Animal vs Plant Proteins
Traditionally, animal proteins have always been considered more superior than plant proteins. This led to the unfortunate and persistent thinking that we must consume animal flesh, fish or eggs to prevent protein deficiency. But study has found this to be untrue. Vegetarians aren’t in any way more protein-starved than their meat-eating counterparts.
paper published in 2002, John McDougall, MD, concluded that “it is impossible to design an amino acid–deficient diet based on the amounts of unprocessed starches and vegetables sufficient to meet the calorie needs of humans.”According to a
Of course, the emphasis here are unprocessed foods and eating enough to meet your caloric needs. If you’re a vegetarian who eats predominantly highly refined foods and is half-starving most of the time, it’s possible to end up lacking not just in proteins but also other nutrients.
Some people may argue that animal sources of proteins give us essential amino acids that can’t be found in plants.
As illustrated by Dr. McDougall’s study, this, again, is not true. Furthermore, the distinction between essential and non-essential amino acids is also increasingly blurred as more discoveries are made about proteins . As it turns out, we now know that under certain circumstances we can also become deficient in the so-called non-essential amino acids in the same way we can become deficient in essential amino acids.
For instance, people with malabsorption syndromes, certain metabolic disease, or lacking in vitamin B6, may not produce enough non-essential amino acids such as cysteine to meet their bodily requirements.
Now that we’ve cleared the air about proteins, let’s look at some non-dairy, whole foods that are high in protein!
This table shouldn’t come as a surprise. Chicken, duck, turkey, beef, lamb and pork are all food rich in protein.
|Chicken breast with skin, roasted||1/2 breast (98g)||29.20|
|Turkey breast with skin, roasted||100g||28.71|
|Beef, bottom round, 1/8" trim fat, braised||3 oz ( 85g)||27.85|
|Pork, sirloin , boneless, broiled||3 oz (85g)||25.94|
|Pork, spareribs, braised||3 oz (85g)||24.70|
|Beef, top sirloin, 1/8" trim fat, broiled||3 oz (85g)||22.92|
|Lamb, composite of retail cuts, 1/8" trim fat, cooked||3 oz (85g)||21.68|
|Duck with skin, roasted||100g||18.99|
|Chicken thigh with skin, roasted||1 thigh (62g)||15.54|
|Chicken drumstick with skin, roasted||1 drumstick (52g)||14.06|
|Egg, white + yolk, hard-boiled||2 eggs (100g)||12.58|
Seafood is not just a rich source of protein, they also contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA and DHA. If you’re not allergic to sea creatures, don’t miss them out!
|Atlantic herring||1 fillet (143g)||32.93|
|Alaskan salmon (canned)||100g||30.70|
|Alaskan king crab||1 leg (134g)||25.93|
|Sardine, canned in tomato sauce||3 sardines (114g)||23.78|
|Atlantic mackerel||1 fillet (146g)||20.99|
|Shrimp||3 oz (85g)||19.36|
|Anchovy, canned in oil||1 can (2 oz)||13.00|
|Flatfish (flounder & sole species)||3 oz (85g)||12.95|
Beans and tofu are plant foods that are high in protein. If you’re sensitive to beans, you may find fermented beans like tempeh and natto more tolerable, and they are also equally rich in protein.
|Tofu, hard||1/2 block (244g)||30.94|
|Natto, used as is||100g||17.72|
|Durian, raw||2 fruits (1,204g)||17.70|
|Pumpkin & squash kernels, roasted||2 oz (56.70g)||16.92|
|Black beans, boiled||1 cup (172g)||15.24|
|Chickpeas, boiled||1 cup (164g)||14.53|
|Mung beans, boiled||1 cup (202g)||14.18|
|Sprouted soybeans, stir-fried||100g||13.10|
|Green soybeans, boiled||100g||12.35|
|Baked beans, canned||1 cup (254g)||12.07|
|Roasted mixed nuts (include peanuts)||1/2 cup (71g)||11.90|
|Winged beans, boiled||100g||10.62|
|Sunflower seeds, roasted||2 oz (56.70g)||10.96|
|Quinoa, cooked||1 cup (185g)||8.14|
|Spirulina, dried||2 tbsp (14g)||8.05|
|Soymilk, unfortified||1 cup (243g)||7.95|
|Avocado (Florida), raw||1 fruit (304g)||6.78|
|Wild rice, cooked||1 cup (164g)||6.54|
|Brown rice (long-grain), cooked||1 cup (195g)||5.03|
|White rice (long-grain), cooked||1 cup (158g)||4.25|
|Almond butter||1 tbsp ( 16g)||3.35|