Plant vs. Animal Protein: Which is Best?

Is plant protein as good as animal protein? We asked registered dietitians to help us weigh the benefits of choosing vegan sources over meat. We’ve all heard about the importance of eating enough protein. It helps build and repair muscle, it provides us with much-needed energy, and it even plays a role in gut health. In many cuisines, most of which are from the west or have been influenced by Western colonization, protein became synonymous with meat, dairy, and eggs. And, it’s seen as superior to plant-based sources like beans, tofu, and lentils. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In many ways, you could say that plant protein is better than animal protein. We’ll explain why.

What does protein do? Protein is an essential macronutrient that’s made up of chained-together amino acids. Our bodies use 20 different amino acids to build protein. Your body can make 11 of those amino acids on its own while the other nine must be acquired through food. These are known as “essential amino acids.” In case you’re wondering, they’re called histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

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