Animal protein is generally presented as "complete" because it contains all nine essential amino acids that can not be synthesized in the human body (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine). Plant protein sources are presented as "incomplete" because no one source (such as peanuts alone) contains all essential amino acids. Based on these observations, most people draw the erroneous conclusion that animal protein is superior to plant protein. If a person's diet consists only of one type of plant food, say, broccoli, all day, every day, then, clearly, such a person would not be able to obtain all nine essential amino acids, and such a person would suffer from deficiencies which would also include vitamins and minerals. But who eats only one kind of ingredient?
Amino acid deficiencies are rare in the industrialized world, regardless of whether people eat omnivorous or vegetarian foods. Nutritional defficiencies usually plague developing countries where food is scarce and people often end up eating the same one or two staples (usually rice or corn), and little else, on a daily basis. Devoid of fruits and vegetables, these people's diets are grossly inadequate, wreaking havoc upon their health and longevity.
If protein deficiencies are not an issue in the West, why worry about which source provides our daily intake? If meat derived protein is complete, why not just eat more of that? Because of the protein's packaging. Protein packaged in animal foods (meat, dairy, eggs) comes with a lot of unnecessary, and usually detrimental, baggage. Animal foods contain excessive amounts of protein (which we now know is a significant factor in the development of osteoporosis and kidney stones, among other things), saturated fat (even the leanest, skinless piece of chicken breast contains this cholesterol raising substance), haem iron (culprit in digestive system cancers), neu5gc (sialic acid found in tumors), and sulphur amino acids (which also play a role in developing osteoporosis and halitosis). These are only a few of the known down sides to getting one's protein from meat as opposed to plants.
Plant proteins come wrapped in completely different kinds of packages, usually overflowing with vitamins and minerals which are not only beneficial to overall health, but are active protectors against heart disease, cancer, and a variety of other degenerative diseases. Plant foods provide adequate protein intake, without running the risk of protein over-consumption - unless, of course, one eats nothing but broccoli all day, resulting in a protein intake which accounts for 27% of calories, which is far above the World Health Organization recommended dose of 10% to 15% per day.
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