Understanding what role different foods play in our physical and mental development and processes is important.
How detailed you want to get is up to you, but here are the basics of your basic building blocks also known as “macronutrients”:
Protein is important for muscle growth and repair. Your body is typically under some form of stress, wear and tear. And even if you aren’t working out, protein is necessary to help keep your muscles in solid working condition to support the bones and joints in your body. When we lift weights and are increasingly active, protein is incredibly important to keeping the body healthy.
In regard to the debate on animal vs. plant protein, simply put, animal protein is a complete protein while plant protein is NOT.
When eaten, protein is broken down into amino acids which are used for almost every metabolic (cell building and repair) process in the body.
In total, there are around 20 amino acids that the human body uses to build proteins. These amino acids are classified as either essential or non-essential.
Your body can produce non-essential amino acids. However, it cannot produce essential amino acids, which need to be obtained through your diet. For optimal health, your body needs all the essential amino acids in the right ratios.
Animal protein sources, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy, are similar to the protein found in your body. These are considered to be complete sources of protein because they contain all of the essential amino acids that your body needs to function effectively.
On the contrary, plant protein sources, such as beans, lentils and nuts are considered to be incomplete, as they lack one or more of the essential amino acids that your body needs. Some sources report soy protein as complete.
However, two essential amino acids are only found in small amounts in soy, so it isn’t comparable to animal protein
The bottom line
Animal foods are the highest quality protein sources. Plant sources lack one or more amino acids, which makes it more difficult to get all the amino acids that your body needs.