This topic may spark some controversy but know that I’m just straightening out the facts. Before you continue reading, keep in mind this – I am not analyzing plant vs. animal based diets, nor am I choosing any side. I’m profiling the amino acid content for both sources of food.
Among the many factors which define a good quality protein is it’s amino acid content, especially its essential amino acids content (the type your body cannot produce and must be obtained through external sources such as certain foods or supplements). Again, not to take any side here, but when it comes to profiling the amino acids content of both animals and plants, I have to say animals come out on top!
As per the infographic, you’ll notice that per 100g, animal-based proteins have a higher percentage of amino acids. Potent protein sources such as those derived from animals increase the body’s ability to digest and absorb amino acids while effectively contributing to muscle growth and repair – other factors that make up a quality protein.
This is not to mention that plant-based proteins are a bad option. If anything, foods like quinoa and lentils are excellent to consume as they have a relatively higher amino acid profile compared to other plant protein sources. They also taste awesome!
When it comes to soy, studies have shown whey protein to be more effective at increasing muscle growth and strength. The same goes for casein protein – dropping soy to third position followed by hemp protein. So in terms of potency, whey protein takes poll position.
The fact of the matter is animal proteins are superior to plant proteins in the quality, quantity, digestibility and absorption of amino acids. The same applies in the context of exercise for muscle growth and strength (i.e. whey protein).
For the vegetarians or vegans reading this, I advise you to increase your protein content within each given meal and throughout the day as well. Also, choose protein sources of higher amino acids content as listed on the infographic. Perhaps add buckwheat and chia seeds to the list too. The idea of vegans/vegetarians not being able to meet their protein needs is a myth. All it needs is a higher daily protein intake!