1. A Diet of Animal Protein Could Be as Harmful as Smoking
The result of this study, which followed 6318 people, concluded that those who ate a diet high in protein were 4 times more likely to die from cancer than those following a low protein diet.
“The percent of calorie intake from protein was used to categorize subjects into a high protein group (20% or more of calories from proteins), a moderate protein group (10%–19% of calories from proteins), and a low protein group (less than 10% of calories from proteins).”
When the media found out about this it was all over the papers and internet news sites, but I already knew animal protein was bad news after watching Forks Over Knives. But, some people need an article in a trusted newspaper to convince them over some annoying plant eater trying to convert them (i.e. Me). So here are some links to articles that have highlighted the main points of this new study:
There is sooooo much evidence in the world pointing to this that we all overlook! What are the biggest causes of death in the Western world? Cancer, heart disease and stroke! What food makes up a large part of the typical Western diet? Meat, dairy, refined sugar, salt and NO FIBRE. It is blatantly obvious. You are what you eat.
To get the full low down on this correlation and how you can literally cut your risk factor for these diseases in half (or more) watch the documentary Forks Over Knives. It is seriously interesting and it could save your life. Actually.
2. The World Health Organisation protein requirements are far lower than what people are eating and far lower than what the protein company marketers are making you think you need.
You actually only need 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight. This is less than 5% of daily calories. The average American (my sources are only American websites but there aren’t many major differences between macro-nutrient ratios in all the developed countries) eat twice as much protein as they need.
And that’s only the average person. Imagine how much meat someone on a body building or paleo diet eats.
To see how much meat Irish people were eating in 1999 check out this survey: .
However, this was done nearly 20 years ago, and you can be sure that people are eating even more protein now due to all the ridiculous marketing and the fatter wallets.
The bottom line here is we are eating too much meat and it is dangerous as f**k.
3. Kidney stones
This is the surface of a kidney stone under a microscope.
Can you imagine that having to pass through your urinary tract? High meat diets increase your risk of developing kidney stones, whereas a diet of fresh fruit and vegetables reduces the risk. Dr. Gregor has a few videos on this topic and can explain it for you a lot better than I can.
4. Heart disease
Do people know about this one yet? Again this is one of the main topics in the documentary “Forks Over Knives”. Basically the more meat you eat the more likely you are to get heart disease. Think about it, meat is laden with cholesterol and saturated fat, even if you trim off the fat! It’s still there through the flesh.
The scariest part of this is that heart disease starts in children. First they develop fatty streaks, then later plaques start forming, this gets worse and worse as we grow older and by the time we are 30/40 we are at risk of the blood not being able to pass through these fatty deposits. If this happens in our hearts it’s known as a heart attack, in our brains it’s a stroke, and if it happens in the aorta it is an aneurysm.
Animal protein is the only dietary source of cholesterol and cholesterol is NOT HEALTHY. No matter how many articles you read that tell you butter is back do not listen! We all need cholesterol yes. But, our bodies make cholesterol themselves! We don’t need to consume the body parts of other cholesterol-making animals to get enough. Again, have you ever heard of anyone with a cholesterol deficiency?
But, regardless of the fat content of meat, the protein is also linked to heart disease. So that’s two major components of meat that contribute to heart disease. Again watch this video for the facts broken down.
5. Excess needs to be excreted.
I already mentioned in another point that we are eating way more protein than we need, but aside from the fact that we are obsessing over it for no reason, and that it’s a waste of time, there are real health consequences to this excess. The body only uses what it needs to repair the muscles and any excess obviously has to be dealt with and eliminated. This process is very damaging to the kidneys who are under strain from trying to get rid of all this extra protein. Here’s what the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine say about this:
“When people eat too much protein, it releases nitrogen into the blood or is digested and metabolized. This places a strain on the kidneys, which must expel the waste through the urine. High-protein diets are associated with reduced kidney function. Over time, individuals who consume very large amounts of protein, particularly animal protein, risk permanent loss of kidney function. Harvard researchers reported that high-protein diets were associated with a significant decline in kidney function, based on observations in 1,624 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study. The good news is that the damage was found only in those who already had reduced kidney function at the study’s outset. The bad news is that as many as one in four adults in the United States may already have reduced kidney function, suggesting that most people who have renal problems are unaware of that fact and do not realize that high-protein diets may put them at risk for further deterioration. The kidney-damaging effect was seen only with animal protein. Plant protein had no harmful effect.9
The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that high animal-protein intake is in part responsible for the high prevalence of kidney stones in the United States and other developed countries and recommends protein restriction for the prevention of recurrent kidney stones.10″
6. It’s a money racket
Think about all the horrible health problems I’m after mentioning that are associated with high protein consumption. But why do we all believe that it is the be all the end all? Marketing!
Body builders, protein powder companies and the meat industry have just completely milked the need for protein into something much more than it really is. Think about it, they’re all trying to sell you something! And does it all even work? Most of the big body builders are on steroids as well as over-eating protein so how do you even know if it’s the protein that makes them big and muscley? And along with their protein shakes and low-carb meals they are drinking litres of coffee and energy drinks every day to give them energy to work out! If they cut down on the protein and increased their carb intake they might have a bit more energy.
Vegan body builders do actually exist and they do not rely on protein powders and shakes. They just eat enough calories and with enough calories they get enough of the nutrients their bodies need. http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/
7. There isn’t even a word for protein deficiency.
Most people get unbelievably worried if you tell them you don’t eat meat and ask “But where do you get your protein?” As if we are going to be deficient in protein.
Protein deficiency doesn’t even exist! There is no term for it. The only way you can be deficient in protein is if you are actually malnourished…as in starving….as in living in a famine stricken country….
It is such a myth that we need to make an effort to get enough protein. Just eat until you’re full at every meal and you will have enough. There is a website called cronometer where you can choose a macronutrient ratio goal and then put in your daily food intake, and it will tell you how much fat, protein and carbs you are getting.
This isn’t my Cronometer account I just got this picture online^^^
I aim for 80% carbs, 10% protein and 10% fat and I don’t even eat that many beans and I still get enough protein! Seriously check it out. It’s a really good way to see what nutrients and how many calories you’re getting.
So moral of the story is: if you eat meat you’re getting too much protein, and it’s dangerous. Best thing to do would be to start cutting down, slowly but surely. You’ll ease the pressure on your heart, arteries, liver, waistline, skin, kidneys etc.
Do not be afraid of carbs! They are your body’s primary preferred source of fuel. And all foods that are considered “carbs” actually have protein in them too! (again check out chronometer it breaks down each individual food and tells you what’s in it)
There is so much more information out there about the dangers of protein but I just wanted to give an easy to read summary of the main issues surrounding the overrated protein.