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No matter what you eat, ensuring that you’re getting enough protein is one of the biggest concerns that many of us have. Not only is it essential for those looking to build muscle, protein is good for muscular health, overall. For a long time, animal-based products have been at the forefront of our obsession with protein. However, as more and more people eschew animal products in favor of plant-based foods, plant-based proteins, such as pea protein, have been on the rise. As we start to see more plant-based proteins making their way into stores, naturally, many of us are asking which type of protein is the best. Well, one group of researchers had the same question — so they got answers.

A recent study published in this month’s issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that if muscle-building protein is what you seek, plant protein is just as good as animal protein. Researchers in this study analyzed the dietary protein intake of a sample of nearly 3,000 men and women, ages 19 to 72, as well as the sources that the protein came from such as dairy, meat, fish, poultry, fast food, and legumes. Then, they analyzed the participants’ lean muscle mass, bone-mineral density, and quadriceps strength. The results revealed that those who consumed low amounts of protein had the lowest measures of muscle mass and strength while those who ate a high protein diet had better muscular health. In both instances, researchers found that there were no significant differences in musculoskeletal health in relation to the type of protein participants consumed. However, the amount of protein consumed by participants did not seem to have a significant effect on bone-mineral density.

According to the study’s lead author, Kelsey Mangano, PhD, assistant professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, “as long as a person is exceeding the recommended daily allowance for protein, no matter the source in their diet, they can improve their muscle health.” But, Mangano also advises other factors that should be taken into account when choosing a protein source: “Choose protein sources that are lean—limiting saturated fat—and also those that are low in sodium.” What’s lean, free from saturated fat and sodium, and high in protein? Legumes!

Not only can plant-based protein go head-to-head with animal proteins, choosing plant-based proteins might be the better choice overall. A 2016 study conducted by the University of Copenhagen revealed that those who consumed meals made from legumes felt fuller for a longer period of time. Not only that, participants in the study who consumed a legume-based meal rather than a meat-based meal were shown to consume 12 to 13 percent fewer calories during the next meal. So, go ahead and give that pea protein a try.

Image source: Mintybear/Shutterstock

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0 comments on “Is Protein From Meat Superior? Science Finally Settles the Debate”

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James Deen
1 Years Ago

It´s not just about the protein. Getting enough micronutrients is also very important in order to feel awesome. I use Athletic Greens to cover my daily needs. They use whole food sources, so I don´t have to be afraid of side effects. Check them out: http://bit.ly/2kNVtAN

1 Years Ago

Human being can live without meat, this is what I have experienced for over 30 years. Can\'t understand those who tell the contrary! I doubt their degree of knowledge!

1 Years Ago

Common sense is needed, not protein! Where our principles and humanism are? And what about any alternative scientific point of view?

1 Years Ago

I am in the process of going vegan, taking it one step at a time because I WANT this to stick. I am finding that the meals I\'m cooking now do most definitely keep me full for much longer than a similar meat based meal, and they\'re just as tasty if not more so. My motivation isn\'t really for my health, although I know that will be of benefit, no, my motivation is complete and utter disgust at the way the food industry in general mistreat and abuse animals, and I want no part of it any more. I hadn\'t really thought of this "issue" whether one form of protein was superior to another and am pleased to find that is not the case.

Joe Bergin
10 Feb 2017

Good to know that you are going vegan, Nannima, and you are having positive experiences. I keep hearing vegans saying I wish I had changed sooner. Go for it full on now and, as you said, think of the animals. The sooner the better.

Jeff Biss
1 Years Ago

Like I say, people do not need meat, whatsoever. And, even more important, it is murder. That we consider ourselves moral obligates us to not harm and that means to end the holocaust that is the meat industry, unless it becomes a cell culture industry.


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