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Complete protein

Main article: Protein in nutrition

A complete protein (or whole protein) is a protein that contains all of the essential amino acids for the dietary needs of humans or other animals. [1]

Dietary sources of protein include meats, eggs, grains, legumes, and dairy products such as milk and cheese.[2] Animal sources of proteins have the complete complement of all 8-10 essential amino acids. Certain vegetable sources also contain all 8-10 essential amino acids. However, most vegetable sources lack one or more of the essential amino acids. For example, most legumes typically lack four, including the essential amino acid methionine, while grains usually lack two, three, or four, including the essential amino acid lysine.[citation needed]

A variety of complete proteins in the diet are one way of assuring that the body's amino acid needs are met. Complete proteins are not necessary for this, however. All the essential amino acids can be obtained on their own from various everyday plant sources, which, contrary to popular belief, do not need to be combined (see: Protein combining).[citation needed]

Sources of complete protein

  • All animal proteins are complete, including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy.[1]
  • Some plant and microbial sources also contain complete proteins, including spirulina, quinoa[3], soy, buckwheat, hempseed, and amaranth, among others.


  1. ^ a b "Protein in diet". Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia. (September 2, 2003). U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health. Retrieved on 2006-10-28. 
  2. ^ USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20, United States Department of Agriculture. Last modified on September 26, 2007.
  3. ^ Quinoa: An emerging "new" crop with potential for CELSS (NASA Technical Paper 3422) (PDF document). NASA (November 2003). Retrieved on 2006-10-28.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Complete_protein". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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