Animal proteins versus plant proteins


by Tammy Fry Kelly, Marketing Director – Fry’s Family Foods

Most people really believe that the only way you can get protein is from animals – think meat, eggs, and dairy!  And the age old myth that Vegans cannot be as strong and as healthy as their meat eating counterparts is exactly that – an age old myth!

Let’s talk more about plant proteins – where are they found, and why are they better for you than animal protein. Big statement, but I am sticking to it! In order to understand protein, you need to know some of the basics.

Proteins are made up of amino acids.  There are said to be 9 essential amino acids, or in simple terms, amino acids that our body needs but cannot “manufacture” itself.  We need to get these from the food we eat.  When we consume protein, our body breaks down the protein into its components and then “manufactures” the right strands of protein for what our body requires at that particular time. This is not a difficult job for our bodies to do – it is what we are designed to do.

It is critical to note that plant proteins contain all of these 9 essential amino acids, and in levels often higher than meat.  In fact, most plants have protein levels equal to that of meat.  About 15% of the calorie level of plants is protein!  (And I bet this is news to you!)

But here’s the catch.  Animal Protein is closer in its make up to human protein, hence the preconceived idea that it is better source.  However, this does not mean that it is of better quality or good for long term health.

Animal Protein has in fact been shown many times over to be detrimental to human health.

There have been many epidemiological studies and clinical research conducted, most notably, The China Study, that have proved this.

A collaboration between the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Cornell University, Oxford University, resulted in the most comprehensive study of diet, lifestyle and disease that has ever been conducted in the history of medical research. In the study researchers surveyed a wide range of diseases, diet and lifestyle factors across rural China and Taiwan, and produced more than 8,000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and disease – this was published as the China Study.

Some of the findings were:
Animal Protein in the diet (all sources – incl milk/egg or meat) is linked to:

Higher Cholesterol levels

Increased heart disease

Increase Type 1 Diabetes

Increased cell division – faster growth of cancer tumours, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

Increased osteoporosis 

I would like to share this graph which comes from T Colin Campbell Centre of Nutrition Studies:

The same results were not prevalent with plant protein!  In fact plant proteins were shown to have the opposite effect:

Lower cholesterol levels
Reversal of heart disease
Lower rates of both types of Diabetes
Lower cancer growth (even reversed cancer)
Lower risk of osteoporosis

What was even more incredible is that even when people had a genetic predisposition to one or other of these diseases, a plant based diet prevented the actualisation of the disease.

So, no.  Plant proteins and animal proteins are not equal.  Plant proteins are better for your health than animal protein.

Do you have any questions about living well and eating better? Ask Tammy now on Twitter or read her blog


Plant-based high protein foods


When looking for foods that are high in protein, most people’s first reaction is to head towards the meat aisle in the supermarket. High protein foods are often thought to only come from animal sources but there are a number of health issues associated with eating a heavy meat-based diet. Increasingly, nutrition experts are advocating a diet that has protein sources which come from plants, over their animal counterparts, in order to prevent some of the leading causes of death; cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

When it comes to protein, there are a number of plant-based sources which can be higher in protein than meat. When combined correctly, plant sources such as soy, tofu, legumes and other grains can also provide all of the essential amino acids required in a healthy and balanced diet. The benefit of eating foods with high protein from only vegan sources is that they are naturally cholesterol free and contain zero trans fats. However, the modern lifestyle demands convenience and eating healthy can be time-consuming. To find out which foods offer the highest protein without the hassle, we put the range of Fry’s veggie burgers to the test against your standard beef burgers and other veggie burgers.

These are the results:


The range of veggie burgers produced by Fry’s Family Foods,  offer a high protein alternative to meat which is not only hassle-free but has 25% more protein than a standard beef burger or other veggie burgers. The burgers are also packed full of fibre and are naturally cholesterol free. The range makes eating a high protein diet easy, healthier and tasty.

You will be able to get all your protein from our green boxes in the frozen food section from leading retailers across the country. 


Power up with plant proteins

by Nicola Walters, RD (SA) – Nutritional Solutions


The word protein may immediately bring to mind thoughts of sizzling steak and chicken sosaties on a good old South African braai. Yet, if combined correctly, plant sources such as soy, tofu, legumes and other grains can also provide all of the essential amino acids required in a healthy diet.

Often, we think of protein as a single nutrient. In fact, proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids, of which, unique sequences and arrangements make up the different proteins that are found in foods. The amino acids are classified into groups of essentiality based on the body’s ability or produce them. Nine of the twenty different amino acids are considered essential because the body cannot make them, and as such they must be provided by the diet.



Quinoa and Soybeans contain all 9 essential amino acids and as such can be considered complete proteins. Similarly, if legumes are combined with grains or legumes combined with seeds, the combination can also provide all 9 essential amino acids. Therefore, a plant based diet can supply complete protein to the diet. It is important to focus not just on the protein content of foods consumed, but also on the nutrients packaged with the protein. Legumes, grains and seeds also supply optimal fibre, vitamins and minerals to the diet. Vitamins and Minerals support essential metabolic functions in the body and fibre plays a key role in the maintenance of a healthy gut. Plant protein sources also contribute higher levels of poly- and mono-unsaturated fats to the diet than do many animal sources of protein. As a result, including plant sources of protein in the diet can have a significant impact on health conditions such cardiovascular health and diabetes. Studies have even indicated that increasing fibre, whole grains and legumes in the diet can contribute to more optimal weight management and overall health.

Nutritional Solutions, is a registered dietetic practice with all its dietitians registered with the Health Professional Council of South Africa and Association for Dietetics in South Africa.


Top 10 vegetarian sources of protein

Are you wondering how to get enough protein as a vegetarian or vegan? Or are you looking for plant-based sources of protein? The team at Fry’s have put together this list of the top 10 vegan sources of protein.

Top Ten Vegetarian Sources of Protein

Source Protein/100g
1 Pumpkin Seeds 30g
2 Lentils 26g
3 Peanut Butter 24g
4 Almonds 21g
5 Fry’s Chunky Strips 19.9g
6 Tempeh 19g
7 Sesame Seeds 18g
8 Cashews 18g
9 Soybeans 17g
10 Fry’s Traditional Burger 15.8g

Proteins are the building blocks for life. When consumed they are broken down in the body into amino acids which promote cell growth and repair. You don’t have to eat meat and dairy to get what you need for your dietary intake. So the next time you are asked “But where do you get your protein from?” you will have all the answers!