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Plant or animal proteins?

Which are worth limiting?

What is a protein?

It is an amazing nutrient. It performs many important tasks – it creates muscle tissue, organs and connective tissue, and regenerates them when necessary (which is in fact always). Protein is essential for metabolism and digestion. It contributes to the production of antibodies that keep us alive, protecting us from ubiquitous germs. It helps in generating energy. Protein also forms protective structures such as skin, hair and nails.

Proteins are molecules that are made up of many amino acids. There are 20 in total. Our body can produce 12 on its own, which means that the remaining 8 must be obtained from the environment, i.e. from food. [1]

8 reasons why we need protein

Proteins are an essential ingredient responsible not only for building muscles, but also for the functioning of all cells and tissues throughout the body, including skin, hair, bones and blood. Proteins also play a key role in many biological processes in the body as enzymes or antibodies to help fight infection. [2]

  1. It is a source of energy

Although the body usually prefers to get energy from carbohydrates and fats, when the supply of these ingredients is low, the body takes amino acids from the blood and body tissues (unfortunately, for example, from muscles). It is also worth remembering that the surplus of amino acids can be used to obtain energy, it can be excreted or transformed and stored as fat.

  1. Supports the transport and storage of nutrients

Protein plays an important role in the transport of nutrients and molecules throughout the body. A perfect example of this is hemoglobin, which carries oxygen around the body in the blood.

  1. Supports the functioning of the immune system

Whenever the body is exposed to viruses or pathogenic bacteria, the immune system uses proteins called antibodies to attack and destroy potentially harmful substances. Antibodies, also called immunoglobulins, also activate and work with other cells of the immune system to destroy external factors, helping the body to prevent infection and disease. [3]

  1. Affects body fluid balance

Protein is the main component responsible for the balance of body fluids, and therefore for maintaining the water cycle in the body. Too low levels of albumin – the most abundant protein in the blood, lower the osmotic pressure, which causes the body fluids to accumulate in the tissue. Then an edema forms, which can cause swelling and tissue damage. [4,5]

  1. Helps you not to overeat

The presence of more protein in the intestine increases the feeling of fullness. [6]

  1. Wound healing and regeneration

You probably have seen more than once that after cutting the skin, the wound becomes red and inflamed? This is indicative of a tissue defense response. Proteins play an extremely important role in the process of wound healing. For example, Coagulation usually starts the process of stopping bleeding, and as the remodeling progresses, collagen builds up in the form of a scar. [7]

In turn, tissue regeneration involves the formation of new cells in place of the dying tissue. Some tissues, such as skin, hair and intestinal epithelium, regenerate faster, and others, such as nervous tissue, more slowly. [8] Tissue regeneration requires the presence of many different types of protein, including enzymes, proteins transport, hormones and structural proteins. This process is very important in the stages of growth and development, such as pregnancy (which is why we can often see mums-to-be eat pumpkin or sunflower seeds), childhood and adolescence. [9]

  1. It is the building block of our tissues

From the physiological point of view, protein is a building block of our tissues, including, of course, muscle and connective tissue. It is also one of the key nutrients, the appropriate amounts of which largely determine the building of muscle mass. It is worth knowing that any physical effort damages the muscle fibers, which then have to be rebuilt. The result of the reconstruction is the strengthening and thickening of these fibers, thanks to which, over time – muscle growth and improvement of physical parameters occurs.

  1. Affects mobility

It is also worth knowing that from around the age of 50 in humans, the muscles of the skeletal system gradually begin to decline and its functioning deteriorates. This phenomenon is called sarcopenia and usually results in weakness, deterioration of general fitness and therefore an increased risk of falls. [10]

Therefore, it is important to adhere to the recommended daily protein intake, as well as to maintain regular activity early enough to maintain muscle mass, strength and fitness also when you are in the 50+ age group.

Research into protein and human-health

In 1998, the Journal of Nutrition published a report on the effects of meat consumption on bone health. Scientists found: “Different types of protein in the diet have different acid concentrations and therefore different acid-forming potential. A diet rich in protein that leaves behind an acid ash causes an excessive loss of calcium in the body. ‘ According to the authors of the study, eating large amounts of fruit and vegetables reduces the production of acids and ammonia, inhibiting the loss of calcium.

The source of these problems is mainly protein of animal origin. Although vegetables contain this ingredient, we would have to eat a whole container of kale to overdo it with vegetable protein. When we talk about unsafe levels of protein in the diet, we almost always mean meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs. The dangers arise not only from the presence of the protein itself, but also from the compounds that accompany it.

People rightly say that from the very beginning of our species, man has been eating meat. Thanks to him, we developed and became strong. We love meat. Why should we suddenly fear him? The problem is that our ancestors first had to hunt the game, kill it and bring it home. It wasn’t easy. Meat was rare on the caveman’s diet. In fact, sometimes our ancestors had nothing to eat at all. Also remember that ancestors lived to only thirty. They did not care about their future health, they cared more about surviving to the next day.

What we get, with the predominance of meat and fish in the diet – a few facts.

Certainly essential amino acids, iron, some enzymes, B vitamins, and fat. Besides, after such a meal we are full. So much for the advantages. There are more disadvantages – it is not only about increased acidity due to the action of large amounts of protein, but also about the negative impact on the body of many other chemical compounds. The animals that should graze in the pastures are fed grain because it is cheaper. For this reason, we get too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3. Today, when we reach for meat, we also get hormones that are given to animals to maximize the amount of the product obtained. We eat garbage of unknown origin, which is added to the feed to reduce its costs. We eat antibiotics that are injected into the animals or fed in the feed to increase their weight and make sure they live through the day they end up at the slaughterhouse. We also eat genetically modified corn and other grains that are fed to animals. This is modern meat – a product completely different from what we ate just two generations ago. Historically, scientists believed that the saturated fat in meat was responsible for most of the health problems. They are undoubtedly one of the main sources of cholesterol, and when we eat animal fats our blood becomes visibly thicker. Today, however, we know that the bacteria accompanying these fats are also a source of concern. A few hours after eating meat, our blood fills with endotoxins – a poison that activates the immune system.

Experts now believe that saturated fat increases the porosity of the gut lining, leading to leaky gut syndrome. As a result, the bacteria spread from the digestive system (where they belong) into the bloodstream (where they shouldn’t be).

We are talking about very resistant microbes. In a 2010 study report in the British Journal of Nutrition, we read: “After eating fatty foods, the human body develops a slight systemic transient inflammatory reaction.” The toxins found in meat are “very resistant to cooking temperature and to low pH and contact with proteases” (enzymes involved in metabolic processes). In other words, we are dealing with very viable microorganisms and they are not impressed by heat treatment. The very fact that our immune system responds to animal protein should give us food for thought. After all, we generally eat animal products three times a day for several dozen years.

Merely forgoing animal products will not make you properly nourished. You have to eat wisely. Active people who eat more protein can consume vegan protein powder. First, because it is not made from whey, you don’t have to worry about lactose. Most people who are intolerant to this protein are not even aware of it. The source of vegan protein is, among others peas, oats, spirulina, chlorella, broad beans, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds and other plants.

All these foods are not as rich in protein as meat, but a small amount of protein from many different sources creates an excellent amino acid profile that is more bioavailable than meat and free from harmful additives. In this way, we can take care of the immune system and the ability to eliminate toxins reaching our body. Therefore, it is worth remembering about products that favor the work of the liver and kidneys.

How much protein does our body need?

The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults receive at least 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day. [11] Active people (both Zumba fans and gym exercisers) usually need more protein – 1.2 to 2.0 g per kilogram of body weight per day. The specific amount of protein each time depends on the type of training and the duration and intensity of the exercise. [12]

How can Thrivebe help you deliver protein for you?

If you’re looking for a high-protein snack, ThriveShake contains 20g of protein, only 150 calories per serving, and vegan EAAs including 7.1g BCAAs per 100g plus enzymes and much more.

On the other hand, if you need a high-protein meal, or you are a busy person, ThriveFood will provide nearly 400 kcal per serving, including 34 g of protein, an enzyme complex, lutein, Coenzyme Q10 and if you want see more here.

It is worth emphasizing that for your convenience, the products ThriveShake, ThriveFood combine a variety of plant protein sources in one meal to give you the complete EAA profile, including BCAAs. Additionally, they are only vegan products.

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The content of is for informational and educational purposes only and the information contained therein does not constitute medical advice, nor the opinion of a pharmacist, doctor or dietitian. The material describes substances on the basis of publicly available publications, research and materials found on the Internet, books and the press. The material is not a presentation or description of a dietary supplement or any other product containing the above-mentioned ingredients. We make every effort to ensure that the information contained in it is accurate, true and complete, however, we are not responsible for the results of actions taken based on it.

  1. Voet D and Voet JG. Biochemistry Vol 1, 3rd ed. Wiley: Hoboken, NJ; 2004.
  2. Freitas Jr and Robert A. Nanomedicine. Landes Bioscience: Georgetown, Texas; 1999.
  3. Libretexts. Antibody Proteins and Antigen Binding. Date Accessed: 14th July 20 [Available from:]
  4. Scallan J, et al. Capillary Fluid Exchange: Regulation, Functions, and Pathology. Morgan & Claypool Life Science: San Rafael, CA; 2010.
  5. Cardiovascular Physiology Concepts. Richard E. Klabunde, PhD. Hydrostatic and Oncotic Pressures. Date Accessed: 14/07/20 [Available from:]
  6. Batterham RL, et al. Critical role for peptide YY in protein-mediated satiation and body-weight regulation. Cell Metabolism. 2006; 4(3):223-33.
  7. Gonzalez ACdO, et al. Wound healing – A literature review. An Bras Dermatol. 2016; 91(5):614-20.
  8. Pennsylvania State University. Protein’s Functions in the Body. Date Accessed: 14/07/20 [Available from:]
  9. Alles MS, et al. Nutritional challenges and opportunities during the weaning period and in young childhood. Ann Nutr Metab. 2014; 64(3-4):284-93.
  10. Cruz-Jentoft AJ, et al. Sarcopenia. The Lancet. 2019; 393(10191):2636-46.
  11. National Academies of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients).
  12. 12.Jäger R, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2017; 14(1):20.