“Complete” vs “Incomplete” protein


What goes into your mind when you hear the word protein? Steak, eggs, cheese, lamb chops right? Well protein isn’t found just in animal products. There is a huge dilemma about protein and where can be found, which one is the best, is the protein “complete”, etc. There’re a lot of plant foods that contain high amounts of protein.

We’ll assume that everyone knows what’s protein and its effect on our bodies so we will progress to the main subject of today’s article – the protein “debate”

“Complete” vs “Incomplete”

The term “complete” is basically used for products (proteins) that contain all of the nine essential amino acids. Those nine essential amino acids are:

  • Leucine
  • Iso-leucine
  • Valine
  • Methionine
  • Tryptophan
  • Phenylalanine
  • Lysine
  • Threonine
  • Histidine

Our body can’t produce or synthesize these nine amino acids, so getting them through food is crucial. Now, on the other hand, foods that contain all of the essential amino acids, but they have lower amount ( they lack) in one amino acids, are called “incomplete” protein foods, and they have “limiting” amino acid. However this doesn’t mean that you should stick with your steak for the rest of your life. Mixing or having a diet where you eat variety of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes can provide our body with sufficient amount of proteins to build new tissue, regenerate, and so on.


Difference between animal and plant protein sources

Our body is an extraordinary machine. The protein that comes to our body from animal or plant sources will be used exactly the same way. The major difference when we speak about overall health is not about the protein content in animal or plant products, it’s about other elements that these foods do contain. Animal products don’t contain fiber. They have higher amounts of saturated fat (fat that our body can synthesize) and they can decrease the blood ph levels (acidifying effect), causing calcium to be leached from your bones so that the extra protein that isn’t necessary can be excreted out as urine. On the other hand, plant foods are full with fiber, they contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals that can have very positive effect on our bodies. They are alkalizing our bodies. A lot of athletes have achieved their professional goals by following a plant-based alkaline diet. However, every organism is unique and can respond differently to the same produces. The best way to see if you are responding well to a certain foods or diet is if you test your body and see the results.


Plant foods high in protein

  • Quinoa
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Spirulina
  • Lentils
  • Chia Seeds


So, what should I be eating?

The best choice that you can possibly make is VARIETY. You don’t need to throw out away all of the animal products, and in same manner you don’t need to eat vegan foods all the time. You can lower the amount of meat that you eat and try to find some delicious recipes that involve plant foods. Mixing fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds and animal products (in lower amounts) can achieve your desired goals, whether is that gaining muscle, loosing muscle, maintaining weight or just improving overall health.



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