In my internerd searches for information on how much protein a moderately active girl such as myself should be consuming, I came across the following article. I knew much of the information stated already, but found it to be very thorough and illuminating. I'll be sending this to any of my meat eating family members who bother me about 'nutrients I'm depriving myself of'. But, as always, I appreciate commentary about the credibility of the sources of my reading. Not everything I've read about the health concerns in regards to dairy and meat has been true, I've found. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- PROTEIN—HOW MUCH IS RIGHT FOR YOU? by Dr. Robert Sniadach Listen up! There is protein in every living thing – Every organ, every tissue, every cell. That includes every plant as well –fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes – all contain protein. The human need for protein is roughly 20 to 40 grams a day. The RDA is set at 56 grams a day, doubling the real need for “safety” reasons. There is voluminous evidence demonstrating the health-damaging effects of too much protein, especially from animal and dairy sources. So where do you get your protein? Ah, yes, the question on everyone’s mind. It is amazing how much confusion there is on this subject. The better question is, ”Where do you not get protein?” As mentioned above, protein is everywhere around us. Every living thing is made of protein to some degree. Protein is by far the most widely discussed and publicized nutritional requirement of our body. The average American consumes over 100 grams of protein a day, three to five times as much as is necessary. We all know that protein is an essential nutrient, but what most of us have not been told is that excessive amounts of protein are hazardous to our health. The dangers of a high-protein diet are not commonly known by the general public because we have been fed more misinformation and propaganda about protein than any other category of nutrition. A combination of badly outdated animal experiments and self-serving indoctrination disguised as nutritional education has left most people badly misinformed about our body’s protein needs. Several generations of school children and doctors were taught incorrectly that we need meat, dairy and eggs for protein. The meat, dairy and egg industries funded this “nutritional education” back in the early 1900’s and it became U.S. government policy. It is easier to meet our minimum daily protein requirements than most people would imagine... with just fruits and vegetables. Because much of what experts once believed about protein has been proven incorrect, U.S. government recommendations on daily protein consumption have been reduced from 118 grams to 46 to 56 grams in the 1980’s to the present level of 25 to 35 grams. Many nutritionists now feel that 20 grams of protein a day is more than enough, and warn about the potential dangers of consistently consuming much more than this amount. The human body recycles 70 percent of its proteinaceous waste, and our body loses only about 23 grams of protein a day. What happens if I eat too much protein? Protein is an extremely important nutrient, but when we get too much protein, or protein that we cannot digest, it causes health problems. The metabolism of proteins consumed in excess of the actual need leaves toxic residues of metabolic waste in tissues, causes autotoxemia, overacidity and nutritional deficiencies, accumulation of uric acid and purines in the tissues, intestinal putrefaction, and contributes to the development of many of our most common and serious diseases, such as arthritis, kidney damage, pyorrhea, schizophrenia, osteoporosis, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, and cancer. A high protein diet also causes premature aging and lowers life expectancy. I’ve heard that “complete proteins” are best. Is that true? The need to consume foods or meals containing “complete protein” is based on an erroneous and out-dated myth. Due to lingering mis-information from a 1914 rat study, many people still believe they must eat animal products to obtain “complete protein.” And for other people, this fallacy was replaced by a second inaccurate theory that proper food combining is necessary to obtain “complete protein” from vegetables. Both of these theories have been unquestionably disproved. What is the best kind of protein? By far the most usable and best assimilated protein is from plants. Protein is an essential part of our (living) body and there is a difference between protein that has been cooked and protein in its raw (living) form. One of the best-known studies of raw versus cooked foods with animals was a 10-year research project conducted by Dr. Francis M. Pottenger, using 900 cats. The results dramatically revealed the advantages of raw foods over a cooked diet. Cats that were fed raw, living food produced healthy kittens year after year with no ill health or pre-mature deaths. But cats fed the same food, only cooked,developed heart disease, cancer, kidney and thyroid disease, pneumonia, paralysis, loss of teeth, arthritis, birthing difficulties, diminished sexual interest, diarrhea, irritability, liver problems and osteoporosis (the same diseases common in our human cooked-food culture). The first generation of kittens from cats fed cooked food were sick and abnormal, the second generation were often born diseased or dead, and by the third generation, the mothers were sterile. But I’ve been eating meat, eggs and dairy products for protein all along. Aren’t humans meat-eaters? Cooked meat is not a good source of protein. The reason cooked meat is not a good source of protein for humans is both because it is cooked and because it is meat. Actually, cooked meat is not a good source of protein for any animal (as laboratory tests have shown). And meat in any form is not good for humans. We do not have a digestive system designed to assimilate protein from flesh: We do not have the teeth of a carnivore nor the saliva. Our alkaline saliva is designed to digest complex carbohydrates from plant food, whereas saliva of a carnivore is so acidic that it can actually dissolve bones. Humans do not have the ability to deal with the cholesterol or uric acid from meat. The digestive tracts of carnivores are short, about three times the length of their torso, allowing quick elimination of decomposing and putrefying flesh. All herbivores have long intestines, 8 to 12 times the length of their torso, to provide a long transit time to digest and extract the nutrients from plant foods. And all protein ultimately comes from plants. The question is whether we get this protein directly from plants, or whether we try to get it secondhand from animals who have gotten it from plants. But I thought that I get strength and energy from meat and protein? Eating meat—or protein in general—does not give you strength, energy or stamina. One of the easiest ways to dispel the theory that meat is required for strength is to look at the animal kingdom. It is herbivores such as cattle, oxen, horses and elephants that have been known for strength and endurance. What carnivore has ever had the strength or endurance to be used as a beast of burden? The strongest animal on earth, for its size, is the silver-back gorilla, which is three times the size of man, but has 30 times our strength. These gorillas “eat nothing but fruit and bamboo leaves and can turn your car over if they want to. It would be hard to argue anyone needs meat for strength. And protein does not give us energy. Protein is for building cells. Fuel for providing our cells with energy comes from the glucose and carbohydrates of fruits and vegetables. As pointed out by John Robbins in Diet for a New America, many studies have shown that protein consumption is no higher during hard work and exercise than during rest. Robbins writes, “True, we need protein to replace enzymes, rebuild blood cells, grow hair, produce antibodies, and to fulfill certain other specific tasks... (But) study after study has found that protein combustion is no higher during exercise than under resting conditions. This is why (vegetarian) Dave Scott can set world records for the triathlon without consuming lots of protein. And why Sixto Linares can swim 4.8 miles, cycle 185 miles and run 52.4 miles in a single day without meat, dairy products, eggs, or any kind of protein supplement in his diet. The popular idea that we need extra protein if we are working hard turns out to be simply another part of the whole mythology of protein, the ‘beef gives us strength’ conditioning foisted upon us by those who profit from our meat habit.” The National Academy of Science says, “There is little evidence that muscular activity increases the need for protein.” A 1978 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association warns athletes against taking protein supplements, noting, “Athletes need the same amount of protein foods as non athletes. Protein does not increase strength. Indeed, it often takes greater energy to digest and metabolize the excess of protein.” How about this brief list of some of the world’s greatest athletes, all holders of world records in their field, who happen to be vegetarians: Dave Scott, six-time winner of the Ironman Triathlon (and the only man two win it more than twice); Sixto Linares, world record holder in the 24-hour triathlon; Paavo Nurmi, 20 world records and nine Olympic medals in distance running; Robert Sweetgall, world’s premier ultra-distance walker; Murray Rose, world records in the 400 and 1500-meter freestyle; Estelle Gray and Cheryl Marek, world record in cross-country tandem cycling; Henry Aaron, all-time major league home run champion; Stan Price, world record holder in the bench press; Andreas Cahling, Mr. International body building champion; Roy Hilligan, Mr. America body building champion; Ridgely Abele, eight national championships in karate; and Dan Millman, world champion gymnast... all vegetarians. Surely if world-class athletes don’t need extra protein, you don’t either. In summary, practically everything we have been told about protein is wrong. We don’t need as much protein as we have been taught and consuming too much protein is hazardous to our health. We don’t need to eat “complete protein.” Our body needs protein from raw foods, because the building blocks for our living cells need to be living instead of dead. Cooked protein contains mutagens that are hazardous to our health, and some nutritional experts say cooked protein is impossible or very difficult to digest. Cooked meat is not a good source of protein. And protein has nothing to do with strength, energy or stamina. But protein is important. And our best source of protein is from the same raw fruits and vegetables that provide all the other nutrients—vitamins, minerals, enzymes and carbohydrates—we need. The best way to get all these nutrients, including protein, is to eat a well balanced variety of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables. When you consider the health problems caused by consuming too much indigestible (cooked) protein, it should drive home the point that our body is a living organism made up of living cells, and protein composes 15 percent of our body, therefore the protein we take in should be living rather than dead. Consuming a high quantity of dead, cooked protein is similar to taking mega-doses of synthetic vitamins that we cannot assimilate. We would do better to focus on the quality, rather than quantity, of nutrients, and ensure that the protein (and other nutrients) we consume is in a natural, living form that our body can assimilate at the cellular level and use to build healthy new living cells.