Is this true: protein on food labels is adjusted for complet

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9nines
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Is this true: protein on food labels is adjusted for complet

#1 Postby 9nines » Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:16 am

I found this:

The amount of protein recorded on food labels only lists the complete proteins. A product may contain much higher amounts of incomplete protein that is not listed. Combining such products may increase the total amount of protein beyond the levels expected.

at: http://www.ivu.org/faq/protein.html

Does anyone know if it is true? If so, please list sources or links. I find fear of protein deficiency is a large block for many people in entertaining a plant-based diet and I would like information like this to educate people.

Thanks.

Kathryn
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#2 Postby Kathryn » Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:50 am

I've never heard of this before.

9nines
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Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 1:41 pm

#3 Postby 9nines » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:46 pm

Neither have I nor can I find anymore references. Also, I can not determine how to contact the author to ask for confirmation.

It seems very plausible as it would be easy to convert. For example brown rice has a protein quality (the percentage of the lowest held essential amino acid in comparison to an ideal profile) of 74% based on its lysine content (its lowest essential amino acid.) In other words, a unit of brown rice protein has 74% of the amount of lysine that an ideal profile of the same total protein amount would have and 74% or more in all other essential amino acids. So a conversion would simply be multiplying brown rice's total protein per servings by 74% and list that product as its protein per servings (example, if its total was 10 grams, list it as 7 grams - 7.4 rounded down. In other words, its 10 grams of protein would meet or exceed the amount of essential amino acids in 7.4 grams of protein profile of 100%.) It would similar to converting the energy content of natural gas so it can be expressed as equivalent barrels of oil.

That article is implying that that is happening on labels. It would be nice to confirm.

Edit: I found a contact list and sent an email asking. My guess is that it is not happening because if you take the listed fat, protein and carbohydrates and multiple each by the calories per gram for each type, you get a product close to the amount listed for calories, on most labels. So, if it is happening, the calories listed are also being decreased and I doubt a nutritional label could or would do that.

Matt
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Re: Is this true: protein on food labels is adjusted for com

#4 Postby Matt » Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:20 pm

9nines wrote:I found this:

The amount of protein recorded on food labels only lists the complete proteins.

Completely untrue.

The proteins counted in Nutrition Facts are those made with essential amino acids. Rice and lentils independently, for example, are high in protein (and if you buy them pre-packaged with their Nutrition Facts on the label, you'll see the high amount of protein), but neither is made up of "complete" protein, meaning *all* the essential amino acids the human body needs. That's the difference.

You'll find that by using the somewhat cryptic but functional USDA online database (link below) that you can do a nutrient search for just about any general food item and the nutrients, including protein broken out into its respective essential amino acids for that food (down to the thousandths of a gram):

http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/

Enjoy! :)
Matt Norwood
I'm was there, now I'm here.


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