The Difference Between Animal- & Plant-Based Protein Snacks
Protein is a vital part of our daily needs, so naturally, grocery store aisles are lined with protein drinks, protein bars, and other protein-packed meals. But what’s the difference between animal-based and plant-based protein snacks? And how do you know which options are ideal for you?
Understanding how protein works in your body and the differences between animal-based and plant-based protein snacks can help you better meet your own dietary needs and achieve your individual health goals.
Let’s take a look at what protein is, how it can directly affect your everyday health, and what you need to know about animal- versus plant-based protein snacks.
What Is Protein?
Protein is an essential macronutrient that your body needs to perform everyday tasks and to grow. According to Healthline, 20% of the human body — from your muscles, to your bones, to your skin, to your hair — is made up of protein. However, your body doesn’t create its own protein, nor is it able to store protein you consume.
All the protein you need — which, the National Academy of Medicine says, is just over seven grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight — must come from either animal or plant-based sources. A 140-pound person, for example, would need 50 grams of protein a day.
To decide whether animal- or plant-based protein snacks are the right choice for you, you’ll need to consider the health benefits of each.
Health Benefits of Animal vs. Plant Protein
There are over 10,000 types of proteins in your body, and each one is made up of a combination of amino acids. The human body needs 20 of these amino acids to function, and nine of them can’t be produced on their own.
Medical News Today classifies animal proteins as “complete” because they contain all nine of the amino acids that humans cannot create on their own. Most plant proteins, on the other hand, are incomplete because they generally don’t contain all nine.
Animal protein may seem like the best bang for your buck since you can get all your amino acids in one place. But as a recent Harvard study determined, it’s not always that simple.
When we eat protein, we also consume a variety of other nutrients. Animal protein, for example, tends to be more abundant in vitamin B12, vitamin D, and zinc, but it also contains more fat and cholesterol. For instance, a sirloin steak may contain 33 grams of protein, but it also contains five grams of saturated fat.
Plant-based protein snacks, on the other hand, may not contain all the necessary amino acids, but they do contain fiber — something our bodies need that animal proteins do not provide. Lentils, for example, contain 18 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber, and no saturated fat or sodium.
Risks of Meat-Based Protein
Because of the increased amounts of fat and cholesterol found in animal protein, especially processed meats, several studies have linked meat consumption to increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
A plant-based diet, on the other hand, has been linked to lowered levels of Type 2 diabetes, decreased risk of stroke, and a reduced likelihood of dying from heart disease, according to WebMD.
Plant-Based Protein Snacks
Adopting a diet that contains a variety of plant-based protein snacks can help you meet your amino acid needs and adopt the benefits of a plant-based diet. Foods like tofu and hummus make quick and easy plant-based protein snacks and contain several vital vitamins and nutrients you won’t find in animal protein.
Snacks like our Pig Out Pigless Pork Rinds can help you get the most out of your plant-based protein snacks with plenty of nutrients and without all the fat and sodium. Each bag contains 25 grams of plant-based protein and a variety of delicious flavors like Texas BBQ and Salt & Vinegar.
The human body needs protein to survive, and how you get your protein can affect your health in a variety of ways. Knowing the difference between animal- and plant-based protein snacks can help you better understand how each affects your body and ultimately reach your individual health goals.Check out Outstanding Foods for more tasty plant-based protein snacks!