Our daily protein requirement has been the source of much information that is poured into our heads from an early age. We've heard it for so long. And what we've been told as children has been reinforced by massive advertising campaigns. A key to getting repeat business for producers of all products is getting the message to people as early as possible so habits can form.
We have been advised that animal products are important for meeting our daily protein requirement. We've been counseled that animal products contain the "essential amino acids" to build strong bones and teeth. The "more is better" idea takes over from there. After all, don't we all want strong bones and teeth?
We've been told via commercials and voices compensated by the beef and dairy industry that milk and animals are the only options for complete protein. Today we'll look at that message.
To begin with, let's discuss beef, poultry and pork consumption. These are all good sources of protein. The problems arise with the methods of raising and ultimately packaging this food for general consumption.
So much of the meat produced in America and other parts of the world are coming from confined animal feeding operations. These factory farms have been proven to be breeding grounds for antibiotic resistance.
Here is a link with some great information on this health hazard. The focus is on chicken, but the message also covers beef and pork. Please read the article all the way through to the end. There are some great suggestions for excellent, safe sources for your daily protein requirement.
Without question our bodies need protein to survive. Adults should be getting about 1/3 of their acceptable calorie count from proteins. That translates into about 55 grams for men and maybe 45 grams for women. The exceptions would be women who are breast feeding and elite level athletes. I'll note here that most top athletes get all the protein they need from proper regular meals. And without protein snacks We'll discuss this a little further down the page.
The reality is this level of protein intake is very easy reach. In fact most American diets contain too much protein. As we learned in the three part series about the end of overeating, the food industry has been very successful in leading us to big portions of certain unhealthy fats and excessive carbohydrates and sugar.. They taste good and we justify the over consumption because of the myths anchored in our minds by clever advertising. Please go to the page directory to find the three part series on how to stop overeating.
The facts are clear. Too much unhealthy fat in the form of trans fat and excess carbs are linked to kidney and liver issues and are primary drivers of the conditions that lead to heart disease.
Our bodies convert all the protein they actually need into useful nutrients. The rest is passed through the system. This leads to the question about digestibility and nutrient value.
We all love to cook things on the grill. Nearly all meat products are cooked as are many plant based options. The fact is that heat reduces the nutrient value of food. Cooked foods do not keep their full protein content and therefore are of less value to our bodies. There are plenty of raw foods that will provide more than enough of our daily protein requirement.
This is really good spin on research results to get a desired response from people who do not take the time to see where the information originates. This myth suggests that plant proteins are not equal to animal protein. The only way this suggestion has any validity would be if a person ate only one type of fruit or vegetable each day, everyday. Overall health balance would have many more problems than just lack of protein. The same would be true if that person only ate one type of animal product each day, every day.
A proper combination of fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meat and skinless poultry along with a couple days including fish will provide all the protein and far less unhealthy types of fat than a typical "western" diet.
Without question beans are some of the best sources of protein. They are also very economical and have excellent variety in usage.
Actually research tells us that overloading on protein can lead to osteoporosis. Our bodies cannot store protein so anything extra is pushed out by the kidneys. It is more likely to overload on animal protein because it is much more dense than plant based protein.
Excess protein in our bodies causes acid levels to rise as our body seeks to heal itself from our self-inflicted damage. To offset this acid increase, calcium is pulled from our bones in the form of calcium phosphate. This reduction in calcium opens the door to osteoporosis.
In places where fish and plant based foods are most prevalent, osteoporosis is very rare. Those same areas feature far lower rates of heart disease as well. Hmmmm? Do we see a trend?
The dairy industry has hyped calcium as the main prevention for loss of bone density. But they also announce a large level of protein in a cup of milk. Research tells us that diets high in fruits, vegetables and nuts are very good at preventing osteoporosis. Please also consider unsweetened almond milk. You'll find a much better health combination.
This is the perfect example of the power of advertising. We've already established that the typical American diet provides more than enough to satisfy the daily protein requirement. But protein shakes and snack bars are a billion dollar industry. They have linked their message to that long lasting myth about adding protein.
The sad part is that so many people are handing over their money for items that won't help them, but may be harmful. There is a processing system to make these items. That takes away the real natural concept. And we miss out on the truly natural food available to reduce heart disease and increase strength.
The protein supplement industry has grown so big because we do not question advertising. This is a symptom of taking the shortcut or maybe the path of least resistance.
Nature provides us with all the diversity of foods to give us the correct daily protein requirement. More is not better in this case. Our protein count should be about 30% of our daily calorie count. You won't hear that number from the meat and dairy industry. Such truth would hurt their bottom line.
We've seen this practice from big tobacco for years. Targeting the younger crowd with slick presentations to take their minds off the health risk and on to the open range on a horse or the glamorous nightlife while lighting up a cigarette.
But when we seek information we find the truth. There is a better way and it isn't hard. We can still eat some red meat. Just pick some with less marbling. And keep that portion down to about 3 ounces. We can eat some poultry, as long as it is skinless. Stay close to that 3 ounce serving there as well. You'll easily hit that daily protein requirement.
Buy grass fed meat from local farmers who don't inject low doses of antibiotics into animals raised in overcrowded conditions.
Add fish, especially cold water fish to your diet. A couple times per week will work wonders for your overall health. I'd suggest leaving the deep fryer on the shelf and instead bake it or use the grill.
And add in generous portions of fruits, vegetables and nuts. Your daily protein requirement will be met with ease. In other words, strongly consider a Mediterranean diet plan.
It is critical that all of us look further into the claims and advertising from the dairy industry. We've used the term "Cui Bono" before. Translating from Latin it means, "Of Benefit To Whom". We've been misled for years about the overall nutritional value of certain food products. The truth has been out there for all to see. The willingness to look has been lacking.
But that is changing. We're seeing a marketing scramble operation from the dairy industry as the actual facts come to the forefront. If we can begin early to give our children the facts about their daily protein requirement, we can improve their long term health outlook and help them keep more of their money.
The choice is pretty clear cut. High trans fat, high sugar diets that lead to childhood obesity and major cardiovascular system damage as adults is one option. The other would be a combination of natural foods that are lower in carbohydrates, provide plenty of protein and promote better health
The food industry doesn't want us to look for the truth. So the real question is this. Will you continue to add to their bottom line and your own waistline, or will you move to a plan that will benefit you and your family?
I'm betting you will pick the second option.