Is Plant Protein (Such As Soy) As Good As Animal Protein If I Want To Build Muscle?

Question: Is plant protein (such as soy) as good as animal protein if I want to build muscle?

Answer: When you're looking at what type of protein powder you want to use, there's soy protein, there's hemp protein. These are more plant-based proteins and you've got your animal proteins that are your whey or your egg protein. They're all fine. They're all gonna be complete proteins. They're gonna have all the amino acids that our body needs in those protein powders.

However, the animal proteins, the whey and the egg, they're absorbed slightly better. Our bodies can use them and use them effectively slightly better than the plant-based proteins. It's such a small degree though, it doesn't matter for most people. Unless lifting and building muscle mass is actually your life and your job, then it's okay, use the plant-based, use the animal-based, either is fine.

When the plant-based can actually be really beneficial is if you use a soy protein not only to help you build muscle mass, help with recovery, but if you have high cholesterol, for example, that soy protein can help lower that LDL or that bad cholesterol. So there's other health benefits of the soy protein that we're not necessarily getting from the whey. So they're both gonna be great as far as muscle building, muscle recovery, growth -- but we've got other health benefits of soy that you may want to consider for certain health conditions.

Molly Kimball, R.D., Ochsners Elmwood Fitness Center
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