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Plant Foods Offer An Unexpected Protein Hit

Grain foods, including bread, can contribute a surprising amount of plant-based protein to our daily requirements.

While young Aussies are forking out on pricey supplements in a bid to build muscle and cut weight, new evidence has revealed an unexpected source of protein: the humble loaf of bread.

The new findings, from the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council’s (GLNC) annual food category audit, revealed that close to one in every five loaves of wholemeal/whole grain bread assessed was considered a ‘good source’ of protein¹, boasting at least 10g per serve – the same amount found in a glass of milk or two boiled eggs.

Even white bread, often shunned as nutritionally inferior, came out on top with protein content; almost three quarters (73 per cent) of white sliced loaves were a ‘source’ of protein, with at least 5g per serve.

Felicity Curtain, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutrition Manager for GLNC, said this brings perspective to our nation’s protein fixation.

‘Australians are protein-obsessed, with at least 10 per cent of adults over 15 using sports supplements², but most of us can easily reach our daily needs through a range of whole foods, including bread!’

Curtain said grain foods like wheat, rye, barley and oats are naturally rich in plant-based protein, on top of other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and phytochemicals.

‘When combined with other good quality protein foods like meat, eggs, dairy foods or legumes, grains will get you well on your way to meeting your protein needs.’

While individual needs vary based on age, gender, body size and activity level, protein requirements range from between 0.75-1g of protein per kilogram of body weight; around 50g per day for a 65 kilogram woman.

So forget protein shakes, try these post-exercise alternatives that offer at least 15g protein per serve:

  • Two slices of whole grain toast with nut butter and sliced banana
    · A bowl of whole grain cereal with Greek yoghurt and berries
    · A delicious smoothie made with milk, yoghurt, fruit and rolled oats
    · A whole grain roll filled with lean ham, cheese and salad
    · Whole grain crackers with cheese and hummus

Visit the GLNC Website for recipes, factsheets and up-to-date information on the latest evidence around grains and legumes.

References

  1. GLNC. 2017 Bread Audit. Unpublished.
  2. https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/publications/Documents/Sports%20Foods%20Quant%20Report.pdf

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