What is a complete protein? What does that mean? Beginning in the 1960’s, maybe even way further back than that, a shift from animal fats to oils became promoted by mainstream health institutions.
This shift has led to numerous harmful side effects (I will leave for another blog) that have damaged the overall health of human beings. More recently, the **Social Virtue Society (SVS) has been pushing hard to remove animal-based protein from the diet to promote a vegan plant-based diet. Global warming, social justice, increased health and many other reasons have been pushed to move the human population away from animal-based diets. Facts, although true, do not matter to the SVS and they will stop at nothing to see this agenda moved forward. With that being said, let’s analyze the difference between plant-based and animal-based protein to determine the differences.
A complete protein means that the protein source contains all 9 essential amino acids…
Leucine, Isoleucine and valine are your Branched Chained Amino Acids, which is a very popular supplement now-a-day. Animal based protein are all high-quality proteins, since they contain all of the essential amino acids, whereas plant-based proteins are incomplete proteins (meaning they do not contain all essential amino acids). There will be an argument regarding Hemp, Quinoa and Soy, but we will get in to the digestibility and estrogens further down in the blog. Additionally, plant-based proteins lack ample amounts of leucine, the strongest EAA in stimulating protein synthesis*. Soy, pea and other proteins do contain leucine, but not nearly in large enough quantities such as Whey, eggs and other animal-based protein.
BCAA quantity is necessary for energy production in the human body, as well as overall muscle growth. It is essential to reach ample amounts of protein, per day, in order to have that macronutrient to be turned in to Amino Acids in the body. Once you eat food your body turns protein into amino acids, fats into fatty acids / glycerol and carbs into monosaccharides (1). However, does protein, well the quality of it, make a difference when it comes to the digestion of food?
Digestion of Protein… in the body
The digestion of food is the process of breaking down large, insoluble molecules of food into smaller, water-soluble molecules, which can then be readily absorbed by the body (1). The values at which plant versus animal-based protein breakdown in the body to be absorbed are different as well. Eggs and whey protein, for example, have digestibility scores of 100 percent. Beef, on the other hand, has a 92 percent value (2). This means that of 100grams of beef protein, eaten, your body will ‘breakdown for use’ 92 grams.
Popular plant-based proteins such as pea, chickpea, oat and beans lie between 50-70 percent. This value plays a role in how much you need to consider eating daily. If your macronutrient goal for protein is 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of bodyweight, then for plant-based diets you might want to intake at least 1.5 grams per pound instead because you will only be digesting a smaller amount of the total protein your intake for the day.
I will take this one step further and argue that the life of the protein-source is the most important, followed by how you prepare that protein for digestion. More simply stated, a high-quality protein must have a high-quality life! For animals, grass-fed organic meat is going to have a higher digestibility rate versus a factory-based animal. Factory based industrial farmed animals have harmful substances like xenoestrogens, glyphosates, omega-6 fats and more… Additionally, if you prepare the meat by deep frying it, particularly in vegetable seed oil, then you have turned that protein into low quality. Plant-based protein I will always argue that same logic. If you get a non-organic plant-based protein source, prepared with high heat processing, then your digestibility rate will be lower. Additionally, plant-based protein can have high amounts of metal in them too.
At the end of the day, regardless of your feelings, you should be choosing that which has the highest quality ingredients!
SOY… just say no!
Sorry to all of you Soy lovers, but this is a HELL NO for your source of protein. I do, on the other hand, believe you can have a small amount (below 25g in a day) and be ok. Soy is said to have a digestion rate of 91%, which is good, but it also contains a lot of negative side effects (2). First, soy protein contains phytoestrogens, which bind with hormone receptors. This can drastically alter your hormones for both men and women. Second, soy protein is often produced under low standards and has become the new factory farmed garbage plant (in my opinion). Third, for a guy, soy promotes estrogen production and has a negative result on testosterone (essential to be a man). When marketing for soy protein the slogan should read, “Know More Softness!”
Additional Science Behind Meat over Plant...
There have been successful people who have stuck to a vegan diet for a period of time, but eventually most will move back to animal protein and fat as a result of something called Autophagy and MTOR. They need to switch to rebuild and revitalize their body.
Autophagy is when the body’s cells clean out any unnecessary or damaged components. Basically, your body acts as a pharmacy and provides cures to all disease and damaged items within the body! This natural process occurs after a prolonged period of fasting, resistance training and potentially when eating Curcumin, which is a naturally occurring chemical found in the turmeric root. When you achieve autophagy, you will then need to turn on the muscle building signals to start re-building muscle.
MTOR is a signaling molecule that says grow, build muscle! Target of rapamycin (TOR) is a highly conserved serine/threonine kinase that controls cell growth and metabolism in response to nutrients, growth factors, cellular energy, and stress (4). More simply stated, MTOR must be activated in order to shuttle nutrients, essential amino acids and such, to the muscles to rebuild. Animal protein raises MTOR way more than plant-based proteins.
All protein should be sourced from high quality, which means it has a high-quality life prior to consumption; organic, grass-fed, Pasteur raised and more. Protein needs to be prepared in a health-conscious way to get the most out of the protein; not deep fried, no seed / veggie oils, and limit high heat.
Animal based proteins are higher quality because they are complete proteins (contain all EAA) that are digested by the body at higher percentages; animal-based proteins have a higher level of leucine, which is essential for efficient protein synthesis. Plant-based proteins can be consumed to get your EAA’s but you will have to eat more total grams per pound of bodyweight and supplement with additional nutrients such as zinc, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. For vegans, I’d also suggest supplementing with creatine.
Whatever lifestyle you choose, you need to be able to discipline yourself to say no to Seed Oils, industrial farmed meats and excessive amounts of refined sugar.
*Protein synthesis is process in which polypeptide chains are formed from coded combinations of single amino acids inside the cell. The synthesis of new polypeptides requires a coded sequence, enzymes, and messenger, ribosomal, and transfer ribonucleic acids (RNAs). Protein synthesis takes place within the nucleus and ribosomes of a cell and is regulated by DNA and RNA.
**Social Virtue Society (SVS) … also known as ‘cancel culture’. Yes, this is my term for everyone promoting an agenda that focuses on, but not limited to, the following: meat eaters causing climate change; individuals who post about socially conscious behaviors to make themselves feel better while doing nothing; persons who are easily offended; situational mask wearing people; and most other ideology that are popularized today by the mainstream media.
***Glyphosate… is a widely used herbicide that can kill certain weeds and grasses. Glyphosate works by blocking an enzyme essential for plant growth (5).
****Xenoestrogens are defined as chemicals that mimic some structural parts of the physiological estrogen compounds, therefore may act as estrogens or could interfere with the actions of endogenous estrogens (6).
2. Hertzler, S., et al. Plant Proteins: Assessing Their Nutritional Quality and Effects on Health and Physical Function. Nutrients. 2020. 12(12), 3704.
THANK YOU FOR READING & YOUR SUPPORT!!