Animal-Based Protein vs Plant-Based ProteinJ.R. Greene
Figuring out where to get your protein seems pretty simple. You know meat has protein, and you know vegetables like beans have protein. However, do you know that there is a major difference between animal-based protein and plant-based protein?
The amino acid profile is the main difference between plant and animal proteins. Amino acids are what make up proteins. A person’s body needs a balance of all 20 types of amino acids to function correctly. The body produces 11 amino acids, but it cannot produce the other 9, referred to as essential amino acids. The only way to get the essential amino acids is through the protein in your diet. Let’s break it down.
Most animal protein is complete, meaning that one source contains all 9 essential amino acids. Some examples include:
- Red meat from cows, bison, and deer
Most plant-based protein is incomplete, meaning that one source does not contain all 9 essential amino acids. Although incomplete, there are plenty of plant-based foods rich in protein. These include:
Some exceptions that are considered to be complete include quinoa and buckwheat.
- Plant-based protein eaters don’t get all the necessary protein.
This is not true. Plant-based protein eaters don’t rely on a single source of protein every time they eat. If meals are built with a variety of rich plant-based protein, then the necessary amount of protein will make its way into the body.
- You need all 9 essential amino acids in every meal.
This is false. You can do it, but it’s unnecessary since you can spread your protein intake throughout your day.
Having a plant-based diet does not mean you don’t get enough protein. If you have a variety of plant-based foods incorporated into your diet, you’re getting just what you need in terms of protein.