The British Nutrition Foundation suggests that adults consume 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This confirms the role of proteins in a healthy diet. In addition to being essential in maintaining cells in the body, protein fuels your cells, providing the energy you require to remain active.
Current trends, however, show that plant-based protein is claiming more seats at the kitchen table. And more diet-conscious folks are discussing the benefits of plant-based diets and choosing animal-free alternatives to the standard burger. Which begs the question: Is one better than the other between plant and animal protein?
Read on to find out!
In What Ways Is Plant Protein Healthier than Animal Protein?
Plant protein is an ideal option if you’re looking to replace animal protein with foods rich in fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients. Why should you consider plant proteins? Find out below:
1. May Help Reduce the Risk of High Blood Pressure
Researchers have linked eating more plant protein to lower blood pressure. For example, soy-based protein foods have high arginine content and antioxidant activity that helps reduce blood pressure.
The National Institutes of Health recommends eating more plant protein, such as whole grains, to help manage blood pressure.
2. Lower Cholesterol Levels
People can often significantly lower their cholesterol readings by changing their diet. Is your diet rich in eggs, meats, and dairy products? You may consume too much-saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. These foods may raise your cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of a heart attack.
How do you make your diet healthier? Consider incorporating high-fiber plant proteins. They have less fat and cholesterol than animal proteins. Even highly-fattening plant meals like avocados, nuts, and seeds contain no cholesterol. As such, plant protein sources, such as soy, dietary pulses, and nuts, have been shown in studies to substantially lower total cholesterol.
3. May Lower the Risk of Death from Heart Disease
If you believe heart conditions only affect the elderly, statistics tell a different story. In the U.S., over 21.1 million individuals aged 20 and older have heart disease. In addition, roughly two in ten deaths from cardiovascular causes occur in people under 65. It’s crucial to take care of your heart at any age.
Fiber is scarce in the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.), and less than five percent of Americans consume the recommended 25gm fiber daily. And one of the reasons for the deficiency is that fiber is absent in animal goods such as dairy and meat. To improve your diet, go for plant-based meals that contain soluble fiber. This includes beans, apples, peas, oats, and chia seeds. Several studies on heart disease patients discovered that a low-fat, plant-based diet might improve their heart health. Fiber can also aid in developing a healthy gut, resulting in less inflammation and a lower chance of heart disease.
4. Plant-based Diets May Improve Blood Sugar Management
Because a plant-based diet is low in fat, insulin can work correctly. A study found that a plant-based diet significantly reduced blood sugar levels compared to a conventional diabetes diet that restricted calories and carbohydrates.
How do you maintain blood sugar balance on a plant-based diet? Eating diets high in nutrient-dense plant foods like whole grains, fruits, nuts, and legumes is essential. For example, broccoli, spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are high in dietary fiber and magnesium. Sweet potatoes and squash have significantly more fiber than white potatoes. These foods regulate blood sugar levels by slowing energy release and glucose absorption.
What Are the Advantages of Animal Protein?
Despite the advantages of a plant diet, animal protein can also be beneficial. Certain animal protein sources have been linked to improved health. Eating fish regularly, for example, has been related to reduced brain and heart disease rates. In addition, animal protein has been linked to increased lean muscle mass and decreased muscle loss due to aging.
However, certain animal proteins may cause health problems such as obesity, cancer, health disease, and diabetes. While red meat, for example, is a complete protein source, several observational studies have connected it to various health problems. A diet high in red meat can result in bone and calcium balance disorder and an increased risk of cancer and stroke.
Is Plant Complete Protein?
Proteins provide amino acid building blocks of life. The human organism uses 22 different amino acids. Nine of these are essential because they must come from the food, while the body produces the others, but you can get them from your diet. Amino acids are combined to form the many various types of protein found in the body.
When a food includes all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce, it is called a complete protein. Incomplete proteins, conversely, contain some, but not all, of the essential amino acids in varying quantities.
Here, the differences between the protein compositions of plants and animals become apparent. Proteins from animals are whole proteins, including products made from them, such as beef from cows, bacon and ham from pigs, poultry breasts, fish filets, eggs, and dairy products like milk and yogurt).
Conversely, most plant proteins do not provide complete amino acids. If your protein is based on beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole cereals, you can combine them with other foods to create a complete protein. This includes complete plant proteins, such as quinoa and soy products (such as edamame, tofu, and soy milk).
Besides being nutritious and healthy, plant protein can reduce the risk of certain health conditions. However, the main downside of plant-based proteins is that most are incomplete proteins. As such, nutritionists recommend combining a variety of plant protein sources. While meat, for example, is considered a “complete” protein because it contains all of the essential amino acids, eating a variety of plant proteins provides the same nutrient in a healthier package.