Why Animal Protein Wins: the Importance of Protein Quality
You probably already know that protein is an important part of a healthy diet. But did you know that not all proteins are created equal? When it comes to protein, quality is just as important as quantity. Animal proteins are generally considered to be of higher quality than plant proteins, because they contain all nine essential amino acids that are vital for various bodily functions. Many plant proteins are lacking in one or more essential amino acids, which means they cannot be fully utilized by the body.
If you want to build muscle, lose fat, reduce inflammation, and live a healthy lifestyle, animal protein is more effective than plant protein. Research has shown that women who don’t eat meat have less muscle mass than women who do eat meat, even though they ate the same total grams of protein. A study in Poland found that children not eating meat were 3 centimeters shorter and had weaker bones. Clearly, there’s something at play here. Let’s dive into the science behind this…
Protein is an essential macronutrient that is involved in countless bodily functions. It is essential for muscle growth and repair, immune function, and cell signaling, to name just a few. When most people think of protein, they think of meat, but protein is found in many other food sources as well, such as beans, nuts, and eggs. While all protein contains the same basic building blocks (amino acids), the quality of the protein can vary depending on the source. For example, animal-based proteins are typically higher in quality than plant-based proteins because they contain all of the essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own. In addition, animal proteins tend to be more easily absorbed by the body than plant proteins.
The Importance of Essential Amino Acids
The quality of a protein is determined by its amino acid composition. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and there are 20 different amino acids that can be found in foods. Of these 20 amino acids, 9 are essential and cannot be produced by the body on its own, meaning that they must be obtained through diet. Animal proteins tend to be richer in essential amino acids than plant proteins. This is why most people who consume a vegetarian or vegan diet need to carefully plan their meals to ensure that they are getting all of the essential amino acids they need.
If you don’t get enough of one essential amino acid, then all the other essential amino acids can’t be fully used for protein synthesis and the excess are just oxidized. Animal proteins contain all nine essential amino acids, and no plant protein contains all of them. Processed food (like turning wheat into bread) further lowers protein quality by damaging these amino acids.
There are nine essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Animal proteins contain all nine of these amino acids while plant proteins lack one or more of them. This means that when you consume animal proteins, your body can use them more effectively for various bodily functions like building muscle and reducing inflammation.
If you’re looking to build muscle, lose fat, reduce inflammation, or just live a healthier lifestyle, make sure to include animal proteins in your diet. And when it comes to animal protein, quality matters just as much as quantity – so choose wisely!