Too many dietary and policy discussions center around calories. We're not lacking calories. For all the hoopla about food insecurity, we have more people overweight and suffering obesity problems than suffer from hunger. In fact, if you actually visited the folks who are "food insecure" you'd be amazed how many are obese. Getting enough calories is not a problem.
Calories are cheap. Starch, carbohydrates, and sugars are cheap. Protein is expensive, especially good protein. By far and away the most digestible complete protein is animal-based. Only 13 of the essential 22 amino acids can be manufactured by our livers; the other 9 have to come from food. Interestingly, according to Professor Janelle Walter at Baylor University, "If you put a nut or legume with a grain product, they complement each other to give the body what it needs. But you have to eat a heck of a lot of food if you get your protein from plants versus animal products. Meat is just more efficient."
A Wall Street Journal article examining this issue quotes her as advising "two meat patties the size of the palm of an average adult's hand are the right amount of protein to eat a day." How's that for objective and definite? I guess if your palms are really big, you need more. I actually don't know if this is a standard agreed on by most dieticians, but it certainly is different than that proposed by the Eat Lancet and the anti-animal crowd, so I'll take it.
She points out that anima-only protein would require a lot more food. For example, just equally a 3 ounce piece of beef requires one and a half cups of rice and beans--that's a lot of rice and beans. Talk about farts causing global warming.
What's your favorite animal protein?