Debunking Myths of Protein

Protein Obsession

Many fitness magazines put out monthly articles regarding post-workout protein intake and although it’s important to eat after your workout to help fuel you for the rest of your day, we’ve become obsessed with protein.

During my studies on nutrition and the role of protein in the human body, I discovered one of the biggest myths that blew my mind which was finding out that protein intake need NOT be increased with intense exercise.

“There is no evidence that habitual exercise increases protein requirements; indeed protein metabolism may become more efficient as a result of training.” – Rennie MJ,  Department of Anatomy & Physiology, University of Dundee

This goes back to a statement in my previous blogs regarding the fact that our bodies have the ability to heal and adapt to changes, even stress.

So, whether you are sedentary or active, it is my belief that a diet that is rich in nutrients and full of variety may provide you with optimal health.

What Is Protein?

Protein plays a big role for many critical functions of the body.  It is required for the structure and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. Protein assists the body to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals.  It is made up of smaller units called amino acids.  There are 20 different types of amino acids that can be combined to make a protein.

Founder of Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease Program,  Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D. , explains, “The protein available in a diet of whole grains, legumes, fruit and beans, and red, yellow and green vegetables is adequate to nourish even professional champion athletes such as those who compete in the iron man races, professional football, mixed marshal arts, track and field.”

Dr.Esselstyn goes on to say, “Avoid protein drinks.  The extra protein is truly unnecessary and has the potential for harm if it contains animal protein.”

It is very common to hear people say, “Vegans don’t get enough protein.”

Even though a typical serving of meat, dairy or eggs are all ranked ‘high’ in protein.  There is virtually protein in all food.

“People who choose to go vegan get their protein straight from the source, in the same way as animals themselves.  Instead of getting it from meat they eat plenty of green vegetables, beans…as well as grains.”- Kent Online Reporter, UK.

Why Is This Important?

Rather than the common disbelief that we aren’t getting enough protein. Majority of Americans are eating too much protein, probably because the fear of not getting enough.

As Michael Greger, M.D. puts so well, “The question shouldn’t be are we getting enough protein, but rather, are we getting enough fiber.”

“Protein myths abound.  Many Americans don’t know how much protein they need or how much they’re getting.  People who follow a Western diet loaded with meat and dairy products consume about twice the amount of necessary protein, as well as excessive amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol.” – Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM.org)

It’s very important to understand that an over consumption of protein causes many health issues due to the fact that your body can only digest so much of it.

We can all understand the phrase, ‘everything is good in moderation’.  Well, the same goes for protein intake.

An over consumption of protein may cause the following:

Ketosis (The Keto diet, although a popular diet, causes long-term health issues)

Dehydration & Mineral loss (including calcium)

Kidney & liver issues

Plant Based Protein

Science backs up the fact that all nutrition comes from plants and microbes.

Beef is rich in nutrients because the cows eat grass and bacteria.  Also, our body knows how to create complete proteins from amino acid intake even if you don’t eat it in one meal.

Watch this video: The Protein-Combining Myth

Dr.Esselstyn, Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr.John McDougall also found with extended research that high protein which exceeds our human needs (more than 8-10% of daily calories) actually elevates the processes that lead to cancer and other serious diseases.

Furthermore, plant based diets actually cut the risk of developing many health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory diseases, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and others.

For more information on this topic, feel free to contact me here.

Until then, be well!

Cynthia Moon

 

  • Zane says:

    Another great article, Cynthia! I find your posts quite thought-provoking.

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