Questions Concerning Amino Acids - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 08-26-2010, 09:35 AM
 
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Hello everyone. Below is my request:

These are the eight essential amino acids (i.e. amino acids our bodies can't make themselves.):
Isoleucine
Leucine
Lysine
Methionine
Phenylalanine
Threonine
Tryptophan
Valine

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_amino_acids

Aside from quinoa, amaranth, and soy, which foods contain one or more of the amino acids?

I've found varying recommendations from nutritionists online pertaining to the amount of protein a person needs to consume daily, what protein is being referenced? Is it in reference to one which contains all of the essential amino acids?

How much of each essential amino acid is needed exactly?

If you have answers, please reference the source. Thank you, and I look forward to the discussion.

-Safar
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#2 Old 08-26-2010, 09:41 AM
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Here is a page that lists many food items that contain at least one of them: http://www.naturodoc.com/library/nutrition/protein.htm also http://www.vegsoc.org/info/protein.html

As for the other questions, I don't know offhand. Someone else might be able to help you there.

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#3 Old 08-26-2010, 11:23 AM
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You might be asking more about unprocessed foods instead of supplements, but the Braggs Liquid Aminos site lists these amino acids as things it contains. I bought Braggs to use in making seitan, but it can go in salad dressing and any number of foods. It tastes a lot like soy sauce but milder. Of the eight essentials you named, it looks like tryptophan is the only one Braggs doesn't include.

Alanine
Arginine
Aspartic Acid
Glutamic Acid
Glycine
Histidine
Isoleucine
Leucine
Methionine
Phenylalanine
Proline
Serine
Threonine
Tyrosine
Valine
Lysine
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#4 Old 08-26-2010, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Objorn View Post

Aside from quinoa, amaranth, and soy, which foods contain one or more of the amino acids?

Quite a lot, I think. I think what you really mean to ask is which foods contain many of the essential amino acids in big quantities.

Quote:
How much of each essential amino acid is needed exactly?

You can find this information here:
http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/protein

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#5 Old 08-26-2010, 12:58 PM
 
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Those are all interesting links, in particular that last link was helpful, but has now raised more questions. I noticed all of the foods had all of the essential amino acids in them, this was surprising. So I looked at the Wikipedia article on complete proteins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complete_protein), and the first two sentences tell me this:

Quote:
A complete protein (or whole protein) is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all eight of the essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of humans or other animals.[1] Some incomplete protein sources may contain all essential amino acids, but a complete protein contains them in correct proportions for supporting biological functions in the human body.

What is the correct balance to be considered a complete protein? I follow the reference to the NIH site(http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/e...cle/002467.htm), but it gives a different definition:

Quote:
Protein-containing foods are grouped as either complete or incomplete proteins.

Complete proteins contain all nine essential amino acids. Complete proteins are found in animal foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products such as yogurt and cheese. Soybeans are the only plant protein considered to be a complete protein.

These foods have a PDCAAS score of at least 1.0. So maybe their definition hinges on this fact without mentioning it, maybe this should be the definition of a complete protein?

Also, are there more sites that have similar data on which foods contain how much of each essential amino acid?
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#6 Old 08-26-2010, 07:04 PM
 
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If you eat enough food (calories) to meet your needs, you need not worry about what foods contain what amino acids. Most foods contain a certain amount of an essential amino acid, but not enough to be labeled as "complete". But if you just ate more of that one food for example, you would be eating more of that particular amino acid, therefore getting closer to your needs of that particular amino acid. So again, you really do not need to worry about getting adequate amounts of certain amino acids as long as you eat enough to sustain your body. That being said, just a few plants off the top of my head that have a "complete" protein profile include quinoa, amaranth, hemp seeds, and goji berries. There are numerous others though. I have the book "The World's Healthiest Foods" by George Mateljan, and it includes a complete listing of the amino acid amounts of everything in the book.
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#7 Old 08-27-2010, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Aside from quinoa, amaranth, and soy, which foods contain one or more of the amino acids?

Those vegan foods provide all the amino acids that humans must get from food, hence "essential." those foods have all the essential amino acids in one place, like meat.

But the human body is pretty amazing. It can get some essential amino acids from other plant sources like black beans or lentils and put those together with amino acids from foods like rice or wheat to get all the necessary amino acids. The human body is so cool that it can do that even if you don't eat those foods at the same meal.

So, you can rest assured that if you just eat a variety of plant foods and include plenty of foods that are high in protein (amino acids are protein) like beans, peas, nuts, rice, wheat, and soy foods, then you should be fine.
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#8 Old 08-27-2010, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
f you eat enough food (calories) to meet your needs, you need not worry about what foods contain what amino acids

Assuming a sensible overall diet. It is conceivable that someone could consume sufficient calories, yet still be deficient in a significant area. For example, someone who consumes a large amount of, say, grains, and little or no food with a complementary profile.

Normally, though, folks don't eat that way. "Mmmmm ... corn. Think I'll have corn for lunch too. And for dinner ... let's go for the hattrick. MORE CORN!! Beans? We don need no steenkin beans ..." So unless you're eating from an unwisely narrow assortment, the basic principle "enough calories=enough of each A.A" holds.

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#9 Old 08-27-2010, 01:32 PM
 
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To Skydog: I've read this before on the forums, do you have a source for this claim?

To ElaineV: I understand the traditional definition of essential amino acids, and I can't rest assured that I'm going to get everything by just having a varied diet. I'm wanting to test this theory.

So, there are two questions I still have: Are there more resources which list what foods have which amino acids like that of http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/protein, and how is that all those foods have all of the amino acids? That would make them, by traditional definition (not necessarily having a PDCAAS score of 1.0), complete proteins.

Thanks for the comments so far.
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#10 Old 08-27-2010, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Objorn View Post

To ElaineV: I understand the traditional definition of essential amino acids, and I can't rest assured that I'm going to get everything by just having a varied diet. I'm wanting to test this theory.

I said "eat a variety of plant foods and include plenty of foods that are high in protein."

Here's one way to test: go vegan and write down what you eat for two weeks. Then calculate the protein and make an average per day. See how that average compares to the RDA and make adjustments to your diet as needed.
If that's too complicated, you can hire a dietitian to do it for you.

For the record, I've been a vegetarian almost my whole life and a vegan for several years and I've never once had any symptoms indicating a protein deficiency. Also, when I track my food consumption in a food diary and determine my actual protein intake, it's usually a bit lower than recommended. I work out about 5 days a week doing strength training and my trainer says I'm one of the strongest women he trains. So... I think it's reasonable to assume that vegans who eat like I do should be fine on the protein front. I eat what I want to eat when I want to eat just make sure to eat a wide variety including some fortified foods and a B12 supplement. I'm not going to claim I'm the pinnacle of health (my BMI is a little high etc) but overall I'm pretty, damn healthy.
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#11 Old 08-28-2010, 12:15 PM
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If you can scrounge up a first edition of Lappe's Diet For A Small Planet that may have info on specific A.A. compositions. The 2nd edition probably won't have this though.

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#12 Old 08-28-2010, 01:09 PM
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OK, I looked at the preview available on google books, and appendix D in the 2nd edition gets down to the level of individual A.A. composition ...

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#13 Old 08-28-2010, 10:57 PM
 
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Protein deficiency is almost completely unheard of in the developed world. Vegans who eat whole foods at least three times a day are very rarely at any sort of risk for low protein. Obsessing over specific amino acids shouldn't ever really even have to come up. It's a useful thing to know and study but in all honesty the whole thing about 'combining amino acids in a single meal' has been disproven by most modern nutritional science. If you're eating a variety of grains, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables every day it's almost impossible not to get them all.

Not to mention certain plant foods like soy contain every single one of them that's necessary.

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#14 Old 08-29-2010, 03:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Objorn View Post

So, there are two questions I still have: Are there more resources which list what foods have which amino acids like that of http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/protein, and how is that all those foods have all of the amino acids? That would make them, by traditional definition (not necessarily having a PDCAAS score of 1.0), complete proteins.

Thanks for the comments so far.

As far as I know, there are not a whole lot of sites to choose from, but here is the other one I know about:
http://nutritiondata.self.com/

Just use the search box to find the food you're looking for (e.g. quinoa) and it will list all the details for quinoa, including an amino acid profile score. Click on the protein box to list the amounts of the various amino acids.

I'm not really sure what the various definitions of "complete protein" are or were. I think originally egg white was defined as having the optimal profile and everything else was compared to that, and anything deviating from that profile was deemed a lesser food protein-wise. However, the important thing in any case is to get the right amounts for your personal requirements in your overall diet. No one is going to eat just one kind of food anyway, as there are obviously other requirements to be met than just protein.

Edit: I'm guessing that at the time of the original definition of "complete protein" they just didn't know about all the foods that contained essential amino acids. As knowledge in this area has accumulated, it probably became more useful to talk about amino acid scores and amino acid profiles.

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#15 Old 08-29-2010, 03:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh James xVx View Post

Protein deficiency is almost completely unheard of in the developed world. Vegans who eat whole foods at least three times a day are very rarely at any sort of risk for low protein. Obsessing over specific amino acids shouldn't ever really even have to come up.

I think there is a difference between "deficiency" on one hand and "less than optimal for your goals" e.g. as an athlete. For most (veg*n) people it's not really an issue though as long as they include both grains and legumes in their diet, i.e. "eat a varied diet".

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#16 Old 08-31-2010, 09:21 AM
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I'm vegan and I'm still standing if that helps! If not, I'd suggest you talk to a nutritionist or a doctor specialising in nutrition for answers to your questions, as the internet is hardly a reliable source of information and it's also hardly a complete balanced source of information.

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#17 Old 08-31-2010, 09:56 AM
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It is true that you don't really have to worry about getting 'complete' proteins since our bodies simply tear them apart anyway and reassemble the amino acids as needed from the available pool. Nonetheless, I do myself try to consume complementary proteins as much as possible if for no other reason than peace of mind. It happens sort of naturally anyway... red beans and rice, tortilla with refried beans, peanut butter sandwich, etc. As Indiana Summer noted, there's a difference between simply avoiding deficiency and getting optimal nutrition, and I believe it is the latter that the OP is interested in.
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