Protein is a macronutrient, a family of molecules made of amino acids. It is found in many different food items like meat and legumes. Even grains and leafy vegetables have some. Plant-based or animal-based proteins have varying amounts of protein and are not an even swap.
Protein is also colloquially referred to like food that used to be known as the "meat group" like fish or beef.
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If you need a lot of protein in your diet, meat is a great way to satisfy that need.
Plant-based protein sources don't have as much protein. You can get enough protein through a plant-based diet, as long as it is well balanced. Plant-based protein sources:
If your diet consists of the same narrow food groups, it will not be a proper diet, regardless if you eat a plant or animal-based protein. If you eat a strict vegan diet, you will need to supplement Vitamin B12.
Look at the entire meal you end up with, and how that affects everything else you eat.
Highly processed grains and added sugar are bad because they’ve been robbed of nutrients, they raise insulin levels, and they’re often high in added fats. But most plant foods are mostly carbohydrates: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds, which are quite healthy.
In conclusion: Carbs are not evil; junk food is evil.
One study found that 25% of vegans (mainly women) had very low blood iron levels, compared to 0% of omnivores.
Plants like whole grains, legumes and spinach are high in iron but is not always the best type. Animal sources contain haem iron. Non-haem iron, found in plants, is not as well absorbed by the body.