Lab to Life Series: 4 Tips to Distinguish Protein Quality

Lab to Life Series: 4 Tips to Distinguish Protein Quality

Consider these 4 Tips to distinguish the quality of protein that you consume on a daily basis...

  1. The amount of quality protein: It’s important to consider that animal sources contain 2 – 10 times more protein than vegetable and cereal sources.


  1. The Essential Amino Acid Profile: Our bodies need, on a daily basis, 20 different amino acids that come from proteins to build and repair muscle, bones, tissues and drive enzymes and hormones. Our body can make most of the amino acids we need except for a few (known as the essential amino acids) which MUST come from food. The first determinant of protein quality is the amount of each of these eight essential amino acids. This varies widely. On the whole, animal proteins sources will have a better amino acid profile (better quantity of each of the 8 essential ones) where as vegetable proteins will have less of one or another.


  1. Absorption: This shows how well the essential amino acids, building blocks of protein, are absorbed by the body. If we can’t digest, absorb and utilize the amino acids in the protein, it’s useless. As an example, eggs are a complete protein source but cooked eggs are easier to digest than raw eggs. Many plant-based proteins are not absorbed well by the human gut, whether cooked or raw, because of substances such as phytic acid. These ‘anti-nutrients’ are commonly found in grains, beans, seeds and nuts, and have been shown to block nutrient absorption. This digestibility has been defined by FAO/WHO as the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) and more recently Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS)


  1. What else comes with the package: We eat what our animal source of protein ate and are affected by what is in the soil that our vegetable proteins grew from. This is our clean factor (or not). Keep in mind what we are exposed to, through the way the animal or food was raised or grown: pesticides, growth hormones, GMO (animal feed) antibiotics, or by what has been added in processing like sodium, food colorings, preservatives and trans fats. We want to make sure our food is a clean as possible.

In the end, no matter what protein source you choose during a meal, your body will thank you if you choose CLEAN protein more often than not.

What is CLEAN protein?

When looking at a protein source always consider how and where the plant was grown or the animal was raised.  As mentioned above, we are essentially putting what that plant or animal takes in into our bodies. Clean animal protein comes from a CLEAN animal source that is 100% grass fed, raised in a natural environment, hormone and antibiotic free rather than an animal source that is fed grains and comes from a feedlot. In the case of protein powders, cold processed protein ensures that all the health building elements, the AAs and EAAs are not destroyed. Some EAAs can degrade when the protein source is heated (most animal protein is cooked in some way before serving) and therefore, by contrast, heat processed proteins will mainly support only bones and muscles due to the missing AA profiles. In addition to providing the building blocks for bones, muscles, skin and hair, cold processed protein also builds our immune system, acts as a powerful antioxidant promotes healthy moods and improves sleep cycles because it maintains all 20 amino acids that make up the protein.  To round out your protein consumption during the day be sure to include cold protein sources including, cold-processed protein powder, beans, legumes, nut butters, etc.


Quick Guide to Evaluate the Quality of your Protein





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