B12 isn’t a protein. You need very small amounts of B12 so it’s easy to get that from supplements or processed foods to which B12 has been added. On the other hand, you need more protein than can fit in a pill.
Protein deficiency has been measured in vegan populations. It’s not a routine mesaurement like B12 (or at least it’s not routine in many countries) so most people never have the test.
It’s not about eating enough protein or loving food. It’s about the protein mix in plant products. Anyone eating lots of plant protein needs to eat too much protein if they don’t get the protein balance right, which is nearly impossible. When you eat way more protein than you need, you naturally get enough of every type. But dieting makes it hard to eat so many proteins that the mix doesn’t matter. Tofu and other soy products are so popular because the protein mix is similar to typical animal products.
If you did get most of your protein from beans, chickpeas and lentils you would not get the type of protein deficiency most common in vegans. You would get other deficiencies instead. Since there are lots of protein in grains for instance, it is rare for people to actually get most of their protein from legumes. But people who are trying to cut calories may well cut grains and end up in trouble that way…
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