Protein Myth


  The protein myth has been perpetuated by western scientists.  The two major errors taught about protein are;


(1)                Protein from the vegetable kingdom are considered inferior.

(2)                The protein minimum daily requirement is set at a figure far too high for the body’s actual requirement.


     Much of the information the general public receives about protein comes from special interest groups such as the meat-packing and dairy industries.  Consequently, the average person believes that eating large quantities of meat, eggs, milk, cheese, etc., is desirable.  These high protein foods may cause disease; they may cause heart problems—but, they all furnish that substance called protein.  So, actually the question that needs to be asked is, “how little protein do we need?”




     Protein is needed by the body for only two reasons:  (1) growth and (2) tissue repair and replacement.  Protein is not necessary for muscular energy, increased activity or as a source of fuel.  Proteins support normal growth and maintenance of the body tissue.




     What actually is protein?  The average person when asked this question may answer “meat”.  Is protein simply meat or eggs or nuts?

     Protein is one of the three categories for all foods, the other being carbohydrates and fats.  Proteins are highly complex compounds of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and small amounts of sulphur and iodine.  They are present in the protoplasm Of every living cell and are involve in every organic activity of an organism.

     There are many different types of proteins within the bodies of animals and plants.  For example, all plants have at least two different types of protein, and within the human body are over 100,000 different kinds of proteins.  Although all of these proteins differ in their molecular structure, they all have approximately the same chemical composition of 53% carbon, 22% oxygen, 17% nitrogen, 7% hydrogen and 1% sulphur, iodine, etc.



     No other area of nutritional needs has been surrounded by so much controversy as the daily protein requirements.

     Perhaps a more reasonable way of establishing protein needs is to study the daily protein intake of groups of people who maintain a reasonable level of good health and have followed a traditional diet for a long period of time.

           For instance, in Japan there are farming districts where dietary habits have been established for hundreds of years.  In these districts, a primary vegetarian diet was followed, consisting of many greens, plums, wild fruit, roots and occasionally fish in small amounts.  These farmers were in excellent health and performed heavy manual labor all through the day.  They consumed an average of 37 grams of protein per day, about half the official recommendation.

     Nutrition surveys that were made in Europe after the second world war, revealed that no protein deficiency occurred when 95 to 100% of the protein came from cereal grains and potatoes, if adequate supplies of these foods were available.  Only those on starvation diets showed any protein deficiency, and their condition improved simply by giving them more of the simple food such as grains and potatoes.



         In the past, great emphasis has been placed upon eating complete proteins; that is, those that contain all the indispensable amino acids.  It was for this reason that such foods as meat, milk, and eggs were given the designation “perfect” proteins.  Accordingly, emphasis was placed upon the consumption of these protein foods to the exclusion of others.  This, of course, led many to feel that the protein part of their diet should consist largely of animal proteins.  Now investigators are describing as rather antiquated the idea that a person should seek to obtain his protein from what are often described as “complete,” or “perfect,” proteins. In ordinary diets, even of the pure vegetarian type, the protein part of the diet consists, not of one protein, but of many, hence the chance that any of the essential amino acids will be missing from the diet, is highly improbable.

     It is not necessary for all eight of the essential amino acids to be present in one food or even within one meal in order to obtain our full protein needs.  The body has its own amino acid pool to draw from to supply amino acids, which may be missing from dietary sources.  Needed amino acids may be drawn from those already in circulation, or the necessary amino acids may be released by the liver or other cells into the circulatory system.  The amino acid pool thus acts as the supplier of the essential amino acids missing from incomplete proteins.  Between the deposits and withdrawals by the liver and cells, there is a continual flux of amino acids in the blood and plasma.

     Researchers, working independently in many parts of the world, arrive at the conclusion that our actual daily need for protein is only 25 to 35 grams.

               While fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are the richest protein sources.  This is largely because their water content is very low compared to fresh fruits and vegetables.  However, if enough leafy greens and broccoli are eaten, adequate protein may be obtained.




     A PROTEIN-DEFICIENT DIET IS RARE IN THIS COUNTRY, although nutrient poor diets are the norm.  Protein poisoning from an excessive amount of protein is more common than deficiency.

           When protein is consumed in greater amounts than can be processed by the body, toxicity results from the excessive  

amount of nitrogen in the blood.  This extra nitrogen accumulates as kinotoxin in the muscles and causes chronic fatigue.

     A high-protein diet can eventually destroy the entire glandular system.  It over works the liver and places a heavy strain on the adrenals and kidneys to eliminate the toxins it creates.  In many people, symptoms of arthritis have disappeared after they adopted a low-protein diet.  It should be noted that a typical American meat-eater consumes about 93 grams of protein daily—more than anyone else in the world on the average.

     The average American consumes two to four times as much protein as he needs, and cancer(which is characterized by runaway protein synthesis) is killing one person in four.

     Cutting down total protein in general and animal protein in particular is a desperate need.  It is important to realize that all of the marvelous amino acids contained within flesh foods were derived from the animals’ diet.  Other animals are just as powerless to synthesize the essential amino acids as we are, and we are just as capable as they of deriving our amino acids directly from the only producing source: plants.

     Research has shown that high-protein diets actually promote aging and early degeneration.  Too much protein exerts a tremendous burden upon the liver and kidneys.  It also leaves acid  residues in the blood and tissues which must be neutralized by sacrificing indispensable alkaline mineral reserves.




     Why the concern over protein?  Clever advertising campaigns implemented by the meat, dairy, and egg industries have convinced the public of a need for protein.

         The meat industry has most people convinced that meat is essential for strength, and that it is prestigious to eat steak several times a week.  The dairy and egg industries have convinced the public that milk and eggs are good sources of protein.  Most people would be genuinely frightened at the idea of a diet without meat, dairy foods, and eggs.

     The truth is that it is easy to get enough protein without relying on meat, dairy products, and eggs.  In fact, most people eat too much protein, and their health suffers as a result.

           Even in the third world, a true protein deficiency is rare.  It is more common to find a protein-calorie deficiency.  The body’s primary need is for calories, not protein.  Calories are needed to provide fuel for the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other vital organs.  Protein is primarily needed for building tissue.  When there is too little food, the body will need to use all the food for calorie production.  Therefore, the body will convert the protein in the food to calories.  This is a very inefficient process and will only occur when a person is near starvation.  For this reason, the term “protein calorie deficiency” is used.  If the starving person had enough food to eat, even if the food were low in protein, there would be no problem since the body would utilize the fats and carbohydrates for calorie production, and spare the protein for tissue-building purposes.




           Osteoporosis is extraordinarily wide-spread especially in the industrialized nations.  It begins in childhood, is almost considered a normal accompaniment of aging and is conceived as quickly increasing.  Extensive scientific literature deals with the possible causes.  Wachmann and Bernstein of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University investigated all previous research results in the lancet and arrived at the considered conclusion that a protein-rich, and especially meat-heavy diet plays the strongest role in the genesis of osteoporosis, more so even than denatured carbohydrates and fats.  It is caused when the function of the bone system as a reservoir of the basic minerals is continually over strained.  This corresponds to the fact that athletes who eat much meat are especially susceptible to arthrosis.  Helas found among 20 professional football players who were observed for 18 years, 100% incidence of ankle arthrosis and 97.5% incidence of knee arthrosis.  A negative lime balance is easily produced in experimental animals by increased protein supply, and they then die of disease associated with lime deficiency.  The Walker group found in investigation among the Bantu tribe, that on an almost purely plant-source, low-protein diet there were no signs of calcium deficiency and no weakening of the bones.

             Plant foods are superior to animal foods.  Even modest use of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy foods tend to create a protein overload as well as being loaded with the worst kind of fat-saturated, cholesterol-laden animal fat.  When you eat foods from the plant kingdom, you receive the amino acids in ideal combinations with other substances which are essential to the full utilization of protein.

     The best protection against excessive protein consumption is to strictly avoid all animal products and consume a predominantly fresh food diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and the whole grains.


Whether therefore  ye eat, of drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10: 31


Katy Chamberlin