Animal Protein vs. Plant Protein

meat and vegetable image

Which One is Better for Your Health?

Protein is one of the main macronutrients that humans need in order to survive and stay healthy. Meat is considered the main source of protein for us since the beginning of time, but in reality, there are plenty of diverse protein sources out there – including plants.

As per science, the human body needs 20 amino acids for growth and nourishment. These are into two categories: essential and non-essential. The non-essential amino acids, that are 11 in total, produced by our body itself. As for the remaining 9, called essential amino acids, they are obtained from food sources.

Animal Protein

Some animal sources, such as meat, milk, and eggs are complete proteins, meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids. Therefore, we can say that these animal sources provide us with the highest quality protein that’s essential for our body.

However, too much animal sources’ consumption can be risky for our health. Some animal products, such as red meat, have been directly linked with multiple health conditions including high cholesterol, stroke, and increased risk of heart diseases.

Plant Protein

Certain plants are great sources of protein, and what makes them better is that they often have fewer calories and potentially lesser harmful effects than animal sources. According to studies, vegetarians and vegans – who often rely on plant proteins completely – are at a lower risk of a number of serious health conditions, including diabetes and heart diseases.

Some vegetables like quinoa are complete proteins as they contain all 9 essential amino acids. Other plants are usually missing one or two amino acids, therefore it’s imperative for vegetarians and vegans to consume a variety of plants to get all 9.

Which One is Better?

There are many different factors that need to be taken into consideration when choosing between animal and plant proteins. But as per evidence, an optimal diet is low in processed meat, rich in plant protein, and includes some animal products such as poultry, eggs, dairy, and fish.

In short, it’s all about finding the right balance between animal and plant foods.

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