The Protein-Combining Myth

Recently, my daughter received all of her textbooks before heading off to college this fall.  A required class for first year students is Health.  She started reading through the book and was surprised that they said to approach a plant-based diet with ‘caution’ because you had to watch your nutrients very closely.  They also referred to the “importance of combining vegetarian proteins during a meal to get a complete protein.”  The amazing thing is that this book was published in 2015!  

The original protein-combining myth began in an article in Vogue magazine in 1975, over 40 years ago.  The concept was created based on a study performed 100 years ago.  The protein-combining myth was debunked in 1994 and it has been proven in multiple studies that vegans exceed the recommended  amount of protein in a healthy well-balanced diet.  Even the American Heart Association has come out with the statement that “plant proteins alone can provide enough of the essential and nonessential amino acids as long as the sources of dietary protein are varied and the caloric intake is high enough to meet energy needs.”

The really unfortunate thing is that the professor for this course is spreading false information to hundreds of students who will take the information as accurate because it came from a textbook.  Obviously, we have a long way to go with messaging the science behind a whole food, plant-based diet.

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