Difference Between Plant-Based Protein and Animal-Based Protein
By Marc Gordon - May 9, 2022

Over the last decade, numerous conversations have been about alternatives to most of our protein sources, and for many reasons. Proteins are 22 amino acid macronutrients that are integral to forming the structural components of the body’s cells. This means that there are proteins in the hair, muscles, and even internal organs. The protein foods we consume should include at least 9 of the essentials. So what exactly are the dietary qualities that make one protein source better –or worse- than the other?

Table Summary

Animal-Based ProteinsPlant-Based Proteins
They are complete proteins.Do not contain all nine essential amino acids
100% of the proteins are digestibleOnly roughly 80% of the proteins are digestible
90% of the proteins are absorbedOnly 60-70% of the proteins are absorbed.
High in CholesterolHas little to no cholesterol
Low dietary fiber and antioxidantsHigh fiber and high antioxidants
Linked to severe health deficits over timeLinked to no severe diseases with prolonged consumption


According to the name, animal-based proteins are proteins sourced from animals such as meat, milk, cheese, fish, and eggs.

Plant-based proteins are sourced from numerous plant sources such as whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, vegetables, and even tubers like potatoes. Products from these sources may include milk or the plants themselves.

Plant-Based VS Animal-Based

Animal-Based proteins are usually known as the complete proteins because most of them contain all 9 essential amino acids that the body needs but can manufacture by itself. Vegans and vegetarians should mix their foods to ensure that it has all amino acids. However, animal proteins are usually low in fiber and high in saturated fat and cholesterol. The high fiber content of plant-based proteins makes them fully digestible and can help keep the body’s calories at a minimal level. Animal proteins have also been linked to numerous diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart problems, stroke, and cancer.