Comparing animal proteins and vegetable proteins

ImageEarlier in the week we had a question from one of our participants regarding non-meat sources of protein. She said, “I need some plant-based ideas. Won’t tofu or other non-meat protein sources work?”

While we are not restricting our challenge to animal proteins and you are certainly allowed to choose non-meat sources of protein, understand that not all protein is created equal.

Lean meat proteins are the most efficient source of protein that we can eat. It’s the only source of vitamin B12, creatine, vitamin D3, carnosene, and DHA, all of which are very essential nutrients for human cognitive and regenerative function. If someone chooses to get their protein from non-meat sources, it’s crucial to supplement these nutrients in some form in order to maintain health.

Our main mission for this challenge is to steer ourselves away from developing metabolic syndrome, which is a collection of risk factors (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat) that can lead to serious diseases like heart failure, stroke, diabetes and cancer, to name a few. What research has shown recently is that a diet that increases and maintains blood sugar levels at a high level is what contributes most to those risk factors.

So what foods and conditions create and sustain the higher blood sugar levels? Overeating of any nutrient does, especially sugar and starchy carbohydrates.

When we look at plant-based proteins, what we find is that the proteins come with additional nutrients, like carbohydrates and, if they’re not processed out, varying amounts of fiber. Let’s look at a portion of skinless roast turkey breast vs. a portion of firm tofu vs. cooked lentils vs. cooked quinoa. All have the same amount of protein, about how much you need at a meal.


Roast   skinless turkey breast

Firm   tofu

Cooked   lentils

Cooked   quinoa


3 ounces

11 ounces

10 ounces

20.5 ounces







25.6   grams

25.6   grams

25.6   grams

25.6   grams


1.8 grams

13 grams

1 gram

11.2 grams


0 grams

5.25 grams

56.4 grams

124.9 grams


0 grams

2 grams

5 grams

10.4 grams


0 grams

2.75 grams

22 grams

16.6 grams


Calorie per calorie, the turkey protein is more more efficient in getting the protein you need without the excess calories. The same nutrition values apply to all types of animal meats. If you want to choose vegetarian sources, by all means, do so. But when choosing non-meat protein sources, you need to be careful about the amount of carbohydrates and fats because both will elevate your blood glucose to unhealthy ranges.


3 thoughts on “Comparing animal proteins and vegetable proteins

  1. I am not doing the 50 day challenge this year, but have done it in the past and had tremendous results. I saw the breakfast salads of Georgia and Lori and wondering if there are specific weights or measurements of the ingredients you have used to stay within a certain protein, fat or carbohydrate limit for the day?

    • Tina, I’m glad to hear your results have been so good! 🙂
      Often our recipes won’t have specific portions of protein listed because everyone has a different metabolic need for protein. A small, sedentary person might require 64 grams/day and large, very-active people might need as much as 150 grams/day. We’ve measured our participants’ LBM (lean body mass) and calculated what amount of protein they need per day. So if someone needed to eat 84 grams of protein in a day, then we’d suggest a third of that for breakfast, which would mean a couple eggs and a couple ounces of meat for that breakfast salad.

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