plant protein vs animal proteins

Plant Protein vs Animal Proteins – What Is The Difference?

Author: Anne Jonson

Diet & Nutrition Expert

No muscle building without proteins. That much is certain. But when it comes to the question of whether animal or plant protein is better, opinions differ. We show what really matters.

Meat and quark have long been regarded as reliable sources of protein in muscle building training. The problem: animal products such as red meat and sausage often contain more fat and cholesterol. Researchers have also found that excessive consumption of animal protein can have negative effects. Is that correct? And what do you really have to pay attention to with proteins? We clarify.

Proteins are the basic building blocks of life. The essential nutrients fulfill numerous physiological functions. For example, they form the basis of the body’s cells and are involved in the synthesis of important enzymes. Every protein molecule consists of amino acids in its smallest unit.

With regular strength training, your protein requirement increases, because protein is the number 1 muscle fuel. You can only effectively build muscle and supply the newly gained muscle mass with nutrients if you consume enough protein.

We recommend that you consume 1.3 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day when building muscle.

Plant and animal proteins: the difference

Basically, both animal and plant proteins are made up of the same amino acids. The difference, however, lies in the number of amino acids and the biological value. The biological value describes how quickly proteins can be metabolized by your body. 100% is the benchmark for very good utilization or conversion into the body’s own protein. Plant protein sources often do not have the ideal amino acid composition. The combination of different plant  protein sources is therefore recommended.

So that you can imagine more of it, we have listed the biological value of various protein-rich foods as examples.

By the way: You can improve the biological value by combining different protein sources. For example, the combination of egg and legumes is particularly suitable.

Foods high in protein

In the next step, we will show you the biological value of various plant and animal protein sources. In this way, you can also assess which foods are particularly rich in protein.

Biological value of Plant protein sources

  • Soybeans: 53%
  • Peanuts: 48%
  • Lentils: 33%
  • Oat flakes: 60%
  • Chia seeds: 115%
  • Cashew nuts: 64%
  • Rye: 83%
  • Peas: 43%

Biological value of animal protein sources

  • Beef: 83%
  • Pork tenderloin: 76%
  • Tuna: 83%
  • Turkey breast: 70%
  • Salmon: 75%
  • Trout: 75%
  • Low-fat quark: 81%
  • Eggs: 100%

Plant or animal protein? The most important facts

A healthy diet should always be the basis and starting point. It is important that animal and plant proteins are in a balanced relationship.

A cohort study of US Health Care Professionals found that excessive animal protein consumption (lots of red and processed meat) can have negative health effects. Substituting animal proteins with plant proteins resulted in a clear improvement.

It is recommended to not eat more than 300-600 g of meat per week. So the motto is: Everything in moderation. In addition to proteins, fish, for example, contains essential fatty acids that are essential for life.

Plant protein: build muscle

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Boston University’s Framingham Third Generations Study1, the source of protein is not a primary factor in building muscle. Because: Protein leads to muscle growth – the source is not decisive. So you can easily replace or supplement animal protein with plant protein. So if you take care of the correct intake, you don’t have to worry about a protein deficiency.

Plant-based sources of protein such as lentils, chia seeds, nuts and the like are the perfect alternative to chicken and pork tenderloin and fit perfectly into a healthy and balanced diet.

Our Conclusion: Animal Proteins vs Plant Proteins

If you train hard and want to build muscle effectively, you should pay attention to a balanced diet. The assumption that only meat helps to build muscle mass has been refuted with the help of various studies. It’s all in the mix: If you use plant-based products in addition to animal protein sources, you stay fit and successfully build muscle mass.

  • When you train hard, your protein needs are increased
  • With regular exercise, we recommend 1.3 g – 1.5 g protein per kg body weight
  • Plant proteins are just as helpful in building muscle as animal proteins
  • Too much animal protein can have negative effects
  • A balanced diet is essential to stay fit
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