Protein is an essential part of the diet. It helps to build, repair, and maintain the body’s structures. Foods derived from plants and animals can both provide protein, but there are some differences.

Protein exists throughout the body, in everything from the muscles and organs to the bones, skin, and hair. The body does not store protein like it does other macronutrients, so this protein has to come from the diet.

Proteins are made up of amino acids. A person’s body needs a balance of all 22 types of amino acids to function correctly.

The body cannot produce nine of these acids, called essential amino acids.

A complete protein source refers to a type of food that contains all nine.

Having the right balance of amino acids can build muscle and help the body to recover from exercise quickly. Understanding the differences between plant and animal proteins is important for anyone who wants to ensure that their diet is healthful.

In this article, we look at the differences between animal and plant proteins. We also investigate the effects on health, describe which type is better for bodybuilding, and list the best sources of each.

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Plant and animal proteins vary in the number of amino acids they contain.

One of the main differences between plant and animal proteins involves their amino acid contents.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. When the body digests the proteins in food, it breaks them down into amino acids.

The body may need different amino acids at different times. Many people believe that the diet should include complete sources of protein, which contain all nine essential amino acids.

Some animal products are complete sources of protein, such as:

  • fish
  • various types of eggs
  • dairy products, such as cheese, milk, and whey
  • red meat from cows, bison, and deer
  • poultry from sources such as chickens, turkeys, and quails
  • meat from less common sources, including boars, hares, and horses

Most plant proteins are incomplete, which means that they are missing at least one of the essential amino acids.

However, some plant-based foods, such as quinoa and buckwheat, are complete sources of protein.

It is important for vegetarians and vegans to mix their protein sources and ensure that they are getting all of the essential amino acids.

Also, keep in mind that some sources of plant protein may take longer for the body to digest and use.

The following are examples of plant-based foods rich in protein:

  • grains
  • lentils
  • nuts
  • beans
  • legumes
  • certain fruits, such as avocados
  • soy
  • hemp
  • rice
  • peas

Many other nuts, grains, and vegetables also contain high amounts of protein.

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Athletes often choose whey protein to help build muscle.