Thank you for providing this resource for questions. To gain lean mass, I am trying to eat 1 gram of protein for each 1lb of body weight. That is 190 grams protein for me, which is a heck of a lot of chicken or beef! What do you think about reducing meat and protein shakes and substituting some moderate protein complex carbs for all the white rice, noodles and white potatoes I see in typical body builder diets?

For example, reading labels I note that edamame spaghetti has 25 grams protein per serving. Black lentils and quinoa can be cooked together (lentils=13 grams; quinoa 6 grams protein per serving). Edamame/roasted soy snack nuts have 13 grams protein and very little fat.

Also, for complex carbs can I mix just a little grain with black beans or does it have to be exactly equal portions to get a complete amino acid protein profile? Are there any energy level disadvantages to resistance training with these carb sources fueling my workouts? Thank you for answering my questions.

– Eric M.


Thank you for sharing your grain-based Nutrition Facts panel observations!

1) I agree with substituting some moderate protein complex carbs. The volume of animal tissue to supply 190 grams protein means more saturated fat and cholesterol, and is unnecessary! Don’t forget about vegetables, which offer as much protein per calorie as do traditional starches. 

2) Yes, you can mix carbohydrate sources to get a complete amino acid profile for the day. They don’t have to be equivalent portions at one sitting. The key for vegetarians is variety of grains. You still eat meat (and I’ll assume fish, eggs, and milk products), so you’re getting plenty of amino acids otherwise.

3) The only disadvantage I see from carbohydrate sources fueling your resistance training is that without other protein sources, the quantity of carbohydrates will have to be high to reach your personal 190 gm protein target, and that may mean poor insulin sensitivity in the long run.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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