For quite a long time there has been a myth that vegetables do not provide enough or a complete protein file for the human body. It was thought that since there is not as much protein in vegetables and a couple of proteins specifically (lysine and isoleucine), that humans could not survive or survive strongly on just a vegetarian diet. This is not true!
In order to understand what a protein file is, you must, first, know that amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and there are 20 different a.a. that can form a protein; which, in turn are a primary energy source, build muscles and neurotransmitters. Basically, proteins are the principle actor in the cell. Of these 20 a.a.s, nine cannot be produced by the body, therefore we must obtain them from our food. These nine are called essential amino acids and are at the center of this discussion.
Vegetarians can get all nine. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, we only need 2.5% - 11% of our calories from protein, and whole food plants provide a sufficient amount.
Some nutrition experts say that all plants alone can provide a complete a.a. profile and some say that a combination of vegetables must be consumed to get this nine a.a. complete profile.
Some examples of foods with great protein files are quinoa (historically, was considered to be a sacred crop by the Incas), hempseed, brown rice (sprouted is best), chia and soy just to name a few.
Have a Question for Doug?
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.