For a long time, there has been an on-going debate about if animal protein is better than plant protein or not. Many people have been vegetarians either for religious reasons or health reasons. For a long time it has been for religious reasons. This is because animals have life and to kill an animal to satisfy one’s own hunger is equal to murdering a human. Nowadays however, people are turning to vegetarianism for health reasons. Studies have shown that although it’s still good to take animal protein, it has to be balanced with a variety of other foods.
Protein is the only class of food that can’t be stored in our body and therefore, has to be broken down immediately. This is because protein is used in maintaining the body structure, the growth and repair of many parts of the body such as hair, nails and muscles.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are 20 different types of amino acids, which are classified as either essential or non-essential amino acids. The body can produce non-essential amino acids but the essential amino acids are to be obtained from our diet.
This is further subdivided into two types of sources of proteins; the complete source which contains all the essential amino acids and the incomplete source which doesn’t contain all the essential amino acids. The complete sources of protein include meat, fish and dairy. On the other hand, the incomplete sources of protein include beans, lentils and nuts.
There are other important nutrients found in animal food such as vitamin D and Zinc that aren’t found in plant food. But there are also other nutrients in plant that aren’t found in animal food.
Even in the animal kingdom, there are other species that are herbivores such as the horse and gorilla. Horses have sleek bodies which allow them to run fast. There have been studies which show that despite having the essential proteins, animal food also comes with damaging saturated fats which causes high rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Especially red meat and processed meat have been found to cause many of these health problems. On the other hand, plant based diet leads to leaner and healthier body.
Protein is needed more when a child is growing. At that stage of life, a child has to consume more amount of protein so as to maintain the body well and have normal growth of the different parts of the body. However, as an adult we only need protein to maintain the body and not for it’s growth. At that stage of life, when we are more focused on our studies or career, we need more of carbohydrates to give us the required energy to do our work. Of course this doesn’t exclude other classes of food.
The amount of protein for an adult has been recommended by The National Academy of Medicine for an adult to be a minimum of 0.8g per kilogram of body weight per day, or just over 7g for every 20pounds of body weight.
Also, we cannot deny that whether we eat any type of meat or don’t, we can’t do without vegetables and other non-animal foods such as grains and fruits. Therefore, it is very important to keep a balance diet. One can still eat meat but should include a variety of other types of foods. Milk is also another source of protein and many products can be made from it such as yogurt and cheese. Therefore as nature has provided us a variety of food products, it is important to be aware of not being dependent on only one type of food. Having a variety of food products everyday helps to ensure a better health and lifestyle.