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Is vegetable protein superior to animal protein?


Contrary to what some people believe, vegetable protein is not the perfect protein for humans. Animal protein (in eggs, liver, meat etc.) is more complete in that it contains all the essential amino acids needed by the human body.

Vegetable protein is often deficient in one or more essential amino acids. For example, wheat is deficient in lysine and threonine, while pulses lack methionine. A workaround for vegetarians is to combine different types of foodstuff so as to get the complete range of essential amino acids. For example, wheat bread combined with a pulse dish gives the full range of essential amino acids we require.

This is known as the supplementary action of proteins, and is the basis of counselling people to eat mixed diets.

Furthermore, vegetable protein is not as easily digestible in the human stomach as the animal protein. This is because of several inhibitory factors present in the vegetables.

Egg protein is the reference protein for nutritional calculations. It has the highest possible digestibility (100% digestibility coefficient) and the highest possible biological value.
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This page last updated on:
October 15, 2003