What Is Animal Protein & Why It Should Be Part Of A Balanced Diet?

Protein tends to exist throughout our bodies, from the organs and muscles to the skin, bones, and hair. That said, the body doesn’t store protein like other macronutrients. As a consequence, protein has to come through a uniform diet. Protein is a crucial nutrient required to grow, maintain, and repair the body’s tissues. Animal protein, as the name suggests, is a protein that is derived from animal sources. This includes meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

But don’t let the term confuse you. If you’re raising multiple forms of livestock, animal protein diets are essential to aid to their growth and development. A balanced diet is essential for maintaining good health and well-being of humans and animals alike. 

It ensures the body gets all the nutrients it needs in the right amounts. Additionally, such a diet also includes a variety of foods from all the different food groups, including protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

This article will explore the importance of protein in a balanced diet. 

What is Animal Protein?

Animal protein is a type of protein derived from animal sources. It is classified into two categories: complete and incomplete proteins. Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids the body needs, while incomplete proteins do not.

you can also have soy as an alternative and check the amount of soy nutrition that it give in comparison to protein we get from animals


Protein can be found in a variety of foods, including meat, soy, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. These foods provide varying amounts of protein and other important nutrients.

Nutritional Value

Animal protein is an excellent source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids the body needs. It is also a good source of other vital nutrients, such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.

The Role of Animal Protein For Livestock & Humans

For Livestock

  1. Maintenance of homeostasis 

The maintenance needs for proteins are estimated in MP – the adequate amount of different amino acids present for integration. As a result, feeding suitable protein diets to livestock can maintain their homeostasis. 

  1. Growth

Amino acids needed for growth purposes heavily relies on multiple factors, like sex, breed, BCS, animal age, and production level. Having said that, an ideal animal protein diet is required for tissue accretion in ruminants, which is parallelly dependent on the balance and quantity of the absorbed amino acids. 

For Humans

Amino Acids and Protein Synthesis

Proteins comprise amino acids, the building blocks of the body’s tissues. Protein provides all the essential amino acids the body needs for protein synthesis.

Muscle Growth and Repair

Did you know protein is essential for muscle growth and repair? That is because it offers amino acids the body requires to build and repair muscle tissue post-exercise.

Hormones and Enzymes

Protein is also required for the production of hormones and enzymes. Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate various bodily functions, while enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions in the body. For example, the digestive enzyme pepsin is produced in the stomach and helps to break down proteins into smaller peptides and amino acids, which can be absorbed and used by the body.

Protein and Muscle Growth

One needs to understand protein is important for muscle growth and repair. When we exercise, we cause micro-tears in our muscle fibers, leading to muscle soreness and fatigue. In order to repair and rebuild these muscles, we need adequate protein intake.

Protein is adequate because it contains all the essential amino acids our bodies need to build muscle. This is why many athletes and bodybuilders supplement their diets with whey protein derived from milk, one of the complete protein sources available. However, consuming excessive protein can have the opposite effect and lead to muscle breakdown. This is because excess protein is converted into energy, which can cause an increase in ammonia production and result in muscle wasting.

Protein and Weight Management

In addition to its muscle-building properties, protein can also benefit weight management. This is because protein is more satiating than carbohydrates or fats, which can help reduce hunger and prevent overeating.

Several studies have also shown that a high-protein diet can lead to increased weight loss and fat loss and a reduction in waist circumference and overall body fat percentage. This is thought to be because protein can help to boost metabolism and increase the number of calories burned at rest.

Protein and Bone Health

Protein is also important for bone health, as it contains high calcium levels and other essential minerals necessary for bone growth and strength. In fact, several studies have shown that a high-protein diet can help to increase bone mineral density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Excessive animal protein consumption can have the opposite effect and lead to decreased bone mineral density. This is because consuming too much protein can cause the body to excrete more calcium, which can weaken bones over time.

Protein and Heart Health

There have been many debates recently about the role of protein in heart health. While some studies have suggested that a high-protein diet can increase the risk of heart disease, others have found no significant association between the two.

More so, it is worth noting, however, that not all proteins are created equal when it comes to heart health. Red and processed meats, for example, have been linked to a growing risk of heart disease and other health problems. On the other hand, leaner sources of animal protein, such as poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products, are generally considered heart-healthy choices.

The verdict

In conclusion, protein is a vital component of a balanced diet. It is necessary for a wide range of bodily functions, including muscle growth and repair, hormone and enzyme production, weight management, bone health, and heart health. However, consuming the nutritional element in moderation is essential, and choosing leaner sources whenever possible maximize its health benefits.