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Are Plant Proteins Complete? Unravel 3 Myths About This Subject!

Recently, discussions about the amount of Plant protein consumed by the population have become more frequent. This debate already existed among people concerned about maintaining a healthy diet, but it has been amplified since the increased search for alternatives to preserve or even increase muscle mass in a process called hypertrophy.

Among these discussions, the question about the consumption of vegetable proteins stood out. According to many, they would be incomplete because they must have all the essential amino acids for protein synthesis. In addition, most plants have a lower protein concentration per 100 grams than meat, for example.

Faced with these questions, which are the most suitable proteins for human consumption? Is it possible to live healthily, have a balanced diet and not suffer from major deficiencies without meat? Is a vegetarian diet viable, at least for most people?

In this article, we intend to answer these questions and unravel some myths about the subject. Continue reading to find out more.

Vegetable Proteins: Myths And Truths

It is important to point out that we need to think of finished knowledge when discussing nutrition. The general principles on this subject are defined, but numerous studies are in progress, many showing that concepts taught for a long time must be corrected.

Therefore, we selected some myths involving vegetable proteins. Check it out below!

Myth 1: Plant Proteins Are Incomplete

One of the main questions regarding the consumption of vegetable proteins is that vegetables, cereals, fruits, or vegetables hardly contain all the essential amino acids.

Another article explains that amino acids are the “pieces” used to build proteins. Our body naturally produces the 12 non-essentials. The other 8 (according to some authors, 9), known as essential, can only be obtained through food.

The big problem, according to the trend that questions vegetarianism, is that few vegetables have all the essential amino acids. We can highlight chickpeas, soy, quinoa, chia, amaranth, and buckwheat. While these are just a few examples, the list could be more extensive.

However, it is important to highlight that our body does not need all the essential amino acids in a single food. It is not even necessary that they be consumed in the same meal.

To synthesize the proteins it needs, the body can use several resources. One of them is to recycle part of the proteins already present in the body, combining them with the amino acids that the body produces and those received through food.

The truth is that, for the body, this protein “assembly” process is much simpler than meat food advocates teach. Making a food combination that guarantees all the amino acids during a specific meal is unnecessary.

Myth 2: Protein Concentration In Vegetables Is Too Low

It is a fact that most plant-based foods contain lower levels of protein. However, this is not a disadvantage but a protective factor for those who consume them.

As we also explained in the previous article about proteins, excessive consumption of this nutrient can cause health problems. The most worrying thing, without a doubt, is that it increases pre-tumors’ growth capacity and, consequently, stimulates cancer development.

Myth 3: Animal Protein Is Better Absorbed Than Plant Protein

The answer will be surprising if we think of a food that actually provides all 8 essential amino acids in the amount and proportions compatible with our needs. The fact is that this “perfect food” is nothing less than human flesh.

You were probably shocked by this information, and our objective here is not to say that human beings should consume other people’s flesh. Research shows that there will be no ideal source if we need to look for amino acids in alternatives other than our bodies.

However, a significant current started to defend the idea that animals would be sources of amino acids more compatible with our needs if we do not consume human meat. At first, the argument makes sense.

The concept can be complex, not least because it emerged in  ​​pharmacology. Regarding nutrition, we can say, in a didactic way, that bioavailability is the proportion of a nutrient that the body can use. After all, it is not because we ingest a large amount that the body can metabolize it completely and in the best possible way.

Our goal here is not to write a nutrition treatise, so we will not delve too deeply into the concept, also because it is more complex to calculate the bioavailability of food. However, the fact is that each food has a different bioavailability, and even the way it is prepared and the combination can affect the absorption capacity of a given nutrient.


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