a new opinion on vegetarian protein completness

from michaelbluejay.com/veg/prot...

Setting the record straight

Vegetables have plenty of protein, and they're complete proteins as well

by Michael Bluejay • Last update: June 2013


Common vegetables have much more protein than you need, and contrary to popular myth, they're complete proteins as well.1 The reason you've heard otherwise is that the people spouting protein myths haven't bothered to look up the actual numbers. (Anyone who thinks that vegetables don't supply enough protein or that it's incomplete for human needs should cite bona-fide science that says so.) So let's look at what the science actually says — as well as what doctors and dietitians who are actually familiar with protein say.

We need only 2.5 to 11% of our calories from protein, according to peer-reviewed research and the official recommendations.2,3,4 And that amount is easily supplied by common vegetables.4.1 Vegetables average around 22% protein by calorie, beans 28%, and grains 13%.4.1 Have a look at the chart at right.

The U.S. government's recommendation is 5-11%, based on various factors.3 The World Health Organization recommends a similar amount.4 And these recommendations are padded with generous safety margins, to cover people who need more protein than average. WHO makes it clear that around 97% of people need less than their recommendations.4

In any event, whether you think our needs are closer to 2.5% or 11%, you can see from the chart that it's nearly impossible to fail to get enough protein, provided that you make sure to eat food. Every single whole plant food has more than 2.5% protein, and every group averages at least 11% except for fruit. Protein is one of the easiest nutrients to get.

The figures for food are from the bible of nutrition data, the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. (I averaged the numbers for several foods in each category.4.1 To find the percentage of protein for a sample, multiply the protein grams by 4 and divide by the number of calories.4.2)

So plant foods easily supply our protein needs. The truth is that if you're eating food, you're eating protein—and almost certainly more than enough.

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    Last Updated / Reviewed On: April 29, 2015

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    Dear Alice,

    I know that plants (besides soy) are considered "incomplete" protein sources, because they don't contain all of the essential amino acids. However, why is it that the nutrition facts of many grains and vegetables say they have protein? For example — a serving of pasta has 7 g of protein, corn has 2 g, and chickpeas have 6 g. Is this considered "incomplete" or "complete" protein, and how can you know how much complete protein you are eating when you mix, for example, a serving of corn, and beans? I think average people should eat 50 — 60 g of protein a day, but how can you ever know how much you are really eating if you are mixing incomplete proteins that together contribute to your day's protein requirement?

    — Perplexed by protein

    Dear Perplexed by protein,

    You're not alone — this can be a confusing subject. First some clarification — a complete protein is a protein that contains all nine essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein, which can only be obtained through eating food). Complete proteins come from animal-based products (meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, fish, etc), soy, and quinoa (a grain). An incomplete protein contains fewer than all nine essential amino acids, however incomplete proteins can be combined in meals to make a complete protein (for example by combining rice and beans or peanut butter and toast). These foods don't need to be eaten at the same time in order to be used by the body to build protein, as once was thought. We just need to eat these complementary proteins within 24 hours. Incomplete proteins come from plant-based foods, such as beans, rice, grains, legumes (other than soy), and vegetables.

    Our bodies use amino acids from foods to make proteins. As a matter of fact, the amazing human body manufactures all types of substances — from hormones to muscle tissue, blood cells, enzymes, hair, nails, and many others — given the right proportions of amino acids.

    All of the foods you mention contain amino acids, and therefore varying amounts of protein. Just because they don't contain all of the amino acids we need doesn't -----------------------------use the link please.

    good luck

  • i have been constantly advocating for a balanced [and limited] meal.

    but rarely pointed out the fact that

    protein --daily total need only be

    insisted upon.

    this knowledge is current for many years.

    how long ago?

    can anyone give an answer.

    the USDA my plate or the European union eat well plate

    no where it looks this point emphasized.

    no doubt taking all things balanced within a meal may be better than the daily balancing.

    can this be true for the other macro nutrients , if we set side the case of diabetics for a moment.

    good luck

  • Excellent premise indiacratus. If we accept that protein is used for cell maintenance and repair, about a third of our energy use comes from carbohydrate, the remaining two thirds from fat.

    A balanced diet therefore would be about 10% protein, 30% carbohydrate, 60% fat

  • no concerned. you misunderstood me.

    i only said that

    if protein in a meal is supposed to be 20 grams /meal

    you can take

    10 grams protein for lunch and 30 grams for dinner

    total 60 [including 20 from break fast] . the rest of the meal undisturbed.

    thanks for response.

    good luck

  • I'm agreeing with you.

    It is better to balance your intake at each meal though from a number of standpoints, such as fat acting as a control-rod for slowing digestion also slows the absorption of carbohydrate, giving us more sustained energy.

    I was defining a logical underpinning to what a balanced diet comprised, rather than an arbitrary ratio based on the false belief that carbohydrate is good/fat is bad.

  • I read that to prevent sacropenia, it's better to eat ~25 grams protein each meal. Is that true?

  • I don't know is the short answer ultraduo.

    Our bodies have specific needs, and having more of something doesn't necessarily improve things.

    Muscle building for instance requires intense exercise that stimulates an adaptive response. Food provides the building-blocks for that response to occur. Force-feeding may facilitate fat storage, but it won't cause more growth than has been stimulated.

    In terms of ageing, there may be an argument to eat more protein if the body's ability to derive protein from the digestive system has been impaired. However, as well as getting adequate (and not too much) activity, minimising fructose intake, and reducing intake of foods that spike insulin are ways to reduce the speed of ageing.

    Remember too much protein can easily be turned to glucose, with nasty side-products.

  • Thanks Concerned.

    Yes, I know protein also can convert to glucose.

  • mr. patliputra,

    in the event of abuse and counter abuse

    one has to remember who started it first.

    at the tail end of a two year old conflict

    how much counts yesterday or today ?

    the one who abused first has to apologize first.

    then the second man should close the chapter and

    be good people- ever and ever!!ha ha , we diabetes forum members are really peace full people .

    good luck.

  • dear patliputra ,

    that is the point .

    mr rao probably thinks some of the persons involved are older than two years.

    and i dont think he would accept

    a unique identity for each.

    that is the real problem.

    irresolvable and un solvable.

    he might think the person pqrs who hit him last year or yesterday is xyz.

    ie pqrs last year is=xyz today.

    dear patliputra this curse is in our forum

    you have to take a herculean task to solve .

    my only intention is

    we should not be shame in front of the rest of the nations of the world.

    others should not say:


    you are a genius. enough substrate logical talents. .if so solve it.

    we can have a new beginning all over again.

    good luck

  • Whatever anyone thinks or "presumes", it doesn't give anyone the right to insult. patliputra posted a post about diabetes and hallucination.


    Presuming things is also hallucination.

  • Will I be right in saying that a traditional Indian thali consumed in moderate quantities will meet all our nutritional requirements?I have tasted all kinds of thali food of India except from the east.It is always well balanced utilizing mostly locally available and seasonal ingredients.Nothing radical,in fact this thinking is some what retro with some necessary cautions like avoiding sugary stuff for diabetics,adding curds etc.Let us throw some light on this,please.

  • dear ramana.

    if you refer to the icmr- NIN hyderabad text book on nutrition

    article called dietary guide lines for indians

    u can also get this for 110 rs. also on on line available.

    you will find the food u mention is 70 to 80 percent carbs only.

    when it comes downward to the middle class and below i think it carries 80 to 90 .that is how i got when i counted carbs personally .

    even if u take nin average 80 is too much carbs.

    it is from this food plate most of the lchf people in this forum reduce

    the the carbs down to probably 40 percent ,that is reducung the carbs down to half.

    which made me opinionate that their benefits are purely by reduced over eating viewed from the usda

    4 quadrant food plate.

    about an year back when i initiated carb counting discussions in this forum i found almost all of them are unaware of carb counting.

    any way they called their advantages lchf.they are not much of scientific people

    coming in groups to attack the proposing opinions,

    which i never saw in any science parlor. so i doped out of them.

    better u also drop out of the unscientific component

    but in this discussion i have pointed out that the protein balancing need be done as a total daily business.

    but carbs cannot be done so in case of diabetics.

    good luck

  • the significance of my post comes from the fact:

    formerly it was advised that every meal has to be balanced as far as proteins are concerned.

    that is if you are to take 60 grams proteins

    you can take now

    it as 20-20-20 per 3 meals or 30-0 30 and the like .

    but if you reduce carbs some proteins will be diverted to

    gluco neogenesis.

    most people going to lchf and go low in carbs get them

    from gluconeogenesis.

    these round about ,back door glucose balancing, like atkins or low fat - has its own consequences and no scientific medical institution recommends it.

    good luck

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