Protein is very important nutrient for our body. In fact, the body is made up of 20% protein. We don’t naturally store protein, therefore we need to get them from outside sources, which means in the food that we eat.
Some people might tell you that it doesn’t matter where you get the protein, whether it’s from animals or plants. Meanwhile, there are some claims that the plant protein is the better source. Therefore which one is true?
The Science behind the Protein Battle
When we eat protein, the body break the nutrient down into amino acids, used by the body in almost every metabolic function. Proteins vary depending on the amino acids that they have. There are 20 types of amino acids (both non-essential and essential) that the body uses for protein building. The animal proteins have a good balance of every kind of amino acid that there is, but some plant proteins have fewer levels of certain amino acids, particularly lysine, tryptophan, isoleucine, and methionine.
Animal Protein vs. Plant Protein
For optimal health, you have to supply your body with all the essential amino acids in the correct amounts.
There are some sources of animal protein and the following are considered complete protein sources of essential amino acids:
- Dairy products
Meanwhile, plant protein sources are a lot as well, although they are considered incomplete:
There are some who claim that the soy protein is “complete,” yet science has proven that only 2 are found in small amounts.
Plant protein or animal protein? This is a question worth answering.
Which to Choose
The truth is the animal protein has high-quality protein and these products even have nutrients that don’t appear in the plant foods, such as zinc, vitamin B12, D, and DHA. But this doesn’t mean animal protein is superior, mainly considering red meat – the excellent source of high-quality protein –which can cause diseases. Eating red meat increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and early death.
On the other hand, the plant protein offers a ton of benefits. Some vegetarians and vegans use plants to get the protein they need, although the sources aren’t complete. Supplements are needed, but the plant protein can contribute to lower the body weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. It could also lead to lower risk of heart attacks, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
Experts advise that you should have diet low in processed or red meats, but rich in plant protein. Don’t forget to add animal protein sources, such as poultry and grass-fed meat.