It Is Not Necessary To Combine Plant Proteins At A Meal

I’ve talked about this a lot. Dr. Greger is talking about this today. We all need to keep talking about it because people, even credentialed healthcare workers, continue to say that plant proteins are not good enough, that they have to be mixed and matched or supplemented with animal proteins or played with in some way to get them to work. Nope. I’m telling you, as long as you are eating enough calories, you are getting enough protein from your plant food.

Here’s Dr. Greger:

Do You Have to Combine Plant Proteins at a Meal?

It is true that some plant proteins are relatively low in certain essential amino acids. So, about 40 years ago, the myth of “protein combining” came into vogue. … The concept was that we needed to eat so-called complementary proteins together (for example, rice and beans) to make up for their relative shortfalls. However, this fallacy was refuted decades ago. The myths that plant proteins are incomplete, aren’t as good as animal proteins, or need to be combined with other proteins at meals have all been dismissed by the nutrition community decades ago, but many in medicine evidently didn’t get the memo. Dr. John McDougall called out the American Heart Association for a 2001 publication that questioned the completeness of plant proteins. Thankfully, they’ve changed and now that “[p]lant proteins can provide enough of the essential and non-essential amino acids” and that we “don’t need to consciously combine … complementary proteins.”

Our body maintains pools of free amino acids that can be used to do all of the complementing for us, not to mention our body’s massive protein recycling program. Some 90 grams of protein are dumped into the digestive tract every day from our own body to get broken back down and reassembled, so our body can mix and match amino acids to whatever proportions we need, regardless of what we eat, making it practically impossible to even design a diet of whole plant foods that’s sufficient in calories but deficient in protein. Thus, plant-based “consumers do not need to be at all concerned about amino acid imbalances…from the plant-food proteins that make up our usual diets.”

To everyone who’s going vegan for the New Year: Don’t worry. Be happy.

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