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Combining vegetarian proteins

The potential health benefits of a vegetarian diet have been widely researched but little is known about the performance effects on athletes. There are numerous examples of world-class athletes who have adopted a vegetarian diet, which provides suitable evidence that it is possible to perform without animal products. A knowledge of which sources of protein, and in what quantity, are needed to meet daily protein requirements is essential.

Research suggests that exercise increases protein requirements. The amount it increases is dependent on the type and amount of exercise. Everyone is different with our nutrient requirements and we always come across exceptions to the rule. However, it can be difficult for vegetarians to meet daily protein requirements from plant sources alone. Plant sources of protein contain low levels of one or more essential amino acid. Different plant proteins can be eaten in the same day to make complete proteins (they don’t need to be eaten in the same meal).

Plant Food

Complementary Food


Lentils, peas, beans

Nuts, seeds

Wheat, rice, corn, oats, rye


Wheat, rice, oats, rye, nuts, seeds

Lentils, peas, beans

Lentils, peas, beans