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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bean Series: Complete and incomplete proteins (Guest Post)

This is the final article of a 4-week bean series. Check out the other articles: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3.

What is protein and why do we need it?

Protein is made up of different types of amino acids. Our body can manufacture some amino acids; the rest we need to get from food. We need them all: our body uses these amino acids as the building blocks for its structures, from muscles to hair to blood cells.

What are complete and incomplete proteins?

A complete protein is a food that contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that our body cannot produce. An incomplete protein is a food that contains some, but not all, of these essential amino acids.

Animal products contain complete proteins: meat, fish, milk, and eggs. Soy and quinoa also contain complete proteins.

Other vegetable sources of food such as beans and grains contain incomplete proteins. But making complete proteins from vegetable sources is easy: the rule of thumb is bean plus grain. You don't even have to eat them both at one meal, as long as you eat them within a day or so of each other. Here is a great explanation of the different combinations you can make.

How much protein do I need?


I couldn't find a straight answer at the FDA website. However, they did say that getting enough protein is not a public health concern for Americans over the age of 4. I couldn't really find a one-size-fits-all answer anywhere else, either. Everyone's protein needs are different, depending on their age, size, and other factors.

Sources: How Much Protein Do You Need; What's a Complete Protein?; Complete and Incomplete Proteins in Grains and Vegetables.

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Mrs. Mordecai is a twenty-something homemaker and mother. She chronicles her homekeeping adventures at Be It Ever So Humble.

7 comments:

Meadowlark said...

One of the absolute BEST resources I've found on this is "American Whole Foods Cuisine" by Nicki and David Goldbeck(? it's not here with me right now).

I have the 1970s version and it is chock full of complementary protein meals and tips and hints.

Worth finding used online.

Shreela said...

"The RDA and EAR [Estimated Average Requirement] for protein is 0.80 grams and 0.66 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, respectively. That's an RDA of about 54 grams of protein a day for a 150-pound adult, or approximately 1.5 chicken breasts and a 7-ounce steak."
Study Shows Protein in Diet Should Be Based on Weight, Not Age - WebMD

I recall our nutrition instructor telling us that RDA requirements for percentages of protein/carbs/fats were based off a person's ideal weight, although that wasn't mentioned in the WebMD article.

The following WebMD article discusses different proteins, like beans and nuts:
Protein: Are You Getting Enough?

JC said...

Just to be nitpicky ;)

All beans have all amino acids, but the quantity (percentage) of some of them are low. But as you wrote, this can be fixed by eating grains which generally have a higher percentage of those amino acids.

But it's nothing to be worried about if you have some variation in your food.

Small House said...

Thanks for all the great tips I've missed the past few posts. I've finished my emergency car kit, and was wondering if it would be okay with you if I passed this on to the women in our ward.

Thanks again.
Sandra

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Wholesale Nuts said...

Wonder full tips thanks for sharings this

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