Welcome to Part Two of my three part series on the nutritional value and health benefits that animal foods provide. In Part One we explored the nutritional abundance provided by animal foods, and addressed some of the concerns with consuming animal foods. In this article we will explore why animal foods may be the optimal protein source for human beings.
What is Protein?
Proteins are one of the three basic components of food, alongside carbohydrates and lipids. They are a combination of 22 different amino acids (chemical building blocks). Proteins are digested down into amino acids for various uses in the body.
There are nine Essential Amino Acids (EAA’s), meaning the body cannot produce them - these must be obtained from your food. Essential Amino Acids include: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, thronine, tryptophan, and valine.
There are also eleven Non-Essential Amino Acids (NEAA’S) - these can be produced by the body. Non-Essential Amino Acids (NEAA’s) include: alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine.
Foods containing the EEA’s are called “complete proteins” and provide all of the essential amino acids in appreciable amounts. Foods that provide “incomplete proteins'' are generally lacking at least one of the EEA’s, or do not contain them in appreciable amounts. All animal foods are complete proteins. Plant proteins are generally incomplete, and the ones touted as complete proteins do no