[Effects of Vegetable Protein] Can’t Build Muscles? Misconceptions About Vegetable Protein

[Effects of Vegetable Protein] Can’t Build Muscles? Misconceptions About Vegetable Protein

Dec 03, 2023Sunhyo Kim

[Effects of Vegetable Protein] Can’t Build Muscles?

Misconceptions About Vegetable Protein

Vegetable Protein
Vegetable Protein is also a Protein
This content is health information about ingredients and not directly related to a specific product.
Effects of Vegetable Protein
1. Reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
2. Increases muscle thickness

Hello, I am Jinny, a pharmacist.

Protein supplements were once the exclusive domain of athletes and gym-goers, but these days, it seems that people of all ages and genders are taking them. This is because protein is needed for dieting or muscle maintenance in middle-aged and elderly people.

If we look at the types of proteins, they can be broadly divided into animal proteins and vegetable proteins. An increasing number of people are looking for plant-based proteins due to lactose intolerance, concerns about cholesterol or saturated fat that are inevitably consumed when consuming animal protein, or residual hormones introduced during the breeding process. However, there is also a perception that vegetable protein will be difficult to build muscle due to its lack of essential amino acids.

Therefore, today we will look at the benefits of consuming vegetable protein over consuming animal protein and whether it can sufficiently help build muscle through research papers.

1. Reduces Total Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Representative sources of animal protein include meat, eggs, and milk. Therefore, as mentioned earlier, when you consume animal protein, you have no choice but to consume cholesterol and saturated fat as well.

Already in 1995, a meta-analysis paper was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, an SCI-level academic journal, on the effect on serum lipids when replacing animal protein with vegetable protein.

“We found that consumption of soy protein compared to animal protein significantly reduced serum concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.”

Reference :  Anderson, J. W., Johnstone, B. M., & Cook-Newell, M. E. (1995). Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Soy Protein Intake on Serum Lipids. New England Journal of Medicine, 333(5), 276–282.
2. Increases Muscle Thickness

The most common sources of vegetable protein are legumes such as peas and soybeans. Especially, pea protein has a high content of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), which are important for muscle building, and is rich in dietary fiber. Also, unlike soy protein, there are no allergens, so you can worry less about allergies.

In 2015, a human trial paper was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, an SCI-level academic journal, comparing the effects of pea protein and whey protein intake on muscle thickness increase during muscle training. The increase in muscle thickness was higher in the pea protein group, at 20.2 ± 12.3% in the pea protein group and 15.6 ± 13.5% in the whey protein group. The researchers reported the following conclusions:

“Pea protein supplementation in addition to appropriate training promoted greater gains in muscle thickness compared to placebo, especially in those beginning or re-establishing muscle strength. There was no difference between the two protein (pea protein, whey protein) groups. Plant-based pea protein can be used as an alternative to whey-based dietary products.”

Reference :  Babault, N., Païzis, C., Deley, G., Guérin-Deremaux, L., Saniez, M.-H., Lefranc-Millot, C., & Allaert, F. A. (2015). Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 3.

Today, we learned about vegetable protein through research. Although plant-based proteins have the health benefits listed above, they may be deficient in essential amino acids compared to animal-based proteins, so consuming two or more plant-based proteins together may be beneficial. In fact, among the nine essential amino acids, grains and nuts are lacking in lysine, and beans and vegetables are lacking in methionine. Therefore, if you consume grains and legume proteins together, you will be able to consume essential amino acids in a more balanced manner.

I hope you have a healthy day both physically and mentally. This was Jinny.

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