03 December 2011

protein talk

What is a complete protein?
Do we think we know?
I thought I knew.
Get ready for a few jaws to drop.

From Wiki (link)
Standard Amino Acids needed to make a complete protein.
All nine of these Amino Acids are needed.
The others are made from combining the essential ones.
The body combines them as it sees fit!
In a perfect world, it would be a perfect conversion.

This info comes from Nutritional Data .com (link)
They have the same data, but they also have some nerdy graphs 
and pictures to gaze at whilst we learn! Awesome!

Let's name some dietary proteins:
Ground Beef 70/30
26 grams of protein per 100 grams.
This is the amino acid score for 70/30 ground beef.
This is how it ranks in terms of AMINO ACIDS.

Did you hear that sound?
That was the sound of jaws dropping!
Yes. Our beloved staple item Ground Beef is 
SADly lacking in Tryptophan.
Ever crave sweet potatoes or spinach or cheese
when eating a diet mostly of 70/30 ground beef?
Maybe there's a connection.

Here's ground beef 95/5
Still a bit short.

Here's Sirloin. All lean.
21 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Complete by most standards.

Beef Liver
20 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Much more complete on the Amino Acids!

Why? What? WTH?
The serving size of the 70/30 has FAT included...
So it displaces the numbers for the protein.
All beef has a median score of 92.
So it is "generally considered to be complete."

This data is gathered from a method called the PER.
Protein Efficiency Ratio. (link)
First used in 1917 - to study how well
Lab Rats did on certain proteins. 
Now, I think WE are the lab rats!

27 grams of protein per 100 grams.
The amino acid score for chicken is 132.
Amazing that chicken is a more complete protein than beef!

26 grams of protein per 100 grams.
A lovely, more complete protein.

36 grams of protein per 100 grams
And a fancy score, to boot!

3 little grams of protein per 100 grams!
Wow - not alot, eh?
Lacking a bit in Lysine.

Cheddar Cheese
25 grams of protein per 100 grams.
More concentrated form of curds, from milk.

26 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Canned might have a few less grams per serving.
But still the same assay.

Gelatin. 100 grams.
That's about 4 large packages.
86 grams of protein. Seems like alot!
But very incomplete.
Don't try this diet! People have died from it.
Now we can see why!

Whey. Dried.
As in "curds and whey."
12 grams of protein per 100 grams.
From milk as well... the liquid side.

What about Whey Protein Powders?
I use a mix of half concentrated and half isolated
Whey protein every day.


The Isolated whey is scored at 82.
This is Now Brand. 
The Concentrated Whey scored a 61.
This in MRM Brand.
Both have 28 grams of protein per scoop.

I went to Nutrition Data.com and carefully 
inputted all the Amino Acids ... 
They are not a medical grade - not complete protein!
Not meant to sustain life. Just a supplement.
Combined these two are more complete.

WHAT are BCAA's?
Branched Chain Amino acids are simply three amino acids:
Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
That is all they are.
They are found in abundance in the body.
And make up 40% of the needed Amino Acids.

This is Jay Robb Isolated Whey ...
25 grams of protein per 30 gram scoop

This is Nectar... a medical grade product...
You can see the obvious difference!
Not all protein powders are created equal.
Good to know we can learn more about them!

Hope this helps! Thanks for reading!


  1. Soybeans and Chia seeds are alos complete proteins.
    But for me - soy has alot of carbs.
    And other evils lurking.
    And really - who could live on Chia seeds?
    Maybe a Chia Pet!

  2. Ch-ch-ch-chia! LOL! Great information. I think my protein powder is packed with amino acids.

  3. Well. Thanks for the lesson. Looks as if it's back to the drawing board for me!

  4. Great info, Anne,. Thanks for sharing.


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