The Methionine + Lysine Complete Protein Cheat Sheet

Being a self-educated vegan, it's easy to muck things up--especially when it comes to eating the right protein when the FDA doesn't require foods to be labeled with their amino acid contents. The mere grams of protein in a meal is insufficient information to determine how much protein your body can actually absorb.

I recently ran across the concept of a complete protein on wikipedia. One of the limiting factors of the adult body being able to turn amino acids into protein depend on the ratio of 7 different amino acids. If any one of these proteins is too low, it becomes the limiting amino acid / bottleneck on your body being able to build protein. These amino acids and their proportions necessary to form a complete protein are listed below (copied from wikipedia):

Essential Amino Acid mg/g of Protein
Tryptophan 7
Threonine 27
Isoleucine 25
Leucine 55
Lysine 51
Methionine+Cystine 25
Phenylalanine+Tyrosine 47
Valine 32
Histidine 18

Complete proteins are found naturally in meats, but a plant-based diet is generally limited by their methionine and lysine proportions. Fortunately, a diet rich in rice (a good source of methionine) and beans (a good source of lysine) provides a vegan diet with a complete protein. This is why rice+beans is a common staple to many cultures around the world.

After learning this, I hopped over to and searched for a comprehensive list of foods highest in methionine and lysine.

I copied all the vegan query's response to a spreadsheet, and here's the resulting Vegan Complete Protein Cheat Sheet:

mg Methionine / 100g serving of vegan foods

Lysene concentrations in vegan foods

mg lysene / 100g serving of vegan food

mg Lysine / 100g serving of vegan foods

Methionine Concentrations in Vegan Foods

mg methionine / 100g serving of vegan foods

Other formats:

* methionine.pdf
* lysene.pdf
* Open Office spreadsheet

February 12, 2011 · Michael · 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: diet, health, vegan, vegetarian

3 Responses

  1. Do you understand the essential amino acids? - July 2, 2011

    [...] Green The Methionine + Lysine Complete Protein Cheat Sheet has some good lists of vegan sources of lysine and methionine. I second the suggestions of hemp. I find adding hemp protein powder to smoothies to be one of the easiest ways to drastically increase my protein intake as a vegan. Hemp has all of the essential amino acids, but the ratios aren't entirely ideal (tryptophan is the limiting one). There are several commercial mixtures which correct for this - most seem to contain hemp, rice, and pea protein. Russianrocket also has a point, although he put it rather abrasively. A high percentage of people don't tolerate gluten well, and I'm yet to hear of anyone who thrives on huge amounts of processed wheat in any form. Eating a bit of it won't kill you, but it's probably not wise to make it a huge part of your diet. Good luck. [...]

  2. Green » Cheap Vegan Protein Shakes - March 31, 2012

    [...] 2012-03-31: If you want a better distribution of amino acids (to form a complete protein), you might want to go with the pre-mixed Vegan Protein Optimizer Formula made from a mix of Rice, [...]

  3. Green » Vegan Complete Protein Ratios - July 14, 2019

    […] One of the most ubiquitous combinations of food found in indigenous cultures around the world is rice and beans. Rice (high in lysine) and beans (high in methionine) provide the body with all the essential amino acids necessary to build protein that would otherwise be lacking from a vegan diet. For a great cheat-sheet listing vegetarian foods that provide the highest concentrations of lysine and methionine amino acids per 100g serving, checkout my post on The Methionine and Lysine Complete Protein Cheat Sheet. […]

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