There has always been a battle between vegetable protein and meat protein advocates as to which is the better source of proteins. Of course beliefs clash, and arguments are being thrown from both sides. Meat lovers suspect that full-pledged vegetarians have no way of meeting protein requirements by adhering to a strict plant-only diet. On the other hand, many vegetarians claim that they are actually doing just fine and are hitting daily protein requirements without having to consume meat products. But let’s dive into this topic a little more. Do vegetarians need to follow supplementation in order for them to get all the proteins that they need for healthy functioning? In this article we will look at the facts to end the battle once and for all.

The Vegetable Protein versus the Meat Protein Debate

At the end of the day, we can all say that vegetable and meat are both excellent sources of protein. Majority of vegetarians actually have no problems of getting the protein the body needs from the food they eat. The proteins that the body need partly consist of essential amino acids; compounds that the body cannot manufacture by itself. In order to supply the body with essential amino acids, people need to get them from food sources.

Food items that contain all eight essential amino acids are as follows:

-meat

-eggs

– fish and other seafood

– dairy products

These complete proteins are ideal since it does not necessitate the body to increase its variety or increase food intake altogether. Plant sources of complete proteins are as follows:

– amaranth

– quinoa

– buckwheat

-Although these food sources guarantee complete proteins, not all of them are important to attain good health. There is variety in our protein needs, which means we can simply stick to a well-balanced meal and get all the protein that we need.

Biological Value

Biological Value or BV is measure of the efficiency of a protein food source at its crucial functions such as muscle building and tissue growth and development. Biological value is a gauge measured on a scale of 1 to 100. In this scale, meat protein food sources score the highest. A few notable plant sources of protein such as corn and what boast excellent BV scores of 50 and higher. When it comes to BV scores, bear in mind that serious athletes need to consume food sources with high BV scores in order for them to enjoy significant muscle growth and development. We’re not all athletes or body builders to take in food items with high BV scores. The average individual who exercises in moderation will only need to follow a varied, well-balanced eating regime to get the protein it needs for the body to function optimally.

The Pros and Cons of Meat and Plant Protein Sources

Meat and plant protein food sources have their own sets of advantages and drawbacks:

Meat Protein

  • Pros

– A large percentage of meat are sources of complete protein, therefore providing with all eight essential amino acids.

– The body only needs small servings of meat in order to meet protein requirements.

– Meat is highly accessible in that it is widely available, affordable, and commonplace in most cultures.

– Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is exclusively found in meat protein items.

  • Cons

– Many meat protein sources are high in cholesterol and saturated fats- compounds that increases the chances to developing hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.

– Animal sources of protein are high in calories, which make it a not-so-ideal diet for those who aim to lose weight.

– Many meat protein sources are low in other essential nutrients when compared alongside vegetable protein sources.

Vegetable Protein

  • Pros

– There are plant protein sources that are easier for the body to consume and synthesize. Plant protein such as soy is easier to digest than meat products.

– Plant sources of protein have lower overall cholesterol, calorie, and fat content.

– Plant-based proteins are packed with nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that animal-based proteins lack.

  • Cons

– Plant-based protein items are more difficult to find than animal-based proteins.

– You need large doses of plant-based proteins to supply the body’s ideal protein supplementation

– It is hard to get the right amounts of Vitamin B12 from plants. This is especially true among vegans who solely get their proteins from plants.

What is Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin?

Cobalamin also known as Vitamin B12 is the only nutrient that is absent in majority of plant-based protein sources. Vegetarians; individuals that allow themselves to consume dairy, eggs, and yogurt get decent doses of Vitamin B12, but vegands who strictly follow the all-plant diet need to use supplements in order to deliver Vitamin B12 into their diets.

Nutritional years and varieties of soy milk and cereals are loaded with Vitamin B12. Pregnant women and growing children need to consume food items that are rich in Vitamin B12 for proper growth and development.

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