Are BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids) Healthy?

Are BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids) Healthy?
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Why we may want to strive not to exceed the recommended intake of protein.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Diabetes isn’t just about the amount of body fat, but the distribution of body fat. Check out these cross-sections of two different thighs from two different patients. This is an MRI, so the fat shows up as white, and the black is the thigh muscle. At first glance, it looks like the one on the bottom has more fat. That’s the subcutaneous fat, under the skin. But if you look at the top one, see how their muscle is more marbled in the middle with fat; those white streaks? That’s not gristle; that’s fat, like one of those really fatty Japanese beef steaks. That’s the fat infiltrating into the muscle, colored in red here. The green is the fat between your muscles, and then the yellow is the fat outside of the muscles under the skin. And if you add up all three types, both of those thighs actually have the same amount of fat—just distributed differently. And that seems to be the critical factor in terms of determining insulin resistance, the cause of type 2 diabetes. The subcutaneous adipose tissue, the fat right under the skin, was not associated with insulin resistance. So, it’s healthier to have this thigh. Is it possible a more plant-based diet also affects a more healthy distribution of fat? We didn’t know … until, now. “The effect of a vegetarian vs conventional diabetic diet on thigh fat distribution in subjects with type 2 diabetes.”

Researchers decided to put it to the test. Seventy-four diabetics were randomly assigned to either follow a vegetarian diet or conventional diabetic diet. Both diets were calorie-restricted down to the same number of calories. The vegetarian diet was also egg-free, and dairy-limited to a max of one serving of low-fat yogurt a day, and the reduction in the more benign subcutaneous fat was comparable, about the same in both groups. But the more dangerous fat, the fat lodged inside the muscle itself, was reduced only in response to the more plant-based diet. So, even on the same number of calories, there can be a healthier weight loss on a more plant-based diet.

Those eating strictly plant-based also had lower levels of fat stuck inside the individual muscle fibers themselves—what’s called intramyocellular lipid, which may help explain why vegans in particular are often found to have the lowest odds of diabetes. And it’s not just because they’re slimmer. Even if you match subjects pound-for-pound, there’s significantly less fat inside the muscle cells of vegans compared to omnivores, as measured in one of their calf muscles, which is a good thing, since storing fat in muscle cells “may be one of the primary causes of insulin resistance,” which is what’s behind both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Whereas if you put someone on a high-fat diet, in just a single week the fat in their muscle cells shoots up 54 percent.

And go on a high-protein diet, and you may undermine one of the principal benefits of weight loss: eliminating the weight-loss-induced improvement in insulin action, the improvement in insulin resistance. Obese individuals were put on a calorie-restricted diet, less than 1400 calories a day, until they lost 10 percent of their body weight. Half were getting more of a regular protein intake, 73 grams a day, and the other half a higher-protein diet. Now, normally you lose 10 percent of your body weight and your insulin resistance improves—that’s why it’s so critical for obese type 2 diabetics to lose weight. But the beneficial effect of 10 percent weight loss was eliminated by the high protein intake. Those extra 32 grams of protein a day abolished the weight loss benefit. “The failure to improve…insulin sensitivity in the [high-protein weight-loss] group is clinically important because it reflects a failure to improve a major [cause-and-effect] mechanism involved in the development of type 2 diabetes.” In summary, they concluded that they demonstrated that “the protein content of a weight loss diet can have profound effects on metabolic function.”

All protein? Any kind of protein? If you split it up between animal versus plant protein, following people over time, animal protein intake is associated with an increased risk of diabetes in most studies, whereas plant protein intake appears to have either a neutral or protective association with diabetes. Yes, but these were just observational studies. People who eat lots of animal protein might have lots of unhealthy behaviors. But you see the same thing in randomized, controlled, interventional trials where you can improve blood sugar control just by replacing sources of animal protein with plant protein.

We think it may be the branched-chain amino acids concentrated in animal protein. Higher levels in the bloodstream are associated with obesity and the development of insulin resistance. We may be able to drop our levels by sticking to plant proteins. But, you don’t know if that has metabolic effects until you put it to the test.

I hate it when titles ruin the suspense, but indeed: Decreased Consumption of Branched-Chain Amino Acids Improves Metabolic Health. They demonstrated that a moderate reduction in protein intake rapidly improves metabolic health, improving blood-sugar control while also decreasing BMI and body fat. Check this out. The protein-restricted group was eating literally hundreds more calories per day, significantly more calories than the control group; so, they should have gained weight, right? But no, they lost weight. After about a month and a half, they were eating more calories, but lost more weight, about five pounds more than the control group eating fewer calories. And this “protein restriction”? They were just having people eat the recommended amount of protein a day; so, that’s about 56 grams a day. So, they should have just called that the normal protein group, or the recommended protein group, and the group that was eating more typical American protein levels and suffering because of it, the excess protein group. And, as a bonus, just sticking to the recommended protein intake doubled the levels of a pro-longevity hormone called FGF21, but that’s for another video.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Dustin & Harbin via wikipedia. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Diabetes isn’t just about the amount of body fat, but the distribution of body fat. Check out these cross-sections of two different thighs from two different patients. This is an MRI, so the fat shows up as white, and the black is the thigh muscle. At first glance, it looks like the one on the bottom has more fat. That’s the subcutaneous fat, under the skin. But if you look at the top one, see how their muscle is more marbled in the middle with fat; those white streaks? That’s not gristle; that’s fat, like one of those really fatty Japanese beef steaks. That’s the fat infiltrating into the muscle, colored in red here. The green is the fat between your muscles, and then the yellow is the fat outside of the muscles under the skin. And if you add up all three types, both of those thighs actually have the same amount of fat—just distributed differently. And that seems to be the critical factor in terms of determining insulin resistance, the cause of type 2 diabetes. The subcutaneous adipose tissue, the fat right under the skin, was not associated with insulin resistance. So, it’s healthier to have this thigh. Is it possible a more plant-based diet also affects a more healthy distribution of fat? We didn’t know … until, now. “The effect of a vegetarian vs conventional diabetic diet on thigh fat distribution in subjects with type 2 diabetes.”

Researchers decided to put it to the test. Seventy-four diabetics were randomly assigned to either follow a vegetarian diet or conventional diabetic diet. Both diets were calorie-restricted down to the same number of calories. The vegetarian diet was also egg-free, and dairy-limited to a max of one serving of low-fat yogurt a day, and the reduction in the more benign subcutaneous fat was comparable, about the same in both groups. But the more dangerous fat, the fat lodged inside the muscle itself, was reduced only in response to the more plant-based diet. So, even on the same number of calories, there can be a healthier weight loss on a more plant-based diet.

Those eating strictly plant-based also had lower levels of fat stuck inside the individual muscle fibers themselves—what’s called intramyocellular lipid, which may help explain why vegans in particular are often found to have the lowest odds of diabetes. And it’s not just because they’re slimmer. Even if you match subjects pound-for-pound, there’s significantly less fat inside the muscle cells of vegans compared to omnivores, as measured in one of their calf muscles, which is a good thing, since storing fat in muscle cells “may be one of the primary causes of insulin resistance,” which is what’s behind both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Whereas if you put someone on a high-fat diet, in just a single week the fat in their muscle cells shoots up 54 percent.

And go on a high-protein diet, and you may undermine one of the principal benefits of weight loss: eliminating the weight-loss-induced improvement in insulin action, the improvement in insulin resistance. Obese individuals were put on a calorie-restricted diet, less than 1400 calories a day, until they lost 10 percent of their body weight. Half were getting more of a regular protein intake, 73 grams a day, and the other half a higher-protein diet. Now, normally you lose 10 percent of your body weight and your insulin resistance improves—that’s why it’s so critical for obese type 2 diabetics to lose weight. But the beneficial effect of 10 percent weight loss was eliminated by the high protein intake. Those extra 32 grams of protein a day abolished the weight loss benefit. “The failure to improve…insulin sensitivity in the [high-protein weight-loss] group is clinically important because it reflects a failure to improve a major [cause-and-effect] mechanism involved in the development of type 2 diabetes.” In summary, they concluded that they demonstrated that “the protein content of a weight loss diet can have profound effects on metabolic function.”

All protein? Any kind of protein? If you split it up between animal versus plant protein, following people over time, animal protein intake is associated with an increased risk of diabetes in most studies, whereas plant protein intake appears to have either a neutral or protective association with diabetes. Yes, but these were just observational studies. People who eat lots of animal protein might have lots of unhealthy behaviors. But you see the same thing in randomized, controlled, interventional trials where you can improve blood sugar control just by replacing sources of animal protein with plant protein.

We think it may be the branched-chain amino acids concentrated in animal protein. Higher levels in the bloodstream are associated with obesity and the development of insulin resistance. We may be able to drop our levels by sticking to plant proteins. But, you don’t know if that has metabolic effects until you put it to the test.

I hate it when titles ruin the suspense, but indeed: Decreased Consumption of Branched-Chain Amino Acids Improves Metabolic Health. They demonstrated that a moderate reduction in protein intake rapidly improves metabolic health, improving blood-sugar control while also decreasing BMI and body fat. Check this out. The protein-restricted group was eating literally hundreds more calories per day, significantly more calories than the control group; so, they should have gained weight, right? But no, they lost weight. After about a month and a half, they were eating more calories, but lost more weight, about five pounds more than the control group eating fewer calories. And this “protein restriction”? They were just having people eat the recommended amount of protein a day; so, that’s about 56 grams a day. So, they should have just called that the normal protein group, or the recommended protein group, and the group that was eating more typical American protein levels and suffering because of it, the excess protein group. And, as a bonus, just sticking to the recommended protein intake doubled the levels of a pro-longevity hormone called FGF21, but that’s for another video.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Dustin & Harbin via wikipedia. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

So rather than Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?, the question shifts to how do omnivores not get too much?

This may help explain some of the benefits of plant-based proteins:

Of course the best way to treat type 2 diabetes is to get rid of it by treating the underlying cause: How Not to Die from Diabetes.

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109 responses to “Are BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids) Healthy?

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  1. I have just finished reading your new book How Not To Diet. An excellent book, with some new information for me.

    My question has to do with your advice to ‘keep it in the cell walls’. (I concluded the same thing about whole grains 15 years ago and started buying 40 pound bags at a time.). But what about brassica? The standard theory has been that breaking the cell apart so that the enzymes can create the anti-cancer compounds in a blender is a good idea (at least the last I heard).

    But it occurs to me that the gut microbes might react with bits of kale or collards and cause the desired compounds to be formed and then distributed to the cells the same way short-chain fatty acids are created and distributed. So eating sliced kale lightly cooked might give us the best of both worlds.

    On the other hand, if it is advisable to break the cells open prior to eating the kale, then I can think of several things to do: blender, dry and pulverize into powder, chew very thoroughly, etc.

    Any advice will be much appreciated.

    Keep up the good work!….Don Stewart

    1. I think you are on to something in noting various possibilities. Drying kale is probably a bad idea but I have never been willing to eschew the blender idea for a lot of foods. I have thought of the brassica in particular for blending as especially good. I even think the allium family might be healthy in this regard as well. As for taste on the other hand????

      As a 50 year T1 diabetic I have always been oriented to keeping the higher carb foods “in the cell walls”. This would include grains beans and fruit. Other things though might well benefit from other processes. . .

      Cauldwell Esselstyn is really big on lightly cooked kale and chewing well to mix your oral bacteria to start the process of making nitric Oxide. While this is a great idea, chewing raw kale or blending it might maximize the sulphoraphane. So we gotta keep our food interesting.

      1. Don Stewart, do you only eat whole grain kernals then? I believe this is where many so-called wfpb people go off the beaten path by including flour products (breads, muffins, crackers, tortillas etc) I know I do, and I am seeing detrimental effects which is why I mention it.
        For the kale, I chop it into 3/4 inch ribbons and swirl it into soup just before (a minute or two) taking it off the heat.

        Happy New Year to you and to all, staffers and visitors alike here at NutritionFacts.org !

    2. Don Stewart,

      The gut bacteria don’t react with cruciferous veggies to cause the desired chemicals to be formed, an enzyme in the veggies itself does.

      “In raw broccoli, when the sulforaphane precursor, called glucoraphanin, mixes with the enzyme, called myrosinase, because you chewed or chopped it, given enough time—sitting in your upper stomach for example, waiting to get digested, sulforaphane is born. Now the precursor is resistant to heat, and so is the final product, but the enzyme is destroyed. And with no enzyme, there’s no sulforaphane production.

      That’s why I described the hack and hold technique. If you chop the broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, or cauliflower first, and then wait 40 minutes, then you can cook them all you want. The sulforaphane is already made, the enzyme is already done doing its job, so you don’t need it anymore.”

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/second-strategy-to-cooking-broccoli/

      1. Oh wow, very helpful! It’s a little like chopping the garlic to let the enzymes in it do the work. Never thought about intentionally waiting before eating my salad (although the wait happens naturally, but most times not 40min long).

      2. Dr. J – Whole Foods in my area sells the most wonderful kale-Brussels sprouts salad in their deli. It has a honey mustard dressing on it with Parmesan cheese and sliced almonds. I snitched that idea/recipe and eliminated the cheese and oil. Then one day I had no kale but I had a tub of arugula (a cruciferous vegg) so I made the salad with torn and rubbed arugula with finely sliced Brussels. I made the dressing with the left over liquid from a large jar of oil-and-vinegared artichoke hearts which I’d poured off the oil leaving the flavored and spiced liquid. Add some dijon mustard, Italian spices, honey or sweetener of choice to that and you have salad dressing. I share this as one way to consume raw cruciferous veggies. Brussels sprouts, I discovered, when eaten raw, as in this salad, are crunchy, fresh and rather sweet and don’t have the bitter flavor of cooked. I now find I prefer brussels raw. This has become my go-to basic fresh green salad recipe.
        Happy New Year!!

        1. YUM. Thanks for the tip re raw Brussells Sprouts! I hate them cooked, but now I’m going to try some raw, sliced or chopped in my salad!

      3. in ‘How not to Die’ Dr. Gregor mentions using mustard powder on frozen broccoli that’s been cooked significantly increases sulforaphane production. He suggests sprinkling the mustard powder on the crucifers before you eat them.

        1. Dr. Gregor has also suggested saving a tiny bit of your cruciferous veg to leave it raw-one tiny bite, and then the cooked part will have the enzyme.
          John S

  2. Dr Greger, I must say that for me this really starts the year off with a bang! Here I was expecting some sort of review that while good would give no new info.

    This is one of the ultimate arguments regarding amount of protein and particularly the kind of protein in our diets. This is a crucial part of the ultimate answer to keto carbophobia.

    Just as knowing that a high A1c causes problems is a good thing for a diabetic. Knowing why and by what process it becomes deadly is monumentally important in providing the capability to fight that. So it turns out that eliminating added saturated fats and excess branched chain amino acids (i.e. animal products) from the diet will lower insulin resistance. It will happily also lower dietary AGEs and its contribution to the flood of negative ramifications.

    The bottom line here is that my A1c levels tend to be around 6.5. This is high and can cause lots o problems. But by lowering cholesterol and other atherogenic factors such as TMA and dietary AGEs I can and have offset much of the potentially deadly effects of T1 diabetes. And that is just looking at mitigating some of the negatives of the carnist diet without looking at the positives of the phytonutrients in our diet.

  3. I appreciate the warning against excess protein particularly of the animal type and based on studies involving overweight and or diabetic subjects but what does that really say about getting protein levels right for healthy and athletic /fit individuals?

    1. Peter Schlactus,

      I’ve read and heard, several times, that if you are eating healthy whole plant foods and getting enough calories, you are getting enough protein. In fact, I think Dr. Greger has stated that about 97% of Americans eat enough protein, but about 97% of Americans don’t eat enough fiber.

      If you want more information, check out the film “The Game Changers” about top athletes who are vegans. Fascinating and informative — and I’m not a big fan of super athletes. I started to change my mind after seeing the film, which is really about diet and athletic performance.

        1. Right, Blair: When I learned that the name for protein deficiency is “kwashiorkor” I found that very few docs or nurses or dieticians have ever heard of it. This tells me that protein deficiency is not a problem except in people who are starving.

    2. Peter, It has always amazed me when I learned that the Roman Gladiators were “Plant based eaters”. From all the movies, I had pictured them as being meat-eaters.

      “The men who centuries ago risked their lives for entertainment in public arenas of the Roman Empire were vegan. The remains of 60 Roman gladiators who fought and died more than 1,800 years ago in Ephesus (what is now Western Turkey) were recently found in a 200-square-foot plot along the road that led from the city center to the Temple of Artemis. Isotopic analysis of their bones for calcium, strontium, and zinc determined that the world’s fiercest fighting men were vegans. In the historical accounts of the lives of gladiators, these warriors are sometimes referred to as hordearii—literally translated means “barley men.” “

    3. Great video… for me it helps explain why there is a variable response in type 2 diabetics fasting blood glucoses to weight loss. So I will need to add to my “improving” fasting blood sugar recommendations to not only get the “fat out of your diet” and “fat off your body” but also to reduce and avoid BCAA especially when they are “packaged” in animal products. Athletes especially endurance athletes in my experience eat more calories to avoid glycogen depletion. Since there is protein in most foods they inevitably consume more essential amino acids. Unfortunately you need to “trust” your body to make the adjustments necessary. Population studies and reductionistic science can point us in the “right” direction but there is no way to determine the “right” or “optimal” intake for individuals. Courtesy of population variability between individuals we are all “experiments of one”. For most of us consuming adequate calories will provide all the essential amino acids that we need. There is a literature on minor tweaks for endurance athletes. However, most do well on a whole plant food diet with minimal salt, oil and sugar. Scott Jurek is an example of a very successful endurance athlete as he details in his bio, Eat Run. His setting the record for running the Appalachian Trail is mentioned in the recent movie, The Game Changers.

    4. I don’t know about ‘healthy and athletic/fit individuals’ but as far as over 42,000 Swedish women aged 30 to 49 who volunteered from a random sample, are concerned high protein intake seemed to be linked to a higher risk of death

      ‘Main Outcome Measures. We evaluated the association of mortality with: decreasing carbohydrate intake (in deciles); increasing protein intake (in deciles) and an additive combination of these variables (low carbohydrate–high protein score from 2 to 20), in Cox models controlling for energy intake, saturated fat intake and several nondietary covariates.

      Results. Decreasing carbohydrate or increasing protein intake by one decile were associated with increase in total mortality by 6% (95% CI: 0–12%) and 2% (95% CI: −1 to 5%), respectively. For cardiovascular mortality, amongst women 40–49 years old at enrolment, the corresponding increases were, respectively, 13% (95% CI: −4 to 32%) and 16% (95% CI: 5–29%), with the additive score being even more predictive.

      Conclusions. A diet characterized by low carbohydrate and high protein intake was associated with increased total and particularly cardiovascular mortality amongst women. Vigilance with respect to long‐term adherence to such weight control regimes is advisable’
      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2796.2007.01774.x

      An earlier Greek study found

      ‘Follow-up was performed from 1993 to 2003 in the context of the Greek component of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition. Participants were 22 944 healthy adults, whose diet was assessed through a validated questionnaire. Participants were distributed by increasing deciles according to protein intake or carbohydrate intake, as well as by an additive score generated by increasing decile intake of protein and decreasing decile intake of carbohydrates. Proportional hazards regression was used to assess the relation between high protein, high carbohydrate and the low carbohydrate–high protein score on the one hand and mortality on the other.

      Results:
      During 113 230 persons years of follow-up, there were 455 deaths. In models with energy adjustment, higher intake of carbohydrates was associated with significant reduction of total mortality, whereas higher intake of protein was associated with nonsignificant increase of total mortality (per decile, mortality ratios 0.94 with 95% CI 0.89 –0.99, and 1.02 with 95% CI 0.98 –1.07 respectively). Even more predictive of higher mortality were high values of the additive low carbohydrate–high protein score (per 5 units, mortality ratio 1.22 with 95% CI 1.09 –to 1.36). Positive associations of this score were noted with respect to both cardiovascular and cancer mortality.

      Conclusion:
      Prolonged consumption of diets low in carbohydrates and high in protein is associated with an increase in total mortality.’
      https://www.nature.com/articles/1602557

      Higher protein consumption may have benefits in malnourished Third World populations (or may be a marker for socioeconomic status and therefore better access to eg healthcare) but seems to be risk factor in Western populations..

    5. Hi Peter,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thanks so much for posting your question.

      People who are healthy and/or fit/athletic may be able to handle larger quantities of protein without acute (short-term) effects on their health. However, prevention is an important part of nutrition as well. Those eating more protein (particularly animal protein) may be at an increased risk of a shorter lifespan (https://nutritionfacts.org/video/caloric-restriction-vs-animal-protein-restriction/), kidney function decline (https://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-type-of-protein-is-better-for-our-kidneys/), and it may be possible that higher animal protein intake may contribute to insulin resistance, but the causes of insulin resistance are complex. Based on the best available evidence, plant protein seems to be safest for prevention and treatment/management of chronic disease.

      I hope this helps answer your question regarding protein intake for individuals who are healthy and athletic.

  4. My teen years were informed by the muscle magazines of the 1980s. Dietary and supplemental proteins were the pixie dust to building muscle mass. After treatment for colon cancer three decades later, at 50, I discovered Dr Colin Campbell and went on a lower protein diet, around 10% of my total calorie intake. I am happy to report that I’m leaner and still have a significant amount of muscle mass (much more than the average for my age group). I can still lift more iron than those decades younger. It is amazing that the western culture at large has been swept onto a wave of misinformation for decades.

    1. I think the scourge of sugary refined carbohydrates bent society’s scale too far in the opposite direction of avoiding carbs and thinking the answer is protein. One imbalance leads to another imbalance.

  5. This was a particularly excellent video.

    Standing ovation.

    clapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclap

    1. This was a particularly excellent video.
      —————————————————
      More like a good audio… the constant flapping of arms, reminiscent of a loon trying to take off on land, has made this an audio-only site. ‘-)

      1. I would not be so personal Lonnie, but I do find having Dr Greger in the visuals distracts from the written information: there is just too much going on. I much prefer the older format with Dr Greger purely as a voice over, it is gives clarity to the science, and looks more professional.
        It is a fascinating video though, the scientific results are counter to the received wisdom.

      2. Agreed…please go back to the other format!! Dr. Gregor, you are actually doing a disservice by appearing on videos. Much rather have close up of studies like videos from before. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Go back to old format.

  6. I will say that it has the wrong title.

    I had already learned so much by the time we got to the topic that I will need to memorize what the topic was because the Branched Chain Amino Acids doesn’t come in until 5 minutes and the rest of it already got me on my feet applauding.

  7. So when you say, “That’s for another video” does that mean that there really is going to be another video or is that a figure of speech?

  8. Great and informative video. What about the plant based protein powders out there (pea, hemp seed based) that add BCAA (leucine, isoleucine, Valine 6.2 gm). Is this of equal concern if plant based within the context of an exclusively WFPB diet, and doing regular weight training at a gym to maintain tone and strength vs build bulk.

    1. My understanding is that excess protein of any kind is potentially harmful

      ‘After ingesting excess protein, putrefactive fermentation often increases the risk for infectious diseases as well as the development and progression of many common bowel diseases including CRC and IBD coinciding with the growth of potential pathogens, such as Bacteroides and Clostridium species
      …………………….. unlike carbohydrates, putrefactive metabolites are produced by protein fermentation and aggravated with in-creasing nitrogenous substrate. Intestinal microorganisms determine the composition of intestinal metabolites not only by affecting digestion and absorption of nutrient, but also by modulating host physiological processes. Many of these protein fermentation end products, which include ammonia, H2S, amines, phenols, thiols and indoles, have been shown to be cytotoxins, genotoxins and carcinogens, in in vitro and animal models.’
      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313889178_Contributions_of_the_Interaction_Between_Dietary_Protein_and_Gut_Microbiota_to_Intestinal_Health

      The current fad for high protein diets may have unfortunate long term consequences. How we define ‘excess protein’ is of course the challenge but supplementing with BCAAs and/or choosing to eat high protein diets will clearly increase the chance of consuming excess protein’

      1. Tom, thanks for posting that link. I’ve only given it a cursory look so far but it seems very interesting.

        Christopher Newgard’s assertion regarding the branched chain amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine as important partners with SFAs in causing insulin resistance certainly suggests limiting or eliminating animal protein.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413112001039 However, I have often wondered at the bro science leading to selling high quantities of whey (yeah more animal) but also pea protein so that gym members can be sure to get “adequate” protein.

        In any case, plant proteins have branched chain amino acids as well, just at lower proportions. So all proteins do seem somewhat suspect to me when over abundant.

      2. Fumbles, ty to yourself and Stewart for your comments and links. I haven’t bothered much about the protein question in all these years, but in reading the links below, I am thinking I should. Many postmenopausal women have to keep calories low, and there is no way I get the amounts listed (or all of the daily dozen). I dont eat tofu, fake meats, maybe a can of beans every 10 days. Anyway, thanks again.
        https://veganhealth.org/protein-part-1/
        https://www.theveganrd.com/vegan-nutrition-101/vegan-nutrition-primers/plant-protein-a-vegan-nutrition-primer/

    2. I’m still learning a lot but I used to put bcaa powder in my water for the gym everyday. Was always told by trainers it was important. They all still do it regularly. I personally found nothing special about doing that. And now I’m not 100% plant based but I’ve cut out my meat consumption significantly and find I feel great. I do still add protein powder to morning oatmeal or a shake sometimes but even that depends on what else I plan to eat the rest of the day. Slowly working my way towards a fully plant based diet but so far, I’m just as strong as before, and my cardio has significantly improved.

    3. Hi Tom,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for your question.

      I don’t believe the science gives a definitive answer to your question. However, I think the leading theory would be that plant proteins are better because of the make-up of those proteins — namely the amino acid composition that you mentioned. Therefore, adding in BCAA’s to disrupt that amino composition would make the amino acid profile look more similar to animal protein, thus minimizing the health effects of that protein. Another theory that might be coupled with the first one is that plants contain more nutrients and non-nutrients (i.e., phytochemicals) that the plant protein is packaged with and at least partially responsible for the health benefits associated with plant-based diets/foods. By consuming plant protein isolates, many of the beneficial components of the plants (nutrients and non-nutrients) have been removed. Therefore, unless new evidence were to come out to refute this, it seems that the best balance of evidence currently would support the intake of whole plant sources of protein over protein isolates, even plant-derived ones.

      Of course, in the context of a whole food, plant-based diet, we don’t know what the effect of such a protein supplement would be, as it has not been tested to the best of my knowledge.

      I hope this helps answer your question!

  9. Dear nutritionFacts.org Team,

    just to get the message right: are bcaa’s- which exceed the daily recomended protein intake- in general unhealthy or does it make a difference, if the bcaa’ s are of plant sources?
    what about people who are lifting weights in order to build muscle, is it sufficient, if they cover their daily protein intake from whole plant food or would you say, that they should add vegan plant based protein powders in addition to their whole plant based diets?

    Thank You very much in advance and kind regards from germany!!!

    1. Mine,

      I looked it up and the top vegan weightlifters say they use them occasionally.

      But I found this sentence about whether the vegan sources actually do help.

      “we find shockingly little evidence for their efficacy in promoting MPS or lean mass gains and would advise the use of intact proteins as opposed to a purified combination of BCAA that appear to antagonize each other in terms of transport both into circulation and likely into the muscle.”

    2. Hello Mine,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for posting your questions here on NutritionFacts.org!

      I don’t believe we have a definitive answer to your first question about whether it is the BCAAs themselves or the source of the BCAAs that matter most when it comes to health. The simple answer is that it seems like both play a role in the health effects of protein-rich foods (either for better or for worse). The BCAAs tend to be present in lower quantities/ratios in plant foods than in animal foods. Therefore, adding BCAAs to a plant protein may simply shift the ratio of protein from low-BCAA to high BCAA and making it closer to the ratio of an animal protein. That being said, there are other components (nutrients and non-nutrients) present in plant foods that may better offset the higher ratio of BCAAs from the direct supplementation of BCAAs into the diet. I am unaware of any studies that have tested this, however. Therefore, the best available balance of evidence seems to suggest that whole plant sources of protein are superior from a health perspective.

      Although the evidence for the use of BCAAs to promote muscle growth for individuals engaged in resistance training is mixed, it seems that there is a minimal to negligible effect on muscle growth and recovery if the individual is consuming enough dietary protein. Here is one study showing just that: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6212987/

      I hope that helps answer your questions!

  10. Hi, I was wondering that in those studies the weight loss was measured rather than the fat loss.

    And then I was wondering if the increased weight loss in the protein restriction group was due to muscle loss. As far as I know muscles are heavier than fat and have a lower caloric value. So weight wise more muscle than fat would have to be metabolized in order to keep the body going.

    Am I completely wrong with train of thought?

    1. You are correct. The study shows almost half of the weight lost was lean mass (muscle) at (1.25kg). A “low protein” diet causing the catabolic loss of 2.75lb of muscle in 43 days may not be an ideal approach.

  11. “over 5lbs weight loss” with low protein intake, but the study shows almost half of the weight lost was lean mass (1.25kg), while 1.37kg was fat mass. Should a diet causing the catabolic loss of 2.75lb of muscle in 43 days be considered “normal” protein intake?

    Would be interesting to see research on healthy exercising people and BCAA’s intake, rather than obese, already insulin-resistant diabetics. We know that exercise increases insulin sensitivity and interestingly, insulin regulates BCAA blood levels.

  12. What if you are a vegan who is weight training? Is it bad to take vegan BCAA Supplements? If my protein comes from whole foods that are plant based is there is a concern?

    Thanks for the help!

  13. Would protein recommendations be different for people in their 70s or 80s, with sarcopenia, and/or with low stomach acid (reduced ability to break down proteins)?

    1. I have heard Joel Fuhrman talk about the need for adults 65 and older to take in greater amounts of protein. If I’m not mistaken Greger has a video on nutrition facts on this exact topic

    2. itslee,
      I have posted 2 links for you that I found useful when looking at the same question. The first link though you may find very useful. There is an explanation of the causes of sarcopenia, plus Dr Mirkin’s recommendations on how to deal with it , increasing and preserving muscle mass. I have used his advice to great advantage.

      I also have very slow digestion but find I do best on plant based diet. I hope this helps answer your question.

      https://www.drmirkin.com/fitness/sarcopenia-muscle-loss-with-aging-linked-to-inflammation.html
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/increasing-protein-intake-age-65/

  14. Off-topic, I am wondering if anybody cleans with e-cloth or Norwex (which has silver in it) or Simply Natural wood fiber cloths or fly lady or another water-only system?

    Seems like going water-only is the way to go to no longer have to spend the money buying or the space storing cleaning products or paper towels or sponges, etc.. Plus, they have water-only facial cleaners, too. Not sure about that yet, but it looked interesting. There are already steam floor mops and Norwex and e-cloth also have water-only floor cleaning mops.

    I saw some water-only bacteria test videos on YouTube and the cloths seem to beat things like Lysol wipes.

    I know that it is the internet and people could scam people easily, but they tested it against chicken bacteria, which I won’t have in my kitchen, but if it gets rid of chicken bacteria, then I will be happy using it for my veggie bacteria and I am wondering if I could just wipe off the fruits and vegetables?

    The Simply Natural one did a black-light after using a germy sponge which made the bacteria worse and then they seemed to wipe the germs up and rinse the germs down the drain and the germs didn’t show up under black light on the cloth after cleaning the cloth.

    I just wonder if the health-oriented people have gone all-water cleaning yet?

    1. I feel like I have to challenge some of the vloggers to wipe off their fruits and vegetables for me and test them for germs before and after.

      Does Roundup show up on Petri dishes?

      1. Honestly, I would be wanting to send the cloths to missionaries in Third World Countries, along with how to train sniffer ants or dogs.

        Though it would have to be dogs because ants kill people in parts of the world and red ants may be why they switched to sniffer dogs.

        1. I am going to say it but over Christmas I gave socks and hats and gloves and mylar blankets to 100 homeless people and if these cloths really are good for cleaning, that will be added next year.

          They don’t always have places to bathe and they don’t always have toilet paper or Depends for the people with incontinence issues. These cloths cleaned away 99% of the bacteria of chicken and the germs wash away in water.

          My poor friends often don’t have money for laundry detergent or soap or any of the cleaning products and I do have a friend with no money for adult diapers on top of no money for cleaning products or toilet paper or rent, but they haven’t lost their apartment yet and they do eat a lot of chicken.

          I know the cloths aren’t magic, but if they could even cut the bacterial exposure down by 3/4 would be better than the way things are now.

          1. When I was a young person, out in California, there was a homeless man who soiled himself and just took off his pants and didn’t have underwear and he was walking toward me with his genitals fully exposed and I remember watching his eyes process what to even do and his eyes were watching my eyes also not knowing what to do. I still am brought to tears by the image. I suspect he probably was arrested for indecent exposure within the next hour or so, but he couldn’t even sit down with the glass all over the ground and I was too afraid of what would happen to try to help him. It haunts me to this day.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytZsndEc830

          2. I think about how many people are using even bathroom wipes. Environmentally, bathroom hygiene is so challenging to deal with.

            The missionaries go to other countries and the whole village has a big pit that they walk to and use as a bathroom. No rolls of toilet paper.

            Very limited water even to drink.

            In Christianity, some sides do full immersion water baptisms and some sides sprinkle. One missionary sprinkles because sometimes all people have is a tiny bit of water to drink. You can’t use it to bathe. It has to be for drinking.

            UV lights maybe.

            Okay, I am officially not smart enough to know whether the e-cloths would help any of them at all, except for my unemployed friends who need something other than cleaning products and paper towels.

            Well, sorry, I know I am off-topic mentally trying to save the world again.

      1. Thanks, itslee.

        I will look Force of Nature up. That is helpful. A lot of the products do get good reviews.

        Superfoodly says no to using them with food products (though some people from Amazon are using them to wipe off their fruits and veggies)

        I was looking up the Norwex and NowToronto says that they don’t disclose the type of silver they use and that back when silver was being used for photography it was a bad thing so it isn’t good for the waterways and they mentioned the word microbiome.

        https://nowtoronto.com/whats-your-opinion-of-norwex-products/

        I am glad I paused before clicking “buy”

        I am bothered that the word “China” is on the Norwex and other similar “silver-infused” products. Sorry, China.

        I just don’t know if I can trust Chinese products for safety.

          1. Interestingly, Consumer Reports said that a regular squeeze mop cleaned better than the steam mops.

            I think.

            I didn’t renew my membership this year because I already have all of my appliances and almost everything.

            I am working on the logic for cleaning without them, but they did have a sentence implying that.

        1. Okay, Force of Nature uses capsules because if you use the wrong concentration by measuring things like salt yourself, you can accidentally make bleach.

          Well, it is interesting to think about.

          I am thinking that I am not afraid of accidentally making bleach now and then if I never have to buy anything ever again.

          1. I am going to try e-cloth.

            Cheapest and pretty colors.

            I like the idea of using just water, but some of us inquiring minds might be buying Petri dishes and Agar and doing our own test.

                1. She tested Norwex, e-cloth, Polly Cloth, Doc Cloth, cotton cloths, Handi Wipes, Scotch Brite Microfiber, Clorox wipes, Basic H2 wipes, and Kirkland paper towel for the raw chicken test.

                  Only e-cloth and Norwex passed.

                  Everything else failed.

                  I suspect the wood fiber one on HSN might succeed, but they only did the black light test.

                    1. Broccoli was pretty bad, too.

                      Needed washing with warm water.

                      Though lemon juice has some disinfecting power.

                      As far as the sponge-microwave test, I think she didn’t put it in the microwave long enough.

                      She only did it for 2 minutes.

                      I am going to see if I can get her to try 5 minutes.

                      She tested the steam mop, too and it took 6 passes or 60 seconds of steam per spot to get most of it.

                      The scariest one to me was how dirty clothes were after coming out of the washing machine.

                      Luckily, the dryer she used had a sanitize function that saved the washing machines butt.

                      High Efficiency = very dirty clothing.

                      Hang drying doesn’t help unless it is in Sunlight or under a UV light.

              1. It would be nice if you eventually had a testing things section to your site. I need someone I can trust with Petrie dishes and 3M protein swabs.

                I do trust Dr Annie, but I find that type of testing powerful and she doesn’t have millions of followers

  15. Thanks for the video. Here’s what I’m not totally understanding… If you eat .7 – 1.2 g/kg bodyweight of plant protein (this is the standard fitness world recommendation, which in most cases will be well above 56 g/day), and you don’t have diabetes, aren’t obese, and don’t supplement with BCAAs, does any of this apply? Does plant protein increase these negative indicators mentioned in the video as well?

    1. The US National Academies of Science recommend 0.7 grammes of protein per kilo of body weight and estimated that this was equivalent to to 56 grammes oer day for the average US male

  16. Earth to Dr Gregor–of late u r giving good info for those of us who are obese. For those of us who are of normal weight,exercising and looking for dietary optimzation I am seeing almost zero good info on this site. E.g. how are people taking care of their health to take dietary advice given in this vid were all the testing is done on the obese. Additionally would suggest looking at health benefits of various proteins that one fails to get totally plant based. L-Tyrosine, Arginnine, etc. etc.

    1. The human body makes L-Tyrosine; It is also found in soy, peanuts, various seeds, various nuts,various beans, bananas and avocados..

      The human body also synthesises arginine. Seeds, grains, beans and nuts provide arginine. if anything totally plant based people are more at risk of arginine excess than deficiency when there is heavy reliance on whole grains.

    2. Earth to fbo252

      I don’t know how anyone can make such a comment. Have you actually bothered looking at the site’s content?

  17. Dear NF.org,
    I have really tried to get used to the new style videos. I find it impossible to concentrate and read with Dr G waving his hands about in the background. I so much prefer being able to read full screen, undistracted, and listen at the same time. I am going to have to stop watching them at all as it does my head in. This after 5 years of watching every one, some of them 10’s of times! Please can we go back to the old style. Thank you

  18. I have a question for a future video – do any of your recommendations change for children? Should they also avoid all dairy? Would you suggest giving a child soy and nut milks? Or only water? Would you put your child on b12 supplementation?

  19. Are all BCAA’s bad?…even from plant sources? Lentein is advertised as having the highest levels of BCAA’s out of plant based sources…just wondering if I should avoid it, or if BCAA’s are only bad if they are from animal based sources?

  20. Thank you so much for your information. I was on low carb for 15 years and then my glucose levels went berzerk. Luckily a friend told me to watch The Game Changers and What the health and I was tearful and upset that we have been lied to all these years by the American Diabetes Association. I am happy to report that my sugars stabilized in less than 3 days! I feel better although struggling with how to eat but I downloaded the Daily Dozen app and that has helped me more than ever! I’m finally feeling in control, have more energy and my skin is amazing. Amazing stuff! Thank you for changing my life!

    1. ‘Circulating branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are linked with mortality in population-based studies.’
      https://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/68/Supplement_1/418-P

      ‘Metabolomic profiling, in particular, has revealed multiple circulating metabolites associated with cardiovascular and metabolic risk. For instance, studies have found intriguing associations between branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and cardiometabolic risk (2), with increased concentrations of circulating BCAAs in coronary artery disease patients compared with control subjects (3) and increased BCAAs predicting risk of future diabetes (4, 5).’
      http://clinchem.aaccjnls.org/content/62/4/545

      None of this makes me want to take BCAAs of any kind.
      .

  21. Having spent time on pubmed, reading studies on the optimum level of protein, it seems that it’s not easy to have a definitive number such as 56 grams per day. Recommended values can range from 0.8 g/kg/day to 2.0 g/kg/day depending on many factors. In addition to grams of protein in your food you have to account for its bioavailabilty. Plant based proteins generally have lower bioavailability compared to animal based protein so this needs to be accounted for. How the food is prepared and eaten also has an effect on how much protein you ultimately get. Furthermore, as we age our bodies become increasingly less efficient in using available protein so recommended daily protein increases. Active athletes require more protein than a sedentary people. There are too many other variables to list here but my point is that the optimal daily protein value is different for each person and can vary quite a bit. There are many great reasons not to have too much protein but you also don’t want too little. That’s why getting the number right for you is so important. Sarcopenia is one example why you don’t want to have too little protein. Regarding the topic of this video there are some additional studies on pubmed which seem to indicate that increased serum BCAA is a marker of metabolic issues and not the cause. There is a lot of active research on this as we are only scratching the surface of the complex mechanisms involved. This study finds that “…short-term dietary reduction of BCAA decreases meal-induced insulin and C-peptide secretion, increases FGF-21 levels and stimulates mitochondrial efficiency in adipose tissue, but fails to improve IS in T2D.” (https://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/67/Supplement_1/773-P.abstract)

  22. Why were the comments closed on the Flashback Friday Diet and Climate Change video? I personally saw a chance for commenters to bring forth some really strong arguments to either side of the issue.

    I also saw the video as making some strong points of how what we eat impacts the earth and its populace. (And, it was in the old format and easier to watch ‘-)

    Of course it was apparently made some years ago and many things have happened since then to begin remedying the diet situation (plant based faux meat for instance.) Still, meat animals have a great effect on our atmosphere, and thus our climate, IMO.

    We as humans have been at war with the animals since we emerged. We won a long time ago and victoriously began eating our vanquished enemies… even to the point of penning them in large concentrations to fatten for slaughter.

    I had a friend who quit smoking for his health… but he told me once that if he knew he was about to die all he wanted was a carton of cigarettes and one match… he was that much still addicted to the memory of tobacco.

    I enjoyed eating meat until I quit, but the sight of a hamburger ad does not in any way make me want to go out and eat a hamburger. But I bet for some that attraction still exists.

    Science is our frenemy in that it will be how we tamp down some of our most highly climate harming habits… while at the same time inventing new things for us to accumulate that we don’t need or actually want, when we get right down to it.

    1. Lonie,

      I have the same question.

      From the Doctor’s Notes under that video: “This video originally came out in 2015, and our food’s impact on climate change is a growing focus.” Dr. Greger also offered to provide updates on the climate impacts of our food choices, if NF video viewers were interested, as I recall.

      I also noticed for the first time the two little rectangular boxes at the upper right of the comment section: Leave a comment, and Comment etiquette. So I read through the Comment etiquette for the first time. But I wonder if there was a serious etiquette breach, or something worse. Or just a technical glitch. But, very odd.

      1. I looked in these comments to see if anyone mentioned the oddness of the closed comments in the flashback friday video, I wish I hadn’t read Lonie’s comment, though, but I’m not going to comment on his insane (among other things) remarks about the animals, that kind of insanity doesn’t deserve discussion but I will at least call it out for the literal insanity that it was.

        Anyways, It’s strange the comments were closed. I didn’t read them all but how bad could it have gotten? I have seen some pretty crazy stuff posted on this site even accusing Dr. Greger of some ridiculous things and those comments weren’t even deleted. Now I wish I would have read through them. Very weird, though. Why not just delete select comments if they weren’t to the site’s standards, I’ve seen a few conversations deleted before.

        1. I wish I hadn’t read Lonie’s comment, though, but I’m not going to comment on his insane (among other things) remarks about the animals, that kind of insanity doesn’t deserve discussion but I will at least call it out for the literal insanity that it was.
          ———————————————————————————————————————————
          ?????
          _________________________________
          Very weird, though. Why not just delete select comments if they weren’t to the site’s standards
          ————————————————————————————————————–
          i agree.

          I was about to comment (after reading through the comments and noticed the comments section was closed) so I probably read all the 15 or 20 postings. I remember one guy offering a “looking at the sunset” experiment as proof there’s no CO2 in the air (causing global warming to take place… and another individual flatly denying there was a human connection to global warming. But I saw nothing out of bounds in the way the discussion was taking place.

          Just one of those mysteries of life of why the comments were taken down.

        2. that kind of insanity doesn’t deserve discussion but I will at least call it out for the literal insanity that it was.
          ——————————————————————————————————————————————–
          OBTW, I’m not literally insane and I have a judge’s ruling to that effect, after my family tried to have me committed. (Cost me a thousand bucks to the judge to get that ruling. ‘-)

        3. Since a few are reading this virtual discussion about the diet/climate connection, I’ll post a link below that highlights some of the bad decisions we as a people have made in the past that have contributed to where things stand now. The paper industry is a huge polluter and user of trees that would otherwise be turning CO2 into Oxygen. Plus, trees are just nice to look at. ‘-)

          https://www.theextract.co.uk/lifestyle/sustainability/switch-to-hemp-paper/

    1. Barb,

      There were only 3 comments. (Mine was one; probably the 3rd.)

      Did you see any other comments that were out of control? I wonder if there are other reasons. Activities of which I am unaware.

      Sorry you were sick over the holidays — especially if it was again. Our holidays are very peaceful and relaxing — as in, we don’t do anything special. It’s much easier that way. I highly recommend that approach, though I’m guessing for some that is probably heresy.

      Oh, I found a vegan chickpea pasta soup (a substitute for chicken noodle) recipe online that was very soothing to an incipient cold (which didn’t develop further); I wonder if the spices are restorative? I used a powdered vegan broth. I liked it the second time I made it, too.

  23. Dr J, after we left, the dicussion picked up momentum but I didn’t stay. So glad you enjoyed your holidays! I had plans for a quiet peaceful time too with a few treats to eat but a case of shingles put a damper on my ideas. :( Feeling much better now though and looking forward to adding some new dishes to my regular rotation. Maybe try some new grains, a veg or 2 etc. Your chickpea soup sounds wonderful ! I’ll give it a go
    and use poultry seasoning spices and vegan broth too.
    Thanks Dr J

  24. I love the information, but I prefer the old format where I could read the words in the studies, instead of having Dr Greger taking up half the screen real estate. I just listened to the entire audiobook of How Not to Diet, and I love his enthusiasm and reading style, but he is a bit distracting on screen.

  25. Is this 56g of protein per day regardless of calorie intake? Just eating fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans along with 1 cup of kefir a day gets me over 100 due to the number of calories I consume. If I had to cut that in half, what would I eat?

  26. Evidence based protein intake guidelines are 0.8-0.9 mg/kg/day including endurance and weight training athletes. This generally works out to 5% of calories from protein. Dairy, like kefir, is the prefect food….for cattle…which have much higher protein requirements than humans. In addition, most if not all of our dairy herds in the USA are infected with bovine leukemia virus which is generally accepted as a significant cause of cancer in humans.

    1. Ben, do you have support for your claim that bovine leukemia virus infects most or all dairy? And who accepts that it’s a significant cause of cancer in human, and which type of cancer? Thanks.

  27. most if not all of our dairy herds in the USA are infected with bovine leukemia virus which is generally accepted as a significant cause of cancer in humans.
    —————————————————————————————————
    Link or it’s just hearsay.

  28. How do I remain within the protein RDI? I’m a mostly sedentary (exercise ~1hr most days then sit at a desk all day), 59 y/o woman who weighs 110 lbs. That’s 50 kg. RDI is 0.8 grams per kg. That’s 40 grams per day. How on earth can anyone get that little? I had a day last week in which I accidentally ate no beans and very little grain, which contain the highest protein concentrations. Eating 2169 calories for the day, I still consumed 59 grams of protein. I can’t fathom how to reduce that further without cutting important food groups. Advice is welcome.

    1. Hi, Sharon! The research presented in the video above indicates that animal protein and plant protein have different effects on metabolic function. “Animal protein intake is associated with an increased risk of diabetes in most studies, whereas plant protein intake appears to have either a neutral or protective association with diabetes…We think it may be the branched-chain amino acids concentrated in animal protein. Higher levels in the bloodstream are associated with obesity and the development of insulin resistance. We may be able to drop our levels by sticking to plant proteins.” In general, plant protein is easier on our bodies than animal protein. Animal protein is more inflammatory, places more stress on the kidneys, and may also play a role in cancer risk by increasing levels of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)… See here for more information: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/protein/. You mentioned in your comment below that you eat a whole food plant-based diet, so I don’t think you have any need for concern. The RDA is the average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%-98%) healthy people. As long as you are consuming a variety of whole plant foods and an appropriate amount of calories, you should be just fine.

  29. Hi Michael! Thanks for all the new information I learn from your videos. During soon to be sixth month I´ve stuck to a vegan diet and feel great. I am a highly active Rugby player from Sweden that´s reguarly training cardio and gym excersise to match my goals within my sport and here´s where the thoughts occure. In modern Rugby its getting more important to be big and strong, something I want to achive aswell by gaining lean weight whilst continuing the plant based diet. The question is not if it´s possible, rather what would be a good way to do it? Do I need a high calorie diet, eat a bunch of peanutbutter, just stuff myself with vegetables or is there a smarter more effective way? Hope all is well, I really appreciate the work you do. All the best from Sweden// Isak

  30. Hi Isak. It sounds like you’re on the right track, but please keep in mind that Dr. Greger does not recommend, and the evidence does not support, a “vegan” diet per se, as vegan includes things like soda, chips, candy and cookies that are hazardous to your health. He does recommend an unprocessed vegan diet. Regarding “size”, I’d imagine you want to gain muscle, not fat. If you simply eat more calories than you burn, then you will store the excess calories as fat. Some of this will be stored as visceral fat around your organs which is associated with an increased risk for disease and premature death. Gaining muscle is good, and I’m thinking this is what you want, but you can’t “push on a string”. In other words, eating more calories, including more protein, will not result in muscle gain. So your goal is reached by what you’re doing already, by training. The totality of the evidence is that you will build just as much muscle by eating a well balanced/varied unprocessed plant based diet than by specifically targeting certain foods. In other words, eat enough, not too much and keep training. There is no simple fix, like eating more, that will force muscle building. You would only increase your risk for disease.

  31. I read this weekend where saturated fat is OK. I read that eggs are good. This was on the web.
    I see on this site that carbs do not cause insulin resistance. On this site, I see that saturated fat is not good. I see that eggs are not healthy.
    How can I determine which argument is natural or healthy?

  32. What you’re reading is nothing but propaganda and advertising. Seek out the evidence and read the scientific studies yourself. There are 4000+ unbiased clinical studies that clearly show the benefits of eating a whole food plant based diet, and no UNBIASED studies to refute this. This is what Dr. Greger presents. The egg industry, the dairy industry, the cigarette industry, the sugar industry all have the same strategy: create the slightest doubt in any way possible. They know that if they can create this doubt in your mind, then you will do nothing and continue to eat a standard western diet. Dr. G has many videos showing the fallacy of what you’re seeing that eggs and these other toxic foods are ok. Here is one of many: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/debunking-egg-industry-myths/

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