Are all protein sources the same?

Are all protein sources the same?

In order to answer this question we must first understand more about protein and the various protein compounds that make up proteins.


Protein plays a major role in our bodies.  It provides the structure of our muscles, bone, skin, and tissues, as well as the power to fuel the chemical reactions in our bodies.  It's no secret that protein is important, but for some people it’s unclear which sources they should get their protein from, and whether or not all sources are created equal.


When we are choosing our source of protein, it’s important to understand that there are some foods which are complete sources of proteins and others that are incomplete sources of protein.  When we say complete or incomplete proteins, the difference lies in the kind and quantity of the amino acids the food contains.


Amino acids are the chemical compounds that make up proteins.  There are 21 different amino acids, these form the building blocks of all the protein types that the body needs to function and grow. 


There are two classes of amino acids: essential and non-essential amino acids.  There are 9 essential amino acids, it’s necessary that you consume essential amino acids as your body cannot make them.  Your body is able to make the remaining amino acids it needs from other molecules in your body.


A complete and a good quality protein source is one that provides all the nine essential amino acids that a human body needs.  Generally, animal sources of protein like dairy products, beef, pork, turkey, eggs, chicken, meat and fish contain all the essential amino acids.  These foods are considered as complete and good sources of protein.


However, just because plant-based proteins like nuts and seeds, tofu, whole grains, rice and legumes are incomplete sources of protein, as they lack the essential amino acids; that does not mean they are less nutritious or inferior.


People who do not eat animal products need not worry as soya protein and the pseudo-grain is a complete source of protein.  Vegans & Vegetarians can use a combination of different plant-based proteins to help get all the essential amino acids they need.


Two incomplete proteins can together create a complete protein.  For example the combination of rice and lentils makes for a complete meal rich in proteins.  Rice is low in threonine, while beans are low in methionine and tryptophan.  If you eat them together, and you can get a delicious and nutritious dish that has all the essential amino acids.


Another factor to think about when choosing your protein source is bioavailability.  Bio-availability is the percentage of protein that is absorbed from certain sources.  You need to know that our bodies and digestive systems absorb some proteins better than others and also certain sources will provide a higher amino acid profile.


Here are a few examples:


Protein Source


Bio-Availability Index

Whey Protein Isolate Blends



Whey Concentrate



Whole Egg



Cow's Milk



Egg White
























































If you are active and looking for protein to help you achieve your goals, focus on getting your proteins from the sources listed high in the table.  This will really help you when it comes to gaining muscle and losing body fat.


Our Active Whey + Collagen is a complete protein source and very bioavailable.  Combined with collagen protein to aid the recovery and repair of ligaments, tendons and muscles after exercise. 


Click here – to learn more about the power of our unique Whey & Collagen protein blend.


Please comment below if you found this article helpful.  Let us know your favourite protein source.  Share this with someone you know who would benefit from reading this.  The U Perform family loves sharing ideas and encouraging each other.