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Complete Proteins and Protein Efficiency

Posted Oct 13 2009 10:05pm
Proteins can be divided into the two categories of complete proteins and incomplete proteins. The definition of a complete protein is that it has all of the eight essential amino acids (nine are essential for children). They are called essential because they are not manufactured by the body.

An incomplete protein may be missing one or more of the essential amino acids, but it is possible to complete them by combining them with other food sources.Animal sources, such as meat, poultry and fish tend to be complete proteins, while most plant sources are mainly incomplete. Complete proteins are derived from animal foods such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, yogurt and milk. Gelatin is an exception that is derived from an animal source, but is incomplete.

A complete protein will contain the following essential amino acids per gram of protein:

Tryptophan (7mg), Threonine (27mg), Isoleucine (25mg). Leucine (55mg), Lysine (51mg), Methionine+Cystine (25mg), Phenylalanine+Tyrosine (47mg), Valine (32mg), Histidine (18mg)

Even fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and nuts, though low or lacking in one or more of the essential amino acids they can be completed by eating them in combination to make a complete protein; one example is beans and brown rice.The soybean is an exception. It is an example of a complete protein from a plant source. Tofu, which is made from the soybean, is an excellent source of complete protein and can be used as a meat substitute. However, those on a vegetarian diet should be cautioned to make sure they they have a good variety of proteins and always take care to complete their proteins by combining different sources to ensure that they are getting a balanced diet.
One should also consider the efficiency of their protein intake.

Different sources of complete proteins will have different protein densities, as well as fat and calories. If you are looking to burn fat, make sure to have a lower calorie, lower fat protein complete protein source such as white fishes or poultry.

Protein per 100g (3.5 oz) in weight

Bluefin Tuna 29.91g

Chicken, Dark Meat 28.99g

Turkey, White Meat 28.48g

Halibut 26.69g

Cooked Trout 26.63g

Cooked Salmon 25.56g

Freshwater Bass 24.18g

Flounder 24.16g

Turkey 23g

Chicken, White Meat 16.79g

Tofu 17.19g

Lentils 9.02g

Yogurt 3.47g

If your goal is to gain muscle mass and are not concerned about fat loss, you may want to choose a protein that is higher in fat and calories.

Protein per 100g (3.5 oz) in weight


Beef Topround, Lean 36.12g


Beef Top Sirloin, Lean 30.55g


Beef Tenderloin, Lean 28.51g


Lamb Cooked 24.52g


Beef T-bone 24.05g


Hamburger 80% lean 24.04g


Pork Chop 21.91g


Peanuts 23.68


Almonds 22.09g


Fried Egg 13.63g


Walnuts 15.03g


The important lesson is to choose your protein wisely in order to optimize the results of your diet and exercise plan.


If you are interested in more information on how your dietary plan can work in conjunction with your fitness goals, consult the fitness expert at BOOTCAMP 619.
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