Steak vs Broccoli Meme

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The following image has been making its way around Facebook, thanks to New York Times best-selling author Joel Fuhrman MD, a self-described “doctor of nutritional medicine” who believes in treating disease with diet.

Broccoli was chosen for this meme for a reason: compared to other vegetables, it is one of the most abundant sources of plant protein.  What the meme fails to address (for clearly ideological purposes) is the QUALITY of the protein in question.

Vegetable protein is garbage protein.  Not only is it incomplete (lacking in essential amino acids), but the essential aminos that are present are only available in trace amounts.

Now, the standard rebuttal here is that plenty of mammals (e.g. cows and giraffes) live on diets of nothing but green leafy vegetables, and they do all right.  But such animals have the ability to digest portions of the plant that we cannot (such as cellulose), and from there they are able to synthesize the nutrients lacking in their diets.  It’s similar to how bacteria within the human gut produce Biotin and B12.

Bottom line: broccoli is a wonderful source of nutrition and is readily available enough to be included in near everyone’s diet — just not as a source of protein.

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