BROCVSTEAK

I couldn’t even believe the title of this article when I wrote it, or the fact that the idea that broccoli has more protein than steak even needs to be questioned. The answer is a resounding NO. And yet, when I was at Whole Foods last month, I came across a brand of raw vegan food that had this proudly labeled on the side of their product:

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Not only that, but there is a popular meme circulating the internet also stating that broccoli has more protein than steak. Where the hell do these people get this stuff?

First, let’s clear this up. This is particularly deceptive because 100 calories of steak is a reasonable portion, it’s around 6oz of steak. To eat 100 calories of broccoli, you’d have to eat over three cups in one sitting, which is a LOT of broccoli and much more than any reasonable person is going to eat. Understand the trickery now? Don’t fall for this type of marketing.

On the USDA’s Nutrition Database, 100 grams of broccoli has 2.82 grams of protein. 100 grams of steak has 34 grams. According to Self Nutrition Data, 100 grams of broccoli has 3 grams of protein, while 100 grams of top sirloin has 29 grams.

This doesn’t even address the issue of amino acids. There are nine essential amino acids, meaning we need to obtain these amino acids from our food for optimal health. Broccoli can’t even touch steak when it comes to amino acid comparison.

Essential Amino Acid Broccoli (1 oz) Steak (1 oz)
Histidine 16.5 mg 236 mg
Isoleucine 22.1 mg 377 mg
Leucine 36.1 mg 646 mg
Lysine 37.8 mg 686 mg
Methionine 10.6 mg 207 mg
Phenylalanine 32.8 mg 317 mg
Threonine 24.6 mg 338 mg
Tryptophan 9.2 mg 79 mg
Valine 35 mg 395 mg

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of the essential amino acids will vary depending on age, weight and other factors. But for the average 26 year-old woman weighing 125 pounds, here is the RDA:

histidine: 795.2 mg.
isoleucine: 1079.2 mg.
leucine: 2385.6 mg.
lysine: 2158.4 mg.
methionine + cysteine: 1079.2 mg.
phenylalanine + tyrosine: 1874.4 mg.
threonine: 1136.0 mg.
threonine: 1136.0 mg.
tryptophan: 284.0 mg.
valine: 1363.2 mg.

For the average 26 year-old man weighing 150 pounds:

histidine: 954.8 mg.
isoleucine: 1295.8 mg.
leucine: 2864.4 mg.
lysine: 2591.6 mg.
methionine + cysteine: 1295.8 mg.
phenylalanine + tyrosine: 2250.6 mg.
threonine: 1364.0 mg.
threonine: 1364.0 mg.
tryptophan: 341.0 mg.
valine: 1636.8 mg.

Based on a 26 year-old woman’s RDA, she would need to eat the following to obtain adequate amino acids:

  • 48 oz of broccoli for histidine, or 3.3 oz of steak
  • 49 oz of broccoli for isoleucine, 2.8 oz of steak
  • 66 oz of broccoli for leucine, or 3.6 oz of steak
  • 57 oz of broccoli for lysine, or 3.1 oz of steak
  • 187 oz of broccoli for methionine, or 5.2 oz of steak
  • 58 oz of broccoli for phenylalanine, or 5.9 oz of steak
  • 47 oz of broccoli for threonine, or 3.3 oz of steak
  • 31 oz of broccoli for tryptophan, or 3.6 oz of steak
  • 38 oz of broccoli for valine, or 3.4 oz of steak

So the next time that someone tells you that broccoli has more protein than steak, punch them in the face. They’ll be so protein deprived it won’t even hurt if they hit you back.

JUST KIDDING.

Does-Broccoli-Really-Have-More-Protein-Than-Steak


Sources:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002467.htm

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2356/2

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/6171/2

http://www.globalrph.com/aminoacid-rda.cgi

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2356/2

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/3796/2

38 responses on “Does Broccoli Really Have More Protein Than Steak?

  1. Linda

    I think that meme was based on Joel Furhman’s book Eat to Live. I read another blogger dissecting the misrepresentation of facts in an attempt to counter the vegan propaganda. He was saying that Dr. Furhman oddly chose a book from the 80s for his source on how much protein is in a 100 calories of broccoli. Aside from obscuring the truth by using questionable data, the truth is obscured by using calories instead of volume because 100 calories of steak would be so much less than 100 calories of broccoli. Calories are BS anyway according to Gary Taubes and I have to agree. I used to restrict calories and would have been so excited to consume massive amounts of low calorie broccoli back in the day but now, I consume mostly high fat (high calorie) foods to try to heal my body from being low-fat high carb vegan for most of my twenties. Whoopsie Daisy. http://eathropology.com/2013/04/08/broccoli-has-more-protein-than-steak-and-other-crap/

    1. dani stout Post author

      That dang Furhman! Thanks for letting me know! That guy loves to give out bad advice.

      Your story sounds exactly like mine! I was low-fat/high-carb vegan/vegetarian for five years. Now I eat mostly high fat and do a lot of ancestral super foods (fish oil, fish eggs, bone broth, liver) to heal.

  2. Jenny

    Also I think it take about 4 cups of broccoli to get 100 calories. I mean I like broccoli and all, but no thanks!

  3. Amber

    Me again! The image that you showed, it compares 100 CALORIES of steak vs 100 CALORIES of broccoli…not grams. Not sure if this changes your argument…broccoli certainly doesn’t have the branched chain amino acids.

    1. dani stout Post author

      Um…you realize this guy readily admits that there is more protein in steak? I also did the complete (and actually factual) breakdown of the amino acids in steak and in broccoli and broccoli clearly loses.

      1. SumOne

        A high protein diet is not a great diet to begin with. Just because something has more protein does not mean that it is healthy. The point here is that plant based foods provide enough protein as well as hundreds of nutrients and antioxidants while that steak, even though high in protein, has high amount of cholesterol, fat and calories which in turn causes large number of diseases. Got the point? Eating protein and then eventually getting diseased is not a healthy diet.

        1. dani Post author

          This entire argument is flawed for several reasons:

          1 – grass-fed beef is much more nutrient dense than broccoli.
          2 – dietary cholesterol has very little effect on cholesterol in the blood. The idea that is does is outdated and not based in fact or science.
          3 – fat is healthy. Our bodies need and thrive off of good fats, like those found in grass-fed meats.
          4 – grass-fed meat is extremely healthy and does not at all lead to disease. If it did, the human race would’ve been riddled with disease thousands of years ago. It even contains CLA, which inhibits tumor growth.

          Get the point?

          1. Sumone

            Well, to me eating rotting flesh of another animal sounds disgusting. People like yourself will one day advocate eating human flesh as well a human flesh will also be nutritious and full of protein!! People like yourself will say why stop at animals? The reason why people like yourself are not trying this option is because it is illegal, else you would have switched to a better source of protein and nutrients – humans!! lol

  4. Zahdio

    Although there may be more protein in steak, it sounds like this article was spawned by the same arrogance that allows people to think it is okay to continue to kill other beings so you can eat them. Don’t flow with the crowd. Think for yourself. You only go around once.

    1. dani stout Post author

      It IS okay to kill animals to eat them. For you to eat, something must die. It’s arrogant to believe otherwise. I choose to eat animals that live great lives and are killed with respect.

      You choose to excuse yourself (in your own mind) from this system, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that it kills more animals to sustain a vegan diet, especially when entire species have gone extinct to plow lands for your non-animalistic staples: grains, soy and legumes.

      I choose to participate in the system that builds topsoil, nourishes the land and promotes more life through synergy with nature. As people have always eaten (until recently).

      I am not the arrogant one here. I am not the one flowing with the crowd.

    2. Josh Hamilton

      In the Declaration of Independence, there is an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This applies to EVERYTHING, not just human beings. To think otherwise is ignorant and misguided. We are all part of the biological community. Thank you Zahdio, for standing up for what you believe.

      1. mookow

        Um..

        the Declaration of Independence is something that we have made up, based off of (made up) religion and politics, in the past few hundred years. contrary to what you think, it does only apply to humans. Ask the people at the time who drafted it, whether they were vegetarians or meat eaters. They would laugh at you for bringing up a concept so absurd as to have a diet excluding meat.

        In the “biological community” as you call it, ANIMALS MAUL EACH OTHER TO SHREDS WHILE STILL BREATHING, HEART BEATING WHILE THEIR HUNTER SINKS THEIR TEETH IN AND EATS THEIR LIMBS OFF IN COLD BLOOD. Humans and our ancestors, being part of this biological community for a billion years, are no exception.

        We evolve as omnivores, we always were omnivores.

        Insects are vegan. You’re not an insect (hopefully?)

        1. ebony

          Gorillas, elephants, rhinos, hippos, wildebeest, horse, manatee, deer, yaks and some whales are also vegan. There are also vegan body builders that could snap you in half 🙂

          1. Mook1113

            Those species are in no way similar ro humans so that argument is invalid and there are omnivorous bodybuilders that would snap you and the vegan bodybuilder in half at the same time ???? oh and the vegan bodybuilders also have to go to man made supplements to get all the nutrients they need not a single one of them is doing it without them

  5. karen

    I think that it is important to know the actual source of one’s food and the impact on the enviroment, including animals domesticated or wild.( which is the point that Dani is making )
    Just because one is not eating animal protein or fats does not mean that they are not being killed to sustain you. Most modern day commercial farming does not respect the earth nor any animal or human life. So chances are if those of us who choose a vegan diet are not eating from an organic or biodynamic source of grains, vegetables, seed oils etc then wild animals are still being killed today, or made extinct by being removed from their natural habitat to make way for large scale crop farming – like soy.
    Not knowing the source of food will keep one’s concience clear but it does not protect these animals from being killed or from extinction to sustain one’s food choices. Do the responsible thing and find out now…..

  6. Milly

    Animal welfare impacts of factory farming can include:

    Close confinement systems (cages, crates) or lifetime confinement in indoor sheds
    Discomfort and injuries caused by inappropriate flooring and housing
    Restriction or prevention of normal exercise and most of natural foraging or exploratory behaviour
    Restriction or prevention of natural maternal nesting behaviour
    Lack of daylight or fresh air and poor air quality in animal sheds
    Social stress and injuries caused by overcrowding
    Health problems caused by extreme selective breeding and management for fast growth and high productivity
    Reduced lifetime (longevity) of breeding animals (dairy cows, breeding sows)
    Fast-spreading infections encouraged by crowding and stress in intensive conditions[60]
    Debeaking (beak trimming or shortening) in the poultry and egg industry to avoid pecking in overcrowded quarters[61]
    Forced and over feeding (by inserting tubes into the throats of ducks) in the production of foie gras[62]
    Confinement and overcrowding of animals results in a lack of exercise and natural locomotory behavior, which weakens their bones and muscles. An intensive poultry farm provides the optimum conditions for viral mutation and transmission – thousands of birds crowded together in a closed, warm, and dusty environment is highly conducive to the transmission of a contagious disease. Selecting generations of birds for their faster growth rates and higher meat yields has left birds’ immune systems less able to cope with infections and there is a high degree of genetic uniformity in the population, making the spread of disease more likely. Further intensification of the industry has been suggested by some as the solution to avian flu, on the rationale that keeping birds indoors will prevent contamination. However, this relies on perfect, fail-safe biosecurity – and such measures are near impossible to implement. Movement between farms by people, materials, and vehicles poses a threat and breaches in biosecurity are possible. Intensive farming may be creating highly virulent avian flu strains. With the frequent flow of goods within and between countries, the potential for disease spread is high.[63]

    Confinement and overcrowding of animals’ environment presents the risk of contamination of the meat from viruses and bacteria. Feedlot animals reside in crowded conditions and often spend their time standing in their own waste.[64] A dairy farm with 2,500 cows may produce as much waste as a city of 411,000 people, and unlike a city in which human waste ends up at a sewage treatment plant, livestock waste is not treated. As a result, feedlot animals have the potential of exposure to various viruses and bacteria via the manure and urine in their environment. Furthermore, the animals often have residual manure on their bodies when they go to slaughter.[65] Sometimes, even “free-range” animals are mutilated without the use of painkillers.[66]

    Confinement at high stocking density requires antibiotics and pesticides to mitigate the spread of disease and pestilence exacerbated by these crowded living conditions.[8] In addition, antibiotics are used to stimulate livestock growth by killing intestinal bacteria.[9] According to a February 2011 FDA report, nearly 29 million pounds of antimicrobials were sold in 2009 for both therapeutic and non-therapeutic use for all farm animal species.[67] The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 70% of that amount is for non-therapeutic use.[68]

    The large concentration of animals, animal waste, and the potential for dead animals in a small space poses ethical issues. It is recognized that some techniques used to sustain intensive agriculture can be cruel to animals such as mutilation.[69][70] As awareness of the problems of intensive techniques has grown, there have been some efforts by governments and industry to remove inappropriate techniques.

    On some farms, chicks may be debeaked when very young, causing pain and shock. Confining hens and pigs in crates no larger than the animal itself may lead to physical problems such as osteoporosis and joint pain, and psychological problems including boredom, depression, and frustration, as shown by repetitive or self-destructive actions.[71]

    In the UK, the Farm Animal Welfare Council was set up by the government to act as an independent advisor on animal welfare in 1979[72] and expresses its policy as five freedoms: from hunger & thirst; from discomfort; from pain, injury or disease; to express normal behavior; from fear and distress.

    Interior of a gestational sow barn
    There are differences around the world as to which practices are accepted and there continue to be changes in regulations with animal welfare being a strong driver for increased regulation. For example, the EU is bringing in further regulation to set maximum stocking densities for meat chickens by 2010, where the UK Animal Welfare Minister commented, “The welfare of meat chickens is a major concern to people throughout the European Union. This agreement sends a strong message to the rest of the world that we care about animal welfare.”[73]

    Factory farming is greatly debated throughout Australia, with many people disagreeing with the methods and ways in which the animals in factory farms are treated. Animals are often under stress from being kept in confined spaces and will attack each other. In an effort to prevent injury leading to infection, their beaks, tails and teeth are removed.[74][75] Many piglets will die of shock after having their teeth and tails removed, because painkilling medicines are not used in these operations. Others say that factory farms are a great way to gain space, with animals such as chickens being kept in spaces smaller than an A4 page[citation needed].

    Less cruel methods of factory farming are still preferable. For example, in the UK, de-beaking of chickens is deprecated, but it is recognized that it is a method of last resort, seen as better than allowing vicious fighting and ultimately cannibalism.[69] Between 60 and 70 percent[76] of six million breeding sows in the U.S. are confined during pregnancy, and for most of their adult lives, in 2 by 7 ft (0.61 by 2.13 m) gestation crates.[3][77] According to pork producers and many veterinarians, sows will fight if housed in pens. The largest pork producer in the U.S. said in January 2007 that it will phase out gestation crates by 2017.[3] They are being phased out in the European Union, with a ban effective in 2013 after the fourth week of pregnancy.[78] With the evolution of factory farming, there has been a growing awareness of the issues amongst the wider public, not least due to the efforts of animal rights and welfare campaigners.[79] As a result gestation crates, one of the more contentious practices, are the subject of laws in the U.S.,[80] Europe[81] and around the world to phase out their use as a result of pressure to adopt less confined practices.

    1. dani stout Post author

      Which is why I recommend obtaining meat from local, pasture based farmers where literally none of this is an issue.

  7. Vikas Chandel

    ” dani stout says:
    November 23, 2014 at 9:33 am
    It IS okay to kill animals to eat them. For you to eat, something must die. It’s arrogant to believe otherwise. I choose to eat animals that live great lives and are killed with respect. ”

    Seriously ..then it should be Ok to kill human beings too..I will do it with respect..I bet ! Who is you to say that..just because you are superior you claim to say its OK. Humans Stupidity amazes me big time..Animals were not put on earth to be your food. They came before us. Humans on other hand think everything on this universe was created for them despite the fact they are just tiny spec of dust in this universe. Peace out & please be kind to animals. We don’t need to harm them to be happy and healthy! There are tons of plant based diet out there.

    1. dani stout Post author

      Plant based diets kill more animals that local, pastured, organic based diets. Species have literally gone extinct due to agricultural practices so that people can eat plant based diets and separate themselves from the fact that their diet kills just as many, if not more animals. Like I said, for you to eat, something must die. I choose to eat animals that are raised and killed with respect, in accordance with nature; animals who are raised in a way that heals the land. Not in a way that is destroying the planet.

      1. Krissy

        Your argument is weak. 60 billion land animals are killed every year not to mention the amount of marine animals. Animal ethics is one aspect, but there’s also the environmental damage from animal agriculture we have to look at. The United Nations reported that animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of global warming (high than transportation industry) If that’s not alarming, what about the high acidic oceans, 1/3 of the world’s water and 70% of grains being fed to animals when instead could be fed to PEOPLE starving. Human rights aspect also plays a factor. Veganism is a win-win and would help solve a lot of these problems. Eating local is great, but you’re still part of animal slaughter which is not humane by any stretch of the imagination nor is it going to solve these problems in the world. Look at it from the victims point of view. All beings want to live. Killing beings is not the circle of life, it’s the circle of death, period.

        1. dani stout Post author

          I agree – did you actually read the article? The amount of animals in CAFOs as well as farmed marine animals is deplorable. It’s not okay and I clearly state that within the article. Like I said, I only recommend eating pastured animals from local farms as well as wild fish. I live by the water and am lucky to be able to source local seafood.

          The amount of environmental destruction taking place from vegan staples is equally as deplorable. Agriculture is literally destroying the earth. We grow massive amounts of mono crops that strip the earth of topsoil – which creates deserts. Soy, corn, wheat, beans, legumes in general – these things are difficult to grow on a massive scale and yet we do. We do this so we can feed animals and vegans alike. You mentioned the damage agriculture is doing because it’s being fed to animals – but you’re eating it too! What is the difference?

          Not to mention the amount of animals killed in these farming practices. Animals have been pushed to the brink of extinction because of agriculture. The amount of pesticides used has contributed to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico (which is the size of Rhode Island and growing!). Consider the animals in killed to harvest these crops – rabbits, chipmunks, field mice, etc. They’re being killed on a massive scale so that you can eat your “vegan” food and pat yourself on the back for not contributing to a system that kills animals. You do. I’m just more honest about it.

    2. Lyndy Schaefer

      Vikas….thanks for your insight. I totally agree. As a Vegan I have had to argue these points continually. Each to his own but quit telling me that I don’t get enough protein and animals were put on this planet to be consumed by humans !!!

      1. dani stout Post author

        My argument is not that vegans can’t get enough protein, my argument is that broccoli does not have more protein than a steak. I’m more concerned about the lack of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats in a vegan diet than I am the protein in a vegan diet.

  8. Justin

    This is one of the stupidest articles I have read. Its twisting facts !

    Broccoli is said to have more protein per calorie. Which means more bang for your buck.

    The world is burdened by obeseity, heart ailments, cancer. We need more nutrition and not more of what we already have in excess, which is calories.

    1. dani Post author

      I think you need to reevaluate your definition of a fact, because I provided them. You did not. I’m not even sure you read the article, or were able to comprehend it.

  9. Lisa

    Dani
    Keep up the good work! If people are offended, stop reading it!

    Enjoying your articles and THE FACTS you present at the end.

  10. Perry Way

    Regarding this: “To eat 100 calories of broccoli, you’d have to eat over three cups in one sitting, which is a LOT of broccoli and much more than any reasonable person is going to eat.”

    You sound retarded! Just because you’re a meat eater and hate to eat a lot of veggies doesn’t make you right about everyone else. I routinely eat a mountain of broccoli for dinner! And I know many people who do as well. You are simply an opinionated uneducated fool.

    1. dani Post author

      Like I said, more than any reasonable person is going to eat. If you regularly eat only broccoli for dinner, your brain and body are starved for nutrients. No wonder you have to resort to calling me names, you have no actual argument against me. One of us is actually providing facts, the other is hurling insults.

      ‘When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.’ -Socrates

  11. Alyce Williams

    What needs to be realized is the people who eat meat are getting too much protein … We can get all that we need from veggies and beans , yet people load up in meat every meal and think it’s healthy ? No way , WE DONT NEED ALL THE PROTEIN THEY CLAIM WE NEED!

    1. dani Post author

      Actually everybody’s protein needs vary. Some people are getting to little protein, some too much. It depends.

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