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What equals a complete protein, vegetarian-wise?

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I remember from way back in the day being told that beans and rice, or beans and corn equaled a complete protein chain and therefore are a perfect substitute for meat. Food knowledge is so much more advanced now, I'm wondering if anybody here can tell me what various combinations of vegetable proteins form a complete chain- or IF they do.

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  1. Basic introduction: There's 20 main amino acids (the building blocks of protein). There are 9 essential amino acids that you must consume in order to obtain them; the rest your body can assemble on its own. So what's commonly referred to as a "complete protein" is a food or combination that provides an adequate proportion of the 9 essential A.A's.

    But more importantly (and this is a more recent measure) is the PDCAAS - protein digestibility corrected amino acid score. A score of 0 is the lowest and 1 is the highest

    I got the following list off the internet. You can decide

    1.00 soy protein
    0.91 soybeans
    0.78 chickpeas
    0.76 fruits
    0.75 black beans
    0.73 vegetables
    0.70 Other legumes
    0.59 cereals and derivatives
    0.52 peanuts
    0.42 whole wheat

    So the concept of "complete protein" is a bit more complex. Supposedly, amaranth, buckwheat, hempseed, quinoa, and spirulina are all complete protein foods. But they don't have a PDCAAS of 1.0 so each individual food may not be sufficient by itself.

    Moral of the story? Eat a variety of foods. Lots of fun variations on the "bean and rice" theme. Lentils and potatoes. Chickpeas and bread. Tofu and rice noodles.

    1. An Italian dish which sustained immigrants after arriving in the US has complete protein. Pasta e fagioli (pasta fazool) is the dish. Beans and pasta compliment each other by each having the amino acids that are lacking in the other.

      My late mother-in-law made pasta e fagioli with navy beans and ditalini with a tomato sauce base (what else would be used by people of Italian heritage?). Recipes abound on the internet.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChiliDude

        I like Marcella Hazan's recipe ("Classic Italian"), which calls for making the pasta fresh. The good part is that it's supposed to be "maltagliati", or "badly-cut", meaning that if you have a machine to roll out the dough you just cut chunks off each strip with scissors, directly into the bubbling bean pot. It is beyond delicious; I completely forgot about the nutrition part!

      2. This link is pretty detailed, and comes with an easy grid that shows what goes with what to make complete proteins. Bear in mind that you don't need to mix the combos in each meal, but is effective within 24 hours of each other.

        http://www.savvyvegetarian.com/articl...

        1 Reply
        1. re: biggreenmatt

          I'm not sure just how "savvy" that vegetarian is, since there is an important error in the chart. Peanuts are legumes, not nuts, and that effects what other types of plant food you would need to eat to get all your essential amino acids.

          Otherwise that chart does answer the OP's question. basically, you combine
          legume + grain
          OR
          legume + nut/seed

        2. Just for what it's worth, I don't think people worry as much anymore about combining proteins within an individual meal, which is why vegetarian cookbooks and nutrition books don't harp as much on "protein combining" as in the day of "Diet for a Small Planet".

          If you eat a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet, and are not a bodybuilder or something, you should be Ok as far as both quantity and quality of protein without spending much time thinking about it. Also, I think many would argue that the USDA's RDA for protein is a bit on the high side.

          1. Thanks, all, I've kept abreast of things to a great degree, but it occurred to me that i'd never actually seen a real chart of "complete protein" composites, at least not in the last thirty years, if there was such a thing. I know that people who never eat meat live long, healthy lives, and being an omnivore I feelblessed and lucky that in this day and age in America we have such a dizzying variety of food that if you aren't tragically indigent or ignorant about nutrition your diet can be really great no matter what. It's a latter-day update of my interest in nutrition from the Adele Davis days. Remember her?

            1. The concept of protein combining to create a "complete protein" is a myth. All unrefined foods have varying amounts of protein with varying amino acid profiles, including leafy green vegetables, tubers, grains, legumes, and nuts. All the essential and nonessential amino acids are present in these foods in amounts that meet or exceed your needs.

              So how did this myth come about?

              In 1914, Thomas B. Osborne and Lafayette B. Mendel conducted studies on rats, which suggested that they grew best when fed a combination of plant foods whose amino acid patterns resembled that of animal protein. That makes sense, as all baby mammals, rats and humans included, grow best when fed the perfect food for baby mammals: their mother’s milk. The term “complete protein” was coined to describe a protein in which all eight or nine essential amino acids are present in the same proportion that they occur in animals. “Incomplete protein” described the varying amino acid patterns in plants. It’s a misleading term, because it suggest that humans (and other animals, one would assume) can’t get enough essential amino acids to make protein from plants.

              The theory was popularized in Frances Moore Lappé's 1971 book Diet for a Small Planet. The American National Research Council and the American Dietetic Association (ADA) soon picked it up, cautioning vegetarians to be sure to combine their proteins.

              Lappé changed her position on protein combining in the 1981 edition of Diet for a Small Planet, in which she wrote: "In 1971 I stressed protein complementarity because I assumed that the only way to get enough protein ... was to create a protein as usable by the body as animal protein. In combating the myth that meat is the only way to get high-quality protein, I reinforced another myth. I gave the impression that in order to get enough protein without meat, considerable care was needed in choosing foods. Actually, it is much easier than I thought."

              The ADA reversed itself in its 1988 position paper on vegetarianism. Suzanne Havala, the primary author of the paper, recalls the research process: "There was no basis for [protein combining] that I could see.... I began calling around and talking to people and asking them what the justification was for saying that you had to complement proteins, and there was none. And what I got instead was some interesting insight from people who were knowledgeable and actually felt that there was probably no need to complement proteins. So we went ahead and made that change in the paper. [Note: The paper was approved by peer review and by a delegation vote before becoming official.] And it was a couple of years after that that Vernon Young and Peter Pellet published their paper that became the definitive contemporary guide to protein metabolism in humans. And it also confirmed that complementing proteins at meals was totally unnecessary."

              So, fortunately, the theory that plant proteins are somehow “incomplete” and therefore inadequate has been disproven. All unrefined foods have varying amounts of protein with varying amino acid profiles, including leafy green vegetables, tubers, grains, legumes, and nuts. All the essential and nonessential amino acids are present in any single one of these foods in amounts that meet or exceed your needs, even if you are an endurance athlete or body builder.

              5 Replies
              1. re: SaletteAndrews

                I find your post a bit difficult to understand. Is it not true that there are 9 essential amino acids required to make a protein that is usable by the human body?

                The best I can tell from your post, you're saying that most people who eat a varied diet will obtain all of these acids during the course of the day. I don't think that's always true, given the way people actually eat.

                1. re: danna

                  Yes, there are 8 essential amino acids for adults; 9 for children. And yes, if you eat a varied diet of unrefined foods, you will meet your needs for all those amino acids. In fact, if you eat enough calories to maintain your weight of any single unrefined food, you will get all your essential amino acids in the quantity you need. People who consume nothing but refined sugar, margarine, or alcohol will probably not get enough essential amino acids to meet their needs, but for most other people, it's not a problem. There's good information here:

                  http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein...

                  1. re: SaletteAndrews

                    How is that possible if you eat "any single unrefined food" that does not contain all 8?

                    1. re: danna

                      It's possible because the vast majority of unrefined foods contain all 8 essential amino acids to meet or exceed your needs. If you're getting enough calories, you're most likely getting enough protein. There's an example using potatoes on Wikipedia:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complete...

                2. re: SaletteAndrews

                  TMI!

                3. The truth is many vegetarians must rely on supplements to live healthy. And even then, they are not getting enough nutrition.

                  Humans were not made to be vegetarians. Nor are we made to eat beans.

                  Soy beans are vegetarians prime argument for replacing meat. But the truth is, they have an enzyme that prevents the human body into absorbing the protein properly. Because humans are not plant eaters. Therefor, no matter how much beans you eat, you will still lack proper protein in your diet. Which will make you weak, since your muscles are not getting their proper building blocks.

                  No plant protein contains the important vitamin B12 either. Which you can get seriously sick without. And this is of course found in meat.

                  Science now is seriously debunking vegetarianism and veganism., This is what you´re asking about - modern knowledge. And even though its still politically incorrect these days, to disrespect such diets, the truth is that they are BAD for you.

                  Beans are good, and they have nutrition that is important to you, such as minerals/metals that the body needs. Zinc, Magnesium, Iron and more. And these will give you health benefits. So use them for what they´re worth. Which is not the protein content. Also, they make you feel fuller, so you can use them to increase the heavyness of any meal, satisfying your apetite further. But you still need meat.

                  37 Replies
                  1. re: Ramius

                    What is your reference for the fact that vegetarians are not getting enough nutrition? Most vegetarians eat far more vegetables than people on the Standard American Diet (SAD). Vegetables are the most nutritious foods you can eat. People on the SAD generally get too much saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and not nearly enough vitamins C, K, E, and minerals like magnesium. They consume too many calories and too little fiber.

                    The only supplement that vegans need to take is B12, which is made by bacteria in your large intestine, but is absorbed upstream in your small intestine, so in our sanitary world it's best to take it as a supplement. There is sufficient B12 in every multivitamin I've checked. If you're eating SAD, you should be taking a multivitamin and multimineral supplement as well, so I don't see the difference.

                    Who are these vegetarians whose "prime argument for replacing meat" is "soy beans." There are plenty of vegetarians and vegans who don't eat soy at all. In fact, there are many vegetarians and vegans who would be unfamiliar with the concept of "replacing meat" because they don't consider meat as something that needs to be "replaced" in their diet. This is particularly true for people who were raised as vegetarians.

                    The enzymes in beans are actually in all seeds, and they actually help to digest the indigestible organic acids in the seeds under the proper conditions. There are also enzyme inhibitors that keep the seeds from being digested by animals so that the seeds will be deposited elsewhere and grow. Soaking seeds (including beans and grains) vastly increases the availability of protein and minerals. But none of that even matters because you don't even need beans for protein. If you ate nothing but potatoes all day, you would get enough protein.

                    Please also indicate your sources (other than those funded by the meat and dairy industries) that are "debunking" vegetarianism and veganism. Far from being "BAD" for you, doctors are finally able to reverse heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases with a vegan diet.

                    You do not "need" meat.

                    More information here:

                    http://www.nursingdegree.net/blog/19/...

                    1. re: SaletteAndrews

                      the citations you're giving us are opinion sites, not really anything I'd want to hang my hat on. I'd be interested to read more on this subject from a source that is not actively pro-vegan. (just like I don't want to read about GMOs from Monsanto, I don't want to read about protein from vegans)

                      1. re: danna

                        Well, that's a tough one because so many doctors and scientists who have studied protein grew up, like the rest of us, eating meat, but have since become vegan. For example, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a biochemist at Cornell, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, an Olympic gold medalist and heart surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, both grew up on dairy farms, but now advocate for vegan diets based on their research and (in Esselstyn's case) success in reversing heart disease. But Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a general practitioner, calls himself a "Nutritarian," not a vegan. He bases food choices on the nutrient density. Here's his take on protein:

                        http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/...

                        1. re: danna

                          Let me reccomend the new documentary "The Perfect Human Diet". Alot of new science are being presented there.

                          And I´m no pro-paleo diet. I eat beans and grains, which they condemn, but some of the stuff there are simply good facts you don´t get around. And it disproves many typical vegetarian arguments.

                          And just to underline this. Be carefull of pro-vegans who claim you do not need meat. Because you do. Just understand the evolution of us humans. We´ve eaten meat for hundred thousands of years. Before 7000 years ago, we hunted animals and almost ate just meat. It was then we started eating plants. But with the agricultural revolution, we also learned to domesticate animals - which we kept on eating.

                          So all of your ancestors ate meat. For all time. And now someone with an agenda is trying to convince you that you dont need it. Does that seem logical? Not to me.

                          1. re: Ramius

                            Not all of my ancestors ate meat. It depends on which ancestors you choose to consider. There's a very good article in Scientific American about this:

                            http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/g...

                            1. re: Ramius

                              Plenty of people live without meat, so I don't think it's true that we "need" it, even if you feel that eating it is more optimal.

                              1. re: will47

                                Plenty of people get sick without meat too. Plenty of them people living without meat, are dependant on supplements. Do you think thats ideal?

                                1. re: Ramius

                                  I've known a lot of vegetarians, many of them long-term or lifelong vegetarians, and have been vegetarian for over half my life (about 21 years now), and rarely, if ever, take supplements. I have never known anyone who's sick because of not eating meat. I'm sure there is some small number of people who do have problems on a vegetarian diet, but I don't think that can be extended to "everyone needs meat".

                                  The ADA, a fairly mainstream organization, says:
                                  "It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes"

                                  Now again, we can argue about what's optimal, but by making such dramatic statements, you make it hard to have any kind of real dialog.

                                  Also, there are some of us who prefer to be vegetarian for ethical reasons, and accept certain things about it that may be inconvenient at times for whatever reason, because we *can* eat this way, and it allows us to reduce suffering.

                                  1. re: will47

                                    Here we see the problems in trying to learn something about the very specific issue I'm interested in...making useable protein out of veggies. It's such a politicized and polorized topic it's hard to find basic info. The ADA that you mention has nothing I can find on their site. You mention "Well planned vegetarian diets" but planning ain't easy.

                                    I have no interest in being vegan, I just happen to really like vegetables, fruits and grains a lot and sometimes I don't feel like eating any meat or dairy ...but as an athlete in my 40's, I don't need to lose muscle due to protein deficit, age is already doing that.

                                    for instance...today I had granola ( grains and nuts) for breakfast and a grapefruit for lunch. I'm pretty sure that's not giving me the right amino acids.

                                    1. re: danna

                                      I understand your frustration, but "making useable protein out of veggies" is a problem that simply doesn't exist. Vegetables, grains, and legumes have plenty of protein and all the essential amino acids you need.

                                      http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/1...

                                      1. re: SaletteAndrews

                                        But...that's the same person you referenced before. That cite is HIS letter to the AHA, not information put forth by the AHA, which is what a careless glance might imply. In fact, the AHA posted this reply (excerpted) to his letter:

                                        "You are correct that the reference to plant protein as being regarded as incomplete is often quoted, but we did carefully state that “most” are deficient in one or more essential amino acids and emphasized that there is an optimum ratio of essential amino acids that determines protein quality. The recommendation for mixing complementary vegetable protein sources to maximize the diet is an important principal on which vegetarian diets are based. Although an indiscriminate mixture of plant proteins could meet protein amino acid requirements, it must be remembered that the amino acid content in most plant proteins is more limited in amount per serving than that from animal sources. Thus, it is difficult to maintain essential amino acids at optimum quantity and distribution. "

                                        Again, they specifically state: "mixing complementary vegetable protein sources to maximize the diet is an important principal"

                                        1. re: danna

                                          Interesting that an organization this large can't manage to use the correct word here (principle).

                                          1. re: will47

                                            GASP! Didn't even notice...but I swear...I cut and pasted! ;-)

                                          2. re: danna

                                            And here's Dr. McDougall's response to the AHA and others who can't seem to let go of this myth:

                                            http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007n...

                                            1. re: danna

                                              And here's Dr. Andrew Weil, who is not a vegan or even a vegetarian: "You may have heard that vegetable sources of protein are 'incomplete' and become "complete" only when correctly combined. Research has discredited that notion so you don't have to worry that you won't get enough usable protein if you don't put together some magical combination of foods at each meal."

                                              http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA142995

                                            2. re: SaletteAndrews

                                              This is an absolute lie. Even though vegetables and plants have protein, its just around 1-2% mostly. That means you have to eat unrealistic shitloads of it, to get around 20 grams of protein. Which is the LEAST you need to build more muscle mass.

                                              Truth is, if you´re not eating meat at all, you are certainly prone to have a higher percentage of carbohydrates in your diet, which is certainly not ideal. And actually unhealthy. If you are satisfying your hunger with grain (flour, breads) and beans instead of meat, this automatically increases carbohydrates many times over.

                                              And I know one thing after researching and losing 30 kilos myself - one of the most unheatlhy food trends is the over consumption of carbohydrates in our modern diet. We are meant to eat protein first and foremost, before anything else.

                                              Now, nuts has a decent ammount of protein. Both peanuts, almonds and pistachios have 20% protein, which is almost as much as meat. And I eat alot of these too. But certain people have said that nut protein also is not adequate in the long term. It has some benefit, but not a complete benefit. Which brings me back to the need for a varied diet. Including animal protein.

                                              1. re: Ramius

                                                Okay, now I understand. Anything that does not fit your narrowly defined set of beliefs is a lie. And by implication, prominent physicians and scientist are liars because they do not tell you what you want to hear. That is the fastest way to reduce your own credibility. So what I'm writing here is not really in response to you anymore, because you obviously do not want to believe anything that does not fit your narrow beliefs. It is for people who do want to understand.

                                                From Rip Esselstyn, a former world-class professional tri-athlete, firefighter, and the son, grandson and great-grandson of renowned physicians: "Ample amounts of protein are thriving in whole, natural plant-based foods. For example, spinach is 51 percent protein; mushrooms, 35 percent; beans, 26 percent; oatmeal, 16 percent; whole wheat pasta, 15 percent; corn, 12 percent; and potatoes, 11 percent."

                                                http://engine2diet.com/question/can-i...

                                                From the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman: "Which has more protein – oatmeal, ham, or a tomato? The answer is that they all have about the same amount of protein per calorie. The difference is, the tomato and the oatmeal are packaged with fiber and other disease-fighting nutrients, and the ham is packaged with cholesterol and saturated fat…I see about twenty to thirty new patients per week, and I always ask them, 'Which has more protein – one hundred calories of steak or one hundred calories of broccoli?” When I tell them it’s broccoli the most frequent response is “I didn’t know broccoli had protein in it.' I then ask them, 'So where did you think the calories in broccoli come from? Did you think it was mostly fat, like an avocado, or mostly carbohydrate, like a potato?'…When you eat large quantities of green vegetables you receive a considerable amount of protein."

                                                http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/?pag...

                                                1. re: SaletteAndrews

                                                  Good luck with eating 20 grams of protein a day. You will survive, but you will be weak. Also these numbers are completely false.

                                                  You claim that spinache has 51 percent protein? I´m holding back the laughter here. Because that would make the green leafs more rich in protein than meat. So eating 100 grams of would give you a wopping 51 grams of protein.

                                                  Its not true of course. Spinach has 2.9 percent protein per 100 grams. here are the official numbers from Wikipedia on spinach: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinach#...

                                                  Since you´re even raising the issue of credibility, I think you pretty much destroyed yours. And I honestly don´t get where you´ve gotten the impression that my dietery views are narrow. They´re much wider than yours.

                                                  Once again, if you´re not an active person, who do not excercise at all, and sit at your desk all day - which is very normal, then you need less protein. You´re not using your muscles. But for people doing hard labour, they of course need more protein, and people who work out. Which is what I do. And 20 grams of protein a day would simply make med malnourished. 20 grams of protein is less than my protein shake after workout. You cannot build strength, without supplying the body with protein. And this is why a diet rich in protein is better. Because it makes you stronger.

                                                  And by the way, since we´re posting a few links here. Why don´t you read these too:

                                                  Scientists finds evidence of humans eating meat 1.5 million years ago: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...

                                                  Eating meat impacted our evolution, by National Geographic: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ne...

                                                  About the health problems related to meat eating. Professor Craig B. Stanford, University of Southern California, says:

                                                  "When humans switched to meat-eating, they triggered a genetic change that enabled better processing of fats. We have an obsession today with fat and cholesterol because we can go to the market and stuff ourselves with it. But as a species we are relatively immune to the harmful effects of fat and cholesterol."

                                                  "It is fascinating to me that in 2011 in Montreal I now see more chronically ill vegans and vegetarians in my practice than I do those who are ill from excessive meat consumption. " - Pierre Black, who is a certified nutritionalist and personal trainer.

                                                  Also:
                                                  "I have a huge library of traditional herbalism and dietetics from around the world and there is not one that encourages veganism. There is simply no culture in human history that has been vegan and thrived."

                                                  Meat based diet made us smarter: http://www.npr.org/2010/08/02/1288499...

                                                  "As we got more, our guts shrank because we didn't need a giant vegetable processor any more. Our bodies could spend more energy on other things like building a bigger brain. Sorry, vegetarians, but eating meat apparently made our ancestors smarter — smart enough to make better tools, which in turn led to other changes, says Aiello."

                                                  Eating meat made us human, NBC News; http://www.nbcnews.com/id/49888012/ns...

                                                  1. re: Ramius

                                                    I don't know where you got the idea that I get 20 grams of protein per day. But since you brought it up, here's what I actually eat:

                                                    My typical daily food intake looks like this:

                                                    Breakfast: steel-cut oats with berries, grated Brazil nut, and ground flax seeds

                                                    Morning snack: fruit

                                                    Lunch: huge salad of baby spinach, grated carrots, red bell peppers, broccoli, peas or beans, artichoke hearts, a few black olives, sunflower seeds, and a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar

                                                    Afternoon snack: more fruit

                                                    Dinner: brown rice, lentils, and cooked vegetables

                                                    I added all this up in the portions I actually eat, and it came out to 1,431 calories and over 62 grams of protein (14% of the calories). Plenty of room in there for some dark chocolate or other treats. I do strength training and aerobics 3x per week, plus yoga. I'm 53 and I weigh less than I did in high school and am stronger, as well.

                                                    Fifty-one percent of the calories in spinach are from protein. Here it is from Whole Foods:

                                                    http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/...

                                                    Or you could just do the math from the USDA database:

                                                    http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/sho...

                                                    And percent of nutrients per calorie is what's important in order to avoid obesity and the chronic diseases that go with it, which are of course the real problem with the standard American diet.

                                                    1. re: SaletteAndrews

                                                      Besides grated Brazil nuts, flax seeds and a few black olives, where are you getting your fat from? You don't put any oil on your salads? You need fat. It just needs to be the right fat.

                                                      1. re: pitterpatter

                                                        I mentioned sunflower seeds. I also eat other nuts and seeds as well. (Just gave an example of a day's menu.) I try not to eat refined anything, so no, I don't put oil on my salad, but I do put additional ground flax seeds in there. My basic salad dressing is 1/2 cup each balsamic vinegar and pomegranate juice, 2-3 tablespoons of flax seeds, 1 tablespoon brewer's yeast, 1/2 teaspoon each salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and mustard powder, If I am eating at Whole Foods, they usually have a no-oil-added dressing, sometimes based on flax seeds like mine, or sometimes based on tahini (sesame seeds). So I do get plenty of essential omega-3 fatty acids, and we all get enough (or too much) omega-6 fatty acids.

                                                        I try to get at least a tablespoon of ground flax seeds each day, along with an ounce of nuts or a couple of ounces of olives or avocado.

                                                2. re: Ramius

                                                  " Truth is, if you´re not eating meat at all, you are certainly prone to have a higher percentage of carbohydrates in your diet, which is certainly not ideal. And actually unhealthy. "

                                                  Ok I think we understand better now, you're a low carb fan.

                                                  "Now, nuts has a decent ammount of protein. Both peanuts, almonds and pistachios have 20% protein, which is almost as much as meat. "

                                                  BTW, peanuts are legumes not nuts.

                                      2. re: Ramius

                                        I'm actually an ex vegetarian and ex vegan ( I've been back to an omni diet for over 15 years) and even I don't find your " because I said so" arguments to be anything more than opinion.

                                        You make a lot of generalizations backed up by your own opinion and those that agree with you. At the same time that you say don't believe others who are doing the same. That just isn't going to convince anyone you are right.

                                        1. re: rasputina

                                          when I was growing up the milk council had a huge ad campaign - every body needs milk. Very clever, and absolutely untrue. Not every body needs milk, and for some bodies milk is a bad thing. They killed the ads.

                                          I don't think many people - even most vegetarians and vegans - are going to go out and tell people meat is going to kill them, although they will suggest that a meat free diet has advantages and are happy to expound on that. But to turn around and say that every body needs meat is no less untrue. Tens of thousands of people not only survive but thrive on a meatless diet. Yes, they have to watch their diet. But most meat-eaters would do well to pay more attention to their diet as well (I say, carefully avoiding a glance in the mirror.) Humans and their progenitors have been eating whatever they can lay their hands on - animal, vegetable, and mineral - from the dawn of time. When it comes to diet we are probably the most adaptable species on earth. Blanket statements on either side of the coin just don't fly.

                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                            We can debate how many people constitute many, but there is a faction of vegans that do in fact espouse that meat will kill you and they look to the likes of John Robbins of "Diet for a New America" and "The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World" fame as one of their leaders. PETA helps the cause too.

                                            1. re: rasputina

                                              So if the approach of that faction bothers you, why do you - apparently - use the same approach from the other side of the street. I'm not trying to antagonize you, I just don't understand the all-or-nothing viewpoint from either side. Perhaps that's not correct, I do understand it, but i don't buy into it.

                                              I can't push away the beliefs of many people, including that of one of the word's great religions. Millions of Hindus do just fine without meat. Of course there are millions of Hiindus who are starving as well, but chances are they would be starving and unable to afford meat even if their ethics didn't forbid eating it. Pointing to extreme examples on either end of the spectrum generally doesn't suit anyone's best interest.

                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                What are you talking about? I'm not on the meat is evil bandwagon and I'm not on the paleo bandwagon. I believe all things in reasonable moderation and then hey a binge now and then won't kill you.

                                                BTW, not all Hindus are vegetarian.

                                              2. re: rasputina

                                                There may be a complex reasons behind it (class, socioeconomic status, etc), and I don't dispute that there are people who eat meat and are healthy, but I think the stats do show that overall, vegetarians are healthier than the general population, rather than less healthy.

                                                Not only that, but I think there's a growing awareness that eating more vegetables and less meat is really essential if we're going to feed a growing (and increasingly affluent) world.

                                    2. re: Ramius

                                      ramlus:
                                      you are 180 degrees in the wrong direction.
                                      when you say:
                                      <<Science now is seriously debunking vegetarianism and veganism>>
                                      actually it is NOT. the SCIENCE is going in the OTHER direction TOWARD vegetarianism

                                      here is some RECENT actual, real, science to consider:

                                      http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story...

                                      http://www.scientificamerican.com/art...

                                      re: b-12
                                      it is ONLY made by microorganisms (e.g. bacteria) it is NOT made by mammals. sometimes the bacteria live in the gut of animals, but an animal certainly isn't necessary for the creation of b-12

                                      p.s. although i am not a vegetarian i certainly do acknowledge the huge and ever-growing body of scientific evidence calling into question the healthfulness of meat. . . .

                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                        To me you are clearly forming a bias. You are falling into the trap where you let a couple of bad side effects for some, dictate that meat altogether is unhealthy. When infact, humans undeniably need protein. You agree with this right? If not then theres no point in discussing.

                                        And when we need protein, meat is the richest source for it out of all foods. So eating meat gives us protein. Thats undeniably good.

                                        Also you are failing to disprove my argument. Because one link you are providing is purely speculation. The other is science about over eating one particular kind of meat.

                                        Science has proven we evolved from being plant eaters because of meat. Makes sense? Of course, but infact, the eating of animal protein is what gave us bigger brains, its what sparked our creative ability to make weapons, and later - civlizations.

                                        Also, you are wrong in claiming that science is disproving me, because it is not. You´re chosing to go with just one side, while I am accepting both. I accept that we do infact need meat. And also that we do need a varied selection of foods, which includes plants, to keep ourselfs healthy. This is how we´ve eaten for thousands of years now. It is only recently that some people are changing the fundamentals. And I know it will not work.

                                        1. re: Ramius

                                          There is plenty of science showing that a vegetarian or largely vegetarian diet is feasible. Not to mention that it's how a good chunk of the world eats, whether by choice or not.

                                          It's very difficult to avoid getting enough protein on any kind of diet, unless you are a marathon runner or subsisting on Twinkies.

                                          1. re: will47

                                            You are arguing for what is feasible. Which basically means "just enough". I´m arguing for what is optimal. Which means what makes us the strongest we can be.

                                            So lets make the question simple. Who gets the most protein? A vegetarian, or a meat eater?

                                            1. re: Ramius

                                              But what you said wasn't "eating meat is more optimal", but that "people *need* meat".

                                          2. re: Ramius

                                            Yes, humans need protein. But they can get all they need from plants. Protein from meat is not "undeniably good." See http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2004n....

                                            It does not make sense that we "evolved from being plant eaters because of meat" any more than it makes sense that we "evolved" from being teetotalers because of alcohol.

                                        2. re: Ramius

                                          I find your post contradictory. First you claim we aren't made to eat beans, then later you say beans are good have nutrition that is important to you. HUH? Which is it?

                                          1. re: rasputina

                                            Wow. Go read it again.

                                            1. re: Ramius

                                              "Nor are we made to eat beans."

                                              "Beans are good, and they have nutrition that is important to you,"