Animal Vs Plant Protein

Animal Vs Plant Protein


Did you realise that about 20% of the human body is made up of protein?

Because your body doesn’t store protein, it’s important to get enough from your diet each day.

You can get protein from many food sources, including plants and animals.

Some people claim that the source of the protein, whether animal or plant, shouldn’t matter.

Others suggest that plant protein is superior to animal protein.

The Amino Acid Profile Varies Between Plant and Animal Proteins


When eaten, protein is broken down into amino acids.

Proteins and amino acids are used for almost every metabolic process in the body.

However, different proteins can vary greatly in the types of amino acids they contain.

While animal proteins tend to contain a good balance of all the amino acids that we need, some plant proteins are low in certain amino acids.

However, in the endall proteins are made up of amino acids, although the amount and type of each amino acid vary based on the protein source.

Animal Vs Plant Protein – Animal Proteins Are Complete, But Plant Proteins Are Not


In total, there are around 20 amino acids that the human body uses to build proteins.

These amino acids are classified as either essential or non-essential.

Your body can produce non-essential amino acids. However, it cannot produce essential amino acids, which need to be obtained through your diet.

For optimal health, your body needs all the essential amino acids in the right portions.

Animal protein sources, such as meat, fish, poultry and eggs are similar to the protein found in your body.

These are considered to be complete sources of protein because they contain all of the essential amino acids that your body needs to function effectively.

On the other hand, plant protein sources, such as beans, lentils and nuts are considered to be incomplete, as they lack one or more of the essential amino acids that your body needs.

Some sources report soy protein as complete. However, two essential amino acids are only found in small amounts in soy, so it isn’t comparable to animal protein.

We have found that animal foods are the highest quality protein sources as plant sources lack one or more amino acids, which makes it more difficult to get all the amino acids that your body needs.

Animal Vs Plant Protein – Some Nutrients Are More Abundant in Animal Protein Sources


Of course, proteins are rarely found in isolation. They usually come with a wide variety of other nutrients.

Foods that contain animal protein tend to be high in several nutrients that are often lacking in plant foods.

These include:

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is mainly found in fish, meat, poultry and dairy products. Many people who avoid animal foods are deficient.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is found in oily fish, eggs and dairy. Some plants contain it, but the type found in animal foods is better used by your body.

DHA: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an essential omega-3 fat found in fatty fish. It’s important for brain health and is hard to get from plant sources.

Heme-iron: Heme-iron is predominantly found in meat, especially red meat. It is much better absorbed in the body than non-heme iron from plant foods.

Zinc: Zinc is mainly found in animal protein sources, such as beef, pork and lamb. It is also more easily absorbed and used from animal protein sources.

Of course, there are also plenty of nutrients found in plants that are lacking in animal foods, therefore, eating balanced amounts of both is the best way to get all the nutrients you need.

For optimal health, the evidence supports a diet that is low in processed meat, rich in plant protein, with some animal sources such as grass-fed meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy.

As plant protein food sources often have lower quality proteins, vegetarians and vegans should eat a wide variety of foods to ensure that they are getting all the amino acids that they need.

For meat eaters, it’s important to get the right balance of both animal and plant foods.

Happy eating

No matter which protein source you’d prefer to eat, we can help you out with a personalised meal plan to help you achieve your goals. We’ve helped hundreds of vegan’s, vegetarian’s, plant-based and meat eaters. Find out more HERE 


Nicole McDermott

I am passionate about working with people on a holistic level to balance hormones, improve mood, manage weight all whilst educating people on the benefits of a balanced whole foods diet. Follow more great advice from Nic here.