Seitan is a savior for vegan athletes and bodybuilders, as long as they aren’t gluten intolerant or have a wheat allergy.
It’s got similar macros to vegan protein powder, and yet tastes really good and can be added to many recipes.
If this isn’t the first page you’ve gone to looking for seitan’s amino acid profile, it’s because there isn’t a single profile.
The term “seitan” is the name of the meal, not a particular ingredient.
It’s main ingredient is vital wheat gluten, but it also can contain several other ingredients.
But the majority of protein in seitan will be from the wheat gluten, so we can look at the amino acid profile of vital wheat gluten instead.
That’s also hard to find, but I found a study with the data we need.
Vital Wheat Gluten’s Amino Acid Profile
You can read that study yourself, or just see the table below with the relevant data from it:
|RDA||RDA||Wheat Gluten (Seitan)||%RDA In a Serving (100g)|
|mg per kg||for 70 kg person||%RDA per 100 cal||370 cals|
For reference, 70 kg is about 154 pounds, which is about the size of an average person.
The far right column is the most interesting one.
With just a single 100 gram serving, you exceed the RDA (for a 70 kg person) for all essential amino acids except lysine. It’s one of the best vegan sources of tryptophan.
Even though lysine is relatively low, it takes just over 2 servings to get the RDA for it.
Is Seitan a Complete Protein Then?
The whole concept of a complete protein is a bit of a mess, since you don’t need to consider foods in isolation in most cases.
But, if you only ate seitan, or use it as a primary protein source, it’s pretty clear that you’ll easily get enough of all essential amino acids.
That’s the accepted definition of a complete protein, so seitan qualifies.
In reality, it probably wouldn’t be optimal to only eat seitan for protein, but you’d get by okay.
You may also enjoy my comparison of seitan vs tofu vs tempeh, where we put the three plant-based protein sources head-to-head.
Finally, you won’t be eating vital wheat gluten by itself, so see this page if you’d like to look at the typical nutritional profile of seitan.