Animal protein vs vegetable protein

Animal protein vs vegetable protein

4 minute read

What are the differences between animal protein and vegetable protein?

Blogs ago we were talking about what proteins are, but there is a lot of controversy about animal protein vs vegetable protein.


Animal protein is of high biological value. It is said that animal proteins are complete proteins because they contain all the essential amino acids in large quantities and in the right proportion, but some may be accompanied by substances harmful to health such as saturated fats, cholesterol and purines (especially animal and always taking into account that they are being abused).  Therefore, when selecting proteins we must take into account the presence of these potentially toxic or harmful substances at the cellular level. This is applicable to the whole population and especially to sportsmen and sportswomen since, due to a greater need for protein, they can make the mistake of including these substances in excess.

On the other hand, vegetable proteins have a low biological value and are lower quality proteins, partly because they are less digestible and less assimilable due to their fiber content. Even so, vegetable proteins can provide all the proteins and amino acids necessary for optimal growth and development. Soy protein is comparable to animal protein, while legumes, vegetables, seeds and cereals should be consumed in an adequate combination to provide a balanced supply of amino acids. In addition, vegetable protein is healthier because it is not associated with various unhealthy substances of animal origin (cholesterol, saturated fats and purines).

Therefore, the most advisable is a correct combination of animal protein (high biological value) + vegetable protein (less toxins).

If we consume 70% vegetable protein + 30% animal protein we would achieve 100% protein of high biological value since we would complete the limiting amino acids of vegetable protein with those provided by animal protein.

As an interesting fact that you are probably questioning, vegetarian athletes can cover their protein needs with eggs, dairy products (such as our whey proteins obtained from the separation of cheese and milk) and vegetable sources rich in protein ingested in correct combinations to improve the biological value.

And where can we find protein? 

Foods rich in protein are dairy products, meats (white and red), fish, eggs, legumes and nuts (or our creams with a high percentage of nuts).

The digestive capacity to digest and absorb proteins is high (potentially more than 600-700 grams of protein in 24 hours for an average individual).

Unlike carbohydrates, which are stored as muscle or liver glycogen, or fats, which are stored in adipose tissue as triglycerides, the body has no specific reservoir for storing proteins or amino acids.

The body's cells cannot store the excess amino acids and, therefore, the excess amino acids are destroyed in the liver and, consequently, glucose, energy, fat or urea are synthesized, which is eliminated to the exterior through the kidneys by means of urine.

Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that more is not better, an excess of proteins can produce an overload of the hepatic and renal functions, formation of fatty tissue and the increase of uric acid that ends up punishing the joints, but as we have been talking about, a lack of proteins will produce a loss of tone and muscle mass, a decrease in performance (strength, resistance and flexibility) and a decrease in the basal metabolism.

The recommended protein intake is 0.75-1g/kg body weight/day in adults, but there are special situations, such as childhood, adolescence, pregnancy, old age and physical exercise that require a higher protein intake.

Proteins and physical exercise

During physical exercise, the use of proteins as an energy source is, in general, a minority. However, as hepatic and muscular glycogen levels decrease, the role of amino acids in energy metabolism increases. The creation of glucose from amino acids is also important during prolonged periods of fasting.

The protein requirements of athletes are (broadly speaking)

-Endurance athletes and cardiovascular exercise - 1.2-1.4g/kg body weight / day

-Strength and hypertrophy athletes - 1.4-1.8g/kg body weight / day and up to 2-2.5g/kg body weight / day.

As mentioned above, in special situations such as childhood, adolescence, pregnancy and old age, vegetarianism, a hypocaloric diet or in special situations, protein needs may be increased compared to normal (+0.2 to 0, 3gr/kg/day) and a very good way to cover these requirements is by consuming our protein powders and even, combining them with our nut creams that at the same time will help us to give more versatility to the nutritional pattern because EATING HEALTHY NEVER WAS SO SWEET! 🌱

Animal protein vs vegetable protein

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