Veggie proteins naturally have a different mouth feel than meat proteins, because of the way the protines stack up in a pile. "Mouth feel" describes how thick or thin, or how oily or watery a food feels in your mouth. The tongue can detect all kinds of different textures. For example, a milkshake will have a thicker mouth feel than water, and skim milk will have a more watery, thin mouth feel than whole milk. This is why foamy foods, such as whipped cream or soufflés, are so much fun to eat: scientists surmise that these types of foods touch all the taste buds at once. It's also why reducing the fat content in foods often ruins the taste and texture. Fat is a key ingredient in determining a food's texture. The more fat there is, the thicker and richer the mouth feel.
A seven-year medical study found that older women who got most of their protein from animal sources, such as meat or milk, had a much higher rate of hip fracture from women who relied on plant sources, such as tofu, beans and whole grains.
You don't have to eat meat to get enough protein in your diet. Beans, tofu, whole grains, and other vegetables all contain protein. Here's a sampling of high protein percentages in plant foods:
The American Society for Microbiology contributed to the TV portion of this report.