View Full Version : amino acids

05-05-2003, 06:51 PM
In Bio class today my teacher spouted out that vegetarians are extremely unhealthy because they do not get the proper amino acids from the food that they eat. :mad: We were talking about DNA and because of the protein structures and amino acids it somehow got shifted into this. My class then proceeded to go on about meat for a good 10 minutes as I sat in disgust. One girl spoke up and said that she would never eat veal because of how badly they treat the animals, which was followed by my teacher saying, "why? It tastes good!". :brood: This was then followed by a "what's the grossest animal part you've ever eaten" contest.
Anyways, what can you guys tell me about amino acids, and basically surviving as a vegetarian/vegan, still maintaining the proper amino acids and not shriveling up and dying? (holy run on sentence!) I want something that I can hand to her or spout out back to her tomorrow when I get into class. I'd like to at least make her think a bit.

05-05-2003, 07:52 PM
this is from a post i made in the "where do you get your protein" faq:

the first number is the data for the amount of the amino acid in broccoli and the second is the amount in a t-bone steak...

raw broccoli vs. t-bone steak
(grams per 100 calories)

histidine: 0.39 vs. 0.31
isoleucine: 0.47 vs. 0.55
leucine: 0.50 vs. 0.57
lysine: 0.12 vs. 0.18
methionine: 0.30 vs. 0.27
phenylalanine: 0.33 vs. 0.30
threonine: 0.10 vs. 0.08
tryptophan: 0.23 vs. 0.23
tyrosine: 0.46 vs. 0.34
valine: 0.42 vs. 0.42

the broccoli and steak have comparable amounts of all the essential amino acids.

i don't see how we could *not* be getting the right amount of amino acids, if calorie for calorie, many vegetables have almost the same amount of amino acids as meat does! :) (and no, we do not need to resurrect the "but you shouldn't eat only broccoli" argument because i know you shouldn't eat only broccoli, i'm just using it as an example.)

05-05-2003, 08:04 PM
Here (http://www.pcrm.org/health/veginfo/protein.html) is a good place for information also.

Good luck educating your teacher. ;)

05-06-2003, 09:37 AM
shade, your teacher sucks immensely :D

http://www.soyohio.org/health/diet/nutrient.htm - has some interesting stuff specifically about soya, especially the bit about rats.

vegsource and a pro-soya group are maybe not the most impartial sources of information.

i think kara's list comes from an FAO report, but i'm not sure. i thought i'd downloaded that thing, but ican't find it on my computer any more. (kara - is it taken from that big excel document?). the slightly low levels of lysine and isoleucine in the broccoli could be made up by scoffing a bit of soya, which has plenty of everything and an excess of lysine (i.e. beyond what people need, so making up for the lower amount in the broccoli). lysine is (i think) the most likely amino acid to be limiting for a veg diet.

the American Dietetic Association says this about vegetarianism in general:
"Scientific data suggest positive relationships between a vegetarian diet and reduced risk for several chronic degenerative diseases and conditions, including obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and some types of cancer. Vegetarian diets, like all diets, need to be planned appropriately to be nutritionally adequate.

It is the position of The American Dietetic Association (ADA) that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, are nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases."

more at:

good luck!!!

05-06-2003, 12:55 PM

05-06-2003, 08:27 PM
yeah that info is from the spreadsheet here (http://www.vegsource.com/harris/food_comp.htm). it's from the usda. good for arguments of this kind. :)