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Animal versus plant protein - What’s the difference ?

by Gagan Bajwa 18 Mar 2022
Animal versus plant protein - What’s the difference ?

Getting the appropriate amount of protein each day is essential for good health and optimal training.  It  also assists in immune function, cellular structure and processes and overall growth.  You can get protein from many sources, including plants and animals, but which is better and does it really matter ?  

Proteins are made up of amino acids.  Our body needs about 20 different amino acids and can make some for itself, but we need to get 9 of them through diet, and these sources vary greatly in the types of amino acids they contain.  Generally animal proteins are known as complete proteins, meaning they contain all 9 of those amino acids we need.  And while some plant proteins such as pea and soybean proteins are considered to be complete, many other plants foods are considered to be incomplete.  Plant foods such as beans, peanuts, and wheat, whilst rich in total protein, lack one or more of the essential amino acids.  But if you combine these correctly then you will be getting the complete balance for what your body needs.  

For example PB on rye is a tasty combination that includes the lysine from the peanuts, and the rich amino acids from rye bread, making this a complete protein snack or meal.  If you don’t wish to add in the carbohydrates or have limited time, ask the Supps247 team about many of the peanut butter protein shakes they have available, and of course many other delicious flavours !

Eggs are natures wonder food.  Not only do they provide a rich source of animal protein, but also have the added benefits of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D.  Lean meat, fish and seafood, poultry, wild game and dairy products are all complete proteins with all essential amino acids.  Animal proteins also include vitamin B12 and something called “haem iron” which is an iron more readily absorbed by our body compared to plant iron.

Quinoa, buckwheat, soybeans, nutritional yeast, chia seeds and hemp seeds contain all of the nine essential amino acids, meaning they are complete plant proteins.  Add in nuts, legumes, wheat, wild rice, and spirulina for variety and additional minerals, vitamins and fibre.  So a meal such as hummus and pita bread, rice and beans, pasta salad with kidney beans will fill you up with fibre and all those essential nutrients.  Add in a protein powder smoothie and you have a complete balance.

Diets high in plant proteins have many additional health benefits.  Some studies have suggested it reduces your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and even cancer.  Traditionally body builders and those seeking bigger muscles have sourced their proteins from lean meats.  But if you are not a big meat eater or choose not to eat meat at all you may need additional supplementation.  Talk wth the guys at Supps247 about what your end goals may be and the added benefits of muscle-building-specific compounds and supplements.

Stay tuned for some great recipes for chia seed "porridge" and protein powder smoothies.  J.

 

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