Animal Protein vs. Plant Protein: Which is More Sustainable for Your Health?
Protein is a vital component of our muscles, hair, nails, and collagen – a connective tissue protein that holds our bodies together! Protein is essential for immunity, & it’s needed to make our neurotransmitters, hormones, red blood cells, and DNA.
Each protein molecule is made up of amino acids. We can make some amino acids ourselves but there are 9 that the body cannot make, so they must be obtained from the diet. These are called essential amino acids, and our Chocolate Magic has all nine! Woohooo!
It is proven that a plant-based diet provides more than enough protein and all the essential amino acids in sufficient amounts. The research below is provided by a Plant Based News article written by a vegan biologist. Please see the original article for a full list of scientific sources.
Plant protein is great for the heart. If you swap plant for animal protein, it lowers your risk of heart disease, decreases cholesterol, decreases fat in your blood, and keeps blood vessels healthy. A whole-food, plant-based diet supports a healthy heart & circulation.
Insulin-like growth factor 1 is a growth hormone naturally produced by your liver, vital to childhood growth, and stimulates cell growth & reproduction in adults. IGF-1 also promotes cancer cell growth and that’s why increased IGF-1 levels can be dangerous. Scientists say that whey proteins from dairy products cause a rise in insulin, IGF-1, and growth hormone levels in the human body. The association between IGF-1 and cancer is the strongest for prostate cancer, and there is substantial evidence for the same mechanism and breast cancer.
Plant protein doesn’t stimulate these changes and vegans have been found to have significantly lower levels of IGF-1 than meat-eaters.
We have billions of bacteria in our guts. They help us process food. These bacteria are also called gut microbiome. They influence our immunity, gut health, inflammation, and energy levels. Some are beneficial, but some can produce toxic by-products.
Animal products rich in protein and fat promote the ‘bad’ bacteria that release toxins into our bloodstream. Some of these bacteria use a meat compound – carnitine – as an energy source and produce trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) as a waste product. TMAO is a dangerous substance that stimulates the build-up of cholesterol plaques in your blood vessels. Regular meat intake increases your risk of heart disease through yet another mechanism.
Plant whole foods, rich in plant protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates feed the good bacteria that have a positive effect on our health. Vegan diets can keep your gut wall strong and healthy, leading to lower levels of body inflammation & a stronger immune system.
Protein, Kidneys, and Bone Health
Kidneys filter and remove waste products from the blood and excrete them in urine. If we eat holistic foods that don’t put an extra strain on them, they work well. Animal protein can make them work hard and it may result in a reduced filtration capacity. If we overload them daily, there’s a higher chance we develop kidney disease.
Data from a study spanning over 23 years suggest that animal protein from red and processed meat in particular seriously increases the risk of kidney disease later in life. The same study also revealed that plant protein from pulses (lentils, chickpeas, beans) and nuts has the opposite effect – it lowers the risk and seems to have a kidney-protective effect.
Many scientific reviews agree that plant-based diets significantly lower the risk of kidney disease and can potentially halt the degree of damage in people with compromised kidney health.
At every meal, you have the opportunity to choose if you are fueling your body with nutrient-dense food or substances that can compromise your bodily functions… temporarily or permanently.
As scientific research shows, there are consequences of consuming animal protein, and we encourage you all to dive into some research to find more truths. The information above is just scratching the surface of how plant-based protein is sustainable for your health!