Animal (food) products are rich sources of protein. Meat, milk and milk products, egg, poultry, and fish, contain balanced level of amino acids. Protein can also be obtained from plant (vegetable) food items such as legumes (soybean and soybean products, peas, beans etc.), and nuts.

Some differences between animal protein and plant (vegetable) protein are: (1) animal protein is generally associated with high fat content and because of that, when consumed in large amounts, it is attributed to high risks of diseases, including high blood pressure and heart diseases; (2) animal protein has a balanced combination of all the amino acids, hence it is called complete protein. To the contrary, plant (vegetable) protein is incomplete, soybean protein is an exception to this. However, even soy protein is deficient in methionine (an essential amino acid). With vegeterian diet, to achieve a balanced amino acids intake, a variety of plant protein sources need to be complemented with each other in the diet. Incomplete protein is deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids. Vegetable protein sources are also good sources of dietary fiber and generally low in low fat content, particularly saturated fats.

Snails/esgargot/abalone is high in protein but low saturated fat content.

Protein Food Sources and Health Benefits

There is an increasing evidence that a diet mainly based on animal protein is associated with various diseases in humans. High intake of animal protein increases total blood cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, obesity, and risks of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. On the other hand, many studies report that vegetable protein is associated with low blood cholesterol and the low risk of the diseases aforementioned.

The negative association between excessive intake of animal protein and diseases is possibly due to the fact that animal food products are also high in fat content, particularly, saturated fat, and also due to the physical and chemical nature of the animal protein.

A list of sample of high or low protein food sources is below:

Protein food sourceEstimated protein content
½ cup tofu 14 g
½ cup legumes 7 g
2 ounce lean meat, fish, poultry 14 g
1-2 ounces of nuts 14 g
1 slice of bread 3 g
1 cup raw vegetables 2 g

List of more protein sources:
List of foods high in protein - mostly animal sources
List of foods low protein - mostly plant sources
Vegetable and fruit protein food sources and their content

Protein Related Articles:
Protein requirement: for kids, adults and pregnant and lactating women