What are Complete Protein Foods?

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Complete protein foods contain all of the essential amino acids the body needs. Discover the benefits of complete protein foods in this free video by a licensed dietitian.

Part of the Video Series: Healthy Food Advice
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Charlotte Lawson, a registered and licensed dietitian. What is a complete protein and where do we find these in our diet? Well, a compr- a complete protein means it contains all of the essential amino acids our body needs. And by essential, meaning our body does not produce it and we need to have these from our dietary sources. Now sometimes even complete protein gets as far as, the right amounts of each one and all the different combinations. Now this complete proteins are actually found easily in our animal sources. Just like we are animals, we absorb and digest and utilize the proteins from our animal dietary sources the best. Now the egg, which is what we consider our gold standard, is like ninety-eight percent protein, and it has an extremely high bio-availability, meaning your body uses almost all of it to a complete form. Now you can also kind of combine these different proteins through your whole grains and vegetables. This isn't a complete protein, but more of a complementary protein, with the one exception of quinoa. Quinoa does have all the essential amino acids that our body needs, and even a soy product sometimes has almost the complete version as well. So a couple of these alternative proteins can compare a little bit to our meat and animal sources. Now again, not just your meat, but also include dairy and your cheeses, as those are also animal proteins. Those are just a couple inst- couple examples or our complete proteins. I'm Charlotte, and eat happy.

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