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:

unnamed-15

Not only that, but there is a popular meme circulating the internet also stating that broccoli has more protein than steak. Where the hell 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 about 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.

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

97 Comments

  1. 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/

    • dani stout Reply

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

    • Evelyn Kirkaldy Reply

      How is 4 cups of broccolli a lot? I eat way more than that in one sitting.

      • dani Reply

        That’s definitely a lot! And I love me some broccoli, but that’s A LOT.

      • Thank you!!!! Same here. Has anyone measured 4 cups. Keep eating cancer meat y’all. And when you are in the hospital bed l maybe you will wish ya picked up a carrot once in your life and skipped the meat propaganda. Vegans don’t lose anything from warning people about eating meat. We live healthy lives and overcome illnesses like diabetes. We don’t lose anything but you keep looking.

  3. 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.

      • It may not change your argument but your post is a little on the deceptive side itself. In the blog you state that 100 calories of steak is about a 6 oz steak, to be exact you say, “100 calories of steak is a reasonable portion, it’s around 6oz of steak.” A 6-ounce-portion of lean top sirloin steak trimmed to zero inches of fat contains about 312 calories. In comparison, a 6-ounce portion of sirloin trimmed to one-eighth inch of fat has 414 calories, according to the USDA. That’s 3 – 4 times more calories than you say…not to mention the saturated fat and cholesterol that the steak has that the broccoli doesn’t. While I may not eat 3-4 cups of broccoli in one setting, I certainly eat this much in a day. Most people I know don’t eat more than one steak a day, therefore within the scope of a day getting the protein from 100 calories of broccoli is fairly reasonable .

      • It should change your ‘argument’

        All you had to make was the simple point that broccoli and steak are completely different macronutrients, so can’t be compared… one is a protein and one is a green vegetable (carbohydrate and water), for heavens sake. Stop talking complete crap and confusing people. Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-rich vegetables on the planet and you’re making it look like shot. Well done!! Good job?!?!? I could cry

        • dani Reply

          That is clearly not my intention. I love broccoli. A great meal would be broccoli and steak. But many, many people, including “health professionals” tout broccoli and more protein dense than steak, which simply isn’t true. So I don’t think I’m the one confusing people. I’m trying to clarify.

    • 100 kkal of lean beaf — 13.5 g of protein,
      100 kkal of broccoli — 10 g of protein,
      also broccoli has unbalanced amino acid profile compared to meat.

    • dani stout Reply

      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.

      • 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.

        • dani Reply

          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?

          • 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

          • No meat at all is more nutrient dense than broccoli good lord I cant believe they let people post whatever bullshit they want online a lot of bad information out there

          • dani

            Welp, glad to see you didn’t read the article at all because it’s literally a fact that there are more nutrients in steak than in broccoli.

          • dani

            How unfortunate for you considering how horrendous awful and unhealthy McDonald’s is.

            (I understand your comment was sarcastic, but it was also stupid, considering how I am an obvious supporter of healthy, grass-fed meat and haven’t eaten at McDonald’s since I was 16 – and a vegan).

          • Grasa fed doesn’t equal healthier just more pricy. Not against vegan or meat eater but the facts can’t be argued, meat all type isn’t healthy. 100 years it was when we were actually eating real meat.

          • dani

            Actually neither of those things are true – at all. In fact they are the opposite of what you said. Grass-fed meat is scientifically healthier: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0082429

            It is higher in omega-3 and lower in omega-6.

            Humans have been eating meat for thousands upon thousands of years. This is a known and accepted scientific fact. Archaeologists have found tools to hunt and found animal carcasses (killed using said tools) that were hunted for the meat.

      • I joined just to congratulate of on such a factual write up, i go over this same thing on a weekly basis.

        • To the Dani commenting on grass fed meat saying it a HOLY GRAIL, regardless the human body and digestives tracts are not meant to eat meat even our teeth were not designed to eat meat.

  4. 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.

    • dani stout Reply

      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.

      • “Killed with respect.” Nice euphemism. I bet you wouldn’t enjoy being killed with respect any more than a 43 day old chicken does.

      • Michelle Feinberg Reply

        What? WHAT? First of all, respectful murder … like slaughtering an animal who values their lives and doesn’t want to die? Not a THING. How do you think they go about this “respectful” killing? Petting them and giving them a morphine overdose? Animals in slaughterhouses have a captive bolt to the head and are hung upside and stabbed in the neck while they’re still conscious. Google it. And then show me one of these nice SLAUGHTERhouses you speak of. For me to eat, plants have to die. Plants are not sentient. Animals are. Mowing the lawn is not the same thing as stabbing a dog, cat, cow, rabbit, sheep, or chicken. Give me a break.

        Now for your ridiculous argument about land use. You obviously don’t realize that vegan diets require 1/18th of the land that meat eaters do. Vegan diets spare 1100 gallons of water a DAY, 20 sq. ft. of forested land A DAY, and 20 lbs. of co2 equivalent A DAY. For one human to get by on meat, it requires about 2,000 lbs of grain. If you eat grain directly, it requires on 400 lbs. Think with your head. You are just so so wrong, sickens me.

      • You realize the amount of land to raise grass fed beef would literally mean dedicating the whole usa to grazing and then some if all Americans ate grass fed beef? How is that sustainable….holy fuck…. Over 90% of beef is NOT grass fed and we already don’t have enough room or resources to raise those cows. You want everyone to eat grass fed?? You must be out of your mind, sorry. And let me ask you how much water it takes to even raise a cow? This whole blog and your comments are picking and choosing info that supports your bias. Meat will NEVER be more sustainable to feed the planet. It’s literally killing our planet.

    • Josh Hamilton Reply

      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.

      • 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?)

        • 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 🙂

          • dani

            They’re also entirely different species than humans.

          • 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

          • Gorillas and hippos have both been observed in the wild killing and eating other animals. There are no vegan whales. The balleen whale that might eat some plankton also eat krill and other small fish.

    • GrasshopperCraig Reply

      @Zahdio- Please think for me because thing for myself gets me confused. Is it wrong for frogs and geckos and rodents to eat bugs? For big fish to eat little fish? For the fox to eat bunnies? For the tiger to eat the antelope? It seems like our ecosystem is fairly reliant on meat eaters to maintain balance. Should we let the tiger go extinct because it is immoral?

    • veganism is a leftist political statement and a new age religious statement rolled into one;.in no way is it superior to a balanced or meat skewed diet .the God that created us created animals …to be subervient to man..and to be consumed by him.You can never go wrong trusting God.. but vegans are easy to mistrust…because the concept of veganism is inherently stupid….it disregards all dairy and animal products…which is so far out there its like sci fi.living plants?…when you kill plants…they are dead.Duh….plants have feelings too and speak….they have as much soul as animals..zero….and they feel pain.Fat vegans abound…they are the tiniest shrillest minority on the planet other then environmentalists…however 100 pct of vegan doctors think veganism is the clear choice dietarily.. wow that’s amazing.

  5. 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. 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.

    • dani stout Reply

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

  7. Vikas Chandel Reply

    ” 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.

    • dani stout Reply

      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.

      • 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.

        • dani stout Reply

          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.

          • Animal agriculture is the number one cause of species extinction, habitat loss and deforestation. – The Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations (FAO).

            It takes 18 times more land to grow grains to feed cows to create meat to feed meat eaters than it does to be a vegan and eat those grains directly.

            Grass-fed beef is also highly unsustainable as if everyone ate that, then we’d need the entire USA as grazing land. Watch Cowspiracy.

          • The difference is that we eat much less than the animals we breed.

          • dani

            Not sure what you’re referring to here.

    • Lyndy Schaefer Reply

      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 !!!

      • dani stout Reply

        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.

        • But btw Dani, you can easily meet vitamin and mineral levels on a vegan diet providing you aren’t starving yourself (and of course, not just eating broccoli all day lol).

          Lots of meat eaters have deficiencies too!! 🙂 It’s all about how we plan our meals and take charge of our eating habits

  8. 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.

    • dani Reply

      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. 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. 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.

    • dani Reply

      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

    • I wonder more about”educated “fools who try to compare serving size instead of volume side by side…when doing that…steak fares pretty well nutritionally…6 oz of steak against …pounds of brocoli…if you don’t see the problem there knucklehead…go fly a kite…off a cliff.100 g of brocoli…pretty darn sure that exceeds average serving size for…99.9 pct of the populace…i suspect that much b rocoli makes you the unreasonable militant shrew you seem to be.

  11. Three cups of broccoli is totally different then 6 ounces of steak. Steak isn’t meant to be broken down by humans metabolism. But plants are and are easily digested. The human stomach can hold much more then a meat eater could ever understand. Once you stop filling your stomach with meats your body can hold tonsssssss of vegetables inside allowing you to intake much more protein then a meat eater. Our metabolism spends hardly any time digesting vegetables while meats take up to an hour or more. Being a vegan I can tell you that eating 3 cups of broccoli is easier then digesting 6 ounces of meat for any human being. Good argument though, you still have a lot of studying to do on the affects of a plant based diet on the digestive system compared to the digestive system with meat involved.

  12. Hi Dani,
    This is my first time on your site. I came across this article after googling information about broccoli. I was pleased to read your article, it’s well written, well thought out and filled with a lot of facts. It answered my questions completely and gave me things to think about and that is the mark of a good article. As for the rest of the goings on in the comment section, I would urge you to answer only legitimate questions and allow those looking for argument to fight among themselves! You’re not here to fight for the right to eat or not eat a particular way, nor do you need to be. You’re job as a writer is to present information which some people are looking for. How they take or if they take it is completely up to them! Great article, I look forward to reading more on this site!

  13. Alyce Williams Reply

    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!

    • dani Reply

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

    • says every nutty vegan doctor in the world…and their disciples.

  14. Hi Dani. I’m really interested in finding the healthiest and most ethical way to eat. Your site provides a lot of food for thought. Sort of strange that I found myself here as I am currently deep in the book “How Not to Die,” written by the doctor that maintains nutritionfacts.org (promotes plant-based). I’m interested in reading more about your information that “Plant based diets kill more animals that local, pastured, organic based diets.” If I don’t hear back from you about this topic I can try to research myself but I respect how educated you are on this topic. I am a dietitan in the states and I believe in avoiding extremes, that it’s not the same for all people, and that it all must balance. So it’s not just for me (and my fiancé), I really care about the health of people I see at work. I’ll keep reading your articles!

  15. The only amino acid you need to eat a helluva lot of broccoli to get, according to your analysis, is methionine. But methionine isn’t an essential amino acid: You can be fine without much methionine if you get plenty of cysteine. And guess what broccoli has a CRAPTON of? Yup: cysteine.

    So the limiting amino acids seem to be phenylalinine, which you’d need to eat 66 oz of broccoli to get your RDV. That sounds like a lot at first glance–about four pounds, or three full heads of broccoli. But you’d be surprised how quickly you could go through that much broccoli. Four pounds of stir-fry broccoli is about two moderate-sized meals for a healthy woman. It’s also well under the average weight of food eaten per day by Americans. I can EASILY eat half-again that much broccoli in a typical day, and I’m a 175-lb man. On days when I eat like this, I feel pretty awesome.

    So yeah, while broccoli doesn’t have more protein per pound as steak, it still has more protein per calorie, and is more nutritionally-complete than steak on that measure.

    • dani Reply

      Did you read the article in its entirety? You need to eat a whole helluva lot of broccoli to get all of the essential amino acids. See below:

      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

      You can eat three full heads of broccoli? That’s way too much broccoli, man.

      Additionally – two whole heads of broccoli for a woman, or any person, is not an adequate meal. And I don’t know anyone that can or would want to eat that much broccoli. At that point, you’d be eating so much broccoli that you’d be missing out on other nutrients from various foods. You’d just be stuffed full of broccoli.

      • Robert Greer Reply

        Yes, I read the article in full, twice. But I don’t think you read my reply. If you had, you would have addressed my claim about cysteine instead of repeating the dubious claim that you need 187 g of broccoli to get enough of any particular amino acid.

        Three full heads of broccoli is REALLY not that much. One head of broccoli per meal. If you like broccoli in Chinese brown sauce, that’s like two appetizers worth.

        The nice thing about broccoli is that it’s packed with other nutrients, too. So even if you’re not eating much else besides broccoli, you’re still getting the vitamins and minerals you need.

        • dani Reply

          Listen, I love broccoli. But that is a ridiculous amount of broccoli for anyone to consume, especially because as I said, it would have to take the place of other healthy veggies and starches and proteins. If I ate a head of broccoli, that would be my whole meal. And that is not even close to a balanced meal.

  16. Martin Zhou Reply

    I laugh everytime I see a blog like this talk about meat is superior than vegetable in term of nutritions.
    First, do you know how people raise animal nowaday? If you can afford grass-fed organic beef every meal, then thats good for you. But not everyone else can. I may not know a lot about the data plus 90 percent of the data you found is pure BS. Even the scientist who conduct these experiment are hired by meat industry. What I do know is human have been eating vegetable and fruit for thousands of years before tools were invented. Where do you think our ancestor get their nutritions from? Where do you think cow and horse ge their nutritions from? Human are made to eat vegetable. We just get so use to the taste of meat and how easy it is to eat meat. Thats why you think 3 broccali heads are way too much. As a vegan, I eat 2 heads per day. I will also eat lots of other stuff like potato, quinoa and beans. They all have tons of protein and nutritions. Modern human dont need that much protein. Protein is just a marketing term to endorse product like meat, dairy and protein powder,ETC. Why? Because most of the people are lazy and poor. Meat product is the best way to go in terms of economic anutrition and convenient. Human dont want to be like cow eating grass all day long. But we are part of the nature. We meant to be like cow which we eat,exercise and rest. Modern human need to work, party and sitting in front of computer every day. Make us not part of the nature. If you look some of the villages that have longest longevity in Japan and China. I guarantee you most of their diet consist veggie. Personally I see some of their 90years old people in real life that eating fresh and fermented veggies their whole life. Ofc, living condition play a big role in there. But the diet is also important. My philosophy is my personal experience. Not some BS report or data come from news or internet. If you really believe these data will help you. then you are just one of those people who got blind by dust from big guy. Thats why those people living in long and peaceful life while us in modern world struggle all kinds disease and cancers. Then you pay your life saving to the hospital. Its a infinite loop that we are in right now. Thats why I hate people endorse any kind meat. Its not that meat is absolute bad. But instead the quality of the meat and the production are bad.

  17. It’s funny cos I am a vegan (and have been since I was born), but I completely agree with this article because it is a fact!!! It IS misleading to say there is more protein in a 100 calories of broccoli than 100 calories of steak because of the difference in size.

    This along with other pseudo science which is plaguing the internet like “vegan is the answer for weight loss” and how you can eat unlimited carbs annoys me. It doesn’t really help our cause.

  18. Mmm, I would recommend an author (who has unfortunately an offensive attitude for any supporting idea of plant based diet) to read The China Study by Colin Campbell since he is saying that there is no science behind it and that animal based protein does not lead to diseases. Good read and keep an open mind!:)

  19. The only reason why I don’t indulge in too much brocolli is because excess vitamin A leads to hair loss. Too much of anything, whether it’s steak or cruciferous veggies such as brocolli imo is never good. A well rounded source of healthy food is, imo, is the best way to go.

    • dani Reply

      It’s literally impossible to get too much vitamin A from broccoli. So no need to worry about that!

  20. How about brocolli and steak together in a single meal? Now we can all be happy 😀

    • dani Reply

      Couldn’t agree more! (As long as it’s grass-fed!)

  21. Every list of data stresses the conditions and amounts and ratios most favorable to the attempted point(agenda). What is never changed is the much higher average longevity of humans who eat little or NO animal flesh or secretions compared to those who do (note the use of the word average).
    And most often omitted, though not completely here, is the health tax paid by the human body when expected to break down the preponderance of complex structures in animal flesh as opposed to the more readily available nutrients in plant based food. This is a major contributor to the excess of liver disease in so many of the hospital patients who are told to stop eating beef and up the servings of leafy green & such.
    Also look at how every admonition of the amount of broccoli required for each desired result is implied as “every damn meal” which it is not; it can be several meals, or for what does the “D” in RDA stand for. And finally, eat some freakin’ spinach for fork’s sake, it’s got the protein and many other nutrients as well to round out the day’s necessity of body sustaining components.

    Every defense of the steak diet includes the obvious refusal to give up one’s addiction to a diet of salty, fat riddled flesh, so there is more to this edification than merely appealing to intellect since traditions are so often successfully masked in the obstinance of irrationality.
    The best ubiquitous example of (switching on) irrational obstinance has practically zero bearing on a person’s daily, yearly, or even decade-ly (?) lives, and shows how desperately we hold onto baseless beliefs which were repeated often enough that we can not fathom their falseness. Here is said example: the water spiraling down an open drain does not depend for its rotational direction on the hemisphere for which it inhabits. This myth, however started (probably someone silly enough to believe the Coriolis effect can make a difference at the centimeter scale), is perpetrated because not many people have the interest in flying back & forth to various sink/tub/toilet locations on earth to watch water drain, but some people have. And those “lucky ” few have seen the water circle the drain both directions on both hemispheres. Try arguing that fact with someone who has just made an off-hand remark about backward Australian toilets and see how hard it is to convince a person on this trivial fact that has ZERO bearing on their life. Now, try to tell then that the food their mom and/or dad fed them for almost two decades was hindering their health or even guaranteeing them an earlier than necessary death. Try telling this person who has had hundreds of minor fantasies fulfilled by the bite of a pig-bacon/cow-cheese burger that this single experience required several very painful killings of animals who struggled desperately to escape the bolt or blade or boiling water/grease. THAT, is close to the definition of fruitless.
    Yet someone told me almost exactly that nearly thirty years ago and five years later it had accumulated enough additional accounts to make me rethink what i believed. My revelation is that tradition is not truth. You don’t have to hold onto the recipe book grandma gave you, read a new one or replace the animal ingredients with healthier ones that don’t increase the acidity of your blood. You don’t have to follow something printed on a government data sheet authored by a government who subsidized farmers with billions of dollars to create surpluses of the foods posted prominantly on pyramids when healthier options are plentiful and often cheaper.

    The plant based diet is healthier for EVERYONE.
    This notion that growing plants to feed people is killing more animals is a delusion beyond deserving of lengthy contemplation.
    The use of an acre of land to grow plants feeds far more humans (completely) than one can by using that acre to raise any animal (no externalities allowed).
    adaptt.org

    P.S. never trust a vegan who can’t tell you at least three humorous vegan-jabbing jokes.

    P.P.S. we are not saving the planet, we’re saving the version of the planet we can survive.

    resist.
    peace.

  22. There’s something that you’re completely missing in your argument. You can’t compare your diet to a solely plant-based one as far as portion size. A healthy vegan is going to have a larger portion of plants on their plate per meal than what you’d see in a standard American diet. A healthy vegan doesn’t just replace your steak with the same sized portion of broccoli. Nor would this mean that their entire dinner consists of only broccoli. It doesn’t work like that. With both lifestyles, the human still needs to get enough calories in for the day. I agree with the previous poster that stated that this is actually not a ridiculous amount of broccoli to eat over the course of the day (along with a variety of other foods) if you’re living a plant-based lifestyle. When you go from a diet like yours to a vegan diet, it doesn’t translate how a lot of people assume that it does … Although you may see the occasional veggie burger with fries – this isn’t typical for a vegan diet. They don’t just replace all meats with soy “fake” meats. A vegan diet is going to have larger portions of veggies, fruits, grains, and legumes overall! It’s hard for some to imagine eating that much broccoli in a sitting, but you really do get used to and end up enjoying it. Veggies do have less calories than meat gram for gram. So, if you’re not eating meat, of course your veggie intake goes up! Try looking up how many bananas some vegans eat per sitting! They might even have 10 bananas in one day! And that’s in addition to a variety of other foods. It’s silly to assume that other people cannot consume 100 calories of broccoli just because you cannot – if you’re trying to inspire and be a good leader, you have to think about the other person’s perspective (rather than make it all about yourself)!

  23. When you’re comparing rotting flesh to a vegetable, you must take a few things into consideration. This being the most important one; are you not considering the saturated fat and clogged arteries one obtains from eating red meat or has that flew right past you? I get so much more protein nowadays with a vegan lifestyle and without the clogged arteries, mind you. It’s a no brainer. This comparison is ridiculous. A plant based diet has been proven to reverse disease(s), let’s leave it st that.

  24. Can you find any evidence that supports this study that isn’t funded by a meat company? You realize you are just a pawn in the game of money making disease pumping meat industry? Government is paid by the beef industry, even cancer and diabetes charities are funded by the meat industry. Please do everyone a favor and stop promoting bullsh* advice about eating meat!! – Educate yourself! there is no such thing as an animal living a full life and dying for your satisfaction. How disgusting – you eat rotting flesh!!! DISGUSTING! Research and learn – good documentaries -cowspiracy, vegucation, food matters.
    do you realize you are feeding diseases to your children by feeding them meat? do you realize you are misleading the world to encourage global warming because of the overpopulation of farming? YOu have an ability to spread good news and positive notes about food. Why encourage a sadistic and terrible way of life. It’s not too late to change your mind 🙂

  25. How can it be good for you?
    I am disgusted with meat.
    When I was pregnant my sence of smell was so keen I could smell the state of decomposing of a pork chop my sister had served me. To my horror she ate it all up saying she smelled nothing.
    Yup that’s what you guys eat, decomposing flesh. Unfortunately very little people get to experience what I did. Even I after giving birth could never smell it again. Won’t touch it though. The nutrient factor stating without it one would be weak and a punch wouldn’t hurt… that’s funny but people would say anything to push their product.
    But continue with your debate.

    • dani Reply

      Meat is healthy because it’s a nutrient dense food that’s rich in proteins and nutrients. When well sourced (ie: grass-fed, wild, organic, etc.) of course. Just because you’re disgusted with it doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy. Many women have protein aversions during pregnancy. Meat is important to consume during pregnancy, breastfeeding and to give to children for the nutrients not found in plant foods – DHA, EPA, B12, retinol, etc.

  26. If you wanted to get that amount of protein from steak, you would need to blend it to properly digest it and access all those amino acids. I don’t know any meat eater who would want to blend their steak or chew each bite for 10 minutes! It takes so much more effort for your body to process those amino acids because they are complex and need to be broken down. Brocolli is much easier to digest than meat, therefore easier to access all of the nutrients. Besides, avocado, nuts, legumes, organic flax oil all have tons of fat and healthy oils. Many vegans are doing it all wrong. You can’t just eat potatoes, tofu and broccoli all day. Eating mass produced foods IS destroying massive habitat, killing so many animals. Palm oil may be the most destructive. The best planetary solution is locally sourced when possible, organic, plant-based, non gmo and cruelty free foods. Grass fed and small farms that raise “happy”animals still kill the animal at the end, which means the animal really didn’t die happy. And just for good measure, gorillas and elephants are vegan. HUGE, muscular animals.

    • dani Reply

      1 – Not at all true. Meat is one of the easiest foods to digest – it has no lectins or phytic acid, no oxalates, no soluble or insoluble fiber – it’s incredibly easy for humans to digest meat. Our digestive tracts are designed to do so. Gorillas and elephants have completely different digestive tracts, which is why they eat plants. This is basic anatomy.

      2 – For you to eat, something must die. Field mice from massive legume crops, or entire populations of animals that have been displaced from said massive cropping operations. It’s wonderful to eat local, organic, sustainable food and it’s something I highly recommend, and that includes well sourced animal proteins. Because it’s not possible to have a sustainable, local, organic, non-GMO vegan diet.

  27. You do realise that there is NOT enough pasture land on this earth to support these happy animals you are recommending we eat?

    Continuing to rely on animal food for nutritional needs has necessitated the growth of factory and high density farming of animals; which in turn leads to massive land clearing to grow feed crops. Feed crops are more nutritionally dense than grass for the animals they would be fed to and hence more economical and provide a smaller land use footprint than growing grass. It IS already the optimal scenario.

    Only that continuing population growth is outstripping the resources available to maintain even this optimised animal agriculture. That the food quality has suffered in the industrialisation of animal agriculture is a sad fact that has been recognised lately. However, there is no sustainable way to go back to the happy images of rolling pastures unless you are willing to gas parts of human population into fertiliser. Cruel but sad fact, we are growing faster than our habits support.

    Switching to plant based food only will eliminate a HUGE amount of agricultural land use dedicated to feed crops. Some of it will need to be re-allocated to growing nutrition dense foods for direct human consumption – ONLY some. This in turn allows land to return to nature, increases the earth’s green cover and might just help drop greenhouse warming back.

    Now, wrt eating broccoli for protein… FFS. Who in their right mind….

    The richest sources of protein in the plant diet are legumes and beans. A small portion – about 1.5 cups in gravy will provide decent protein and also lot of fatty acids. Besides, the other vegetables that go in there – onions, tomatoes etc provide their bits of nutrition. Combine with a cup of rice/cornbread/wheat bread for the carb and vitamin intake. provide a decent salad (could contain half a cup of broccoli) alongside with some nuts included and you get a lot of fatty acids in there too, not to mention proteins and trace minerals.

    Besides, do we ever eat the same meal three times a day – 7 days a week? I don’t. I practically eat something different every meal. The most common ingredients in my meals would be salt, tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, olive oil, chilli, paprika, pepper, turmeric, limes, cinnamon, basil and nuts. And I guess I might only use 2-3 of these in a dish, perhaps 3-5 in a meal.

    I don’t even eat that much tofu tbh. Probably once or twice a week… Limited soy products even.
    There are eggplants, pumpkins, zuccini, gourds (of many varities), jackfruit, green beans, carrots, beetroot, avocadoes, squash, spinach, chinese greens (variety), mushrooms (of variety), olives, fruits, nuts… That are available to cook and also to eat raw in some cases.

    In all this time of being vegan (And I am fairly active, I like rock climbing and surfing.. to mention my fav sports) the only thing I have been found deficient in is Vitamin B12. And that probably happened due to my pizza making obsession, where I must have been using an unfortified white flour.

    So… in conclusion, I call BS to your claims of meat being necessary for healthy eating. In fact, meat is boring. It provides the same central flavours of dense protein or fat that tend to overpower everything else in a dish – leading to often excessive spice or sauce use to drown them. Not everyone can stomach that in your face protein. In comparison, vegetable tastes are subtler and easily changed with small amounts of oil, spice, steaming, boiling, braising.. you name it… Healthier food. Needs less salt too.

  28. I have ready the article and do not find that saying 100 calories of broccoli contains more protein than 100 calories of meat confusing at all. That is just a basic fact statement…not very difficult, confusing, or misleading. If people cannot understand ratios, then that is another problem. I also have an opinion in regards to the premise that in order to eat, something has to die. While it may be true, the comments from the author are precisely misleading. If you know about food chains and the transfer of energy from one trophic level to the next, you would know that energy is lost as it goes from producer to consumer. If one uses logic, one would know that consuming producers (mainly plants), we would require less overall energy from our ecosystem. A cow that is raised in a CAFO, a desert, a jungle, a luxury resort with all amenities included, or in your own city, is still going to have to consume a lot more energy than it will eventually transfer to a meat eater. There is no escaping this natural law. If one eats local grass fed beef, one has to know that the cow requires quite a lot of space to graze. There is simply not enough land in the world to adequately sustain the human population if we all ate grass-fed beef. On the other hand, if everyone in the world ate a vegan diet, the amount of animals who would have to die would be less than the amount that currently do. Also, imagine all humans ate a vegan diet from crops grown locally or from their own backyards!!!! What do you say about that author?

  29. Great read, Dani, excellent work putting all this information together.

  30. The problem here is assuming Protein is what you need for health. NO what you need are essential amino acids. For most people on a typical American Diet that is impossible because of Glyphosate. A pesticide sprayed on all feeder stocks for animals. Gylphosate destroys the shiitake pathway in the plants which means when you eat such plants you are not getting the Amino Acids your body needs to be healthy and even survive long. This is why we have so many chronic illness in America. You could eat 12 lbs of grocery hamburger a day and not get the needed EAA you would get from one cup of organic Broccoli. That’s also why most Americans overeat and are obese. Their bodies are literally starving for nutrients. the Food producers are selling you people bags of nothing burgers.

  31. I am vegan and I am the strongest out of my friends, and they ain’t weak at all.

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