‘Complete’ and ‘Incomplete’ Protein is BS

Why the macronutrient is more nuanced than these antiquated terms make it seem.

Article by Ryan D. Andrews, RD, CSCS As a registered dietitian, nearly every week I hear clients, colleagues, journalists, coaches, students, friends, bus drivers, and barbers use the terms ‘complete’ and ‘incomplete’ proteins. We’ve become obsessive in our quest to consume more and more of the former. And this has led to a diet that overemphasizes animal products at the expense of plants. The ripple effect of a diet focused on animal food extends far and wide, influencing not only our personal health, but environmental sustainability and humane livestock production (and whether we like it or not, these last two influence all of us).

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