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NAYPOOIE Posts: 11,591
6/6/13 12:04 P

According to this site, kidney beans have all the amino acids to some degree. I have no idea if the proportions reflect human need, but they are there.

FLAMEGLIMMER SparkPoints: (48,062)
Fitness Minutes: (20,320)
Posts: 154
6/5/13 10:23 P

Beans are an incomplete protein, but it isn't anything to worry about. Like others have said, you just need to eat a complementary food within a day or so and your body will put the pieces together.

When I was looking into vegetarianism a few years ago, they stressed that the only time you really needed to worry about it was if you have a diet with almost no variety, and you were eating the bare minimum of calories. People who live almost entirely on grains sometimes suffer from deficiency diseases due to incomplete proteins- apparently maize is particularly bad. Of course, most North Americans are not having one food comprise 95% or more of their diet.

6/5/13 6:02 P

Apparently the scientist who originally claimed that beans have to be combined with other foods to make a complete protein has since found out otherwise and spent the rest of their career trying to explain the mistake! Beans - like almost all foods - do have all of the amino acids in, but in varying amounts. However, the good news is that our bodies are amazingly clever and as long as we eat a varied diet over the course of a day or two our bodies will combine whatever nutrients it needs to make complete proteins. So, as long as you eat a healthful diet with a reasonable amount of calories you will get enough protein. The spark tracker does seem to be set a little high - partly "to be on the safe side" but also because many people find that protein rich foods help them to feel fuller for longer.

ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
6/5/13 4:24 P

A website that might help you is ---

I've found this site pretty good for info on exactly what amino acids are present in which foods, and for their recommendations on complementary foods.

Hope this helps!

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,565
6/5/13 4:01 P

Plant sources of protein include legumes (dried beans, peas, and lentils), nuts, and seeds. Grain products such as barley, wheat, millet, rye, as well as many vegetables have smaller amounts of protein. These plant sources are all INCOMPLETE proteins because they do not contain all of the nine essential amino acids that the body needs.

It is possible to still get your complete proteins without eating animal products. Luckily, the essential amino acids present in one plant food can “connect” with the essential amino acids in another plant food to form a complete protein. This is the principle of a healthy vegetarian diet. There is no need for combining specific foods at each meal, as once thought. Your body can make its own complete proteins if you eat a variety of plant foods and eat enough calories throughout the day.

Hope that helps,

Coach Jen

SLASALLE SparkPoints: (267,339)
Fitness Minutes: (101,241)
Posts: 11,629
6/5/13 3:30 P

I LOVE beans of all types. What I didn't know for the longest time (until a few years ago) was that beans are also a vegetable!! I thought they were just a protein, with no thought to complete or incomplete protein. Between how good they are for you, their fiber, their protein (even if not complete), their price and their low calories ... I'm all about this secret weapon!!!

I'm not vegetarian, so I have other protein options. Even if I was a vegetarian, I eat a lot of Greek yogurt which is heavy on the protein, so it's all good with me.

CHEETARA79 SparkPoints: (107,272)
Fitness Minutes: (107,684)
Posts: 3,874
6/5/13 2:44 P

I took a college level nutrition course that taught me that beans were incomplete proteins. I was taught that you can pair them with rice, seeds, nuts, etc.

NAYPOOIE Posts: 11,591
6/5/13 1:53 P

Interesting links Olga. The vege one claiming it's complete seemed to be better researched.

I looked up kidney beans, and they do seem to have all the amino acids present.

Good to know.

Edited by: NAYPOOIE at: 6/5/2013 (14:01)
NAYPOOIE Posts: 11,591
6/5/13 1:39 P

Too much carb for the protein. About 10:1 for brown rice. Worse for white.

OLGA18 SparkPoints: (22,584)
Fitness Minutes: (16,273)
Posts: 1,203
6/5/13 1:39 P

Good question. I didn't know the answer so I googled it:

This says yes:

This says no:

So I guess I still don't know.

6/5/13 1:19 P

I believe beans and rice combined make a complete protein.

NAYPOOIE Posts: 11,591
6/5/13 12:32 P

So what will fill the gap?

CHEETARA79 SparkPoints: (107,272)
Fitness Minutes: (107,684)
Posts: 3,874
6/5/13 12:08 P

No. Beans are not complete proteins. But you can pair them with other incomplete proteins to get the 9 essential amino acids that complete proteins provide.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
Fitness Minutes: (15,545)
Posts: 9,713
6/5/13 12:03 P

They are a good source of protein, yes. Vegans and vegetarians often lean heavily on them to meet their daily protein needs. I've seen many dietitians (including our own Becky Hand) include them in recipes and advice for getting more healthy protein in your diet.

NAYPOOIE Posts: 11,591
6/5/13 11:59 A

Do beans provide complete protein?

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