The purpose of this research was to determine whether whole wheat and lentils, food staples consumed in the Middle East, will exhibit delayed protein complementation when fed in alternating meals. Lentils are limiting in sulfur containing amino acids, especially methionine, while whole wheat is limiting in lysine, and when these proteins are fed together they supplement one another.

Sixty male, Sprague-Dawley weanling rats were divided into six diet groups with ten in each group as follows: diets fed ad libitum; wheat, lentils, wheat and lentils combined; diets pair-fed; wheat and lentils combined, wheat alternating with lentils, lentils alternating with wheat. The design of the study was to feed lentils and wheat in alternating meals or in the same meal. The proportion of lentil to wheat protein was 1:1 and was given 1 hour 4 times a day with 4 hours between the meals. The diets included protein at 13.7 % in an otherwise complete diet. The rats were allowed water ad libitum. After a 2 week adjustment period data was collected for 3 additional weeks.

The rats fed ad libitum for three weeks the wheat diet showed significantly better growth than those on the lentil diet, with mean and standard deviations of 53.4 ± 5.62 g. and 23.5 ± 3.95 g. respectively (p < 0.01). Rats on the wheat-lentil diet grew better than those on the wheat or lentil diets alone with mean and standard deviation of 87.0 ± 8.42 g. (p < 0.01) There was a similar relationship between the PER values for lentils 1.08, wheat 1.54, and wheat-lentils 1.95. The growth data demonstrates excellent mutual supplementation between these two protein sources.

In the rats that were pair-fed there was no significant difference in weight gain in the control group with mean and standard deviations of 41.5 ± 3.27 g. that was fed lentils and wheat in the same meal as compared with the wheat alternating with lentil (WLWL) group 39.4 ± 3.31 g. or that were fed lentils then wheat (LWLW) in alternating meals 44.7 ± 5.38 g. There was also a similar relationship between the PER values with mean and standard deviations of the control 1.7 ± 0.14, WLWL 1.62 ± 0.15 and LWLW 1.82 ± 0.16.

The results from this study show that whole wheat and lentils complement each other whether in the same meal or in alternating meals with 4 hours separating the meals. Thus there was adequate delayed protein complementation in this study.


Graduate School

First Advisor

U. D. Register

Second Advisor

Albert Sanchez

Third Advisor

Kenneth Burke

Fourth Advisor

Jan Kuzma

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Dietary Proteins; Complement; Food -- Middle East; Wheat; Legumes



Page Count

vi; 37

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

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This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


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