The human body is made of about 20% protein. And since it doesn’t store protein, it’s essential to get enough amounts of protein through diet. There are both, vegetarian as well as non vegetarian sources of protein food sources.
However, the debate over which protein type is better than the other has been an ongoing one. This article compares the two.
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What is the difference?
On ingestion, protein is broken down into its simpler form- amino acids. These amino acids form the building blocks in the body for almost every metabolic action and growth. However, the difference in the type of proteins also means the amino acid profiles vary.
Animal proteins are considered as class 1 type proteins which have complete amino acid profiles. Whereas, plant proteins have incomplete amino acids which is why they are either taken in combination with one another as complementary protein to make up for their respective missing amino acids or taken in combination with any of the class 1 protein.
Proteins do not occur in an isolated form in any food. They are always accompanied by other nutrients. Here are some of the nutrients that are found along with protein in food sources:
- Vitamin A: Found in carrots, peppers, egg yolk, spinach, etc.
- Vitamin B12: it is mainly found in fish, meat, poultry and dairy. Those that avoid these foods, tend to be deficient in B12.
- DHA: an essential omega 3 fatty acid that is found in fatty fish, free range eggs and walnuts. It is very important for brain health and hard to get from plant sources.
- Vitamin D: Found in fatty fishes, egg yolk, dairy and some plants. But the Vitamin D sourced from animal foods is better absorbed by the body.
- Heme iron: Found in animal sources of protein, it is better absorbed in the body as compared to non heme iron.
- Zinc: Again, a nutrient found in fishes, egg, nuts and meat. Like heme iron, it is also better absorbed by the body coming from animal sources.
Although, there are also nutrients that the animal food sources lack in but are found in the plant sources. That is why, it is essential to maintain a balance in the proportion of animal and plant based food sources in the diet.
Benefits of plant based proteins:
- Lowers heart disease risks
- Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Prevents weight gain by increasing satiety through fibre+protein
Benefits of Animal based protein:
- Researchers have pointed out that lean meats coming from poultry, fish and low fat dairy helped lower heart health risks.
- Improved levels of cholesterol and HDL under the right circumstances
- Helps gain muscle mass, reduce in the overall fat% and better sports performance.
For better health, studies recommend a balanced diet that has low processed foods, rich in quality protein paired with additional necessary overall lifestyle changes is efficient.
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