Articles , Blog October 8, 2019 84 Comments The Protein Combining Myth Related posts: How Not to Die from Diabetes Shaking the Salt Habit Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Health Who Shouldn’t Eat Soy? TAGS American Heart Association, animal protein, animal studies, breast milk, Calcium, calories, combining protein, dr greger, dr gregor, dr john mcdougall, dr michael greger, gelatin, how not to die, michael greger, milk, nutrition facts, nutrition myths, nutritionfacts.org, plant based protein, plant protein, plant-based diets, protein, protein myths, sunlight, The Protein Combining Myth, tryptophan, vitamin D, where to get protein Daniel Yohans Post navigation Behavioral Healthcare IntegrationPatients with chronic illnesses share testimonies of the healing power of exercise 84 thoughts on “The Protein Combining Myth” david jandrow says: May 12, 2016 at 3:10 pm Dietetics still propagating this myth. Thank you Dr. Greger for all you do Reply Johnny says: May 12, 2016 at 8:38 pm Hey, I still like my rice and beans ! Or pasta with peas ! Reply Dirty Needlez says: May 13, 2016 at 12:16 pm Once again thank you Dr Greger for sharing this amazing knowledge with us all, I feel honoured to receive it. I must tell you I just received "How Not To Die" in the post last week. I'm pretty sure I ordered one copy, but Amazon sent me two! Either way if I did pay for two it is no worry, I can't wait to start reading it and I will give the other away as a gift to someone who deserves it 🙂 Reply Aaron Verran says: May 14, 2016 at 6:24 am thats right chow down on lentils and kale or beans and broccoli take that meat eaters Reply Chemgineer says: May 14, 2016 at 7:32 pm It's a disgrace that most doctors lack the level of knowledge on nutrition to adequately prevent disease formation and any further metastasis. But, again, the industry of pharmaceuticals won't flourish on competent citizens. Reply June ribaldi says: May 15, 2016 at 8:58 am EXCELLENT Thank You I did read your book How not to Die Excellent . ORGANIC PLANT BASE Reply Master Ray says: May 16, 2016 at 5:05 pm Is Michael Greger s resaerch valid?Like there are some paid studdys, some studys that support a movement like the vegan 1.I mean thear is also the lchf experts and nutritionist an people claiming that they are healthyer and more energetic on it have way better blood work and stuff like that.I want some proff that he has valid information. Reply Carol F says: May 24, 2016 at 2:38 am I get the impression that this dr wants people to stop eating meat…that makes me want to eat more meat. Reply Tarrynn says: May 30, 2016 at 9:03 pm I have a family member who really wants to build muscle and follows body builders, and tries to eat like them. I'm vegan and trying to show them that they really don't need animal protein. These body builders talk about how animal protein is more easily absorbed into the body than plant protein. I'm trying to find some evidence of this. Does anyone know if this is true or have any resources on this in particular? Reply Marcus Triton says: June 2, 2016 at 1:26 am great vid. and Thanks for the McDougal shout out. Reply Reinventing My Life says: June 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm My RD from KP told me "you cannot eat only plant protein" you must eat animals to get all your nutrition….she sat there with all her fake meat for display>barf and I had to pay 20.00 for that consult. Ohhh and only 2 fruits a day because it has carbs and natural sugar. Reply Syntropius says: June 18, 2016 at 7:37 am Hi, I'm trying to construct/understand, fully, the argument to refute/debunk the food combining myth. Directly and with scientific sources. However, many materials, even the video above, use slightly roundabout ways to present the case, and oftern do not directly address it. I have a friend who recently did a training where they were specifically taught this theory and her being straight out of training, my unresearched arguments are weaker. "This is not true" is not an argument, that is a claim. An argument would contain proof and sources. The video above, which I found whilst searching for material, both scientific and popular, does not present the full argument. The articles flashed on the screen look scientific but the titles do not direclty address the quesion (I will nevertheless try and look them up, to see, if their bodies do). It can be seen as using roundabout pointers. In myth debunking this leaves too much room for potential other fallacies. So can someone help me with either constructing the argument or at least point out scientific evidence to counter the claims of food combining? I'm confortable with dwelling into scientific papers, but one needs to dive in from the right end of the pool, with right keywords to avoid wasting time. And by looking at both sides, independently of what one believes or wants to believe. I might end up with the construction of convincing opposite arguments as well. Whatever the data. Reply Raw Viking says: July 1, 2016 at 2:54 pm The sad thing is that even Vegans seems to still be as obsessed with "proteins" as the average carnist.In reality we don't need to be thinking about trying to get enough protein.You can completely throw out the beans, lentils, nuts and seeds and still be perfectly fine.Eating fruits and greens exclusively will give about the same amount of proteins/aminos per calorie as mothers milk.Plenty enough to build strength and perfect health. Reply Malcolm Thorpe says: July 4, 2016 at 8:12 pm "But you look skinny"….told me my 150kg friend lols Reply Qualicum Wilson says: July 11, 2016 at 2:55 pm Key concept is "typical american diet". Which produces an overweight to obese population. But why? A look at the "requirement index" shows that milk and eggs are both in the high 90 % range and are called complete foods because of this. Whole grains are in the 76 to 82% range and peanuts are 67%. Meats, not listed, are higher than grains but lower then say, eggs. Now what does this mean? To me, if you only eat uncombined foods, you need 50% more peanuts(67% plus 50 % of 67% , or 33% equal 100%, no?) to get enough essential amino acids to supply enough for the body to have the the100% complete protein needed to live. Where does the remainder protein go? Some can be used by the body as energy, but some is also stored until the body gets the missing amino acids needed to make it useful for the body. This is called by normal language, fat. That is one reason why the "typical american diet" is so high in calories. Look at nations where excessive calories in the diet are either not available or too expensive and see what they eat. Cuba for example. There is a Cuban joke the goes:- In Cuba we eat beans and rice for breakfast, rice and beans for lunch and Moros and Chritianos for dinner (read:- beans and rice). There are not many fat Cubans but there are many healthy ones! India and African, same thing. No, you do not have to combein foods to get a better protein complex, unless you do not want the typical american diet. Reply max roger says: July 23, 2016 at 4:58 pm But where do you get your fiber if you aren't eating whole plant foods? Reply Sowiso4 says: July 24, 2016 at 11:45 pm Thank you so much, that is such a great information for me …. I´ve spent hours of searching for "good" combinations from vegan sources. Reply Will Hamkin says: September 5, 2016 at 3:11 pm brilliant Reply TheWipal says: September 16, 2016 at 1:58 pm Jesus, i was in nutrition class and hearing my teacher telling all the jokes i mean jocks about protein combining just made me wanna flip a table, i have many regrets Reply Braaah says: September 21, 2016 at 10:17 pm I knew about the fact that it is not necessary to combine food at each meal. But still i'm confused about something, according to the video i don't need to worry about combining my food like… AT ALL? Like let's say that for a week, i don't feel like eating any whole grain food… It's okay to just eat lentils, beans, vegetables without worrying about that 'combine whole grain and beans' argument? Hope i'm clear enough, i'm not english native, it is not even my second language. Reply Wilhelm Perez says: September 24, 2016 at 4:08 pm what about elite sport athletes? for sure we need higher amounts of protein. Reply Inka Be says: October 3, 2016 at 11:12 pm wooow i love ur channel so thankful i found you. U got urseld a new subbie 😆 Reply Steve says: December 6, 2016 at 9:23 pm for a bodybuilder or athletes, its known that plant protein is inferior. theyve lost muscle mass, stregth ect. Reply Steve Benton says: January 15, 2017 at 6:25 am I think this is my favorite video ever made Reply Michael Olivares says: February 2, 2017 at 5:23 pm But you're body can't keep making up the protien that you need to complete it it's not some magical unlimited supply Reply Some1 says: March 3, 2017 at 10:48 am hi doctor can u make a video about PDCAAS . I am a vegan powerlifter since 2 months and I don't feel like I am recovering after my workout like before. I am eating the same amount of protein but they are from plants. so bioavailability of them is not as high as meat or animal protein. Reply The Ringmaster says: April 17, 2017 at 2:33 am Dr. Gregor is the man!!! Reply Gopi Caicedo says: April 18, 2017 at 5:50 pm A million thanks. This video along with many others of yours have been life changing. I have my energy back. Thank you again. Reply Oblivion 1 says: April 24, 2017 at 6:40 am How much protein should we have daily. Reply David Caruso says: May 6, 2017 at 5:48 pm Great information makes sense Reply William D says: May 20, 2017 at 5:21 pm Isn't lysine typically hard to get enough of if you don't eat beans? So, then, minus beans, it seems fairly easy to design a diet that is deficient. I mean, if you eat less lysine than is needed every day, the "pools" of amino acids that the body has access to is going to be deficient in lysine. Isn't this true? If the RDAs are correct that is? Reply Custode Della Vita says: May 30, 2017 at 4:40 pm Thanks for this video, and thanks for the italian translation 👍 Reply Parnian says: July 15, 2017 at 6:03 pm Oh wow. I have been vegan for a year and I didn't know up until now that the protein combining was a myth. So many misinformed vegan advocates out there that don't even give the right advice. Thank you dr Greger!!!!! Reply MrMasterDebate says: July 23, 2017 at 4:04 am cut out the MIDDLE MOO 😂😂😂 I love this man . Reply Zoncolan says: August 16, 2017 at 10:30 am If you want to prove your point, help a vegan cyclist race at the Tour de France. Then we can discuss whether complete protein is a myth. Reply onefoot7 says: August 23, 2017 at 1:18 pm I found it quite interesting that God in human form himself did not eat meat Reply Marjolein Caljouw says: September 17, 2017 at 12:21 am "Turns out the body is not stupid" 😀 haha Reply thaik56 says: October 3, 2017 at 11:10 pm Even as a vegan I thought we had to combine plant food to get complete protein, I really need to do my research. Reply J'zargo The Khajiit says: October 4, 2017 at 12:35 pm They fucking teach the myth in nutrition classes and health courses at schools. Reply Randy says: October 11, 2017 at 2:01 am Phenylalanine was found exclusively in animal products prior to the agricultural era. Had it not been for thousands of years of cultivation and trade allowing people from all over the world to eat man-made nutritional 'powerhouses', most of humanity would have died eradicating meat from their diet. You can live off of plants NOW, but even then you run into problems sourcing your amino acids from specific foods (estrogenic properties, raw veganism being a myth (soy is poisonous raw), consumption of phytic acid, and still tons of vitamin deficiencies). We didn't get our B12 from water; Veganism is still bullshit. Reply Josep aldosa says: November 15, 2017 at 5:33 pm what about all that athletes stuffing protein all day long? Reply Educate Society says: December 9, 2017 at 5:17 pm My biology teacher was teaching us about how plant proteins are incomplete. I wish I knew this at the time. It sucks how much we are miseducated because of all the myths that have gone mainstream, and now people don't know how to eat healthy. Reply Survesh Bajpai says: January 10, 2018 at 2:54 am You are terribly wrong sir! Reply Karla Peña says: January 15, 2018 at 8:11 pm I just took an online course, allegedly supported by Stanford university, and it had that protein myth about combining proteins in it! I guess I knew the course was a low quality one when they preached healthy eating and then proceeded to promote recipes full of eggs, diary and oils…. Thanks Dr. Greger and Team ❤ Reply anna alm says: January 23, 2018 at 10:07 am I am studying nutrition and they are still teaching the myth!!!!! thanks so much for the information! Reply David Gardell says: February 1, 2018 at 11:12 pm The other day somebody asked me to show the evidence, since Harvard “proved” this and no science has proven otherwise.I feel like that seagull at the very end when I hear the word “protein” 😑/plantbased for 15 yrs and counting Reply Shari T says: February 4, 2018 at 3:01 am Super informative video!! Thanks for posting! Real glad to see the amino acid pool info! Reply Daniel Dolorez says: February 11, 2018 at 10:44 pm So could i be healthy on a variety of fruits and vegetables without eating grains and legumes or seeds? Just strictly vegetables and fruits?? Reply WeirdViking says: March 14, 2018 at 7:47 pm This video is a complete joke. You know people can READ right? Especially at 2:50 and 3:07 The bullshit you're saying doesn't match the science papers you're showing. Especially at 3:07 you say with condescension "no need to combine" .. when the fucking statement clearly reads "as long as sources are — VARIED" The response from AHA is NOT that any single plant has complete protein, as it doesn't, but infact that IF you're eating rich DIET of varied vegan based foods, then you'll end up with enough protein. That CONFIRMS protein combining. Reply Suncica Erceg says: April 23, 2018 at 8:53 am gasi kanal Reply PewPewPlasmagun says: May 10, 2018 at 11:54 am Obviously, rats are not herbivores but omnivores. Reply Sam van den Biggelaar says: May 16, 2018 at 7:48 am Isn't the idea behind incomplete proteins the ratio of certain amino acids to others or even absence of some amino acids? (like essentials vs non-essential)So saying they are incomplete may technically be wrong, but if you take incomplete to mean not optimal human use or not containing all of our essential and semi-essential amino acids, would that also be a myth, or does that interpretation actually have some validity? It could very well be the case that proteins from meat are more optimized for say muscle growth, because it's already a muscle, whereas plant-bodies are very different from our bodies in terms of structure. I haven't looked into the research on this, but if anyone who has cares to comment on this, I would be very interested to know if what I just said holds any truth. Reply John Watson says: May 22, 2018 at 2:58 am How much do you squat, bench and deadlift? Reply John Watson says: May 22, 2018 at 2:59 am So i don't have to combine meats? Any meat will give me all the proteins my body needs?Great, because eating meat has been a tradition in my family for millions of years. Reply Daniel Rose says: June 2, 2018 at 12:52 pm Sun, cholesterol and a series of skin interactions that can be easily interrupted by washing / water / sun-blocker provides vitamin D to the body. Let's hear it for cholesterol, which if we have too little actually shortens our lives or even kills us. Our body actually produces a lot of cholesterol, unlike vitamin C (which almost every other creature out there does make). We can survive without much vitamin C, but apparently we cannot survive without cholesterol. Perhaps we can fix the gene that is supposed to make vitamin C, but I have not heard anyone propose that. Reply Van Litespeed says: June 12, 2018 at 12:41 am I would drink rat milk, who cares, its just your mind getting in the way to eat this but not that. the fact of the matter is most vegans went vegan then learned how to defend it as yhe superior way of eating, not the other way around. its all a superiority complex, they like to look down at others who arent vegan as less than and gonna die a miserable death while vegans fart rainblows and pee pure mango juice. Reply Sim Got says: June 12, 2018 at 3:53 pm So why does Dr. Esselstyn object to eating avocados and nuts? Reply Joes Disley says: July 19, 2018 at 6:40 am where can i find more info about plants producing amoni acids while humans and animals just recycle them.all i find is info about humans and animals producing non essential amino acids themselves Reply Joe Curran says: July 25, 2018 at 11:39 am This is a great video. I just have one question. What about protein from eggs? Reply Kristian K says: August 15, 2018 at 3:24 am Dont get your cowcium from the middle mooh Reply Chuck Norris says: August 16, 2018 at 12:37 am Nice video but the comment section is full of vegan jihadists Reply Nicki Almond says: September 1, 2018 at 5:12 am What foods should you eat to cure nocturia/frequent urination? I want to eat plant-based and am under the impression that amino acids can heal the bladder/these problems. I remember drinking bone broth with plenty of gelatin and was able to sleep without waking up at all that night. I haven't been able to do that for years. Reply Ms Charmaine says: October 10, 2018 at 9:50 am You are my rockstar Dr Gregor 🌱❤️🌱⭐️ Reply Jimmy says: October 21, 2018 at 5:50 am Real gotcha moment when you caught AHA saying "you need to eat multiple plant protein sources" and then correcting it with "you need to eat multiple plant protein sources" If you're going to misrepresent what sources actually say, don't quote them. Reply Fucking Potatoes says: October 26, 2018 at 3:34 pm I didn't get memo either. 😤 My dumbass been trying my damndest to pair my proteins with grains. Reply Monday Elizabeth says: November 27, 2018 at 5:38 pm 1:55 so we can possibly drink rat milk and make rat cheese too? Reply Extraterrestrial says: November 30, 2018 at 4:17 am VEGAN Bodybuilding On The RISE!!!!!!!! Reply Linda McNeil says: December 3, 2018 at 2:43 pm While you don’t need to combine your proteins in your meal, but you do need to make sure you are getting a variety of amino acids at sometime for your body to consume them. If you are deficit from eating them, your body can’t store and allocate them. Reply John Paradise says: December 25, 2018 at 9:34 am 1:30 “The concept that plant protein was inferior to animal protein arose from studies performed on rodents more than a century ago. Scientists found that infant rats don’t grow as well on plants. But infant rats don’t grow as well on human breast milk either…” Reply bradley shefmire says: January 25, 2019 at 7:05 pm Transcript please….. Reply George Abraham says: February 1, 2019 at 9:04 am Daniel 1:12 Settled debate long ago. Reply Sebastien Roux says: February 9, 2019 at 4:54 pm If plant proteins are complete then why do my muscles take longer to recover then? Wait a minute… so if the body has an amino acid pool… the pool needs to be filled doesn't it? With essential amino acids which the body can not produce on its own. So yeah at some point you will need to eat to complete the incomplete protein… Reply Firangele Sepulveda says: February 15, 2019 at 4:11 pm Great as always! 🙏🏻🌱❤️ Reply Mike Skylark says: February 22, 2019 at 7:57 am Dr. Greger, you are a legend! Reply Deron Baker says: March 25, 2019 at 12:34 pm The concern over inadequate protein intake from plant diets is "a nothing burger". Reply Nocturno says: March 30, 2019 at 11:46 pm Wow the people who follow this channel and don't do any fact checking are fucking brain dead. You are so self absorbed in your vegan bullshit lifestyle you have no idea this guy is full of shit. Reply MsRosecrystal says: April 4, 2019 at 4:59 pm Wait…he said the body strips and recycles protein from itself. Isn't it bad when the body strips off protein? When it does this with calcium with pregnant mothers it causes bone loss and bad teeth, How is the protein thing different? Reply uman Rosenberg says: April 7, 2019 at 6:24 pm According to Chronometer, spinach does not have methionine nor trypophan and is low in all the rest, too (,01 gram 3 cup serving) Reply Smac says: April 13, 2019 at 12:17 am Can you do a video on strength resistance training with weights. This video suggests that protein isn't as necessary for that as well. Reply STREAM FI says: April 18, 2019 at 10:11 am Science without common sense has always resulted in dietary fallacy. You can even question NutritionFacts.org for recommending the direct consumption of plant reproductive material . Not only are beans, seeds, whole grains, ,rice etc protected by Anti-nutrients and damage the gut. The benefits they are touting are bio-unavailable until sprouting and germination takes place. Remember if you can't consume something raw without some form of process like cooking, chances are nature never intended it to be a dietary staple. Reply Erick Beristain says: May 22, 2019 at 4:54 am Then, could you make a video explaining which are the health issues a 100% plan based protein could bring, such as SiBO and so? please. Love your videos Reply Erick Beristain says: May 22, 2019 at 5:15 am Another question. If animals obtain their protein from plants too, then why does we obtain more protein from cows than from other animals? Reply Quixotic says: June 6, 2019 at 9:05 am I agree with the basic idea that vegans overthink protein. For instance, I just tallied up what I ate today, which I don't usually do. I got about 44% of my protein from legumes, 32% from vegetables, 12% from nuts and seeds, 10% from grains, with the remaining points being fruit and me being lazy with rounding. Despite getting about 75% of my protein from food with the same limiting acid, I'm still definitely fine. And so are most vegans. That said, you DO need to have a varied diet. If you get a lot of vegetable protein at dinner, and have some grains or nuts in the evening, you're groovy. It doesn't have to be the same meal. Or even every day, our body can compensate for shortfalls by recycling protein. But if you CHRONICALLY get all your protein from a single source like grain, you'll eventually have protein problems. But eating such a stupidly one-dimensional diet is inherently unhealthy, whether you're vegan or a traditional omnivore, and protein is just one facet of the unhealthiness. So basically, yes, limiting amino acids are real, and most plant proteins are "incomplete". But a vegan with a healthy and varied diet doesn't need to consciously think about it at all. Which is really the take-away. Reply Joel Munson says: June 26, 2019 at 4:33 am This is good evidence that plants can offer sufficient protein with no meat. But this is poor evidence that a single-source plant can offer sufficient protein. The very quote you cite says that plant proteins are sufficient "as long as sources of dietary protein are varied." Of course meat isn't needed. But varied plants evidently are. The gelatin study only looked at 15 different protein sources, it was on RATS, and it is from 1964. Good job herding the sheeple. Reply Stadno Art says: July 24, 2019 at 2:36 am Wow!! Thank you! 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