Protéines végétales

Are Plant-Based Proteins Better for You Than Animal Proteins?

We love plant-based proteins!

Although plant proteins are gaining popularity in Canada, recent scientific data obtained by the Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie University has shown that many Canadians are still hesitant to include them in their diet.

High price, processing, taste and disliked ingredients are the four main reasons for this hesitation. We love plant proteins! Let’s change our beliefs to make them positive for everyone!

Why choose plant-based proteins?

There are many reasons why you should include more plant-based proteins in your diet!

Avoid animal proteins for the environment!

Eating plant-based foods is greatly beneficial to a healthy planet. The ecological footprint is an estimate of the amount of land needed to support you.

  • Many of your lifestyle habits contribute to your ecological footprint, and the way you eat is one of them.

So, if you make an effort to reduce your meat consumption, you are already helping to reduce your ecological footprint. The production of animal-based foods considerably increases greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption, two alarming factors in the degradation of the environment.

Think about animal welfare

Animals are also part of the concerns of a more plant-based diet. In fact, in Canada, nearly 208 million animals are raised and slaughtered annually. That’s not a small number! It’s a thoughtful one…

Reduce your health risks!

Contrary to what you might think, a large proportion of plant-based foods are not processed!

  • Thus, a higher consumption of these foods is associated with a lower risk of developing certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

Plant foods, whether minimally processed or unprocessed, are nutrient dense, rich in unsaturated fatty acids, fiber and water. These different characteristics contribute to the maintenance of good health!

In addition, because of their higher fibre content, plant foods help regulate appetite and make it easier to control body weight.

Plant-based foods are so much cheaper!

Scientific data has shown that the majority of Canadians are reluctant to include plant-based proteins in their diet. The first reason given is the high cost of this type of food. Of course, if you turn to meat alternatives that are processed, the price is likely to be higher.

However, when thinking about plant-based protein, you should keep unprocessed options in mind. In addition to being optimal for your health, these products are very inexpensive when compared to the cost of meat.

What is a plant-based protein?

Plant proteins can come from a variety of sources such as soy products, legumes, nuts and seeds. Read below to get some ideas about the different sources of plant protein and their protein content! Please note that this list is far from being exhaustive!

Soy products and their protein content

Food QuantityProtein content
Tofu (soft, silken, firm, extra firm)100 g17 g
Tempeh100 g12 g
Textured vegetable protein (TVP), dry125 mL20 g
Edamame beans125 mlL8 g
Soy beverage250 mL7 g

Legumes and their protein content

FoodQuantityProtein content
Beans (red, black, white, Pinto, etc.), boiled or canned125 mL7 g
Lentils (brown, green, coral, etc.), boiled or canned125 mL9 g
Chickpeas125 mL6 g
Peanuts60 mL8 g
Peanut butter30 mL7 g

Nuts and their protein content

FoodQuantityProtein content
Almonds60 mL6 g
Cashews60 mL5 g
Walnuts60 mL4 g
Pistachios60 mL8 g
Nut butters30 mL6 g

Seeds and their protein content

FoodQuantityProtein content
Pumpkin seeds60 mL18 g
Hemp seeds60 mL13 g
Chia seeds60 mL10 g
Flax seeds60 mL7 g

Processed plant proteins: the last ones to choose! 

Now that you know the sources of unprocessed plant proteins, you can make inexpensive and nutritional choices! Of course, pleasure foods are also part of our diet from time to time.

It is in this category of foods that processed plant protein options are classified. Vegetarian deli meats, vegetarian sausages and seitan are some of the choices available in grocery stores. Too often, these products are expensive and not very interesting nutritionally. However, they can be interesting to facilitate a transition to a plant-based diet.

A few rules for choosing the right product at the grocery store

If you eat processed plant proteins on a more regular basis, you may want to follow these rules to choose from the most nutritious options.

  • Opt for all things "homemade"!

    The best thing to do is to cook your own seitan, burger patties, nuggets… Homemade products are a big yes!

First, make sure you choose a food with a short and simple ingredient list! The ingredients on the list should also be ones that you might find in your pantry.

Secondly, make sure the product contains enough protein, at least 15 g per serving. Too often, these supposed meat substitutes don’t contain enough protein!

Third, choose products that are not too high in sodium. Aim for a maximum of 400 mg of sodium per serving.

Finally, choose products that will satisfy your taste buds! While nutritional value is important, taste and texture are just as important if you want a satisfying experience.

Now you know that the cost of plant-based proteins and their processing are no longer an obstacle to reducing your meat consumption and increasing the amount of plant-based foods in your diet. You are equipped to move forward with nutritious options. Don’t wait any longer to contribute to the well-being of animals, your health, your wallet and the environment!