Is Excess Protein Dangerous?
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey claims that those under the age of 65 are four times more likely to get cancer if their diet consists of increased levels of animal protein. It’s quite a claim. We all know the dangers of smoking – we have seen the pictures of those blackened lungs, graphic images on adverts of tumours caused by smoking and all sorts designed to give us the fear. Hopefully it has for most of you! I wonder now if we are going to be seeing billboards of clogged arteries, more tumours, bloated stomachs and dehydrated dry and itchy skin? Do you think that this would help to wean you off excess protein?
Critics say however that it is dangerous to compare the effects of smoking and eating excess animal protein. Gunter Kuhnle of Reading University states that "Sending out statements such as this can damage the effectiveness of important public health messages. They can help to prevent sound health advice from getting through to the general public. The smoker thinks: 'why bother quitting smoking if my cheese and ham sandwich is just as bad for me?'" Perhaps Gunter is right and that we cant bombard people with too many things that they must avoid – maybe it is just best to keep people in the dark and let them have a ham and cheese sandwich, all the while letting them do long term damage to their bodies. It’s fine; the NHS can just pick up the costs of the growing number of middle-aged people coming to them with cancer. Sense the sarcasm here? Surely that is an irresponsible and inaccurate way of educating the general public? Perhaps the issue lies with the fact that these research projects are notoriously hard to track and some are harder to convince on the theory. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that collated this information on the comparison of smoking and excess protein, conducted the survey for over 20 years on thousands of people of different ages. Obviously they were going to come up against all sorts of variations on the people whom were tested:
- Additional lifestyle choices of those who are inclined to have a more meat heavy diet over those who are vegetarian.
- Those who fell ill and lost their appetite.
Regardless of the hurdles involved in gaining an accurate result, there must have been some clear results for them to be able to claim that too much animal protein can be as bad for you as smoking!? Lets ask ourselves though; do we really need animal protein? The answer is no, we do not need animal protein in any form. There are endless plant based alternatives out there that are a much healthier source of protein and just as potent a source as animal protein too – beans, legumes, brown rice, nuts and seeds are just a few examples.
Think about it like this – all we need is 0.8g of protein for every kg of our body weight, for example a woman weighing 58kg would need 46.4g of protein per day. It’s not much really and it is easy to track by just reading the label on your foods. Lets put that into the context of what an average person may eat: Breakfast – dairy yogurt with granola and fruit/boiled egg and soldiers Lunch – ham and cheese sandwich Afternoon snack – cream cheese on Ryvita. Dinner – chicken pie/steak and salad/pork chops To many, this would seem like a relatively healthy day, but if you look at the menu, animal products are included in every dish. Take someone who replaces the breakfast yoghurt with bacon butty and adds a little cold chicken to their Ryvita, and you have got meat in every meal! That piece of steak for dinner alone could contain up to 50g of protein, which means that your RDA of protein has been exceeded in one meal.
The average British person is eating upwards of 20g more protein than they need every day. Combine that over a year and that's a lot! As we mentioned in a previous article about looking after our digestive system, meat is one of the most crucial elements to restrict in order to maintain not only a healthy digestive system, but also a healthy body in general. The digestive system is central to our overall wellbeing, so it does not surprise us to hear that excessive amounts of animal produce can lead to issues when we reach middle age. Not only that, but animals who have been slaughtered and reared in an unpleasant environment are highly toxic. It’s worth ditching the Paleo and Dukan with all of this in mind. We should never eat too much of one food type as apart from anything else, its unnatural! Try this as a daily menu instead: Breakfast – Layered Breakfast Pot Morning Snack – Green Love Smoothie Lunch – Mango, Avocado & Dill Salad Afternoon Snack – Beetroot & Walnut Dip Dinner – Stuffed Winter Squash Protein will come from your chia seeds, walnuts and quinoa – a delicious menu that just happens to be vegan, incredibly alkaline and soothing for your digestive system. In summary, I have no doubt that this controversial research done by National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey contains a lot of truth. Yes they may have some more research to do, but the acid forming nature of animal products suggests that this research is based on some very sound logic.