Are all proteins created equal

Not quite. While many plant foods, including nuts and beans, can provide a good dose of protein, the best sources are dairy products, eggs, meat, and fish, says Donald Layman, PhD, a professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Unlike plant-based proteins, animal protein is complete—it contains the right proportions of the essential amino acids your body can’t synthesize on its own—and it’s more easily accessible to our bodies. (We’re able to use 94 percent of the protein in whole eggs, for instance, and some powders with whey-protein isolate and whey-protein concentrate allow our bodies to use even more than that.) It’s possible to build complete protein from plant based foods by combining legumes, nuts, and grains at one meal or over the course of a day.