Complete and Incomplete Proteins – The Quality of Food Matters

complete and incomplete proteins – the quality of food matters

If you like eating quinoa or chia seeds, you may know that they represent complete proteins which means they contain all nine essential amino acids which are required for building and repairing protein tissues in body.

Animal foods like fish, dairy, eggs, meat are complete proteins. Plant foods are incomplete which means that they do not contain all the essential amino acids or some of the amino acids are lacking.

It is believed by some that to effectively use plant protein, you must also eat complimentary proteins. Some examples of complimentary proteins are beans and rice. This is because the amino acids that are not present in rice are there in beans and vice versa.

As per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there is nothing like complete protein and incomplete protein. This is because if a person is consuming a healthy diet, then the calories may be coming from plant-based foods, but they should be enough to supply essential amino acids over the course of a day.


Liver stores essential amino acids for using them later. So, you don’t need to eat complimentary plant foods if you are eating nutritious food and not just junk.

We are not saying that you should eat quinoa or chia every time or remember the food lists that you need to pair to eat. But if you are a vegan or eat plant-based diet to meet your nutritional requirements or protein needs, it is important for you to derive your calories from a mixture of whole foods.

  • Add vegetables like kale and fruits to oats and garnish with nuts or seeds
  • Layer chilled quinoa and add raw veggies
  • Make balls from butter, mix it with oats or quinoa rolled in chia seeds
  • Add black beans and cooked rice to garden salads
  • Add vegetables to noodles, almond butter sauce with seasoning of ginger, chili pepper and garlic
  • Have vegetable soup garnished with walnuts and pecans
  • Make a smoothie from chickpea flour and fruits and vegetables with pumpkin seeds
  • Roast vegetables in oven and serve with pesto made from olive oil, nuts, and herbs

You cannot compromise on quality even if you eat animal foods. Quality is important for weight management, prevention of disease and wellness. You can pair eggs with organic poultry and seafood with plenty of plants. And remember that to have an amino rich diet you don’t need to eat animal protein in every diet.