Wheat proteins in relation to protein requirements and availability of amino acids

Am J Clin Nutr. 1985 May;41(5 Suppl):1077-90. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/41.5.1077.


Wheat is a major source of plant protein for man. In parallel with other cereal staples, wheat proteins do not contain as high a concentration of the nutritionally indispensable amino acids as do animal protein foods. Thus, when consumed as an essentially sole source of protein they are not utilized with the same efficiency as animal protein foods and more wheat protein is required to meet the physiological needs in children and adults for both total protein and specific indispensable amino acids, especially lysine and also for threonine and tryptophan in specific cases. However, when combined with other food proteins such as legumes, oil seeds or animal products the proteins of wheat exhibit excellent nutritional complementarity. Furthermore, when wheat-based foods are considered in relation to broader concerns for diet, food habits and long-term health it is to be concluded that the proteins of wheat can and should continue to make a nutritionally important role toward meeting the protein and amino acid needs of populations throughout both the developing and developed regions of the world. Further research devoted toward improving the digestibility and overall nutritional value of wheat proteins and developing acceptable and economic sources of wheat protein concentrates should contribute to an even more substantial longterm role of wheat as a source of protein in human nutrition.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amino Acids / analysis*
  • Amino Acids / physiology
  • Amino Acids, Essential / analysis
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developing Countries
  • Diet
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Nutritive Value
  • Plant Proteins / analysis*
  • Plant Proteins / physiology
  • Triticum / analysis*


  • Amino Acids
  • Amino Acids, Essential
  • Plant Proteins