On nutrition: Questions about incomplete proteins

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Reader Ann F. wrote: “I remember learning a little bit about incomplete proteins a long time ago, and when you combine, say, beans and corn, you have complete protein, just like eating eggs, or meat . or cottage cheese, I’ve always assumed that you eat them at the same meal.”

“But I wonder, suppose you have one incomplete for breakfast, and one for lunch—or for dinner—or maybe even tomorrow? I looked online, but I didn’t learn anything about timing.”

“So I would be interested in what you will do about this, and about the amount—if the food is to be equal in size, or, for example, a spoonful of corn will be served with a large meal of beans, or on the contrary, just work. health?”

“And I wonder if some combinations are better than others. Is it peanut butter sandwich (whole wheat bread), for example, something better or worse than beans and corn? Or is it better to eat a variety of foods?”

Great questions, Ann, because the guidance on this topic has changed over the years. According to the recent position paper on vegetarian diet by the Center for Nutrition and Dietetics (, protein from a variety of plant foods eaten during the day provides adequate nutrition. essential amino acids to meet your protein needs. (Amino acids are needed to “build” more than 100,000 different proteins in the body human body.)

Experts say that the best balance of plant-based proteins comes from eating grains (which are limited in the essential amino acid lysine, but have good amounts of methionine and cysteine) and legumes (which has enough lysine, but is low in it). methionine and cysteine).

Therefore, eating a diet that contains grains such as wheat, oats, rice and corn (corn is considered a grain and vegetable) in addition to legumes such as beans and peas can provide all the nutrients your body needs to produce complete protein.

Soybeans are also legumes, and here is their claim to fame: Because they contain all the essential nutrients amino acids we need, they are considered complete plant protein.

To use your example, corn and beans in a normal portion will make up “half” of each other’s protein whether you eat them at the same time… or not. Also, peanuts butter (peanuts, legumes) and bread (cereals) are also related.

And yes, many types of food that one eats on another vegetarian diet, the best, say the experts. Later legumes and mixed grains such as bean burritos or lentils and rice, do not forget that most vegetables also contain a small amount of protein to contribute.

Choose these foods throughout the day to make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs to build your strength!

Quinn on Nutrition: Incomplete Proteins

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