FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

The Facts about Plant Proteins

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Quinoa – A Complete Protein

If you’re thinking of eating more plant proteins, what are our best choices? Some of them are not well known.

Dietary protein provides us with nine essential amino acids for protein synthesis. They are called essential since the body cannot make them and therefore they have to come from our diet.

Some are considered high-quality or complete proteins (those that contain all of the nine essential amino acids; others are considered incomplete proteins (those that lack one or more amino acid). Exceptions include quinoa and soy protein (they are complete). Eating a variety of  incomplete proteins is necessary to provide all nine of the amino acids we need. Compared to animal proteins plant proteins are usually more difficult to digest.

Animal protein (milk, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese) provides complete proteins. When you eat complete proteins, you don’t have to eat as much total protein to meet your needs.

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