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Complete Protein

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:12 am
by tomforster
I'm really confused by the number of Vegans who say certain things are complete proteins, i was under the impression that soy, hemp and quinoa were complete proteins, what i heard this week is that Hemp isn't, soy's bad for you and pea protein has a higher amino acid profile than Hemp (the protein shake i've been using which advertises itsself as complete)

Could anyone shed some light on this and present some definitive answers :)

thanks

Re: Complete Protein

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:59 pm
by vegimator
Complete protein is such a weird vague term. Soy, hemp, quinoa, and most other plant foods have all of the essential amino acids in some quantity. What is typically meant is that the ratio of the amino acids is similar to the ratio in which our human bodies need them. In most cases, lysine is the limiting amino acid in vegan protein sources (limiting meaning the lowest in respect to the needed ratio). Hemp for instance is very high in protein but is considerably more limited in lysine per gram of protein compared to soy. Overall though, since it is so high in protein per serving, you still get a decent amount of lysine and it's still a good protein source. Another factor is the PDCAAS of a food (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_Di ... Acid_Score). This is the gold standard in protein quality. Even if a food (like most legumes) has all the EAAs in good quantity, it's possible that all or some of the amino acids won't have good digestibility.

Jack Norris has a good post about protein sources on veganhealth.org - http://veganhealth.org/articles/protein