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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Plant-Based Burgers Inferior in Amino Acid Value Compared to Pork and Beef


Studies conducted by the University of Illinois and Colorado State University demonstrated that plant-based burgers had lower digestible essential amino acid availability compared to plant-based substitutes.  The study* applied the digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS) developed by the Food and Agricultural Organization that measures availability of specific essential amino acids.  Beef and pork burgers yielded excellent protein scores in excess of 100 for all ages based on the studies conducted.  The Impossible® burger based on pea protein provided an ‘excellent’ score for children aged 3 and up.  The Beyond® burger incorporating soy protein was adjudged a good’ source of protein with a DIAAS score of 83.


Professor Hans H. Stein of the Department of Animal Sciences and the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois stated, “We have previously observed that animal proteins have greater DIAAS values than plant-based proteins as observed in this experiment.  The nutritional value of plant-based burgers was reduced when fed with a bun.  In contrast, the DIAAS scores for beef and pork burgers were not adversely affected when combined with a bun.  The study demonstrated the superior amino acid digestibility from animal protein considered a necessary component of the human diet.”


*Fanelli, N. et al Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) is Greater in Animal-Based Burgers Than in Plant-Based Burgers if Determined in Pigs. European Journal of Nutrition (2021) DOI:10.1007/s00394-0210-02658-1.

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