Does Steak Have More Protein Than Broccoli?

When I saw this question pop up on my feed I thought the answer must be obvious … and actually it is. But, Googling “Does steak have more protein than broccoli?” reveals some popular websites making a surprising claim. Could they be right? Well, yes and no! Let me explain …

Does Steak Have More Protein Than Broccoli? (Nutrition Facts)

 Yes, weight for weight, of course steak has more protein than broccoli; nutrition facts can be manipulated to suit the desired answer. Using 100g as our base reference, steak has 25g and broccoli has 2.8g of protein. So why the confusion online? 

Does steak have more protein than broccoli? (nutrition facts) .. (decorative yin yang inlay)

There’s always 2 sides to every story …

The rabid anti-vegan brigade will latch on to whatever they can find in order to discredit veganism. For some of the more extreme defenders of gross animal abuse it can become an all-consuming task for them.

They become obsessed with proving vegans wrong.

So this is why we need to get our facts straight when making bold claims like ‘broccoli has more protein than steak’. Anyone with a search engine can quickly establish this is not true.

When we make spurious claims like this which are easily disproved it just opens up the door for those who want to see veganism banished for all eternity!

Measured By Weight & Not By Calories

Antique pan weighing scales.

When we go to the supermarket or, even better, our local grocer to pick up supplies we buy our produce by weight. It’s the logical thing to do.

We certainly don’t pick up a head of broccoli thinking, “ok I need 100 calories worth of this” … well not unless you’re counting your calories of course!

There’s some quite authoritative websites out there with published articles from authors who, frankly, should know better, disingenuously claiming broccoli has more protein than steak.

And you know what? If you use 100 calories to base your calculation on then broccoli does come out on top. 100 calories worth of broccoli contains around 11g of protein compared to 100 calories of beef with 9g.

Broccoli Is a Rich Source Of Protein

Does steak have more protein than broccoli? (nutrition facts) ... close up of a broccoli head.

Looking at these comparisons I wondered how much broccoli you’d need to eat in order to get the same amount of protein as is in a common serving of steak.

… and the answer surprised me!

An 8oz steak is one of the most common sizes people go for and this is approximately 225g in weight. Doing the maths …

225g of steak = 56g of protein

2000g of broccoli = 56g of protein

So 2kg of broccoli would give you the same amount of protein as an 8oz steak. 2kg is roughly 3 large heads of broccoli so it would basically be your entire meal, pretty much.

I love broccoli but I’m not going to eat 3 whole heads of the stuff in one sitting!

On the flipside, I was trying to visualise an 8oz steak (having not eaten meat for over 25 years) and looking at some images on Google, it’s quite a big slab of carcass (excuse me while I gag).

But obviously for those people who enjoy eating steak an 8oz sirloin is relatively easy to put away of a mealtime! 3 large heads of broccoli? Not so much 🙂

Broccoli Nutrition Facts – It’s Packed With Goodness!

Close up of broccoli head growing in the garden.

Even though broccoli cannot compete with steak when it comes to protein content it is a highly nutritious vegetable.

One decent serving of broccoli can provide as much as a fifth of your daily protein needs along with many other important vitamins and minerals.

Broccoli is an excellent source of fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin B6, manganese, potassium and folate. It is also a good source of other B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B5) as well as vitamin E, calcium, iron, selenium, phosphorus and magnesium [1].

Furthermore it is very low in cholesterol and saturated fat so is a great choice when it comes to your heart healthy foods.

As we can see, the benefits of broccoli go far beyond its (decent) protein content.

When included regularly in a well balanced whole foods plant based diet, broccoli is the don.

And it’s so versatile. You can use it in a whole host of delicious vegan dishes from curries to stir fry to pasta … or simply just steamed and served with salt and pepper – bootiful 🙂

Reductionism Is Rarely Helpful Here

Does steak have more protein than broccoli? (nutrition facts) .. model of a molecule.

We humans seem to have this obsession with breaking things down into their component parts. Often we will take the results of this reductionist thinking and base whole opinions on them.

For example, on other less ‘vegetable friendly’ websites, someone researching the protein in broccoli question may come away thinking broccoli is a poor performer, nutritionally.

When you reduce it down to looking at only protein then yes, there are other foods with much higher protein content.

But nutrition is about looking at the diet in a holistic fashion. We need to consider everything in combination and try to see reductionist principles as a helpful guide in the overall big picture.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s good to know how much protein is in broccoli, especially as a vegan. But basing entire diets on reductionism is not a healthy passtime.

Veganism 101 : Get Your Facts Straight!

Typewriter with the words 'fake news' on the paper.

I understand fully that vegans are super passionate about the cause. It’s why we’ve chosen the path that we have, after all.

We also need to understand that many meat eaters are equally passionate about having the choice to eat their favourite flesh. Some meaties openly hate vegans and you can find the most vile abuse on various message boards.

With the level of anti-vegan sentiment ramping up daily, we need to be very mindful of the fact that anything we claim is likely to be picked up and scrutinised in the minutest of detail.

For this reason we must be honest, open and truthful in the statements we make. The broccoli vs steak debate is a prime example.

Those vegans making disingenuous claims like broccoli has more protein than steak should probably give their heads a wobble. It doesn’t help.

It just tends to tar all vegans with the same brush because people come away from this debate thinking vegans are trying to ‘pull the wool’.

If we are to forward the vegan movement we must be truthful. The great thing is, we can be truthful and still make powerful points in the ongoing narrative.

Veganism is about the truth, after all.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this read and it’s got your grey matter moving! Please share with those you think may benefit and I’d love you to leave your thoughts below.

Thanks for reading and have a compassionate day!

Rohan.

[1] – Self Nutrition Data. Broccoli raw nutrition facts and calories. Retrieved 28th June 2022. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2356/2#ixzz7XO9JsLu3

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