) Jun 29, 2021 at 1:21
  • 1
    Yes for sure. Good to educate yourself, as in the west we seem convinced about eating a "significant protein source" + carbs + vege every meal, and some carby snacks between. No need! Learn from Indians which sneak small protein into everything, it adds up. Replaced all carby snacks with nuts + variety of Indian snacks (i.e. made from higher protein flours). Replaced bread with pan breads I make from high protein flours (eg. buckwheat, amaranth). Split mung beans are a goto - cheap, easy cook and digest - add Hing and it even tastes like meat. Of course tofu, falafel and the other usuals. Jun 30, 2021 at 4:38
  • Also I'm not strictly vegan, do eat cheese, eggs and occasional seafood. But by far most of my protein is from plants only. Jun 30, 2021 at 4:42
  • Thanks so much for all your ideas and feedback. I modified my diet about a year ago to get much of my protein from nuts. Not really sure what percentage, but probably 60%-75% of my protein intake. I've been a bit surprised (and not too pleased!) with the amount of weight I've gained since then. Of course, nuts are calorie-dense, so that's surely part of the reason, plus the pandemic coupled with an injury haven't helped with physical activity, but I didn't expect to gain as much weight as I have. I'm going to take a look at your recommendation of split mung beans and the Indian snacks. Jun 30, 2021 at 8:22
  • 1
    No prob. Nuts and seeds are great but yeah they also have fat too. I dont think the fat is bad, it actually helps me to be much less hungry than carby snacks. Also fun fact, more than two thirds of protein consumed by humans is from PLANTS, not meat! (healthyeating.sfgate.com/worlds-main-sources-protein-7395.html) This is why I keep saying dont think about "significant protein sources like meat", this is very western attitude. The real protein is hidden in moderate amounts in so many other plant based foods. Jun 30, 2021 at 8:56

A very cheap and good source of protein for me are beans. Baked, good chewing, warm - body friendly.

I did gym for a few days per week when I was younger, following body kg/g protein as 1-2g per kilo, ... did diet twice.

As the years went by, looking at bodybuilding lifestyle, 20, 30, 40, 60, 90, 100 years old, nowadays the human body can hardly absorb/transform such a high amount of food. 100kg muscle male at 100 years old - I think it's more simple to look at time, instead on some narrow goals and ways to achieve.

The human body isn't made with such capability, but it's good because have anothers.

I feel an unfriendly approach is a bad start. The body is good, if you want less protein intake try it, see what changes. Things come in complex. For me, protein increases the mind's capacity to focus, but decreases the speed of thinking. It increases muscle amount, but requires more water to hydrate the body, and water to clean the body from it. It is also a good source of energy, but procede many minerals and if the stomach did consume it, it's on its way to the toilet - which is also good from time to time because I feel overdosed by food, so it fills its reserves.

I personally like bread, "spread", beans, rice, potatoes etc. But follow what's good for you / fits you best. Forcing things is like making enemies from friends :-)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.