Where do animals get their protein from?

Discussion in 'Diet & Nutrition' started by Chthonian, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. Chthonian

    Chthonian New Member

    I was wondering...where exactly do animals like cows get their protein from, when they just graze all day? Grass has no protein, does it? And if it has any, it can't be enough to make a complete AA chain, can it? I don't get where the protein in cows and other animals comes from. It's like which came first, the chicken or the egg? 'cause I know muscles are made of protein, and we eat the muscles of the animal which contain protein...but where do THEY get it from?
  2. Joe G

    Joe G New Member

    There are actually proteins in plants.

    They act in storing glutenins and soy proteins. They also have enzymes including Rubisco and cellulase.

    Actually the most abundant protein on earth is Rubisco. A protein that comes from plants.

    I am not 100% sure that these proteins are found in the grass cows graze on but I would imagine they do.

    Joe G
  3. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Just remember that cows are a lot more efficient at digestion than we are.
  4. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Cows have bacteria in their gut that break down the plant matter into a form that it is available for the cow to use. I can't remember specifics, that was back in yr.9 bio or something :p

    Basically it's a symbiotic relationship with their gut flora, like we have with ours. I think having 3 stomachs probably helps as well.

    The rest of the animal kingdom . . . not even an inkling of an idea.
  5. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    grass has protein, cows have to eat one absolute truckload of it per day
  6. Chthonian

    Chthonian New Member

    My original assumption was correct, then. What about the other animals, Aaron?
  7. jvroig

    jvroig Super Moderator

    Depends on what animals you have in mind.

    Carnivorous animals would of course have no problem at all with protein intake.

    But the thing is, especially with herbivorous or perhaps even omnivorous animals, you have to remember that muscle is muscle, and no matter what kind of stuff you eat, your muscle doesn't change its composition - think in terms of amino acid profile. Muscle mass may decrease due to a bad diet, but whatever remaining muscle tissue is left is still composed of the same proteins. You can imagine that these herbivorous animals eat a lot but don't exactly have rippling muscles.

    Also take note that most animals aren't exactly "muscle bound" as you would expect. We eat their muscle tissue, which isn't really a lot. And those that we normally eat, like chickens or pigs, are raised in farms where they are given high-quality feeds to help them grow bigger and fatter. Had they actually lifted weights like us, they could probably put on a lot more muscle tissue.

    Another thing is that even plant protein has sufficient amino acids, and they are merely low on certain amino acids, so you absolutely have to eat a ton of them if they were your only food source. And that's exactly what grazing animals do. Add to that the fact that they don't lift weights, and it's not hard to see how they can live like that.

    Last of course is evolutionary effect. Over time, everything just gets better and better adapted to a certain way of living. Carnivorous animals, for example, usually have a larger more efficient liver (or livers, some may have more) to accomodate the huge quantities of meat it has to digest. Herbivores and, to a lesser extent also a few omnivores I imagine, are more adapted to eating various plant life and are better at digesting them.
  8. Not to mention that non-organically raised livestock are selectively bred, are on the juice and pumped with antibiotics. As natural as Ronnie Coleman ;-)

    Take a look at a 'real' cow. Not much muscle there compared to our 'supercows'.
  9. style

    style New Member

    Gorillas are proof you dont need to eat a high proportion of protein to get massive.

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