In this video Dr. Barker explains the biochemical differences between plant protein vs animal protein and the differences in utilization by the body.
No, this isn't another video telling you what and how you should eat! It's more about how the different types of protein are absorbed by the body.
First off, a bit of background. All the foods we eat are comprised of 3 main macronutrients - fat, carbohydrate and protein. We need each of these to maintain our health.
If we look at foods from a natural standpoint, where they originate, we can see that carbohydrates tend to be packaged all by themselves when found in nature - most fruits, grains and veggies are primarily comprised of carbs - think of an apple, broccoli, or even wheat and the foods made from it (pasta, bread, bagels, cookies, crackers, etc) are all mostly carbohydrates.
However, protein and fat tend to come packaged together - nuts and seeds are mainly comprised of fat and protein, as are most animal products - steak, chicken, pork, etc.
You can of course get protein from only plants - but it's just a bit harder to do. That's because of the 20 amino acids that we need to form our own bodily proteins, plant foods tend to be 'incomplete' proteins, meaning they don't contain all 20 amino acids. You can, however combine different plant foods to get the 20 amino acids.
Animal protein is always a complete protein - no need to combine other foods to make this happen. They contain the 11 non-essential amino acids and the 9 essential aminos (essential means we have to get them from diet, as our body cannot manufacture them by itself).
So, what is the best protein? It's the one that works best for your body!
You see, there is no perfect diet. There are many, many conflicting studies about the virtues of animal protein vs plant protein. If one digs into the science, all manner of negative and positive studies about plant based protein vs animal based protein can be found.
From a purely biochemical standpoint, animal proteins are more bioavailable, meaning it's absorbed with greater efficiency - the amino acids found in animal proteins are more easily assimilated into the body and incorporated into our own protein stores.
Plant protein on the other hand is less efficiently absorbed (less bioavailable) - that doesn't mean it's less healthy, it just means that when it comes to animal protein vs plant protein absorption, animal protein gets 'more miles to the gallon', so to speak than does plant protein.
If you're looking for a great protein supplement, we love Thorne VeganPro Complex- it's a plant-based protein that is super tasty and full of extra nutrients like vitamins, minerals and plant extracts. We wouldn't promote it unless it tastes great and makes us feel awesome!
Watch the video for all the details on plant protein vs animal protein and how they're absorbed!