Aztec Diet: Amino Acid Score (AAS) of Foods

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Food NameHisIleLeuLysSAAAAAThrTrpValProtein
Butter, salted1502401781551362051662022100.85
Butter, whipped, with salt1502401781551362051662022100.85
Butter oil, anhydrous1592431751541432131722042120.28
Cheese, blue19721016317012923713620822721.40
Cheese, brick19719617617912021514119919823.24
Cheese, brie19219616917513624213422220220.75
Cheese, camembert19219616917513624213422220219.80
Cheese, caraway19524817416312521513218420925.18
Cheese, cheddar19524817416312521513218420924.90
Cheese, cheshire19524817416312521513218320923.37
Cheese, colby19524817416312521513218320923.76
Cheese, cottage, creamed, large or small curd16321318216512122616718921011.12
Cheese, cottage, creamed, with fruit18323318615815722616315819210.69
Cheese, cottage, nonfat, uncreamed, dry, large or small curd16321218216512022616718921010.34

Amino Acid Score Database for Bob Arnot's Aztec Diet

In The Aztec Diet, Chia Power, Bob Arnot explains AAS (Amino Acid Score) as follows:

"AAS measures the number and type of amino acids in a food. The higher the score, the higher the quality of a protein. An AAS of 100 or higher signifies a complete protein." (Scoring Foods section, page xvii.)

Unfortunately, the first sentence that Bob Arnot wrote about AAS is flat out WRONG.

His second sentence is not true as you will see in our discussion below.

His third sentence needs explanation which we will provide.

The Index of The Aztec Diet, Chia Power lists only 2 references to AAS: pages xvii and 92. On page 92, Arnot states:

"To qualify as a complete protein, a food's amino acid score (AAS) must be at least 100. Chia scores 115."

The second sentence ("Chia scores 115.") is proof that Arnot's claim that AAS measures the number and type of amino acids in a food is bogus.

What does 115 tell anyone about number of amino acids in chia? Nothing different from 511.

And what does 115 say about type of amino acids in chia? Nothing different from 321.

To properly understand AAS, please see our explanation below.

What are amino acids?

Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins. The human body requires a number of amino acids to grow and breakdown food.

Amino acids are usually classified into two groups: essential and nonessential amino acids.

  • Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body and must be supplied by food. The nine essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
  • Nonessential amino acids can be made by the body from the essential amino acids or normal breakdown of proteins. They include aspartic acid, glutamic acid, and glycine, etc.

What is AAS?

Each essential amino acid in a food is given a score. This score is the ratio of the amino acid in the food's protein over the same amino acid in the reference protein expressed in percentage.

Another way to think about this concept: each essential amino acid has an established minimum value. Its score is the percentage of its content in comparison with this threshold value. The AAS of a food is the lowest individual score of the 9 essential amino acids that the food contains. If all 9 individual scores are greater than or equal to 100, then the food's protein is considered complete. This concept is stated more formally in the Complete Protein section below.

The higher the AAS, the higher the quality of a protein?

Not true! You need to look at all 9 individual scores to have a comprehensive and more valid evaluation of the protein quality of a food. Our unique AAS database allows this kind of proper evaluation of foods' protein quality. Arnot's Aztec Diet, Chia Power has a very limited and random listing of AAS of foods. If you adopt Arnot's AAS concept, there is no other web app that provides this kind of insight into amino acid scores.

Search for chia in our database, you will see that Arnot's 115 score comes from chia's limiting amino acid lysine! Chia's total protein per 100 grams of weight is 16.54 grams. You can search and sort foods by names or categories or by AAS. This makes your food selection an intelligent and precise process, not a vague acceptance of what others say is good for you.

For example, search for raw carrot. You will see that it has even higher AAS (184) than chia(115). However, raw carrot has only 0.93 grams of protein per 100 grams of food weight. This means raw carrot is not a good source of protein, but the little protein it contains is very high quality when one compares all their 9 individual amino acid scores to chia's.

Complete Protein

A complete protein (or whole protein) is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of humans or other animals. Some incomplete protein sources may contain all essential amino acids, but a complete protein contains them in correct proportions for supporting biological functions in the human body.

Usage Note

This AAS database has amino acid scores for approximately 5,000 foods.

  • Foods with Complete Protein are those with AAS value in green.
  • Those with Incomplete Protein are items with AAS value in red.
  • The AAS of a food is the lowest essential amino acid score in its profile highlighted in red or green.
  • Abbreviations:
    • His: Histidine
    • Ile: Isoleucine
    • Leu: Leucine
    • Lys: Lysine
    • SAA: Sulfur amino acids (methionine + cysteine)
    • AAA: Aromatic amino acids (phenylalanine + tyrosine)
    • Thr: Threonine
    • Trp: Tryptophan
    • Val: Valine
  • Protein values are in grams and measured per 100g (3.5 oz) of food weight.
  • Click on column header to sort foods by name or by column's content.

How to use this AAS database according to Arnot's Aztec Diet?

Choose foods with AAS value in bold green! The higher the AAS, the better the food with regard to protein quality. You can search and sort foods as well as browse foods by categories.

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