NutritionFacts.org

plant protein

The source of the protein we eat (plant vs. animal) matters to our health because food is a package deal. Plant protein, unlike animal protein, naturally contains healthy nutrients thought to extend our lifespan, significantly reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer, boost our immune system, and prevent/treat rheumatoid arthritis. Plant-based diets may also prevent both age-related weight gain and premature puberty (see also here). Gluten is a healthy source of plant protein for 99% of Americans. Beans, including lentils, are another excellent plant protein source. Even processed meat-free “meats” are better for our health than animal protein (see, for example a comparison between chicken and cholesterol-free plant protein chicken). And the new USDA Guidelines (MyPlate) recognize plant protein, including soy, as healthy alternatives to animal protein.

Topic summary contributed by Elizabeth Stolle.
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Watch videos about plant protein

  • Protein and Heart Disease
    Protein and Heart Disease
    Why is the intake of animal protein associated with heart disease--even independent of saturated fat—and the intake of plant protein protective?
  • Paleolithic Lessons
    Paleolithic Lessons
    An evolutionary argument for a plant-based diet is presented, in contrast to "paleo" fad diets.
  • Too Much Soy May Neutralize Benefits
    Too Much Soy May Neutralize Benefits
    Vegans consuming 7-18 servings of soy foods a day may end up with circulating IGF-1 levels comparable to those who eat meat.
  • Animalistic Plant Proteins
    Animalistic Plant Proteins
    While animal proteins increase levels of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1, and most plant proteins bring levels down, "high quality" plant proteins such as soy may not significantly affect...
  • Higher Quality May Mean Higher Risk
    Higher Quality May Mean Higher Risk
    The reason animal proteins trigger the release of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1 more than plant proteins may be because the relative ratios of amino acids in animal proteins more closely...
  • Protein Intake & IGF-1 Production
    Protein Intake & IGF-1 Production
    Animal protein consumption triggers the release of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1.
  • Cattlemen’s Association Has Beef With Study
    Cattlemen’s Association Has Beef With Study
    Meat consumption is not only associated with weight gain, but specifically abdominal obesity, which is the most metabolically concerning.
  • The Best Way to Boost Serotonin
    The Best Way to Boost Serotonin
    The secret to naturally boosting serotonin levels in the brain may include eating foods such as pumpkin seeds with a high tryptophan to total protein ratio. This may help explain why studies show...
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