Title: Study Finds Animal-Based Proteins Offer Higher Essential Amino Acid Bioavailability Than Plant-Based Proteins
A recent study conducted by scientists at Purdue University has found that consuming protein derived from animal-based sources provides higher bioavailability of essential amino acids (EAA) compared to protein from plant-based sources. The findings have implications for dietary guidelines and public health nutrition recommendations.
Protein quality is a crucial factor in the body’s ability to utilize amino acids for muscle and whole-body protein building. However, the basis for considering different protein foods as “equivalent” in nutritional content has remained unclear. To address this, the study aimed to examine the differential impact of animal-based and plant-based protein foods on EAA bioavailability among young and older adults.
Two randomized controlled trials were conducted on 55 otherwise healthy adults to compare the effects of animal-based and plant-based proteins on EAA bioavailability. The results showed that animal-based proteins led to higher EAAs in the bloodstream compared to plant-based proteins, regardless of age.
Interestingly, lean pork provided greater EAA bioavailability than eggs, while no significant differences were observed between black beans and almonds. These findings suggest that not all plant-based proteins are equal in terms of EAA bioavailability.
The study authors suggest that these findings may have implications for future revisions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and public health nutrition guidance. Currently, the guidelines recommend consuming a variety of protein foods based on ounce-equivalent portions with similar nutritional content. However, considering the varying levels of EAA bioavailability between animal-based and plant-based proteins, the inclusion of different protein sources on an ounce-equivalent basis may need to be reevaluated.
The study was funded by the National Pork Board and the American Egg Board—Egg Nutrition Center. While it is important to acknowledge the benefits of consuming plant-based foods, the study emphasizes the significance of nutrient-dense animal-based proteins as high-quality protein sources in dietary recommendations.
Further research is needed to fully understand the impact of animal and plant-based protein foods on muscle and whole-body health throughout the lifespan. These findings underscore the need for more comprehensive studies in this field to inform future dietary guidelines and public health recommendations.
In conclusion, the study conducted at Purdue University highlights the higher bioavailability of essential amino acids associated with animal-based proteins compared to their plant-based counterparts. The implications of these findings extend to potential revisions of dietary guidelines and recommendations for public health nutrition. As researchers continue to explore the impact of protein sources on overall health, it is crucial to consider the importance of nutrient-dense animal-based proteins in providing high-quality protein for optimal functioning of the body.