You, Protein, and Amino Acids

This is what an amino acid can look like.

In March, I posted an article called “What’s an Incomplete Protein?” This article was also posted on the Fooducate blog where it came in for some criticism, and rightly so.

People wondered about my explanation of microbiology and, after I read their comments, so did I! Fooducate asked me to rewrite, and this is the result, adapted for this blog.

The article had come about because I had questions “niggling” at me. I eat very little meat but lots of beans and whole grains. Here’s what I thought was true: Beans are an incomplete protein that needed to be completed to provide a protein that my body could use.

My questions were: What exactly is an incomplete protein? And what do I have to do to make sure it becomes complete? As my commenters and further research showed me, these questions were outdated and simplistic.

But let’s start at the beginning.

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What is an “Incomplete” Protein?

As a result of working on The Bean Bake Blog, I’ve begun to look more closely at beans in general. For example, bean protein is considered an “incomplete” protein.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really understood the term: incomplete protein. I know we have to “complete” the protein with other food, but what does that mean, and how are we supposed to do it?

Clearly, it was time to do some research, and here is what I learned.

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