[Vegetable protein efficacy] Can't build muscle? Myths About Plant Protein

Plant protein is also protein

Plant (vegetable) protein benefits
1. Reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
2. Increase muscle thickness

This is Jinny, the pharmacist.

Protein supplements were once the exclusive property of athletes and fitness people, but recently, it seems that people of all ages are taking a lot. This is because protein is necessary for dieting, middle-aged and elderly people to maintain their muscles.

If you look at the types of protein, you can largely divide it into animal protein and vegetable protein. More and more people are looking for vegetable protein due to concerns about cholesterol or saturated fat, which are inevitably ingested when lactose intolerance or animal protein is consumed, or residual hormones introduced during the breeding process. However, due to the characteristic that vegetable protein lacks essential amino acids, there is also a perception that muscle building will be difficult .

So today, let's look at the benefits of vegetable protein intake compared to animal protein intake, and whether it can help enough to build muscle.

1. Reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides

Typical sources of animal protein include meat, eggs, and milk. Therefore, as I mentioned earlier, if you consume animal protein, you have no choice but to consume cholesterol or saturated fat together. 


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

"We found that consumption of soy protein, rather than animal protein, significantly reduced serum levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides."
 
Reference paper: Anderson , JW, Johnstone, BM, & Cook-Newell, ME (1995). Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Soy Protein Intake on Serum Lipids. New England Journal of Medicine, 333(5), 276–282.
2. Increased muscle thickness

The most representative source of vegetable protein is legumes such as peas and soybeans. In particular , pea protein has a high content of BCAA (leucine, isoleucine, valine), which is 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, the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, an SCI-level academic journal, published a human application test paper comparing the effects of pea protein and whey protein intake on muscle thickness increase during muscle training. The increase in muscle thickness was slightly higher in the pea protein group, with 20.2 ± 12.3% in the pea protein group and 15.6 ± 13.5% in the whey protein group, and 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 who started or resumed muscle building. As 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 paper: Babault, N., Païzis, C., Deley, G., Guérin-Deremaux, L., Saniez, M.-H., Lefranc-Millot, C., & Allaert, FA (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, through research, we learned about vegetable protein. Although plant proteins have the above health benefits, they may be deficient in essential amino acids compared to animal proteins, so eating two or more plant proteins together may be beneficial. In fact, among the nine essential amino acids, grains and nuts lack lysine and legumes and vegetables lack methionine. Therefore, if you take grain and bean protein together, you will be able to take essential amino acids in a more balanced way. 

I hope you have a healthy day in body and mind. It was Jinny.