Are all proteins equal?
Will pea proteins have the same punch as meat?
These are questions I’m asked frequently as people turn to veganism and vegetarianism as dietary options. Some are driven by environmental and ethical concerns and others are trying to choose what they believe to be healthy options.
I don’t pretend to be an expert on environmental and ethical issues and don’t have any argument on that level, but I can categorically reply that, when it comes to health, animal protein is by far superior to plant protein. There’s really no health reason at all to eliminate grass fed, healthy beef from your diet.
Choosing a plant-based diet for health reasons alone is incorrect because it’s not the healthiest choice and will likely cause nutrient deficiencies that are impossible, inconvenient and costly to properly correct with supplementation.
That said, meat from a sick, grain fed, overweight animal that is full of antibiotics and hormones, will likely make us sick too if we consume it so I always recommend good quality, pasture raised, grass fed livestock which is so easy to purchase now in supermarkets and butchers.
It's also about choosing wisely and cooking it in a healthy way. I’m not talking about McDonald’s hamburgers here or deep-fried chicken. Nor do I recommend char grilled meat on a barbecue which is detrimental to health in so many ways but roasted, baked, lightly fried or grilled is perfectly fine.
Vegans and vegetarians tend to have insufficient amounts of Vitamin B12, zinc, Omega 3 fats and Iron. All these nutrients are easily obtained in animal products. Eliminating a food group doesn’t make your diet healthy – a vegetarian can eat coco pops and cakes all day, after all.
It’s important to really examine what you’re eating and not focus only on what you’re NOT eating. There’s a tendency for people following plant diets to think more about what they don’t eat, and this sets up lifelong diet issues.
But, back to meat which is the premium source of protein and Omega 3 fats, iron and zinc. As we get older, our requirement for protein increases because it’s crucial for building muscle and aging accelerates muscle wastage. Assimilating sources of protein from plants will accelerate the aging process much faster, likely increase your body fat percentage and your insulin levels.
Pea protein is simply no match from good quality animal protein.