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Here’s the Verdict in the Plant vs. Animal Protein Showdown

Plant vs. Animal Protein

Dietitians and trainers have been debating plant vs. animal protein supremacy for decades. But what if both options fuel your weight loss goals, muscle gains, and active lifestyle in their own ways?

On a ketogenic diet, this nutrient-dense macronutrient nourishes your body when carbs are sparse and fat becomes energy. People who prioritize protein also score more lean body mass, boost bone density, and improve their strength and speed.[*

So let’s explore the science behind the pros and cons of each type to find the right protein source to help you dominate.

Animal Protein vs. Plant-Based Protein: The Basics

Unless you’re on a vegetarian or vegan diet, determining protein quality is more important than whether it’s animal or plant-based. High-quality proteins contain all your essential amino acids.[*]

Amino acids are the major structural component of your muscles and tissues.[*] Your body can make 11 of the 20 amino acids found in dietary protein. But since it can’t make the other nine, you must get them from high-protein foods.[*]

That’s why it’s more beneficial to separate your sources of protein not by where they come from but by whether they’re “complete” vs. “incomplete.” 

Complete Protein Sources Contain All 9 Essential Amino Acids

Animal products are considered complete proteins. You can find all your amino acids in animal-based protein sources like:

  • Red meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Game meat (venison, bison, elk)
  • Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck)
  • Organ meats 
  • Fish and seafood
  • Dairy products (cheese, yogurt, milk)
  • Eggs

The most popular animal-based protein supplements include whey protein (made from cow’s milk) and collagen protein (made from cow, pork, or fish sources).

Here’s the thing: plant-based protein sources can also be complete proteins. Quinoa, hemp seeds, buckwheat, and chia seeds contain all nine essential amino acids like animal protein sources.

Incomplete Proteins Lack At Least One Essential Amino Acid

There’s protein in plant-based foods like legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and vegetables. Unfortunately, most plant-based proteins are missing one or more essential amino acid, so they’re considered “incomplete.”[*]

You can “hack” incomplete proteins by combining two with dissimilar amino acid profiles to form a complete protein. For example, peas are high in the amino acid lysine but lack methionine. Grains are low in lysine but high in methionine. Nosh them together, and you’ll solve the essential amino acid jigsaw puzzle.[*]

Leveraging Plant vs. Animal Protein For Your Goals

We all have different mountains to conquer. And different types of protein may be better suited for your body’s needs and goals. So let’s compare plant vs. animal protein when it comes to:

Digestibility & Bioavailability 

What’s the difference between plant and animal foods regarding bioavailability? The easier your body can digest and put those amino acids to work, the better.[*]

Animal proteins have high bioavailability because their proportions of amino acids closely match what the human body needs. 

Whey protein offers rapid digestibility.[*] However, if you’re lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy, your stomach may rebel after this type of protein intake (cue the bloating and indigestion).

Plant protein digestibility can be a mixed bag. It’s good news for people with sensitive or lactose-averse stomachs. But a variety of plant protein sources also contain indigestible fiber, meaning it takes more work to absorb that protein.[*]

Muscle Gains

Your muscle-building prowess depends on having a sufficient amount of three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine, and valine.[*] BCAAs enhance muscle protein synthesis (MPS).[*]

Animal protein (especially whey protein) is the undisputed champion for building and maintaining muscle mass.[*] It delivers a complete amino acid profile, ensuring your muscles get the full repertoire for optimal growth, endurance, and recovery. 

Can you build muscle with plant protein? Only some plant-based food sources contain BCAAs, like quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, and brown rice. Yet, according to research, plant protein can be a potent ally in your quest for muscle growth:

  • Consuming whey or pea protein resulted in similar outcomes in overall body composition, muscle thickness, workout performance, and strength.[*]
  • There were no differences between two groups consuming either whey or rice protein for eight weeks; lean body mass, muscle mass, strength, and power all increased (while fat mass decreased).[*

Weight Loss

Eating the right amount of protein can spark weight loss because:

  • Protein keeps you satiated. It decreases hunger hormones and releases hormones that signal fullness (to help you avoid excess carbohydrates).[*]
  • Protein preserves lean muscle mass. Calorie deficits create the potential to lose fat and muscle. Eating enough protein ensures weight loss comes primarily from fat.[*] Plus, protein helps you build muscles, which burn more calories at rest.[*
  • Thermogenesis + ketosis = major fat burning. Protein has a higher thermogenic effect, so it takes more energy to digest and metabolize (and you’ll torch more calories doing so).

  • Clinical trials and studies demonstrate that any high-protein diet is a “successful strategy” to prevent or treat obesity, reduce body weight (specifically, fat mass loss), and preserve muscle.[*] They may even prevent weight regain after weight loss.[*

    Overall Health & Mortality Risks

    The Standard American Diet and a sedentary lifestyle have led to higher rates of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.[*] Active lifestyles and diets that limit sugar and processed foods can prevent and reverse these metabolic conditions.[*

    Animal foods bring essential nutrients like iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and healthy saturated fats to the table; plant-based whole foods are high in antioxidants and micronutrients. Together, they form the dream team of health benefits.

    Scientists believe the BCAAs in animal and plant protein are vital for regulating blood sugar, cholesterol, gut health, metabolism, and more.[*] A meta-analysis of 32 studies even revealed that a higher total protein intake was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality.[*

    The Hybrid Protein Approach (+ Keto Brick Solution)

    Unless you’re on a plant-based diet, why limit yourself to one kingdom? Combine the best of both worlds to cater to your palate and performance goals. 

    Researchers say incorporating plant and animal proteins empowers you to take advantage of the strengths of each type, boosting your results better than either protein could on its own.[*]

    Keto Brick: Built By Performers for Performers

    Protein is your ultimate ally for reaching and maintaining peak performance. Our Keto Bricks are shelf-stable performance bars with the perfect keto macros. 

    We use clean, gluten-free ingredients like raw, organic cacao butter, pure MCT powder, and ground flaxseed. Each Keto Brick packs at least 30 grams of protein thanks to:

  • Grass-fed and pastured whey protein. Our whey is processed using cold-water microfiltration technologies to retain the bioactive protein subfractions and reduce denaturation as much as possible. 
  • High-quality plant protein. No soy here! Pea and organic brown rice protein cover the amino acid spectrum while a digestive enzyme boosts bioavailability. 
  • The Winner of the Plant vs. Animal Protein Debate Is You

    Fueling up for a workout, embarking on an outdoor odyssey, or simply navigating the chaos of everyday life requires a readily accessible high-quality protein. Now it’s time to experiment, listen to your body’s signals, and evolve your routine.

    So whether you lean toward the primal power of animal proteins or embrace the might of plant-based, let Keto Brick make your choice a reflection of your commitment to conquering new heights.

    Treat yourself to the protein-packed delight of:

    🐄 Our unbeatable whey protein Keto Brick flavors: Banana Muffin, Milk 'N Cookies, Buttered Maple Pecan, Chocolate Malt, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup.

    🫛 Our unstoppable plant-based Keto Brick flavors: Coconut Cream, Toasted Almond Coconut, Original Mocha, and Peanut Butter.

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