Very few topics get more confrontational than advocates on either side of the plant vs animal based lifestyle, with the associated and equally infallible suggestions of comparative superiority in health. As a scientist and practitioner, I am accustomed to living with this uncertainty. Both seemingly polarizing perspectives offer a unique vantage point to some of life’s biggest questions regarding human health and ethical responsibility. Both camps fraught with intoxicating stories seeking conclusions, propelling us down a new path, prompting new questions and ultimately directing us toward a higher summit.

Both choices are equally subjective, entirely reliant on the contextual relevance of the evidence presented. The “right one” can only be true to the individual, no universal extrapolations of personal interpretation should be made accordingly.

Let us establish the proposed question of this article: Is Animal Based protein superior to Plant Based Protein in it’s effect on muscular development?


First off, why is muscle important?

Whether your goals are purely aesthetic or general health you can’t deny the importance of skeletal muscle. To name a few, muscle is the primary driver of:

  • Locomotion: capacity to navigate dynamically through space.
  • Muscle Strength: ability of the body to impose adequate force against and protect from the external environment. Let’s face it, life is easier when you’re strong.
  • Regulation of Blood Glucose: dominant site of glucose disposal, creating a storage depot for energy (glycogen); helping manage blood sugar stability.
  • Regulation of Blood Lipids: Similarly, muscle provides both the machinery to oxidize [use] fats to meet immediate energy needs, or store intramuscularly to be used later.
  • Basal [resting] Metabolic Rate: BMR is a primary determinant of your energy expenditure throughout the day, for anyone mildly concerned with preventing body fat gain and certainly reduction needs to optimize the amount and activity of this highly metabolically active tissue.

Clearly there are important implications of muscle far beyond it’s physical & functional characteristics. Serving as a metabolic powerhouse, it provides a sink of disposal from otherwise potentially harmful accumulation of sugar and fat. All of these pervasive characteristics of muscle make it an essential component for sustainable fat loss, weight management and consequently long-term health.

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