What makes a protein high-quality?

What makes a protein high-quality?

I have spoken and emphasised on protein and it’s numerous benefits in the past. Well, today’s post is all about the top few best quality of protein sources with regards to really what determines the quality of the protein – Non veg, veg and plant based. So read on till the very end.

Before that let us get to  the point – What makes a protein high quality?

There are 2 main factors to consider when determining the protein quality.

  1. How digestible it is (this is measured by DIAAS score)
  2. How many essential amino acids it contains

The DIAAS (Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score) score is a measure of protein quality. So for a protein to be considered of a “high quality” food – the food must receive a score of 100 or higher. To be considered a “good quality” food – the food must receive a score of 75-100. Anything that scores below 75 is considered a very low quality protein.

Another important component to consider is the essential amino acid makeup. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.Proteins that contain all 9 essential amino acids are considered “Complete Protein”. Essential amino acids are important for new muscle cells, stem cells, organ tissue, so if we are missing in a few essential amino acids, then we cannot make as many of the proteins that the body needs for optimal health.

For instance, 2 Tbsp of peanut butter has a whooping 7 grams of total protein , but lacks certain amino acids – making it’s DIAAS score of 46. Please find below your best options for high quality protein for non – vegetarians, vegetarians and plant based vegan friends.:)

Animal Based – DIAAS score of 100 or higher

Beef( any cut)

Chicken ( any cut)

pork (any cut)

fish (salmon, sardines, tilapia)

lamb ( any cut)






Vegetarian based protein that have all essential amino acids and have a DIAAS score of 100 or higher


Cow milk( organic)

goat milk

sheep milk

cheese ( made from any of the above milk)

Cottage cheese

greek yogurt



Whey isolate protein powder


Plant based Protein of at least 75 DIAAS score and contains most essential amino acids



tempeh (fermented soy)

pea protein powder

soy protein powder


plant based yogurts with added protein ( unsweetened)

Pro tip- Combine lower DIAAS / essential amino acid plant based protein, to help elevate overall protein quality.Eg-( Adding seeds( sunflower/pumpkin to your satue tofu will elevate overall quality of protein).

I hope this post helped you better understand how to determine the quality of protein and what are your best options.


Stay healthy,







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