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 Post subject: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:27 am 
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Finch

Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:07 am
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Hi all,

I'm new to the forum and Veganism (although to be honest I haven't had the courage to give up eggs (4/week) and I love cream in my coffee), so really I am still a vegetarian. I apologize if this question has been asked elsewhere already. I recently watched "Forks over Knives" and they presented some interesting information about protein and acidosis and various types of cancers. I know they were specifically focused on animal proteins (dairy) but the suggestion was that a daily protein intake of greater than 15% of total daily calories leads to all sorts of health problems. I haven't been able to find out if this applies to plant based protein as well. It would make sense that plant based proteins would still lead to acidosis, and therefore calcium leeching from bones, electrolyte disbalance, greater cellular damage etc. if consumed in greater quantities. Has anyone found any evidence that plant based proteins somehow prevent this effect? I have been a bodybuilder for 17 years now (non-competitive but still pretty big: 230lbs at 6'0" with 8-10% bodyfat) and really don't want to lose the muscle I have put on so I would like to consume more protein to support this mass. My health means more to me than my vanity so I can take the hit to my mass, but I really would prefer not to. Any insight or advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:09 am 
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Finch

Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:44 am
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Hi ATank,

Awesome stats!

I have been told that your body grows more during the first two years of life than at any other time. You double your weight during this period. And for this time of life, the ideal food is human breast milk. Human breast milk is 5% protein, based on calories. If you can double your body size eating only 5% of your calories from protein, then any additional amount of protein is excess and not healthy. In consuming excess protein, even animal protein, you take health risks.

I'd love for you to read the following and then tell me your thoughts --- http://www.drmcdougall.com/free_2e.html.

I suspect that you might be able to FORCE muscle growth faster with excess protein while taking health risks, but I am not even sure of this. Maybe one would grow faster with only 5% of calories from protein. But I think that the assumption that excess protein is not a health risk is itself a risky assumption to make. The negative impacts of excessive protein (in theory) show up many many years later and are cumulative.

I am very concerned about this subject. I am about to embark on my first concentrated attempt to build muscles on a low fat, low protein vegan diet. I am not in a hurry. I want excellent results. But it is hard not be be in a gym, talk to other guys and not to get concerned that I'm not eating enough protein. I find I am easy to "hypnotize" when everyone thinks I am wrong. I have been able to maintain my vegan diet since mid August 2011 but so many people I respect tell me that I won't get bigger unless I consume what I now believe to be dangerous levels of protein.

I was a protein maniac just 6 short months ago. I ate lean meats and dairy. I had cholesterol of 250 and my doctor wanted me to take a statin drug because of family history of heart disease. Today I'm at 120 with the low fat, low protein vegan diet and I never took any drugs. This is all from my diet.

For me body building is hard hard work. Who wouldn't want the best results possible. I really curious to hear your thoughts.

Jimmy.


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 Post subject: Re: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:32 am 
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Rabbit
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I have heard that plant based protein does not leach calcium from the bones like animal protein does. Don't go too low.


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 Post subject: Re: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:49 am 
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Elephant
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jimmy90212 wrote:
....If you can double your body size eating only 5% of your calories from protein, then any additional amount of protein is excess and not healthy....

That's not usually true. In fact, 5% of calories from COMPLETE protein is still very low, and most dietitians recommend 15% of calories come from COMPLETE proteins. Many vegan proteins are not complete, so depending on what you eat, you may want to get more than the 15% norm. There have also been studies showing quite healthy results on protein intakes of 25% or higher. Basically the body is great at utilizing whatever you give it, so if you want a higher protein diet (for building muscle) or a lower protein diet (for endurance athletes) all that really matters is the quality of food your are getting. There is research to show that protein from vegan foods is healthier than protein from modern animal foods, which is where the benefit of being vegan comes in.

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 Post subject: Re: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:56 am 
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Finch

Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:07 am
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jimmy90212 wrote:
Hi ATank,

I'd love for you to read the following and then tell me your thoughts --- http://www.drmcdougall.com/free_2e.html.

For me body building is hard hard work. Who wouldn't want the best results possible. I really curious to hear your thoughts.

Jimmy.


I checked out the link you provided, thanks. Dr. McDougall echoes a lot of the thoughts I had, especially in regards to how animals like horses, elephants, hippos (and the one I was thinking of was the belgian blue) can attain such muscle mass, on a strictly vegan and low protein diet.

Since I have been a vegetarian I have found that if I can get into the gym my muscle mass and strength increases as quickly as they did when I was a meat eater. However, the biggest difference I have noticed is that my body loses its mass much more quickly if I don't go to the gym (I haven't been able to go for the last couple of weeks and I have lost 5 lbs). Perhaps the excess protein helps preserve muscle mass better (but at what health cost?). My schedule should get back to normal again in a couple of weeks so I can start hitting the gym 4 times a week again. We'll see what happens.


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 Post subject: Re: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:53 am 
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Gorilla

Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:58 am
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ATank wrote:
I checked out the link you provided, thanks. Dr. McDougall echoes a lot of the thoughts I had, especially in regards to how animals like horses, elephants, hippos (and the one I was thinking of was the belgian blue) can attain such muscle mass, on a strictly vegan and low protein diet.


Nothing against McDougall, as he's a great guy who helps a lot and makes some great food, but we're not babies or animals. Our bodies don't work the same way, and there's no validity in comparing their macros to ours.

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 Post subject: Re: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:57 am 
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Rabbit

Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:52 am
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I think some vegan/AR campaigners bang on far too much about the 'dangers' of high protein diets. Personally I'm not too inclined to be lectured on the benefits of a low protein diet from some hippy who'd struggle to bench press an empty bar.


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 Post subject: Re: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:44 pm 
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Manatee
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Well, as far as the not being able to maintain muscle mass while not working out bit, I can't say I haven't given that thought. But if there were anything to that (which I don't think there is, because protein is protein is protein no matter where it comes from) then I would have to wonder is it more natural because the body only retains what it is genetically predisposed to retain, or genetically predisposed to adaptation to retain it.

I would think from a purely functional point of view, the body would want to be as efficient as possible, which would mean getting rid of anything it is not using or is not going to use in the very near future.

So my thoughts on the subject of being less likely to RETAIN muscle mass on a vegan diet as opposed to animal based would center around efficiency, rather than deficiency.

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 Post subject: Re: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:02 pm 
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Stegosaurus
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James wrote:
I think some vegan/AR campaigners bang on far too much about the 'dangers' of high protein diets. Personally I'm not too inclined to be lectured on the benefits of a low protein diet from some hippy who'd struggle to bench press an empty bar.


A-freakin'-men! :D

I never understood the aversion that so many in the vegan community have had in regard to protein. The oversimplification of "protein = death" bullshit that I've heard so many times over the years is one I'd hoped would die off, and while it seems on the decline, there's still enough people who want to peddle that tired old story that keep it alive.

I believe that the simplistic thinking of "worrying about taking in more protein means you'll turn to animal products" is what got people started on this, as there have always been people in the vegan world who only see things in their half-cocked assumptive absolutes. I also believe that it got this way when people in the community were happy to lie about the supposed dangers of protein, thinking that it was fine to obfuscate the truth if it meant that people would be afraid of it and would associate higher protein with declining health. All because they never considered that, if people want more protein, there are more than enough vegan sources out there for anyone who is after them. But, for some, it was more about drawing a line in the sand to call protein the "enemy" and make it an oversimplified and false battle that wasn't worth waging in the first place.

It's exactly why I'm grateful that there are places like this where facts can be shared instead of the old wives tales that used to be the "facts" people would spread around regarding protein!

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"A 'hardgainer' is merely someone who hasn't bothered to try enough different training methods to learn what is actually right for their own damned body." - anonymous


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 Post subject: Re: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:43 am 
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Finch

Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:07 am
Posts: 5
HorseSense wrote:
Well, as far as the not being able to maintain muscle mass while not working out bit, I can't say I haven't given that thought. But if there were anything to that (which I don't think there is, because protein is protein is protein no matter where it comes from) then I would have to wonder is it more natural because the body only retains what it is genetically predisposed to retain, or genetically predisposed to adaptation to retain it.


My BMI has been close to or greater then 30 since I was 18 (I'm 32 now and I started working out when I was 15). So in terms of the body wanting to be efficient I get what you are saying as it makes sense that my body would want to bring the overall BMI down to a more Cardiovascularly manageable level. My main point was that it seems as though my body loses mass faster on a veggie diet than it did on an animal protein diet. Now, this may be a moot point because I will not return to eating animal proteins. I just thought it was an interesting observation and I wanted to see if anyone else has noticed the same thing. As an important side note I need to point out that this mass loss only happened when I could not workout for an extended period of time. I did lose some mass (sans workouts) when I was a carnivore but not as quickly as now. However, I have to say that it has been about 4 weeks now since I have been able to workout :(, and the mass lost has stopped leaving me at 205 lbs rather than my usual 220 - 230. I should be getting back to the gym in less than a week :boxer: (yay!!) so we'll see how fast the mass comes back.

All of the above was a side note I wanted to ask about though. My primary questions was about the safety of excess protein (even if it is from plant based sources). I'll address that below with a quote from another forum member.


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 Post subject: Re: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:58 am 
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Finch

Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:07 am
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VeganEssentials wrote:
James wrote:
I think some vegan/AR campaigners bang on far too much about the 'dangers' of high protein diets. Personally I'm not too inclined to be lectured on the benefits of a low protein diet from some hippy who'd struggle to bench press an empty bar.


A-freakin'-men! :D

I never understood the aversion that so many in the vegan community have had in regard to protein. The oversimplification of "protein = death" bullshit that I've heard so many times over the years is one I'd hoped would die off, and while it seems on the decline, there's still enough people who want to peddle that tired old story that keep it alive.

I believe that the simplistic thinking of "worrying about taking in more protein means you'll turn to animal products" is what got people started on this, as there have always been people in the vegan world who only see things in their half-cocked assumptive absolutes. I also believe that it got this way when people in the community were happy to lie about the supposed dangers of protein, thinking that it was fine to obfuscate the truth if it meant that people would be afraid of it and would associate higher protein with declining health. All because they never considered that, if people want more protein, there are more than enough vegan sources out there for anyone who is after them. But, for some, it was more about drawing a line in the sand to call protein the "enemy" and make it an oversimplified and false battle that wasn't worth waging in the first place.

It's exactly why I'm grateful that there are places like this where facts can be shared instead of the old wives tales that used to be the "facts" people would spread around regarding protein!


There is no denying that "politics" definitely played a part in the rise of vegetarianism/veganism and making protein the enemy was a wise move in this regard although it may have been inaccurate. However, there is no denying that an excess of protein, regardless of the source, will put more pressure on ones liver, kidneys, pancreas, and so on. My question is exactly what constitutes and excess and does that value depend on the source (plant or animal)? I was hoping someone here had either come across any research that discusses this or has any personal experience with this. I am not trying to equate protein with death, nor am I a hippy who cannot bench press an empty bar. I just want to continue to maximize my health while keeping that in balance with my desire to still have a bodybuilder'esque physique. I hope the two are not mutually exclusive.


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 Post subject: Re: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:27 am 
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Manatee
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There was a study done on animal protein vs plant protein (some kind of bean IIRC) and the body didn't care where the protein came from for building mass but the animal protein was more readily dumped by the kidneys (and thus caused more strain). I cannot for the life of me think of where I read the article which contained the study or study, but if I can find it, I'll post it here for you.

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 Post subject: Re: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:03 pm 
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Stegosaurus
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Sorry, ATank, I think you may have taken the posts from James and I incorrectly as if we were coming after you (which we weren't, our gripe is with the outdated thinking in the vegan movement by some "experts" who try to equate more than minimal protein intake with a reduction in optimal health.) The "hippies who can't bench press an empty bar" comment by James was directed toward those in the vegan world who are still lying to anyone who will listen in regard to protein = bad, as those people more often than not are some of the ones who look to be the least physically fit, and wouldn't know proper diet and training protocol if it came up and bit them on the backsides.

I do agree, there's little reason to take in high protein if you aren't leading a lifestyle to where it is conducive to do so (such as, being involved in weight training, working a highly physically demanding job, or being an athlete of other sorts). If you're a 150 lb. couch potato, there's no need to take in 300g of protein per day, fair enough. However, there's no reason to believe that taking in plant-based protein at an amount equal to what you've found to be reasonable for you with non-vegan proteins in the past is going to be detrimental to your health.

So, if in question about being healthy with higher protein, get a blood panel done at your physician to ensure all your test results come back at healthy levels to start with. Then, take in whatever you think is reasonable/necessary to have the physique you want to have (or, wish to keep), and train accordingly, then re-test in say, 4-6 months to see if there are any changes. If levels are the same, then obviously, things aren't getting out of whack with higher protein. If levels are imbalanced, then you can reduce the protein as needed until you get things in alignment again. Without having a helping hand from science (if knowing 100% that you're not taking in more protein than necessary is required for peace of mind), you'll just be guessing what could be "too much" for your needs, and you'll likely just end up confused.

But, overall, if you're engaging in regular weight training, are staying active, are eating healthy foods, and have zero pre-existing conditions to warrant worry, I can't see any reason for concern over taking in the same amount of protein from vegan sources that you had been from non-vegan ones. If nothing else, you're giving your body a better source that will put less stress on it than by having to break down animal by-products for consumption, so that right there is a step in the right direction by itself!


ATank wrote:
There is no denying that "politics" definitely played a part in the rise of vegetarianism/veganism and making protein the enemy was a wise move in this regard although it may have been inaccurate. However, there is no denying that an excess of protein, regardless of the source, will put more pressure on ones liver, kidneys, pancreas, and so on. My question is exactly what constitutes and excess and does that value depend on the source (plant or animal)? I was hoping someone here had either come across any research that discusses this or has any personal experience with this. I am not trying to equate protein with death, nor am I a hippy who cannot bench press an empty bar. I just want to continue to maximize my health while keeping that in balance with my desire to still have a bodybuilder'esque physique. I hope the two are not mutually exclusive.

_________________
"A 'hardgainer' is merely someone who hasn't bothered to try enough different training methods to learn what is actually right for their own damned body." - anonymous


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 Post subject: Re: Protein and Health
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:42 pm 
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Finch

Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:07 am
Posts: 5
Thanks everyone. I also really appreciate the last post veganessentials. Your advice is excellent and better than that it is entirely practical. I just recently came across this posting by nutritionfacts.org (http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/plant- ... kins-diet/). The studies that are discussed seem to indicate that even a "high-protein" diet is healthy if it comes from plant sources. I'm pretty pumped to read this news!

A friend of mine also found this article on pubmed which is supposed to be related to the video on nutritionfacts. I haven't read it yet but I will share it as well: "Development of symptomatic cardiovascular disease after self-reported adherence to the Atkins diet." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19559147


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