animal protein versus plant protein. myth buster about beans

Animal protein vs Plant protein

Animal protein vs Plant protein

Animal protein v Plant protein

Did you know that around 20% of our bodies are made up of protein?

It’s available in loads of different food sources, but as our bodies don’t store it, it’s essential that you get enough from your daily diet.

When we consume protein, our bodies break it down into 9 essential amino acids, which are used for almost every metabolic process in the body, including:

  • Breaking down food

  • Repairing body tissue

  • Performing other bodily functions

Animal Protein

Of course, animal protein has many benefits. Here’s the main two:

  • It contains all nine essential amino acids, meaning it is ‘complete’ and subsequently very useful to the body and those metabolic processes.

  • Animal protein contains more protein per ounce than pulses or legumes, so you don’t have to eat as much to meet daily protein recommendations.

Animal protein would in theory be essential if it were impossible to meet our basic protein needs with plants - however, this is simply not the case!

Plant protein, especially from pulses, is one of the most accessible, affordable and sustainable forms of protein in the world. If that doesn’t convince you - check out this post here.

Plant Protein

In contrast to animal protein, plant proteins are ‘incomplete’. Legumes generally have 8 out of the 9 essential amino acids. The ninth, called methionine, is widely available in whole grains. You can buy these in ready to eat packs and are great with most meals! Our favourite brand is Merchant, they offer a range of whole grains in different flavours and can be found in most supermarkets. Perfect for nutritionally conscious vegans and veggies.

In terms of building muscle, you can do by simply consuming the correct amount of protein and undertaking regular exercise - particularly strength and resistance training. If you need to know more about how much protein to consume, head over to the NHS website to see their daily recommendations.

So, animal or plant protein?

The truth is, animal foods are the best quality protein sources as they contain all 9 essential amino acids. But even though you might have to work harder to ensure you’re getting all that your body needs, plant protein is an affordable, accessible and sustainable source of protein; with plenty of other health benefits! For more on the benefits of fava beans, check out our ‘What Are Fava Beans’ blog.