Monday, August 15, 2011

The Truth About Protein

Whenever someone asks me about my weight loss, I tell them about my mostly raw, vegan diet.    This inevitably prompts what I call "the protein question," either "how do you get your protein?" or "aren't you afraid you're not getting enough protein?" or some other question along those lines.

I'm bringing this up today because I saw this on-line article that discussed the actual amounts of protein we really need.   The reality being, that people vastly over-estimate how much protein we actually need and this actually leads to an over consumption of protein.  As the article states:

In fact, the average person eats about double the amount of protein that their body requires, according to the results of 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I've blogged before that I got quite a bit of inspiration as to how to lose weight and keep it off from the book Skinny Bitch.

I should warn you that if you haven't read Skinny Bitch already it's pretty much a vegan screed trying to induce you to become a vegan in the name of being slim.  

Now, I'll never be a vegan (or vegetarian for that matter), but the book sites a lot of very interesting research to back up their cause (the footnotes and end notes are amazing.)   I too was under the "I need vast quantities of protein" misconception until I read Skinny Bitch and realized that not only was I eating far too much protein, but that that over consumption could lead to illness.

The other misconception I labored under was the best source of that protein.   When I started my weight loss journey, I assumed that if I was not eating vast quantities of meat, fish and dairy I would be protein deficient.   I now know that not only can I get enough protein from plant sources, but it's actually higher quality protein.

As the article states:

Whole grains, seeds, and some vegetables also contain protein, so consuming enough is not difficult even if you don’t eat meat. Vegetarians and vegans can easily get what they need by balancing complimentary proteins such as corn and beans or rice and tofu. Nutritionists used to recommend combining foods at the same meal, but research now shows that is unnecessary.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the issue of not needing much protein. When I was a vegetarian in my 20's, I probably ate 20-30g of protein a day, and my muscles didn't waste away. However, now that I'm losing weight, protein is my best friend, because it suppresses appetite. Cost is the biggest issue, because it's so expensive, but if I could, I'd hit about 100g a day.