Depending on who you listen to, protein from animal sources (meat, poultry, eggs, dairy) is either the most important nutrient in a healthy diet or vastly over-rated.
Here are some points to consider when you’re building a healthy diet for yourself.
How much protein is enough? Generally, experts recommend 20-40 grams of protein per meal, depending on factors such as activity level and age. Older people are believed to require more protein to keep their muscles in good condition.
Another perspective suggests that all adults eat 0.8 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight. So a person who weighs 220 pounds (100 kilos) would need 80 grams of protein a day.
At the same time, studies from the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research show a relationship between red meat and colon and rectal cancer. Processed meat, such as hot dogs and deli, are associated with a greater chance of developing stomach cancer.
Most people in America and Western Europe eat as much as two times the animal protein than they need for optimum health. Holly Wilson, MD, board certified Emergency Medicine doctor and vegan since 2007 wrote, “Excessive animal protein is incredibly toxic to our bodies. The liver’s ability to convert excess nitrogen to urea is saturated, and the blood becomes acidic. This can cause you to lose a significant amount of water (leading to dehydration), muscle mass, and bone calcium.”
So if you need a good amount of protein each day and you want to avoid red meat and processed meat in order to keep your cancer risk low, what options do you have?
Surprisingly, researchers have found that plant-based foods are a much better source for meeting your protein needs than animal-based foods. T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., author of The China Study, a groundbreaking study on the connection between human nutrition and disease, wrote, “There is a mountain of compelling research showing that plant protein allows for slow but steady synthesis of new proteins, and is the healthiest type of protein.”
Most people don’t think of plant-based foods as containing protein, but the chart above lists many excellent sources of vital protein that don’t come with the health risks associated with animal-based proteins.
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Author: Rebeca Espinoza
Rebeca Espinoza writes about health, fitness and weight loss for Spatz Medical, makers of the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon. You can find her on at firstname.lastname@example.org.