How Much Protein Do We Really Need?
How much protein you need, and what are the best forms,
can and do cause heated debates. I have received some
emails from those concerned whether they were getting
enough protein on the plan. If you follow the basics
and eat a big raw salad before your lunch and dinner
like I suggest, you will see from the info below that
you are in fact getting plenty of good protein as well
as an abundance of living enzymes that support every
function of the body.
Whether you choose to eat animal products or not, that
is your choice. But how much protein do you really need?
And are animal products the only way to get the protein
that is so vital to our health?
Do you need to eat meat for breakfast lunch and dinner or
include some at every meal like the high protein diets suggest?
Many say meat is the way to go because it was man's first
food. Well, I guess it will depend on which book you are reading to find out about the history of man.
Finding out how much protein you need will also depend
on who you are listening to at the moment and their thoughts on the consumption of animal products. Eating meat and eating as much as you want is really the "in" thing right now. But I need you to know that I get emails all the time from people who say the high protein diet worked for them in the past, but for some reason, it stopped working and they can no longer lose weight following it. It is partly to do with all the muscle meats suppressing thyroid function which will slow or cease weight loss.
According to Dr. M. Ted Morter, Jr., of Your Health--Your
Choice, 'the problem with protein is excess'. "Following the
premise, if a little protein is good, a lot is better can
lead you down the garden path to disease."
Dr. Morter suggests keeping your daily animal protein
intake under 47 grams per day (that is less than 2 ounces!)
and keep protein pig-outs limited to rare special occasions.
He believes that you can maintain glowing health on a
daily protein intake of the amount that is in two eggs.
You would be surprised to know that you probably eat more
protein than you think.
Protein is found in many foods besides animal products.
For example, one slice of cheese pizza has 6 grams of
protein and 1 cup of potatoes has 7 grams of protein,
yet most people wouldn't even think they were getting
protein at all from potatoes.
In keeping with Dr. Morter's suggestion of 47 grams of
protein a day, he also says to make sure and include protein from foods other than animal products. He states, "Even without meat, a variety of typical American foods will give you at least enough protein."
No authorities completely agree on how much protein we
actually need. Here are more suggestions on protein
amounts from various organizations:
1. Reports from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
estimate that we need 2 1/2 percent of our daily calories
2. The World Health Organization sets protein requirements
at 4 1/2 percent of caloric intake per day for both men
3. The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy
of Sciences gives a range of 4 1/2 to 6 percent as the
range for the needs of protein for 98 percent of the US
4. The National Research Council cites a figure of 8 percent
of our daily calories needing to be coming from protein.
Beef cattle, deer, elk, bison, etc., all animals with ample
and massive muscle, don't have any problem gaining their
protein (and calcium) from plants. Granted, they have a different digestion process than we do, but Living Well does not promote the consumption of grass or grazing on it all day. People that eat a diet high in raw leafy green vegetables, a wide assortment of all other kinds of vegetables, beans, seeds, and whole grains, will not be lacking in protein.
I have always gone by feel when it comes to eating animal protein myself. Somedays I just feel I need a few eggs so I eat them. Going by "feel" when deciding to include small amounts of cheese, meat, eggs, etc. is fine to do.
Listen to your body. When you do think of eating animal products it will be healthier to eat them sparingly.
Consider this. The most we ever grow is from when we are born to age six months. During that time we double our birth weight.
You would think that a little person who is doubling in size
would need more protein than anyone. But breastmilk, the perfect food for the baby with just the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and enzymes is only about 5-8 percent protein (the number varies depending on the source). So a child that has maximum protein needs gets enough when less than 10 percent of his daily caloric intake is protein.
The importance of protein cannot be denied as we need it to
stay alive, to build tissue and more, but know protein is
available to you from many living foods as well as animal
Nature does provide, so if you have decided to switch to
an eating plan that reduces animal products, know that you
can get a good amount of protein from plants too. It is
important that you combine these plant foods in such a way
to maximize protein.
Protein is important. Without sufficient protein, your
metabolic rate becomes extremely low. You are shooting for quality in protein though, not quantity. You don't need to
bombard your body with excessive amounts of animal protein to lose weight.
You can definitely get protein from animal sources, but eating animal products in moderation will encourage good health, keep from clogging your body and help you to feel light and energetic. And hypothyroids, remember that muscle meats actually suppress thyroid function, so go easy on that kind of protein. Choose other sources suited for your condition.
Here are protein percentages in some plant foods:
bamboo shoots--39% protein
wheat germ--31% protein
strawberries, oranges, cherries, apricots, watermelon,
and grapes--8% protein
navy beans--26% protein
pumpkin seeds--21% protein
soybean sprouts--54% protein
brown rice--8% protein
whole wheat--17% protein
potatoes--I don't have the exact percentage but the
amount of protein in potatoes is similar to the
amount in cow's milk
Source: Nutritive Value of American Foods in Common
Units, USDA Handbook No. 456
From the list above you can see how eating a big salad
full of different kinds of vegetables can provide the
body with protein. And you can also see from that list
that grains and nuts have less protein than greens. Many
vegetarians who are overweight and protein deficient
get that way because they eat mostly processed grains
very little protein rich vegetables. Someone eating
vegetarian or vegan must eat more vegetables than grains
and nuts to get a good amount of protein into their body.
As far as plants go, sprouts will be highest in protein and
since they contain all eight essential amino acids, they are
a complete protein.
Speaking of sprouts, you need to be including them in
your Living Well plan. Not only are they high in protein,
but they are packed full of vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
If you grow your own, they will be organic. Any of the sprouts you buy in the store are sprayed. It is a law that they have to be sprayed with some sort of chemical because of the problem with e-coli and sprouts a while back. I heard this info from my local grocer.
There is a place with a goldmine of information (cheap $9.95), for homemade do-it-yourself sprouters and readymade sprouters (that beat the commercial units), resources for bulk organic grains, etc. Check out the following link for more info:
Note: This is the place to get the best build-it-yourself sprouter info, but I do not agree with all the philosophies on this site. It is a lot of Ann Wigmore info.
Sprouts are very economical too (once you get the sprouter paid for). So if your budget is limited and you can't afford a lot of organic produce, sprouts are your answer to greater health, healing and a useable source of complete protein for the body.
I want to point out that my intent with this article is not
to promote vegetarianism, or make you feel like you should
not be eating animal products. Hey, I eat animal products
myself. But you need to know you don't have to eat massive amounts of protein to lose weight, maintain tissue, metabolism, etc. You do need protein and animal protein is fine to eat, but as with anything, moderation is key and it should never be the bulk of your meal. The rainbow on your plate should always dominate.
This article was written by Victoria
Creator of the Living Well Plan