Animal Protein or Plant Protein: Which Should You Go For?

daily protein requirement
Protein 101
October 21, 2019

Animal Protein or Plant Protein: Which Should You Go For?

Fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and non-athletes alike who wish to lead a healthy lifestyle, are often faced with incredible amount of information when it comes to which source of proteins are good for them. Largely speaking, conversations around proteins are often double sided. Where on one hand, proponents of animal protein point towards how animal proteins are known to be the powerhouse of proteins when compared to plant proteins and on the other hand, advocates of plant proteins often point towards how plant-based proteins are known to be better for one’s overall health and the environment in the long run.

These two concerns can push us in opposite directions, turning our daily food preferences into a struggle. Although it ultimately boils down to personal choices and one’s lifestyle. Here are some of the pros and cons for animal proteins and plant proteins:

THE PRESENCE OF AMINO ACIDS

The key differentiator between plant and animal proteins is the presence of and amount of amino acid available. While we know that proteins are made up of amino acids, not all amino acids are present in our body, and so the need to consume protein rich foods that consist of essential amino acids is imperative for a healthy living.

Animal Protein:

Most animal proteins tend to deliver all essential amino acids we need and hence, are considered as complete sources of proteins. Additionally, certain essential amino acids present in animal protein are responsible for increasing lean muscle mass, which in turn helps with weight loss. Few rich sources of animal proteins include meat, eggs, fish, and poultry etc.

Plant protein:

Plant proteins are often linked as “incomplete” source of proteins, as they lack one or more sources of essential amino acids. However multiple studies have confirmed that vegan diets can acquire all the above mentioned essential amino acids by consuming a combination of protein rich foods. This also helps vegans obtain all the nutrients, at the same time maintain a healthy balance of all amino acids. E.g. Beans are considered as a great source of plant proteins that are rich in lysine, however are low on methionine. On the contrary, Soy is known for carrying abundance methionine and are often considered great source of meat substitute. Hence, by incorporating various kinds of plant-based proteins one can acquire all the essential amino acids to meet their daily protein requirements.

ADDITIONAL NUTRIENTS FROM YOUR FOOD

While it is important to consume protein rich foods, one should also consider the other nutrients and health benefits that are associated with consuming these foods. “What else am I getting when I eat this food?” is something that should always be considered while deciding on foods to eat.

Animal Proteins:

Animal proteins are considered virtually to be carb-free sources of proteins. However, although, animal proteins mainly fish, meat, and poultry are the richest source of Omega-3,vitamin D and Vitamin B12, they are encased with saturated fats and high cholesterol, when compared to plant proteins.

Plant Proteins:

Plant proteins for example, beans, legumes and lentils contain the highest level of fibers that can be present in food sources. And fibers are an important component of our diet as it helps balance our digestive systems. Further, plant proteins are known to carry minimal or no amount of saturated fats and cholesterol, which are present in high quantities in animal proteins. And lastly, Plant proteins carry high amounts of phytonutrients, i.e. Health-promoting compounds that are known to fight diseases and promote better human health.

Therefore, a heathy diet is all about knowing how to balance out and incorporate various food sources in our diets. And often the choice between animal and plant protein involves several factors. One should realize that it is the amount of protein consumption that matters; whether you get it through plant-based, animal-based or a mixed protein diet.

Protein-O-Meter

The amount of protein you need depends on your weight, goals, and lifestyle. Protein-O-Meter will take your body-composition and activity level into account to estimate your protein needs. Start with the number given by the calculator, see how that makes you feel, and try adjusting your protein level up or down to see what amount makes you feel good and perform well!

Protein Index

Find out all about whole foods that are protein heroes! Achieve your fitness goals by finding out just how much protein you should incorporate to stay nourished.

Protein-O-Meter

The amount of protein you need depends on your weight, goals, and lifestyle. Protein-O-Meter will take your body-composition and activity level into account to estimate your protein needs. Start with the number given by the calculator, see how that makes you feel, and try adjusting your protein level up or down to see what amount makes you feel good and perform well!

Protein Index

Find out all about whole foods that are protein heroes! Achieve your fitness goals by finding out just how much protein you should incorporate to stay nourished.

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