Proteins are fundamental for the health of the human body, contributing to the construction and repair of tissues, muscle development and maintenance of the immune system. Both animal and vegetable proteins contain essential amino acids, which are not produced by the body and must be obtained through food. However, it is common to doubt whether animal and vegetable proteins have the same effect on the human body. In this article, we will explore the differences between animal and plant proteins and their effect on the human body. What will be the best?
Where do animal and plant proteins come from?
As animal proteins¹ are found in foods such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. They are considered a complete source of protein as they contain all the essential amino acids in sufficient amounts to meet the needs of the human body. This makes animal-based proteins particularly important for those following a high-protein diet, such as athletes or bodybuilders, for example. In addition, animal proteins contain micronutrients such as iron, zinc and vitamin B12, which can be more easily absorbed by the body compared to plant sources.
On the other hand, the plant-based proteins are found in foods such as beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Although they are not considered complete sources of protein, as they generally do not contain all the essential amino acids in sufficient amounts, it is possible to combine different plant protein sources to ensure adequate intake of all essential amino acids. For example, rice combined with beans provides a complete protein. Plant proteins also contain fiber, vitamins and minerals that are essential for the body's health.
Additionally, plant-based proteins are a healthy choice for those looking to reduce their intake of saturated fat and cholesterol. Animal proteins are often high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the quality of plant-based proteins can be affected by processes such as overcooking or improper storage, which can lead to nutrient loss.
What do the studies say?
There are several studies that suggest that animal-based proteins may be more effective at building muscle compared to plant-based proteins. For example, a study published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition² compared the effect of animal and vegetable protein intake on muscle protein synthesis in healthy men. The study found that eating animal-based proteins was more effective at stimulating muscle protein synthesis compared to eating plant-based proteins.
Another study, published in Journal of Nutrition³, compared the effects of animal and vegetable protein intake on body composition in young women. The study found that eating animal-based proteins resulted in a greater increase in lean body mass compared to eating plant-based proteins.
However, it is important to note that not all studies agree with these results. For example, a study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition⁴ compared the effects of animal and vegetable protein intake on body composition in elderly men. The study found no significant differences between the animal and plant protein groups in terms of lean body mass gain.
Additionally, factors other than the source of protein, such as the total amount of protein consumed and the presence of other nutrients in the diet, can also influence muscle building. Therefore, it is important to ensure that total protein intake is adequate for individual needs, regardless of protein source.
Is it safe to replace animal proteins with plant proteins?
Animal proteins are often considered complete protein sources as they contain all the essential amino acids needed by the human body. On the other hand, plant-derived proteins may be deficient in some of these amino acids, making them incomplete. However, it is possible to overcome this deficiency through adequate consumption of a variety of plant protein sources, combining different sources to obtain all essential amino acids.
So yes. You can replace! Replacing animal protein with vegetable protein can be done in a safe and healthy way. Plant protein may offer other health benefits, such as lower saturated fat and cholesterol, as well as higher amounts of fiber and essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
A practical example of this combination of vegetable protein sources is the use of rice and pea protein by Foodz Pro. Rice is a source of amino acids such as glutamine, aspartic acid, arginine and alanine, while pea is a source of amino acids such as lysine, methionine and cysteine. When combined, the amino acids present in each food complement each other, forming a complete protein. In Foodz Pro, there is the presence of 40g of protein, 8g of fiber and 25 essential vitamins and minerals.
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