Proteins are an essential component of our diet as they are primarily responsible for cellular growth and development. They help build, repair, and maintain our muscles, hair, bones, skin, and other body structures (such as enzymes and hormones). However, there is always this never-ending debate on which is better? Plant Protein Vs Animal Protein? Most of the people I encounter prefer animal protein when it comes to picking up between animal vs plant protein. We all know how important it is to have a protein-based food, so let’s dig deeper.
One gram of protein contains the same amount of calories as one gram of carbohydrate, but one gram of fat contains double the calories.
However, not all calories are the same; unlike carbohydrates, excess proteins are not converted into fats.
For this reason, many people rely on high protein diets to lose weight and build body muscle.
Proteins take longer to digest as well, providing the sensation of being full for hours.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and our body requires 22 kinds of amino acids to regain normal functionality.
As the body is incapable of producing these amino acids on its own, we must consume protein-rich foods that can provide all of them. Many plant and animal products contain proteins, but plant-based proteins are not the same as animal-based proteins.
While most proteins coming from animals contain all nine amino acids, the majority of plant proteins are incomplete. Vegetarians are able to eradicate protein deficiencies by consuming dairy products, but vegans have to be extra careful.
Grains like quinoa and soybean are known as complete sources of proteins; hence, vegans can balance their amino acids by consuming these foods on a regular basis.
Examples of plant-based foods with high protein content:
Examples of animal based foods with high protein content:
- Poultry and Meat
- Milk and Dairy products (yogurt, cheese, etc.)
When you choose your daily source of protein, it is always smart to consider the other nutrients of the food as well.
Animal proteins such as red meat and eggs are rich in iron and vitamin B12, which are absent in most plant proteins.
On the other hand, plant proteins contain an abundance of antioxidants and phytonutrients (such as carotenoids and flavonoids) that are lacking in animal-based foods.
Several varieties of meat and dairy products contain saturated fats and high cholesterol levels. High consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol can lead to obesity and the development of heart problems/coronary diseases. Drinking too much alcohol can escalate cardiovascular problems, and trigger the possibility of committing DUI/DWI crimes.
Plant fats are generally unsaturated, containing no or low cholesterol. Nutritionists frequently advise patients to replace animal fats with plant fats, as it helps them cut down cholesterol and calories without making major changes to their regular diet.
Another advantage of plant-based protein foods is that they contain higher fiber content. Fiber aids in digestion, thereby eliminating episodes of constipation.
Conclusion of Plant Vs Animal Protein
Both plant and animal proteins have their unique benefits, so eating a combination of both is the best-case scenario in terms of health.
However, the advantages of plant-based foods surpass those of animal foods, especially for those suffering from obesity or a heart condition.
That being said, neither plant nor animal protein is bad for health, as long as they are consumed in moderation.