Are all Proteins the same?

These days it is very common to hear the debate, “Are vegan/Vegetarian sources of protein the same as Meat or Whey Proteins?” the answer to this marvelous topic is no… but that does not mean that vegan or vegetarian sources of protein are not a sufficient protein source.

Proteins are Amino Acids (AA), and AA are broken down into Essential Amino Acids (EAA) and Non-Essential Amino Acids (NEAA). EAA are just proteins that the body cannot produce on its own, so they must be ingested; however, NEAA can be created within the body and does not need to be supplied by an external substance (whether it be food or a supplement).

Keep in mind, I am NOT a Registered Dietitian. The main reason one protein source may be better than another is the leucine content within the protein source itself. Leucine is the building block AA for building muscle, and the leading source for this particular AA is whey protein, followed by a cassein protein, and after a significant drop off, soy. For vegetarians, you can still take in milk products and get that whey source of protein, but for vegans, you may struggle to get a high amount of leucine from your diet.

The Good News:

You can still intake a high amount of leucine, you would just need to be eating a much higher amount of the vegan sources (soy, quinoa, buckwheat, rice and beans) than you would need to if you were taking in a whey source instead

Furthermore, you can also supplement this AA through taking any type of Amino Acid supplement, which will give you all nine of the EAA including a sufficient amount of leucine.

To Conclude:

It may be a bit more inconvenient to only consume plant animal-based protein sources because of the leucine content within the protein source; however, if consumed in a high enough amount, you can find all nine EAA and get a sufficient amount of leucine from a mixture of an Amino Acid Supplement and plant-based protein sources.

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