Vegan Protein vs. Animal Protein
What is better for the growth of muscles and tissues, vegetable protein or animal protein?
Animal based foods have more protein than plant based foods, and this protein is considered to be "higher quality." Yes, animal protein is more rich in protein and the essential amino acids that are the building blocks of muscle. But the people who eat the most animal protein have the most heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.1-3
The reason why meat consumption is related to disease is because there are so few vitamins and minerals in meat, and absolutely no antioxidants. It's high in protein, iron, and Vitamin A. That's about it. All three of which are easily found in vegetables.
Diseases like cancer thrive in a low oxygenated zone. The more antioxidant rich foods you eat, the better you will feel, and the less likely you will be to get sick.
You may gain more muscle from consuming animal protein, but that's ALL of the benefits you will receive. Plant based protein always comes with TONS of antioxidants and nutrients. Don't know where to get plant based protein? Click here to learn about the three best sources for healthy, raw, plant protein.
Vegan protein is complete protein!
Vegetables contain all the protein you need, and most contain more. Click here to learn about the three best sources for raw vegan protein. The belief that vegetables are incomplete proteins is a myth:
"People worry more about protein in their diet than any other nutrient. The obvious truth is: there is enough protein in plants to grow an elephant, horse, or hippopotamus. Certainly there is enough protein to grow relatively small people. Furthermore, all plants contain all of the amino acids in proper balance for ideal human growth. In other words, it is impossible to make up a diet deficient in protein or individual amino acids from any unrefined starches (rice, potatoes) and vegetables [my emphasis]. You must get over this common myth in order to comfortably follow a diet that is best for you and the family. The only real problems with protein come from eating too much."4
Here is a chart showing the different levels of amino acids that our body cannot produce on its own and must get from food, taken from the data at USDA National Nutrient Database5 (click to view full size):
Not only do most vegetables contain all the essential amino acids you need for muscle development, most contain more!
While the myth of vegetables being an incomplete protein does not seem to go away, nobody mentions that meat is incomplete! Meat has no:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Antioxidants, which are found in high quantities in all fruits and vegetables, are the most important factor in stopping disease and illness from forming. Meat doesn't just have a low quantity of these nutrients, it has none of these. Not only is vegan protein complete, but they contain high amounts of essential nutrients to prevent and reverse disease.
Here's another graph compiled from the USDA National Nutrient Database5 comparing the nutrients of 223 Calories of chicken (100g) to 223 Calories of Iceberg Lettuce, a vegetable with one of the lowest concentration of nutrients:
Meat is fine as long as it's raw!
Once meat gets cooked it turns into a big hunk of protein and fat with very little nutrients that's difficult for the body to digest. Remember, plant based protein is complete protein. There is no need to consume animal products.
It's okay to consume meat! If you're going to eat meat just make sure you really, really enjoy it because your body has absolutely no nutritional need for it. We are natural herbivores. Humans are incredibly adaptive animals, we can eat almost anything that has a fraction of nutritional value, and some things that have none. Our bodies are NOT designed to digest cooked meat. Meat takes the place of food with nutrients that will help you look and feel amazing, prevent and cure disease6, and live a longer healthier life.
Click here to learn about the three best sources for raw vegan protein
Return from Vegan Protein to Why Vegan?
1. Chenj, Campbell TC, Lij, et al. Diet, lifestyle and mortality in China. A study of the characteristics of 65 Chinese counties. Oxford, UK; Ithaca, NY; Beijing, PRC: Oxford University Press; Cornell University Press; People's Medical PUblishing House, 1990.
2. Campbell TC, Parpia B, and Chen]. "Diet, lifestyle, and the etiology of coronary artery disease: The Cornell China Study." Am. J. Cardiol. 82 (1998): 18T-21T.
3. Kagan A, Harris BR, Winkelstein W, et al. "Epidemiologic studies of coronary heart disease and stroke in Japanese men living inJapan, Hawaii and California." J. Chronic Dis. 27 (1974): 345-364.
4. McDougall J. http://www.drmcdougall.com/med_hot_protein.htmlK
5. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference FRUIT: Average of Apples, Pears, Grapes, Bananas, Plums, Oranges, Grapefruit, Watermelon, Strawberries, Peaches, Nectarines, Cantaloupe.VEGETABLES: Average of Broccoli 27.2%, Carrots 8.7%, Celery 17.3%, Corn 13.4%, Cucumber 17.3%, Green Beans 21.6%, Lettuce icberg 25.7%, Mushrooms white 31%, Onions 12.4%, Peas 28.8%, Potato 10.8%, Spinach 49.7%, Tomato 19.6% (accessed January 2010)
6. Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Human Nutrition (PDF), World Health Organization (2002), p. 126. Recommendations are an "average requirement" of 0.66 g of protein per kg of ideal body weight, and a "safe level" of 0.86 g/kg. Percentages of protein vs. total calories were calculated by applying these figures for Estimated Energy Requirements as per the Dietary Reference Intakes, for a 5'5" woman and a 5'11" man, each 30 years old and 24.99 BMI, at various activity levels.
7. Dietary Reference Intakes, Food and Drug Administration. (The recommendations for protein are 56g/day for adult males and 46 g/day for adult females. The suggested caloric intake is 2301-3720 for a 5'11" man and 1816-2807 for a 5'5" woman. At 4 calories of protein per gram, this works out to 8.0-12.3% protein for men and 6.6-10.1%)8. McDougall J, Litzau K, Haver E, et al. "Rapid reduction of serum cholesterol and blood pressure by a twelve-day, very low fat, strictly vegetarian diet." J. Am. Coil. Nutr. 14 (1995): 491-496.