• Question: How does the amino acid profile vary between a plant and an animal, if an animals is different why do we eat plants?

    Asked by steveb to Alex on 12 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Alex Munro

      Alex Munro answered on 12 Jun 2011:

      Lets consider beef and broccoli, just to answer your question: beef is animal flesh, mainly muscle (and fat) and contains the all the amino acids used to build that muscle in the cow. Steak, for example, is approximately 21% protein; it is iron-rich and high in vitamin B12, zinc & selenium…

      Broccoli obviously doesn’t contain muscle, or the amino acids that make up muscle protein. It contains plant cells, with plant cell walls and is only approximately 4.2% protein. But broccoli contains loads of vitamins (C, A, K, B, and E); it is also high in folate and fibre, both of which are very important.

      If we didn’t eat plants, we would miss out on all the nutrients they contain, some of which are not present in animals. Our diet would also be less colourful, flavourful and varied – imagine the Mediterranean diet (which is considered very healthy) without fruits and vegetables!