Animal vs Plant Based Proteins: What You Should Know

Animal Based vs Plant Based Proteins

Protein is the building block of all muscle in any animal. Protein should be a major component of the food we eat everyday as it’s vital to health of our overall body. It helps our body perform our functions, as well as help us look like what we are.

With the controversies behind animal-based proteins, many people have shifted to plant-based proteins. Here is everything you need to know about the comparison between animal and plant-based proteins. We will be directly comparing the both, with a list of many animal and plant-based proteins:

Brief comparison between animal and plant-based proteins:

Animal protein is also known as a complete protein source because they contain around 20 amino acids that the human body needs for proper development. As the name suggests, animal protein comes from animals such as meat, eggs and milk – which may or may not involve killing or directly harming the animal to obtain.

Plant-based protein is protein that is obtained from different kinds of plants. There are various sources for plant-based proteins like tofu, pulses, soybean, seeds, certain seeds and peas. Plant-based protein is preferred by vegetarians because they do not involve the killing or violence against animals.

Which is better?
There is no one answer to dictate which is better when comparing animal and plant-based proteins. On one hand, animal protein has much higher concentration and is healthier, it involves animal abuse. There are studies that show that meat: one of the biggest and most popular animal proteins, is linked to certain diseases and even cancer.
Plant-based protein, on the other hand, contains a relatively low amount of protein but are generally healthy to consume.

Animal Protein: a little more information

Animal protein are complete proteins and help meet the body’s need of essential amino acids. Animal protein also contain a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients such as:

Vitamin D – found in fish, eggs and dairy and is used to protect bones and teeth.
DHA – found in abundance in red and white meat, DHA is important for brain development and maintenance.
Zinc – Zinc plays an integral part in protecting the body against diseases. It is basically an immune booster. It also helps in healing of wounds and is needed for senses of smell and taste.
Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 is present in abundance in red meat. It is used to keep the body’s nervous system healthy and to produce and maintain DNA.
Of course, animal protein contains much more.

Plant-based Protein: a little more information

Plant-based proteins are called incomplete proteins because they do not contain one or more essential amino acids that the body needs. However, some plant-based proteins like beans and quinoa contain all the essential amino acids and can be called as complete proteins.

Plant-based proteins contain the following nutrients in abundance:

Glycine – Glycine is a non-essential amino acid that the body naturally produces. It is a compound that is needed to produce creatine in the body that is linked to muscle building.
Fiber – Fiber is a component that the body cannot digest. It is used to keep the digestive system clean and helps in bowel movements.
Soluble fiber – A type of fiber: soluble fiber can digest and slows the absorption of cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart diseases.
Berberine – Berberine and other compounds in plants have been shown to be able to control blood sugar.

Benefits & Risks involved with Animal Proteins:
Here is a brief list of all the benefits and benefits involved with using animal proteins in one’s diet:

Easy boost for muscle
Meat contains 20 to 25 grams of protein per 100g of serving. Bodybuilders suggest eating at least about a gram of protein per pound of weight to maintain muscle mass and still build lean muscle. Using eggs, milk and meat is the fastest way to boost one’s muscle growth and strength.

Complete proteins
The body can only produce 13 types of amino acids, when the body needs a total of 22 to properly function. Animal protein is technically a part of an animal, so they contain the necessary 9 amino acids that one’s body cannot produce on its own.

Lowers risk of heart disease
Although many people suggest that animal protein, especially meat, can lead to a higher risk of catching cardiovascular disease, it is definitely not the case in the recent studies. These new studies indicate that fish meat and poultry eggs – when eaten in healthy quantities – can help lower the risk of heart disease by 15%. The culinary people of Japan also suggest adding fish in one’s diet to boost the immune system and perform better all day long.

Weight loss
Animal protein contains no fiber and very low levels of carbohydrates. Both of these components play a pretty big role in gaining weight and being obese. Having a diet that has a healthy level of animal protein can help lose extra fat and replace it with lean muscle. This can help one look better and similarly, perform athletically better.

May be the culprit behind many types of cancer
Some studies suggest that many types of cancer may be linked to eating meat. Some of the types of cancers that are especially evident in people who eat a lot of meat are liver cancers, bowel cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, bladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer and so on.

Although there are still no factors to safely say whether animal protein indefinitely causes cancer, because the patients had other unhealthy habits, it is still recommended to not eat more than 70 grams of meat a day, and no more than 2 eggs.

Increases level of TMAO in the body
Animal protein increases the amount of TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide) in the body. This substance injures the lining of vessels and causes inflammation throughout the body. In fact, even though meat reduces the risk of heart disease in some scenarios, eating more animal protein can result in problems with the cardiovascular health.

May increase free radicals in the body
Animal protein also contains a high level of heme-iron which is responsible for creating free radicals in the body. These radicals can react with the DNA and other cell structures to fundamentally damage the body’s overall structure. Damage in the DNA is also linked to many kinds of cancer.

Benefits & risks involved with Plant-Based Proteins:
There are more benefits of using plant-based proteins as compared to risks. Here are some of both:

Pack more nutrients per pound
Plant-based proteins contain a wide variety of nutrients, something that animal proteins also provide. But when comparing the both, it has been found that plant-based proteins contain much more nutrients.

Can help lose weight
Because plant-based proteins contain a very low number of calories as compared to the essential nutrients that they provide, they can help lose weight in the long run. Studies show that people who eat plant-based proteins have a healthier lifestyle and live longer lives. There is also a correlation between lower risk of developing diseases related to the liver, stomach and the heart for people who rely on animals to complete their protein diet.

All protein can be completed using a plant-based diet
Studies show that just by eating plants, one can complete their needs of nutrition for the day. Although it is still suggested to eat meat, or its alternatives regularly, complete reliance on plants and plant-based proteins can still be done in shorter bursts.

Lowers mortality rate
Studies show that people who rely on plants have a lower mortality rate as compared to people whose diet contains a large amount of meat or animal-based products. Some of these studies come from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study.

Lower protein synthesis
One of the risks involved with using plant-based proteins is the fact that the amount of amino acids like lysine, tryptophan and methionine received by the body is significantly reduced. These acids are responsible for protein synthesis which is necessary to produce and process muscle. Lower levels of protein synthesis can lead to a condition known as hypoproteinemia.

Some foods can only be grown in a certain season
Some plant-based protein sources can only be grown in a certain weather condition or a season. This means that one cannot completely sustain on fresh plant-based proteins all year round.

Here is a small list of animal proteins and plant-based protein sources:

Animal protein sources:

  • Meat (Red, white and processed). Meat can be from any source; be it fishes or mammals.
  • Eggs laid by any animal that are edible.
  • Poultry like chicken and turkey that are domesticated.

Dairy products like milk, yogurt, butter, cheese and cream.
And so much more.

Plant-based protein sources:

  • Chia seeds
  • Tofu
  • Whole grain
  • Quinoa
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Peanut Butter powder
  • Oats
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Nuts

And so on. The list is pretty extensive.

Final Thoughts:

We hope that our comparison guide between animal and plant-based proteins was able to help you figure out which source you should be depending on. We highly suggest that you go with a completely balanced diet, with both animal protein and plant-based protein so you can reap the most benefits.