The Complete Protein Story

You’ve probably heard about complete and incomplete proteins.  A complete protein is one that has all nine essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Here are foods that qualify as complete proteins:

  • eggs
  • poultry
  • beef
  • fish
  • dairy – milk, yogurt, cheese
  • soy protein
  • quinoa
  • hempseed
  • amaranth
  • buckwheat

It’s important to consume adequate protein throughout the day.  Protein is not only needed for muscle growth.  Protein is needed for:

  • cell growth, repair & maintenance
  • forming hormones & enzymes
  • maintaining adequate fluid & electrolyte balance in the body
  • maintaining proper pH in the body
  • forming antibodies to fight off harmful antigens

It’s important to get some sort of protein in at each meal and snack, not only for all the functions protein has in your body, but protein is the most satiating nutrient of all!

Here’s a photo of some of my favorite complete protein sources I consume during the day:


I do eat beef, poultry & fish, but usually they are a part of my dinner.

I consume milk or yogurt with my breakfast daily.  I consume eggs during the weekend for breakfast, or sometimes lunch during the week (egg salad).  I eat low fat cheese and cottage cheese for snacks.

Up Next: It is possible to consume incomplete proteins and get all your essential amino acids.  Monday I will talk about “complementary proteins”.


7 Responses

  1. That’s so ironic that you posted this today.. I was just talking in my own last blog post (if you want to see: ) about how i’ve been trying to incorporate more protein into my diet after having surgery recently. The nurse had advised me to, as protein aids in healing and repairing cells, just like you discuss above!

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Thanks for clearing this up for me! I never realized there were so many sources of complete protein. I am going to make more of an effort to include it in my meals and snacks from now on.

  3. […] note: Eve, a registered dietician who blogs, totally verified what my nurse said about protein’s healing properties in her last post, which made me, anti-science girl, feel vindicated in my recent foodie […]

  4. […] November 13, 2009 by nutritionbyeve You’ve heard me talk recently about the importance of protein – along with the difference between complete and incomplete […]

  5. […] Recently I’ve been providing you with information on protein.  One day was about complete proteins, the next was incomplete proteins, and Friday was on how much is too much?  Today I want to show […]

  6. […] vegetarian or vegan, make sure that you are consuming complementary proteins.  To learn more about complete proteins and incomplete proteins read these […]

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