We have all heard that protein derived from animal sources is of a higher quality than that derived from plants. The meat industries have been promoting this idea through advertising and funding of school nutritional education programs. In fact, they have succeeded in confusing people as to how much protein we really need and which foods supply that protein in the best possible way.
It is actually very difficult for a person who is eating a diet with sufficient calories to be protein deficient, as John Robbins, in his book Diet for a New America explains. As long as a person is not consuming large quantities of empty calories such as sugars, white bread, alcohol, etc. then there should not be any problems with getting adequate nutrition.
The vast majority of people in the Western world today eat too much protein, suffering diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and arteriosclerosis due to the high levels of saturated fats and cholesterol that animal products contain.
If you are considering starting a vegetarian diet, you can be sure of eating a balanced diet with adequate protein if it consists of whole grains, beans or bean products like tofu, fresh fruit or vegetables and by avoiding too many processed foods.