Difference Between Plant Protein and Animal Protein

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Plant Protein and Animal Protein

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Do you know what is an essential component of our diet plan? Yes. That’s right, protein. No one misses the protein while planning the diet as it is of utmost importance. It plays a vital role in maintaining our health. It helps strengthen our bones, the immune system, cellular processes, hormones functioning, and growth & development of the body. Mainly, proteins work as the energy source for our daily activities.

Both animal-based and plant-based proteins are highly recommended and better for what they provide. It is difficult to choose the better between both. The amount of protein usable in our body is called protein bioavailability. If the protein is easily digestible it is considered to be highly bioavailable, and it is measured once it has entered our bloodstream after being proficiently absorbed in the small intestine. Animal and plant proteins are two of the three macronutrients.

Our body can’t make essential amino acids as it can easily create non-essential amino acids. The non–essential ones are the ones that our body can create, hence the name. Because protein synthesis necessitates the use of twenty-two amino acids, our bodies require an additional nine essential amino acids. As a result, when combined with the remaining nine essential amino acids, it completes the protein cycle and allows our bodies to function properly.

Along with all of this, the world faces the challenge of providing enough nutritious food for a growing population. The problem can be solved with a little dietary diversification, which is essential for managing the risk of climate-affected ecosystems and keeping ourselves flourishing with a good number of proteins.

Plant Protein Vs. Animal Protein 

As mentioned, above, we must add the essential nine to our diet to complete the protein cycle. It is well-known that animal-based proteins contain all nine amino acids and therefore it is called a complete protein source. And even some plant-based proteins are complete protein sources, and not all plants provide the same outcome. In such cases, of incomplete protein sources from the plant, the diet plans are mixed up to fulfil the requirement.

It is undebatable to choose a better one as both fulfil the duty of forming the protein cycle and giving us more than that. It helps recover our sore bones and muscles after a workout and/or long day. But as much as it is advantageous to us, it can also be harmful if taken in the wrong combination. 

Check with a professional nutritionist or dietician if you are having problems with the combination you are trying. Take notes on what he/she recommends is best for you, follow through for a month, and schedule a follow-up meeting to determine if what you tried is best or if you can do better.

Let’s dive in deep and know all the differences there is about plant protein and animal protein.

Difference between Plant Protein and Animal Protein in Tabular form

Parameters Animal Protein Plant Protein
Amino Acids It contains all nine amino acids. Hence, the name is a complete protein. Plant proteins are often, but not always, incomplete sources of protein.
Sources Sources such as seafood, poultry, white meat, red meat, eggs, etc. Sources like fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, leafy green, etc.
Anabolic Great for muscle gains. Many trainers or nutritionists recommend meat for muscle gains. Plant proteins are good for muscle gain.
Dietary It contains nutrients but also cholesterol and saturated fats. It contains phytonutrients, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Antioxidants Low in Antioxidants. High in Antioxidants
Economical Generally, expensive. Generally, cost-effective.
Life span Unsustainable for the long term. Environmentally sustainable for the long term.
Ecosystem Not so good for the ecosystem. Very efficient for the ecosystem.
Bioavailability Highly digestible. Comparatively less digestible.
Uremic Higher amount of uraemia. A lower amount of uraemia.
Lactose-Free No Yes
Vegan No Yes

What is Plant Protein? 

Plant proteins are the most convenient and resourceful. They are available to us at a lower cost compared to animal protein. These proteins are sustainable for the long term as agriculture would never cease to exist. 

The help we get from plant protein is healthier as there are lots of nutrients, calcium, fibre, potassium and fewer calories and they contain many antioxidants. The antioxidant we get from various plants like beetroot, guava, tomato, carrot and so on; helps in balancing free-radical which in turn protects the chain of damaging cells. 

The nutrients we get from peanuts, almonds, and potatoes support our health by reducing the risk of heart strokes, and diabetes, lowering our cholesterol, fighting illness and building our well–being. The calcium consumed from such a diet helps build strong bones and maintain them as they are, even helps for fighting cancer, and it is heart-healthy. 

In plant-based protein, there is one antioxidant that tackles ageing through the intestines and circulatory system and that protein is called Glutathione. It is a mixture of three amino acids and is considered the most dominant and essential antioxidant in our body. 

Plants have very less amount of uremic toxins and harbors saccharolytic bacteria which helps in keeping our kidneys away from threatening diseases and even death. 

It is strongly advised that you consume more plant-based protein than animal-based protein in your diet. Because plant proteins are healthier, rich in antioxidants and vitamins, contain fewer uremic toxins, and contain less Heme iron, it demonstrates how useful they can be when consumed correctly and in the right combination, you can have a full protein diet.

According to a survey, people who prefer plant protein live longer lives than people who prefer animal protein. Many severe diseases are cured by plant proteins, allowing us to live long and prosperous life.

Cooking method:

These play a vital role in serving the right number of proteins. There is no protein loss when cooked wrong, but the vitamins are easily lost. Boiling, steaming and simmering are pretty common ways of cooking which give better results. But dry–frying works best for plant-based protein. It controls fat levels and allows the level of oil not suitable for deep – frying. Overall, the frying doesn’t have much impact but for something like potatoes if fried longer the dietary fibre content is increased. 

Plants Protein source: 

  • Legumes: - (Crabs & proteins) Garbanzo beans, Tofu, Tempeh, Black Beans, Peas.
  • Vegetables & Greens: - (Crabs & proteins) Carrots, Broccoli, Peppers, Potatoes, Arugula Kale. 
  • Nuts & Seeds: - (Fats & proteins) Flax seeds, Hemp seeds, Cashews, Walnuts, Peanut butter, Tahini. 
  • Whole Grains: - (Crabs & proteins) Oats, Rice, Buckwheat, Rye, Whole wheat, Quinoa, Tortilla. 
  • Fruits: - (Carbs) Pineapple, Bananas, Apples, Berries, Mango.  

What is Animal Protein? 

Animal proteins are the one that is the complete protein source. They complete the protein cycle by adding all the remaining nine amino acids to our diet plan. Animal-based proteins are far richer in protein than plant-based proteins. But they are not as resourceful as plant-based proteins and are not even sustainable for the long term. 

Heme iron is primarily absorbed from animal-based proteins such as fish, red meat, and shellfish, whereas non-Heme iron is absorbed from plants. The iron absorbed from Heme is approximately 15 - 30%, while non-Heme absorbs 5 - 20%.

Animal-based proteins are helpful for the recovery of sore muscles and joints. And if consumed just the right amount, it can also be helpful for type 2 diabetes and lower the risk of colorectal, stomach and prostate cancer. 

A study shows that eating both processed and unprocessed red meat causes early death. Avoid eating red meat, whether processed or unprocessed, because both have 13 and 20% early death rates, respectively. They are also less nutritious but highly digestible, so their bioavailability is higher.

Animals have a higher amount of uremic toxins and harbors proteolytic bacteria which have appalling effects on the kidney. Limitations when consuming animal-based protein include not eating too much of anything and, more importantly, limiting your consumption of red meat.

To maintain our diet and to completely consume the protein we require; lots of animals are being killed and butchered alive. The animal welfare act is being used against the large animal protein industry to increase productivity and efficiency so that fewer animals are needed to produce more protein. All this is to increase the sustainability of animals for a longer time. Also, animal protein has many bad effects on our health for some it even causes early death. 

Cooking method: 

In the case of animal-based protein, the various cooking method does not show any significant alteration in protein value. However, the value of protein changes when the meat is overcooked or cooked at a higher temperature for a longer period. The beneficial fat content is lost, solubility is decreased, and protein molecules clump together. Broiling, grilling and roasting work better for meat and poultry products. 

Animal protein sources: 

  • Eggs and white eggs.
  • Dairy products: - milk, yoghurt and cheese. 
  • Seafood: - shellfish, salmon, tuna, sardines and herring.
  • White meat: - chicken and turkey breast. 
  • Red meat: - pork, beef and lamb.

Main Difference between Plant Protein and Animal Protein in Points

  • The first and main difference is that the plant protein is a non–complete protein, whereas the animal is the complete protein source. 
  • Animal proteins are anabolic, which means they are good for muscle growth. Plant proteins are comparatively less good than animal proteins for muscle growth. 
  • People who consume plant protein live a healthier lifestyle than those who consume animal protein exclusively. 
  • Content like saturated fats and cholesterol is more in animal-based diets and less in plant-based diets. 
  • Even though plant protein does not contain all the amino acids, it is rich in nutrients and fibre, whereas animal protein is rich in iron. 
  • Eating many processed animal proteins can cause harm to our health so much as one can die of heart failure. No such harm in the consumption of any plant-based protein. 
  • Animal protein is not sustainable for the long term in the ecosystem, but plant proteins are sustainable and convenient. 
  • Everyone uses different cooking methods, but there is only a slight difference in each way the food is prepared. 
  • The most important precaution would be to avoid overheating the food.
  • Animals are being killed for animal protein but that’s not the case for plant protein. 
  • Many animals dying can cause the ecosystem to lose balance for future generations, whereas farming can be continuous progress or slightly less progress, but it will always be continued, so there is no need to be concerned about plant protein.


The source of protein is more important than the amount of protein you consume. The right amount of protein - whether it might be an animal protein or plant protein - might just help you in the long run. But intake of excess protein might cause many health problems. Such as diabetes, cancer, and high cholesterol, which results in obesity and further, due to obesity, more such health issues take place.

Minerals like iron and zinc are heat-stable; hence, cooking at any temperature will not affect the quantity or availability of minerals in plants or animals. Making use of iron cookware would be beneficial because it increases the dietary iron content in the food.

The average intake of protein should be 12-24g. However, it can vary from person to person depending on their age, physicality, activity level and medical conditions.

If there is a partition between vegetarian and non – vegetarian, then the non – vegetarian must be aware of how much red meat he/she must consume as it may be rich in proteins but it is as harmful to cardiovascular diseases. And for those who are vegetarian make sure you make a diet plan of particular protein-based food that completely fulfils the need for the protein cycle.

Although, whatever you end up choosing make sure you follow a diet which is full of nutrients, iron, and antioxidants. Understanding the difference between the protein contents is important for the one who wants to lead a healthy lifestyle.


  • https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/best-protein.html#:~:text=Animal%20proteins%2C%20such%20as%20meat,the%20highest%2Dquality%20protein%20sources.
  • https://www.popsci.com/plant-protein-healthier/


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"Difference Between Plant Protein and Animal Protein." Diffzy.com, 2024. Tue. 16 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-plant-protein-and-animal-protein-1051>.

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