The Great Protein Fiasco

The Great Protein Fiasco
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The field of nutrition got human protein requirements spectacularly wrong, leading to a massive recalculation.

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There has been a history of enthusiasm for protein in the nutrition world. A century ago, the protein recommendations were more than twice what we know them to be today. This enthusiasm peaked in the 1950s, with the United Nations identifying protein deficiency as a serious widespread global problem. There was a protein gap that needed to be filled. This was certainly convenient for the U.S. dairy industry, which could dump its postwar surplus of dried milk onto the third world, rather than having to just bury it. But this led to the great protein fiasco. There was a disease of malnutrition, called kwashiorkor, that was assumed to be caused by protein deficiency—famously discovered by Dr. Cicely Williams, who spent the latter part of her life debunking the very condition that she first described.

Turns out there’s no real evidence of dietary protein deficiency. The actual cause remains obscure, but fecal transplant studies suggest changes in gut flora may be a causal factor. How could the field of nutrition get it so spectacularly wrong? A famous editorial about the profession started with these words: “The dispassionate objectivity of scientists is a myth. No scientist is simply involved in the single-minded pursuit of truth, he or she is also engaged in the passionate pursuit of research grants and professional success. Nutritionists may wish to attack malnutrition, but they also wish to earn their living in ways they find congenial.” This inevitably encourages researchers to “make a case” for the importance of their own portion of the field, and “their nutrient,” which was protein.

Science eventually prevailed, though, and there was massive recalculation of human protein requirements in the 1970s, which “at the stroke of a pen” closed the “protein gap,” and destroyed the theory of the pandemic of “protein malnutrition.” Infant protein requirements went from a recommended 13% of daily calories, to 10%, 7%, then 5%. However, to this day, there are still those obsessing about protein. Those promoting Paleolithic diets, for example, try to make the case for protein from an evolutionary perspective.

Okay, so what is the perfect food for human beings, the food that was fine-tuned just for us over millions of years to have the perfect amount of protein? Human breast milk. If high-quality protein was the “nutrient among nutrients,” helping us build our big brains over the last few million years, one would expect that importance to be resoundingly reflected in the composition of human breast milk—especially since infancy is the time of our most rapid growth.

But this is patently not the case. Human breast milk is one the lowest-protein milks in the mammalian world. In fact, it may have the lowest protein concentration of any animal in the world—less than 1% protein by weight. This is one of the reasons why feeding straight cow’s milk to babies can be so dangerous. The protein content in human milk is described as extremely low, but it’s not low—it’s right exactly where it needs to be. That’s the natural, normal level for the human species.

Adults require no more than 0.8 or 0.9 grams of protein per healthy kilogram of body weight per day. So, that’s like your ideal weight in pounds, multiplied by four, and then divided by ten. So, someone whose ideal weight is 100 pounds may require up to 40 grams of protein a day. On average, they probably only need about 30 grams a day, which is .66 grams per kilogram. But we say 0.8 or 0.9 because everyone’s different, and we want to capture most of the bell curve.

People are more likely to suffer from protein excess than protein deficiency. The adverse effects associated with long-term high protein diets may include disorders of bone and calcium balance, disorders of kidney function, increased cancer risk, disorders of the liver, and worsening of coronary artery disease. Therefore, there is currently no reasonable scientific basis to recommend protein consumption above the current recommended daily allowance, due to its potential disease risks.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

There has been a history of enthusiasm for protein in the nutrition world. A century ago, the protein recommendations were more than twice what we know them to be today. This enthusiasm peaked in the 1950s, with the United Nations identifying protein deficiency as a serious widespread global problem. There was a protein gap that needed to be filled. This was certainly convenient for the U.S. dairy industry, which could dump its postwar surplus of dried milk onto the third world, rather than having to just bury it. But this led to the great protein fiasco. There was a disease of malnutrition, called kwashiorkor, that was assumed to be caused by protein deficiency—famously discovered by Dr. Cicely Williams, who spent the latter part of her life debunking the very condition that she first described.

Turns out there’s no real evidence of dietary protein deficiency. The actual cause remains obscure, but fecal transplant studies suggest changes in gut flora may be a causal factor. How could the field of nutrition get it so spectacularly wrong? A famous editorial about the profession started with these words: “The dispassionate objectivity of scientists is a myth. No scientist is simply involved in the single-minded pursuit of truth, he or she is also engaged in the passionate pursuit of research grants and professional success. Nutritionists may wish to attack malnutrition, but they also wish to earn their living in ways they find congenial.” This inevitably encourages researchers to “make a case” for the importance of their own portion of the field, and “their nutrient,” which was protein.

Science eventually prevailed, though, and there was massive recalculation of human protein requirements in the 1970s, which “at the stroke of a pen” closed the “protein gap,” and destroyed the theory of the pandemic of “protein malnutrition.” Infant protein requirements went from a recommended 13% of daily calories, to 10%, 7%, then 5%. However, to this day, there are still those obsessing about protein. Those promoting Paleolithic diets, for example, try to make the case for protein from an evolutionary perspective.

Okay, so what is the perfect food for human beings, the food that was fine-tuned just for us over millions of years to have the perfect amount of protein? Human breast milk. If high-quality protein was the “nutrient among nutrients,” helping us build our big brains over the last few million years, one would expect that importance to be resoundingly reflected in the composition of human breast milk—especially since infancy is the time of our most rapid growth.

But this is patently not the case. Human breast milk is one the lowest-protein milks in the mammalian world. In fact, it may have the lowest protein concentration of any animal in the world—less than 1% protein by weight. This is one of the reasons why feeding straight cow’s milk to babies can be so dangerous. The protein content in human milk is described as extremely low, but it’s not low—it’s right exactly where it needs to be. That’s the natural, normal level for the human species.

Adults require no more than 0.8 or 0.9 grams of protein per healthy kilogram of body weight per day. So, that’s like your ideal weight in pounds, multiplied by four, and then divided by ten. So, someone whose ideal weight is 100 pounds may require up to 40 grams of protein a day. On average, they probably only need about 30 grams a day, which is .66 grams per kilogram. But we say 0.8 or 0.9 because everyone’s different, and we want to capture most of the bell curve.

People are more likely to suffer from protein excess than protein deficiency. The adverse effects associated with long-term high protein diets may include disorders of bone and calcium balance, disorders of kidney function, increased cancer risk, disorders of the liver, and worsening of coronary artery disease. Therefore, there is currently no reasonable scientific basis to recommend protein consumption above the current recommended daily allowance, due to its potential disease risks.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

Doctor's Note

The “low” protein level in human breast milk (about 6% of calories) doesn’t mean adults only need that much because babies are such voracious suckers. A 15-pound infant can suck 500 calories a day. An adult, ten times heavier—150 pounds, say—doesn’t typically consume ten times more food (5,000 calories). So, since we weigh ten times more, but may only eat four or five times more, our food needs to be more concentrated in protein. But still, people tend to get way more than we need. See my video: Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?

Plant protein sources are preferable. See, for example:

What about protein quality, though? Should we try to mix certain foods together at meals? See The Protein Combining Myth.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

301 responses to “The Great Protein Fiasco

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  1. My naturopathic doctor suggested is start supplementing with Betaine HCL supplements (hydrochloric acid). Dr. Greger, do you have any research that has evaluated the safety and effectiveness of Betaine HCL?

    How about research and safety on bitters in supplemental form? Any research showing an ability to raise stomach acid?

    Lots of these supplements sell big-time at health food stores but this does not necessarily mean they work and or are safe?

    Much thanks for providing any data or thoughts related to this.




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          1. I have tried Betaine HCL, digestive enzymes, etc…etc… with little improvement and no improvement in balance or homeostasis.
            My 12 year old daughter (who has had gut dysbiosis since a birth – mom too) which we have yet to balance despite a WFPB diet, probiotics, prebiotic foods, much research, professional guidance and enormous effort. Both she and I have experimented with celery juice on an empty stomach first thing in the morning and have experienced lots of relief and moving toward more balance. It seems to raise HCL as our digestion is stronger, elimination more efficient and assimilation must be better as experienced in our energy levels and mental focus. We did it regularly for one month to start and now use it 3-4 times per week for maintenance. Would love to see a study on the effects of celery juice for digestive disorders (ANY!) as I hear many besides ourselves having much success with this.




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      1. Cool. How do you know it is working, and do you take before, during, or after a meal to make it work?
        And by “work”, I assume you mean it raises your stomach acid, right? What sort of issues did the low stomach
        acid present you? Basically, how do you think your body would be ailing without the vinegar? Thanks so much
        for reaching out to me.




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        1. I was having some minor discomfort sometimes after eating that felt similar to acid indigestion but taking antacids didn’t help, so I did some research and found as we get older we don’t produce as much stomach acid, which affects digestion. I tried one of the suggestions, diluted cider vinegar, the next time I had discomfort, and it worked like a charm even though i was kind of afraid of making it worse. Since then I started lacto fermenting a lot of different foods, which besides producing probiotics, preserving food, boosting it’s nutrition and even eliminating some undesirables, also reduces the PH. (Raises acidity) Works for me! Dr G did a whole series on vinegar recently too, check it out! Good luck!




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          1. Thank you.

            Do you ever do the cider vinegar on an empty stomach, with water (diluted)? As in, a tonic drink, or is it simply just taken during a meal, or after a meal? Thanks.




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      2. You should only consume ACV (apple cider vinegar), never distilled white vinegar, which one can use for cleaning. Braggs Apple Cider vinegar (w/the mother) is excellent. I drink a large container w/abt 2 T ACV throughout the day. Great for digestion.




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    1. I’ve used HCL lots when the allergy season moves in. Years ago one of my professors told me that if you take one (or more) on an empty stomach when you are having “hay fever” it gets into the blood stream and dissolves the proteins one is allergic to. Every year one or two people will call and thank me for that information!!




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    2. Do not take HCL supplements. Your bile duct should take care of that, and if that’s malfunctioning, you would be in the operating room.

      Additionally, supplemets are unregulated by the FDA and actually rarely contain their list of ingredients.

      Lastly, homeopathic doctors and other alternative practitioners should NEVER be followed literally for any kind of medocal advice. Seek a board certified physician or dietition (NOT nitritionist: a dietition is different and certified).




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      1. This website might be helpful to you and NF user Wegan. This is a website where you can search your area for plant-based providers (physicians, dietitians, etc). Hope you both find this resource to be helpful! Plant-Based Doctors




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    3. What kind of nutrition program do you recommend for plant based athletes? Do you have some kind of special guidelines? Is there anything extra that we should eat?




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      1. Hi Nikolay,

        I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thanks for your question. I think it depends on your goals. Are you trying to become bigger and stronger? Trying to improve your endurance?

        In either case, since many athletes apprehensive about a plant-based diet are worried about protein, eating 3 servings a day of beans or lentils would be a significant amount of protein, while also having tremendous health benefits. Whole grains, nuts, and seeds also offer a significant amount of protein. The other recommendation that I would have is to ensure that you are eating enough food/energy/calories. Individuals going from the standard American diet to a more plant-based diet fail to compensate for the fact that their diet is now much lower in caloric density. In other words, if you eat the same volume of food, you will consume much less calories. Therefore, you need to significantly increase the amount of food that you eat, as well as make sure to eat dried fruits, smoothies, avocados, nuts/seeds, and dates and/or bananas if you are losing too much weight. Check out Dr. Greger’s video on the topic: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-bodybuilding/

        I hope this helps, and best wishes on your journey!




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  2. Are the dangers of too much protein primarily from animal protein? If you eat only vegetable protein, is it OK to eat a little extra, like 50% more of the .8g/kg requirement?




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      1. Yes. My question was more theoretical than personal. I am curious if “don’t eat too much protein” is for both animal and vegetable protein.




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        1. Theoretically then, animal protein has just the right composition to boost our IGF-1, Insuline-like Growth Factor 1, which we know is not something we should want to trigger heavily once we’re fully grown. This effect does not happen on a plant-based diet; in fact, plant-based diets trigger an IGF-1 binding factor that captures any floating-around IGF-1 from the blood.

          When the body feels like growing (which is what IGF-1 signals) it is believed to cause faster aging and cancer growth. Plant proteins have this effect much faster than animal proteins. This may be due to their composition as “complete” proteins.

          It’s all an analog / gradual system of course, so someone eating tons of protein without actually needing it may be doing as badly as someone eating a little bit of meat.




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          1. I think you meant “Animal proteins have this effect much faster than plant proteins”.

            If the signalling of IGF-1 is the only reason to keep protein intake down, then the amount of plant protein one ate wouldn’t matter. I wonder if there is another reason why too much protein isn’t a good idea, other than the IGF-1 issue.




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            1. Yes, corrected, thanks.

              I didn’t say IGF-1 is the only reason; it’s the only I know of :)

              The bad idea indicated in this video is talking about protein defiency as something to avoid (which is something the meat industry likes to pride themselves on helping with).




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          2. Vergans should enough enough protein so they can get enough lysine….soooo they should have concentrated proteins lie Tempe or soy at least 3X week.




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              1. Best way is to see for yourself where you stand. Simply record the amounts of everything you eat for a few days and then enter them into cronometer (www.cronometer.com). This will tell you where you stand on eating enough protein as a whole and each essential amino acids. In a previous comment on this video to Andrew I gave an example day for me. At 2470 calories cronometer said that I ate overate somewhat at 135% of my daily calorie needs. Since I am losing weight, I beg to differ, but that is neither here nor there. Cronometer says that day I consumed 85 grams of protein or 185% of my daily needs. With respect to lysine in particular I consumed 146% of my RDA. And lysine wasn’t the lowest that day, methionine was at 133% of my RDA.

                But I try to eat a variety of whole food without added sugars and oils, so a plant based diet with significant refined oils and sugar that shove protein containing whole foods out of the diet could very well could get a person into trouble with respect to protein and perhaps lysine. That is why I don’t say I follow a vegan diet, because it only describes the foods you don’t eat, rather than the foods you do, and there are a lot of junk food vegans out there giving everybody who doesn’t eat animal based foods a bad name.




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                1. I agree, and also use cronometer.com. I have no trouble signficantly exceeding the RDA on each amino acid, typically gettng about ~75-85 g/d on about 2100 kcal (~14-16% of total calories). I eat a lot of beans and nuts/seeds, which jacks up the protein. I also agree ‘vegan’ is a poor word to use to describe a whole food plant diet.




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              2. The problem with the general population of vegans is they are eating a lot of refined processed foods, when so much of your caloric intake comes from oil you can easily have problems with low protein. The more I learn about things, the more evil all these vegetable oils become.




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            1. Wheat is “notorious” for being low in lysine. Well 2 cups of whole wheat pasta contains 350 calories or about 19% of my daily calorie needs. This much pasta contains 13% of my daily requirements for lysine. So if I ate nothing but pasta everyday for weeks and weeks, I might get to a point where I deficient in lysine. But remember that the protein requirements and those of the individual EAAs contain a 100% factor of safety to insure that even those folks on the far right side of the bell curve on protein needs are covered. For the large majority of people the amount of lysine in wheat is actually pretty close to what they need.

              However nobody just eats pasta. The old discredited “protein combining” myth would tell you to eat beans with your pasta or rice. But we know that everything has protein in it. If I had a large salad with 5 cups of romaine lettuce I would get 40 calories or 2% of my daily calories. But that much lettuce contains 2.9 grams of protein, of which 0.2g is lysine which is 6% of my daily needs. So just plain lettuce with your plain pasta would balance out any slight deficiency in lysine.

              The same is true for other leafy greens.

              Of course stirring a can of cannellini beans into a pot of marinara sauce and putting that over the pasta just tastes good without having to worry about making sure I eat some concentrated source of lysine three times a week.




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        2. Julie, Nick is right when he says eat WFPB as much as you can and don’t worry, if as plant eaters we are eating a much higher amount then recommended we are either eating to many calories or much more likely eating processed food(meat substitutes) which have there own problems not created by plant protein. Thanks to all for such good input, love reading the comments




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        3. I understand, but the message is still the same, don’t think about protein, you don’t need to worry. We can’t taste protein for a reason, it isn’t a concern for humans.
          So lets not think about food as proteins, I have passed that stage in my life, and now I think have I eaten enough greens? mushroom? beans? Whole foods and whole types of foods, what the macros are, they just are.




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      2. Just to expand, eating a well balanced WFPB diet (which means including all the plant food groups each day – grains, veggies, fruit, legumes, and nuts/seeds – no need to get too fussy about the relative amounts of each) and consuming an appropriate amount of food (based on your caloric needs) is GUARANTEED to provide all the protein you body needs. If you do the math, since grains, veggies, legumes and nuts/seeds all contain a pretty decent amount of protein, you cannot not get enough protein if you eat this way.

        Protein supplementation ??? Forgetaboutit! Not needed and probably counterproductive. Even for hard-driving athletes.

        Food combining? Just eat all the food groups over the course of each day. That will be your food combining.

        Want to earn bonus points? Eat a variety of foods WITHIN each of the food groups over the course of a week. You’ll live forever.




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        1. I am new to nutritionfacts.org and began reading through comments. Of all the thousands of opinions, comments and responses, your statement makes the most sense, and is absolutely the way I think of the WFPB way of eating. Thank you for your clarity!




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    1. I remember reading somewhere that extra vegetable protein is not harmful, or not as harmful as extra animal protein, but I cannot remember the source.

      The key experiment (from my perspective) in The China Study regarding liver cancer and diet in rats unfortunately changed two variables at once (diet A had veg protein at 5% of calories and diet B had casein at 20% of calories).

      Someone who is physically active and eats WFPB for 3000+ kcal/day is highly likely to ingest much more than the required amount of protein, even without eating any beans. One would need to shift to a diet heavy in cassava and fruit to get the protein down.




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      1. The higher intake of plant proteins from whole food sources is not concerning. Animal proteins come with baggage, i.e. inflammation due to endotoxins, upregulated MTOR and IGF-1 in addition to sat. fat and cholesterol.




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    2. The higher intake of plant proteins from whole food sources is not concerning. Animal proteins come with baggage, i.e, inflammation due to endotoxins, upregulated MTOR and IGF-1 in addition to sat. fat and cholesterol.




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      1. As a moderator I’ll consider that you use our good doctor as your source for your comments.

        I drink ground nuts and grains (40 grams of protein), a cup of a variety of ground fresh veggies (14 grams of protein) and 8 oz of “Healthy Greens” V8 juice with 8 oz of water and ice smoothie every day. In the evening I eat a homemade bean burger (14 grams of protein) on whole grain raisin bread, and in between I eat about another 15-25 grams of protein in various whole foods. That’s approx 88 grams of protein for an ideal weight of 180 pounds. 180 x 4 / 10 = 72 required grams of protein. Exercise is minimal most days. I’m a writer.

        As you can see, there is no fanfare in my diet. I eat some kind of whole plant based food every three hours. The smoothie alone provides 100% in ALL recommended daily allowance of nutrients according to labeling. B12 comes from organic and natural Braggs products; the same with aminos later in the day. Once a day I do the cleanse with Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar.

        Beside proteins, is it possible for me to eat much of other nutrients?




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    3. Dr Greger covers what is a good amount of protein and the difference between plant vs. animal protein in his other protein videos.

      If you are eating a plant based diet the protein is very efficiently used and almost impossible to overdo, with the exception of a few outlier individual foods, but then you’d have to only eat them exclusively and a ton of them.

      Animal protein is the problem, and it is a problem of great magnitude, being that it is a different structure of protein, and a human can eat such high levels of protein so quickly.




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    1. They are higher in protein than brown rice but it depends how much of them you eat, and what else you eat, Every 100 grams of dry oats contains about 13 grams of protein (whereas brown rice has about 8 grams).
      https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/1847?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=35&offset=&sort=&qlookup=oat

      In any case, plant protein appears not to be a key health challenge – certainly compared to animal protein, eg
      “Notably, our results showed that the amount of proteins derived from animal sources accounted for a significant proportion
      of the association between overall protein intake and allcause and cancer mortality. These results are in agreement
      with recent findings on the association between red meat consumption and death from all-cause and cancer (Fung et al.,2010; Pan et al., 2012). Previous studies in the U.S. have found that a low carbohydrate diet is associated with an increase in overall mortality and showed that when such a diet is from animal-based products, the risk of overall as well as cancer mortality is increased even further (Fung et al., 2010; Lagiou et al., 2007). Our study indicates that high levels of animal proteins, promoting increases in IGF-1 and possibly insulin, is one of the major promoters of mortality for people age 50–65 in the 18 years following the survey assessing protein intake”
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S155041311400062X

      See also
      http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/protein/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-type-of-protein-is-better-for-our-kidneys/




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      1. Thank you so much for this very helpful post. I am helping a friend learn about protein and myths floating out there about it and this is a great resource.




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      1. thanks, just watched all the videos with anything concerning oats.
        One thing I learned , there’s a big increase in antioxidant levels by adding cinnamon which would be ok, but cloves? I’ll get back to you on that one.lol




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    2. If you put a single food into cronometer (www.cronometer.com) it will tell you the nutritional breakdown of that food. For example if I put in a 1/2 cup of dry steel cut oats (which makes 2 cups of cooked) cronometer says that it contains 300 calories and 10.5 grams of protein. This nice big bowl of oatmeal provides 17% of my daily calories and 23% of my daily protein. As important I get a breakdown of the amount of each of the essential amino acids and for oats the lowest amount is 19% of my methionine with higher percentage of all the other EAAs including lysine. So not only do oats provide enough protein they are a source of complete protein (as defined by providing a higher percentage of all EAAs than percent calories).

      Of course nobody just eats one single food for all of their calories, so I suggest you record the amounts of all the different foods you eat in a day, especially the amount of any refined sugars and oils that are pure nutrient free sources of calories, and put those into cronometer and see where you end up for the day.

      Eye opening is to take a nice salad with spinach, romaine, toasted pumpkin seeds, broccoli sprouts, maybe some diced tomatoes and shedded carrots and see how it stacks up nutritionally before and after you put 2-3 tablespoons of an oil based dressing on it. It is like throwing a bucket of paint on a Monet.




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      1. Jim, you should get a simile of the month award for that “like throwing a bucket of paint on a Monet” phrase. I think it very useful in that it suggests the overwhelming destruction of the gratuitous calories in our diets. When I started just using just a bit o vinegar on my salads My wife thought I had gone nuts.




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    3. Most grains have about the same amount of protein, somewhere in the vicinity of 6 to 8 grams of protein in 1/2 cup dry. That goes for wheat, rye, oats, corn, spelt, quinoa, etc. (Oats are higher.) That’s as much or more protein as in an egg (6 grams).

      But the main point of Dr. Greger’s video is NOT to be impressed by “high in protein”. The need for high protein was first the result of bad science, and now the result of dishonest marketing.




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    4. Esben Anderson, the main take-home point of most of Dr. Greger’s videos is that eating a whole food, plant based diet is the way to go. If you want oats, eat oats. If you want rice, eat rice. As long as you’re eating a well-rounded diet (veggies, fruits, legumes, whole grains), you’ll be fine. The message of the above video was to stop worrying that plant-only eaters will be protein deficient. He points out that protein “requirements” have been way overrated the past several decades. I hope that clarifies things for you.




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    5. Oats are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, it’s high in: protein, fiber, resistant starch and antioxidants.
      One cup of whole oats has 12 g of protein.




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      1. We usually see body builers showcasing that plants make you strong, but this is much more realistic I think.

        I was really happy to find this. Though not as spectacularly as Tim, I practice Parkour too [1] and was curious if going from flexitarian to vegan could be a problem… but searching for “parkour vegan” I immediately found him as a resounding yes

        [1] at age 47… and I really have no idea what keeps me fit enough…




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    1. vanrein: I first saw/heard of Tim on American Ninja Warrior. I was so excited that a vegan was participating and doing so well, I started rooting for the Europeans even though I’m American. (shhhh. Don’t tell.)
      .
      That was when I heard the funniest line I have ever heard on TV. I won’t get the exact words right, but here’s the gist. The announcers were so impressed with Tim and how much better he was both looking and doing since going vegan (and he was amazing even before he went vegan), that one of them said after a particularly impressive moment, “Wow! I want to go vegan! And I don’t even know what it is!!” :-)




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  3. Hi, thank you for this great explanation once again. Would you (or anyone else) by any chance have reliable data on sport and protein requirement? I’m often asked and although I perform well at around 10% of protein in my diet (+-), it’s hard to make people change their believes.




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    1. In “How Not to Die” Dr. Greger refers additional nutrition questions to books written by Brenda Davis RD. In “Becoming Vegan” she writes, “Current research and recommendations by sports nutrition authorities indicate that 1g/kg/d is the minimum [protein] intake for vegan athletes. Endurance athletes should try to get 1.3 to 1.5 g/kg/d, and those who focus on strength activities should aim for 1.3 to 1.9g/kg/d while building muscle.” (page 253)




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      1. Thanks for this. Can you expound? I currently lift weights 5x/week, do yoga 3-5x/week and try to walk/ride my bike as much as I can. I’m 6′ and 145 lbs. I’ve been listening to the How not to Die audiobook and am making the transition. In addition to my plant-based diet I have a Raw Meal/green vibrance/flax seed/chia seed/alma powder/matcha shake in the mornings and a Vega protein shake after my workout. Given much of the books emphasis on eating actual foods and not powders I am wondering if I’m doing more harm than good?




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        1. Hi John,

          You certainly do get a lot of physical exercise. May I ask how old you are?
          I’m sixty-three at 6′ 185 lbs. I haven’t been doing much exercise except for 15 miles riding bicycle a week. I’ve held off extra exercise until I’m convinced that I’m getting the right nutrients so that I’m burning fat not muscle during my workout. I’m still in the research stage for that though.

          Here’s something I’ve concocted and it tastes yummy with full *100% DV in ALL NUTRIENTS* except a 40% shortfall of protein I get later in the day’s homemade bean burger and various mid-time snacks. No supplements except for Braggs Yeast and B12.

          I’d love feedback such as what happens if I get too much DV of vitamin nutrients besides protein if I eat purely plant-based WHOLE foods and water? Also, am I missing anything? I get plenty of sunshine for D vitamins. I got the nutrient percentages off the ingredient labels of the food packages and I eat a total of 2000 calories throughout the day. A little help please. See attached!

          Tom




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          1. I’m 34. I started working out because I had surgery on my ACL & MCL and after being both depressed and sedentary I was at 194 lbs. So I lost quite a bit in about a year and change (over 50 lbs). I thought I was eating well until I listened to the book.

            I used to “watch” what I ate but since I’ve been eating only plant-based whole foods now I eat nearly all day, all the time, and seems like I’m losing more even though I’m trying not to. Follow the doc’s dirty dozen and you should get all your nutrients just through eating. I wouldn’t really bother w packaging bc that means you’re prob eating processed foods.

            I also wouldn’t refrain from exercise until you have research on what you’re burning. I’d follow the doc’s advice and do 60-90 mins of moderate exercise a day. I mean, seems common sense to me that exercise is better than not.

            Side note: would still love to hear what people think of stuff like Raw Meal, Green Vibrance or Vega Shakes for people who exercise often? I assume it’s not worth it? I dunno.




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    1. Joe: I’m confused with the numbers, given that a typical vegetable is mostly water. For example, do 100 g of broccoli have 45 g of protein? Or, is this out of dry weight? Thanks




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      1. It’s in percentages of calories. If you eat 2000 calories of cucumbers (13.3kg), then you will get 2000*24% = 480 of calories from protein, which translates to 120 grams of protein.




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    2. Absolutely nonsensical infographic. You need to eat up to ten kilograms of cucumbers to meet your RDI for protein. Not realistic. Calorical percentage of protein doesn’t say anything. It should be in grams per 100g of product.




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      1. Leonid Kalachkin: No one is suggesting that anyone eat all of their RDI from any single protein source. The point of charts like this is to help people be able to compare foods and see if they can meet your protein needs or not. Michael explains it very well:

        “A number of people have also complained about my statement that lettuce has more than enough protein (26%), because, they say, to get a day’s worth of calories from it (e.g., 2000 calories), you’d have to eat 31 pounds of it. Others suggest that even for higher-calorie foods, it would be boring to eat just one food.

        The reason we look at the protein you’d get by eating an entire day’s worth of calories from a single food is that this is simply a handy method of comparing the protein content of various foods, not to suggest that anyone should or even could eat 31 pounds of lettuce. Sure, you can’t eat 31 pounds of lettuce in a day, but whatever amount of lettuce you do eat helps (and doesn’t hurt) your protein intake. You could certainly eat 1% of your calories as lettuce, and if you did, that lettuce would supply more than 1% of your protein needs. Ergo, lettuce supplies sufficient protein.”

        In addition to the quote above, there’s more great info about protein on the following page.
        from http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html




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        1. > The point of charts like this is to help people be able to compare foods and see if they can meet your protein needs or not.

          It doesn’t serve that well. What I see on this chart is that I can’t meet my protein needs, because I can’t eat that much greens (assuming that I understand that numbers are given in percents of calories, which is another overlook here). It is useless in a real world. The more lettuce you eat, the less beans you eat (the amount of food you are able to eat is limited), and, thus, the less protein you get, so it hurts.

          Does this chart answer the question where do vegetarians get protein (it’s in the title!)? No, because that’s not where they get the majority of protein. Is this chart useful to vegetarians, does it suggest sources of protein than can actually increase their intake of protein? No, there are even no legumes. Does this chart prove that those plant foods are superior sources of protein to animal products? No, because they are not, their percentages of calories from protein don’t matter, because serving sizes are not comparable and greens don’t make a substantial contribution to overall calorical intake to be a significant source of protein.

          I understand the point that if you get enough calories from whole foods, you also get enough protein. But if you focus on greens to get calories and protein by proxy, you will fail at both.




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          1. Leonid: I don’t see your point. No one is suggesting you eat so much lettuce that you push out beans. (If you follow Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, you will get plenty of beans and other mid-range calorie dense foods.) The chart in no way encourages people to do so.
            .
            Yes, the chart focuses a lot on greens. That’s very helpful for most
            people, because most people are already aware that foods like beans and grains contain a lot of protein. They are unaware, however, that even the calories that they get from greens contain a lot of protein as a percentage of calories. And when they only focus on beans and grains as sources of protein, they focus on irrelevant concerns and may lose out on important nutrients from sources like veggies.
            .
            The point of the chart is as stated in my post above, “Sure, you can’t eat 31 pounds of lettuce in a day, but whatever amount
            of lettuce you do eat helps (and doesn’t hurt) your protein intake. You could certainly eat 1% of your calories as lettuce, and if you did, that lettuce would supply more than 1% of your protein needs. Ergo, lettuce supplies sufficient protein.”
            .
            re: “The more lettuce you eat, the less beans you eat (the amount of food you are able to eat is limited), and, thus, the less protein you get, so it hurts.” This line of thinking is where I think you are missing the percentage concept. The assumption on all this information is that the diet meets calorie needs sufficiently. So, if you eat more lettuce in place of beans, you are going to need to eat enough lettuce to replace the calories that you lose from beans. Hence, even if you eat more lettuce than normal on a day (maybe you have a big stomach and can eat a lot and don’t feel like eating any beans), you are still getting enough protein. That’s the point. And who doesn’t understand that if they eat more lettuce/low calorie dense foods, that they have to eat more food/volume to keep the same amount of calories? The point is that whatever percentage of calories that your lettuce does take up in your 100% calorie sufficient diet, the calories from the lettuce are more than meeting your protein needs.

            I’m not suggesting that anyone eat this way, but if you really think you can’t get your calories (and thus protein) needs for the day by eating greens, you have not seen this video from Bite Sized Vegan. : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNgA06xE_Ng




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            1. I guess if you like that sort of thing, but didn’t we learn to utilize fire so we didn’t have to do this like our simian ancestors? lol




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              1. Ya, cooking and variety definitely appeals to me. But if that’s how she wants to eat, I say, “More power to you!” I think she looks like she is thriving.




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                  1. WFPBRunner: Agreed. It blows my mind. Plus, I just think about how much time it would take to eat all that. But she clearly enjoys it…




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                1. With all the work she puts into it, I sure hope so!
                  Was I the only one who was confused where the clothes ended and the tats’ began, or vice versa? Wow, kind of gave me nightmares, not a big fan of any body disfigurement. Yeah I know, I know, it’s “art”. Let’s discuss that in 20 years or so. lol




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          2. Hi Leonid, I agree, the chart is not really helpful in some aspects. It does not make clear that it is talking about per cent of total calories from protein. And of course if you were eating 100 calories worth of lettuce you would have to eat about a pound of it, larger than most people’s average portion. Whereas to eat 100 calories of meat it would only be a couple of ounces, probably less than the average portion. You also correctly note that foods such as beans and grains, which are plants and provide significant amounts of protein in normal portions, are not shown on the chart. I personally agree that this presentation would not be very helpful to someone who was trying to figure out if they could get enough protein from plant sources.




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      2. You eat food to get a given number of calories, not a given number of grams. That is why the chart gives the percentage of calories that comes from protein. The above chart says that

        A) There are a lot of plant foods, including those you don’t associate with even having protein, that get a high percentage of their calories from protein. And that the percentage of calories from protein from sources of “lean” animal protein aren’t as high.

        B) Everything you eat when following a plant based diet provides you with protein, not just beans.

        C) If you eat a whole food, plant based diet of just about any composition and eat enough to get sufficient calories, and don’t eat a significant amount of refined sugars or refined oils (which have zero protein), then protein automatically takes care of itself. There is zero need to even to have to think about making sure you get enough “high protein” food because it is ALL high protein food.

        It does not say “eat 30 pounds of lettuce a day”.




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        1. Jim Felder wrote: “You eat food to get a given number of calories, not a given number of grams.”

          Exactly! For example, when it comes to the fat content of food the first thing I look for on the label is the %fat content in calories per serving. If a food has 100 calories per serving and the fat calories are 45 then I know this food is 45% fat by calories, and it almost always goes back on the grocery store shelf.

          If an interested but ignorant party asks me, “Where do you get your protein?”, then I can say “All whole plant food has protein, in fact spinach is 49% protein by calories!”




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      3. You may have heard about the 30 bananas a day diet.
        Hey! If you really want nonsensical…

        How about the 150 Jalapeños a day diet?
        It has adequate protein if that’s your concern, and it is low in fat.
        Not to mention that weighing in at 194 grams of fiber, it’s going to be hot times the city as one enjoys their regular lifestyle.

        Of course the point of the chart is that there is more than adequate protein in plant based foods, and that one’s best bet is to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and grains…

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a383aa4cfd64fc6818f57232fa03646481b454e57ca50d81fca840fdcabbe375.png




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    3. Great chart. I usually just tell people when they ask the inevitable question, “From the same place as the cows you enjoy eating get theirs, plants.”




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  4. One serving of beans (1 cup) gets you in the range of this…is the 3 servings a danger of excess? It would seem so if that was the case.




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      1. Randy Carabo: Dr. Greger recommends 3 servings of beans, but his serving is as defined as 1/2 whole beans, or 1/4 cup bean dip. In other words, the Daily Dozen is not as much as you might think at first glance.
        .
        To be complete though, I’ll also mention that one cup of fresh peas or sprouted lentils is also counted as a bean serving from Dr. Greger’s daily dozen.




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          1. Ben: After I drain the liquid of a can of beans, I usually find myself with between 1.5 to 2 cups of beans. So, a can of beans is about 3 servings of beans, maybe a bit more. — according to Dr. Greger’s definition of a bean serving in the book: How Not To Die.
            .
            FYI: I have thought in the past, that if a typical adult aims to eat a can of beans a day, they would be doing good on the Daily Dozen. I am not yet meeting that goal myself, but on a day when I open a can of beans and eat it all (in various ways through the day), I feel pretty good about it. Check. Check. Check!




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  5. What are the protein requirements for wannabe bodybuilders? I have a bunch of buddies that are convinced they need to pound protein powder and chicken breasts because some 14 year old on bodybuilding.com told them to.




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    1. There is no sense in going over 1.8g/kg (studies show no benefit after this level, and it’s already with a big safe range), 1.5g/kg is likely optimal. Doable without supplementation, though you need to eat a lot of beans.




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      1. Not really. Pasta contains 17% of its calories from protein. Oats are 14%. Sweet potatoes are 9%. But the real champs are leafy greens. 30% of the calories in romaine lettuce is from protein. Sure not a lot of calories, but just means that you can eat a lot of it.

        So yes, absolutely eat beans, but you don’t need to focus on them in order to make sure you get enough protein. See my comment to Andrew above for an analysis of one day’s worth of meals for me.




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    1. A whole food plant based diet without any effort or focus on higher protein foods supplies more than 10% of calories as protein. If I eat a 2500 calorie a day diet of whole plant foods then with no effort I am getting 250 calories or 62.5 grams of protein. My lean body weight is 75 kg. If I am not trying to gain (or lose) muscle is 0.8 g/kg, which means I need about 60 grams of protein a day..

      But let’s assume I start a strenuous weight training regime with the goal to build muscle and quickly. Let’s assume that the couple of hours in the gym a day requires an extra 500 calories an hour, so I will need to increase my daily calories to 3500 a day if I am going to not lose weight. If I just eat more of the same foods that were giving me 10% of calories as protein, then my calories from protein increase to 350 calories or 87.5 grams of protein. For me at 75 kg, that means I am consuming 87.5/75 or 1.17 g/kg. So without changing a single thing about the composition of my diet other than just eating more of it, I increase my protein intake per kilogram by 46%.

      And 10% of calories from protein is at the low end. I put in a day’s worth of food into cronometer (www.cronometer.com). For breakfast I had steel-cut oats and a banana/blueberry/strawberry smoothie with soy milk. Lunch was a sweet potato, black bean and kale bowl. And dinner was whole wheat spaghetti with marinara sauce with a large romaine salad with a silken tofu based dressing. For a snack I had an apple and an ounce of peanuts. Nothing terribly exotic. I even had a beer with dinner. The number of calories was 2470. Without protein powder or any focus on protein I consumed 85 grams of protein or 14% of calories from protein. That works out to 1.13 grams of protein per kilogram. If I simply increased the amount of thse same foods so that I got 3500 calories, then I would have consumed 490 calories from protein or about 123 grams of protein. That represents 1.63 g/kg for 75 kg of lean body weight.

      So even powerlifters can easily meet their protein needs with simple straightforward plant foods.




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    1. I gained the most amount of muscle in my life when I was eating the lowest protein percent I ever have, about 5%. Gaining muscle for me was about lifting weights.




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    2. When you are working out hard enough to actually build significant muscles you have to consume more calories. So if you are just coasting along at 2000 calories a day you would get a given number of grams of protein. If you are working out really hard and your calorie needs shoot up to 3000 calories and you eat more of the same whole foods you did at 2000 calories, you will automatically get 50% more protein. So the same whole plant foods that give sufficient protein when calories are at a weight maintenance level give the additional protein needed to build muscle when caloric need increases.




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    1. The recommendations include “fudge factors” that attempt to ensure adequate intake of essential amino acids with a variety of protein sources. The amino acid that is likely to be limiting is lysine, which is low in many grain proteins, so its generally recommended that plant-based diets include a couple servings of legumes (which are higher in lysine) daily.

      For those more curious about protein requirements, I highly recommend Protein and amino acid requirements in human nutrition, a WHO technical report from 2007. It suggests, among other things, that the major concern may be in the sedentary elderly, who often consume such low total calories that essential amino acid deficiency may be a concern. This is in accord with the study Low protein intake is associated with a major reduction in IGF-1, cancer, and overall mortality in the 65 and younger but not older population (2014), which found health benefits from consuming less than 10% of from protein, except in the elderly, where adequate nutrition seems to require at least 10%.




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      1. Even with fudge factors wheat has a %lysine/%calories ratio of 0.7. Without fudge factors wheat is likely to provide just sufficient amounts of lysine for the majority of people. It is true that legumes provide a significant surplus of lysine relative to calories. Black beans have a %lysine/%calories ratio of 3.3. So even a small amount of beans plug the lysine “gap” in grains like wheat. But lots of other foods supply surplus lysine in relation to their calorie content. Pumpkins seeds have a ratio of 1.44. Kale has a ratio of 3.2. Even carrots have a ratio of 1.8. So making sure to eat a variety of foods is likely all that is necessary to make sure that there is enough lysine in one’s diet.

        And note the issue with insufficient lysine is not present in all starchy foods. Potatoes have a lysine/calorie ratio of 1.0, and oats have a ratio of 1.2. In fact oats and potatoes provide a higher percentage of all of the EAAs as well as total protein than they do calories, and so by this measure represent a source of complete protein.




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      2. Darryl, do you have any insight into TMG supplements, specifically when they are taken by people alongside B12 who might have methylation issues? I do wonder if this TMG thing is legit, or just people on the net raving about the positive effects of TMG for whatever reason.




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    1. YES! While during the first trimester protein intake doesn’t change (.9g/kg/d), starting in the fourth month protein needs increase by 25 g per day and by 50 g per day for twins. So a 121 lb (55 kg) woman pregnant with twins would require 50 g of protein per day in the first trimester and 100 g per day from the 4th month on. [Source: Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis, RD, page 204] If you don’t own the book I highly recommend purchasing it’s loaded with information on nutrient requirements and what what you need for a healthy pregnancy. http://www.brendadavisrd.com/books/




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      1. Do you have research evidence showing negative side effects to eating under 100g of protein in pregnancy? Do you have a scientific evidence explaining your recommendation, Dr Greger style? I mean, breastmilk is only 5-6% protein, so why should babies need you to eat 25%+ protein while pregnant? I am open to learning, I just need more scientific explanation, without being referred to purchase and read a book.




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  6. And what would be best food for us humans after we stop consuming our mothers breast milk? Could we say, Raw Living Spirulina? The original most complete food source with an evolutionary history of perfecting its DNA nutrients over 3.5 billion years.




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    1. I just eat a bunch of different unprocessed plant foods. All have protein and mostly in the percent of calories that my body needs, so when I have eaten my fill, I have without effort or thought eaten enough protein.




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    2. You appear to be promoting a specific product/brand. Do you have any financial interest to disclose? In any case, spirulina is very high in protein and may therefore not be suitable as a major source of calories.




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      1. Hi Tom, Well, I have been living on it for 23 days now. Coconut water, wild Spring water I collect in NC and Living Spirulina. I feel amazing. Still at the gym every day and yoga every day. Eating 1/4 pound a day which is yes low in calories but super high in nutrition and that is what this video was about “Protein”. I am a student of Hippocrates Health Institute and Dr. Brian Clement recommends Algae’s at the top of the list and so do I.




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        1. It sounds like a strange diet and I do not understand why you are following it.

          Raw Living products are sold via multi level marketing. It is hardly surprising that people who distribute and profit from the sale of these products, recommend them.

          Also “Dr” Brian Clement is not a doctor. he calls himself Dr because he got a “qualification” of some sort from what is widely believed to be a diploma mill.

          I would be very careful about following the advice of such people




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          1. Tom, First of all I have been following the Hippocrates lifestyle for over 19 years. I have NEVER been sick in my life. In fact I am in PERFECT health and I’ll challenge anyone to that test. Blood analysis, strength, wisdom, intelligence, love and kindness, passion, and most of all a desire to be human. I don’t partake in any harm or cruelty to animals, eat their dead murdered flesh, consume toxic garbage, support Monsanto poison, wait in line at non food fast restaurants, etc. etc. I have never touched a drug in my life, I haven’t been in a grocery store in over 9 years. I grow my own sprouts, and harvest my own coconuts from real trees in Florida by climbing up them myself. Dr. Brian Clement is one of the best people on this planet by far. I don’t agree with the supplement industry at all and the marketing of any kind of non whole plant food item but other than that its an amazing journey of life transformation. I spend hours every week at Hippocrates Health Institute for lunch and connecting with the amazing people, the energy, love and hope for a change in this world. We are a nation of sick people who must wake up. It is time to start honoring and listening to the ones who are speaking the truth. I have NO financial interest in any of this I am speaking of. I just want the people to see the truth and make a positive change in their lives and the lives of our children. I have no qualification of Dr. either but I can speak from the heart and from my amazing level of health and happiness. That my friend is more of a statement than any.




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            1. Perhaps I am too old or too much of a cynic to place my faith in people with obviously dodgy credentials like Brian Clement who become very wealthy from promoting this sort of thing. I have also seen many personal testimonies like yours from people practising all sorts of lifestyles approaches, including autourine therapy, to be overly impressed. I prefer to go where the scientific evidence indicates.

              I still have reservations about people using these pages to promote specific products and brands but hope you continue to remain happy and healthy.




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              1. Is it your problem the that someone speaking the truth became successful? If it is science that you seek, there are mountains it available to back up this. Dr. Gregor has been sharing this for years, have you been waiting and listening? All the science from studies you ever need. He is very wealthy also. Dr. Colin Campbell, and Dr. Esselstyn also are very wealthy and successful promoting the same thing. Are you also cynical of these Dr.’s? How about the Jesus Christ? It is the Garden of Eden, not the slaughterhouse of eden or the McDonalds of eden. How about the original source of planetary oxygen for some science. Living Spirulina, not the dead stuff in bottles marketed by people who only seek money. Let’s not forget about the original source of this post. This video is about Protein. Our comments should be focused on this. Their is no disputing that Living Spirulina is the highest most complete source of this complete nutrient. Let’s focus our attention on the wholeness of the human results and not so much on the science. Anyone want to challenge me to a health test, I’m ready! First test… I weigh 144 pounds at 5’9″ and I leg press 750 pounds.




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  7. This video says he was 78? He died this past jan. at 80 .Hard to find out why this guy died, apparently he fell and hit head his head.
    Dr McDougall has just recently made it public knowledge that he fell about a year ago and sustained some pretty serious injuries. There may be missing nutrients in their diets after all.




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    1. How is it that falling equals missing nutrients? So when people are malnourished they fall and injure themselves? Then why aren’t the hospitals emergency rooms not overflowing with the 90% of the population who eats a nutrient poor diet?




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      1. Well wait a minute now , falling does happen to the elderly more than the 20 year olds for example. Ever seen the little kids, they can bounce around and toss around and come up smiling.
        Yes after looking at Dr McDougalls eating plan, I.m guessing that there would be nutrient shortfalls.
        Dr McDougall himself has invited critical look at other doctors and himself, so I.m not being unfair here by my observations. Every week we watch his webinairs and my wife always says, does he look healthy to you? It was making me mad…lol . Anyways falling down and explaining why someone died that way just seems …well…convenient .




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    2. esben andersen: In addition to Jim’s reply, I’ll point out that there are examples of perfectly healthy people in the prime of life who fall and get seriously hurt or dead. I have a good friend, who’s healthy, trim, athletic, and young/40’s husband tripped and fell at home, hitting his head on a corner. He died. It was incredibly tragic. But it was not indicative of missing nutrients. It was just life. (Which I recognize is not quite the right phrase to use here…)




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      1. Sorry about your friend , Yes I too know people who fell . One off a chair and another off the fifth step, both died .
        Really I have never heard about this guy Morrison , but even at 80 for an otherwise healthy guy , thats to young to die in my opinion.
        As for Dr McDougall , I feel he looks too skinny, and actually think he might need more fat in his diet.
        Obviously purely a guess on our part , but some weight lifting coaches will really emphasize extra fat for their students . (Mike Brown Weightlifting) That’s why we decided to go with whole oat groats instead of rice for the extra fat in the oats.
        cheers!




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  8. Thanks Dr. G and NF team! I love when instead of spending 10-15 minutes of my time educating someone about the “protein myth” I can just give them a link, (from this site), and say, “here – watch this!” Plus they get all the scientific references too. There is so much mis-information out there, that one can spend an inordinate amount of time countering all the objections. I’d rather spend my time explaining the how-to’s of making a WFPB diet an enjoyable and sustainable lifestyle! One more reason I make NF the primary non-profit I donate to!




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  9. so if 08-09 are enough for the average human, what would you recommend for athletes, which have higher levels of proteinsyntheses due to needed tissue repair?




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    1. Athletes naturally need more calories, and so eat more food. If they eat whole foods, that means they are eating more protein as well. The additional protein simply due to additional calorie demands increases their total protein intake to the levels they need for tissue repair and growth.

      Remember that damaged protein isn’t simply thrown away. Your daily protein needs for new tissues is actually around 300 grams/day, but your body is able to recycle a high percentage of the amino acids in the old protein, and so the amount of new protein required is relatively small.




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  10. As a workout freak I eat 5 meals a day with 30 g’ of protein in each meal.
    That’s how I was told.
    Can bodybuilders and the like eat extra proteins safely?




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    1. HI Tal,
      If you have a look at comments from Jim Felder below, I think you will find it helpful. He goes into a lot of detail. Basically the right amount for you would depend on your weight. בהצלחה!




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      1. Well, here’s one I read a while back. Its lengthy, but worth the read. Seems to be a well designed study. Only omission, unless I missed it, was stating the source of the protein.

        http://f1000research.com/articles/4-61/v1

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Military-specific+application+of+nutritional+supplements%3A+a+brief+overview

        “One study evaluated such outcomes in relation to post-exercise protein consumption in Marine recruits. These healthy males were randomly assigned to three treatment arms – placebo, control, and protein supplement – during a basic training period of 54 days. Compared with the other 2 arms of the study, the protein supplement cohort averaged 33% fewer total medical visits, 28% fewer bacterial/viral infections, 37% fewer muscle/joint problems, and 83% fewer visits due to heat exhaustion. Post-exercise protein supplementation, as seen in this study, offers the ability to positively improve medical outcomes, musculoskeletal resiliency, and tissue hydration during extended levels of physical demand – signifying a potential medical therapy allowing for the avoidance of various health problems found in populations undergoing physical and mental extremes…”




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        1. Interesting words in the abstract

          ” Increasing amounts of research have demonstrated that various supplements may enhance overall physical prowess, health, and offer quicker recovery in the face of corporal or psychological extremes.”

          Prowess is not a word one often hears in scientific research. Sounds a little bro-sciency to me.




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        2. If you are doing regular strenuous activities you need more calories in general not just more protein calories. If you eat a WFPB diet and you increase your calories to meet the needs of your physical activity you will naturally get enough protein. There is no need to bump up the percentage of protein versus other macronutrients just because of increased activity.
          See Jim Felder’s comment below.




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          1. Did actually you read the study? No. Then how can you arbitrarily make a comment like that? Interesting, I read most of the good doc’s reference studies in the event I’m dubious about his comments. Seems that’s sometimes unique. If you just read the three study groups comparatively, its only one paragraph, you’ll see how specious your comment was. I could explain it to you, but I’m expecting you to do your do diligence. Disappointing comments Mr. Moderator.




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            1. The moderator and Jim may have read the study, I do not know. But I know from the statements you made, that you have not read the actual study. All you read was a summary description of the study in another paper. And you misread that.

              There is no statement in either the summary you quoted or the actual paper that all 3 groups received the exact same calorie addition. And the “protein supplement” contained 8 grams of carbohydrate, 10 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat. Further, food intake in all 3 groups was not measured. So, this was certainly an interesting study, and it indicates some short term post exercise benefits from protein supplementation. But it does not deliver definitive conclusions.

              However, most people here are interested in the long term health effects of particular nutritional approaches and not bodybuilding. Consequently, even if your points were correct, and I am far from sure that they are, they are not particularly relevant. Interesting though.




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              1. I stand corrected, thank you. The protein was casein. As for calories, as you know, 10G of P is only 40 Kcals. Not significant really. Still, that’s a remarkable physiological improvement for just 10G of P. The larger point is getting lost I fear. Protein requirements, regardless of caloric intake is, and has always been, greater for those engaging in regular physical strenuous activities.




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                1. Yes but calorie requirements are greater for those engaged in strenuous physical activities. If you consume more calories from whole foods you will necessarily consume more protein. Also, one point of the video is surely that people already consume more protein than we need. The assumption that people engaged in strenuous physical exercise need supplemental protein still seems to be not fully demonstrated by the science.
                  The other, and to my mind, far more important point is what is the effect on long term health of high protein diets and consumption of protein supplements?
                  We know from observational studies that in humans low carb diets are associated with higher mortality.
                  And in controlled n animal, long term high protein diets result in higher mortality. This is why many of us regard arguments that the more protein the better because it is good for bodybuilding is at best irrelevant and at worst a dangerous distraction what is important.
                  ‘The team put mice on 25 different diets, altering the proportions of protein, carbohydrates and fat. The mice were allowed to eat as much food as they wanted to more closely replicate the food choices humans make.
                  “The healthiest diets were the ones that had the lowest protein, 5 to 10 to 15 per cent protein, the highest amount of carbohydrate, so 60, 70, 75 per cent carbohydrate, and a reasonably low fat content, so less than 20 per cent,” Professor Le Couteur said.
                  “They were also the diets that had the highest energy content.
                  “We found that diluting the diets to reduce the energy intake actually made the animals die more quickly.”
                  The mice that ate a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet lived about 50 per cent longer than those on the low-carb diet.”
                  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-05/low-carb-diet-may-shorten-your-life-study-finds/5299284
                  http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(15)00505-7
                  http://www.cell.com/cms/attachment/2032903762/2049230860/mmc2.pdf




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                  1. I have to both agree and disagree: Yes, most Americans consume more protein then they need. But that, at least in part, is because we consume more calories than we need. And “The assumption that people engaged in strenuous physical exercise need supplemental protein still seems to be not fully demonstrated by the science” The key word being “need”. No, they probably don’t need it. However, the benefits of say a whey protein isolate are well established. Just google “pubmed whey protein” and pick from dozens of studies.




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                    1. There are benefits and there are benefits.
                      My concern is essentially with, for want of a better term, healthy longevity. High protein intake seems detrimental even if it may deliver some short term benefits.
                      Certainly, if you are a soldier, benefits that keep you alive in the short term (ie help you to survive on the battlefield) are well worth having even if they have adverse effects on long term health. For my part though, bulking up, exercise recovery time, building muscle etc are not benefits that i value more highly than long term health.
                      If I did have an interest in this matter, i would probably start with Michael Bluejay’s site. But here on NutritionFacts people are more interested in healthy longevity rather than bodybuilding or strenuous exercise regimes as such. So, it is no surprise that Dr G does not tailor his videos for people interested in such matters.
                      http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein-strength.html




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                    2. I can not disagree that the ultimate goal will always be years in health. Of course protein is not evil, and “high protein” is a relative term. Sure, many kids today are over doing it thanks to the marketing of the multi-billion dollar supplement industry. The key is not only to get adequate protein, but optimum protein, as well as all the other nutrients the body needs, which of course will vary from person to person, and depend upon lifestyle. And so the “P” debate will continue for a long time to come.




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    1. Agree! (see my comment below) If you sit at desk 8 hours/day, these minimal protein requirements may suffice. If you engage in regular strenuous exercise, whole different set of needs. This video does not differentiate between the two.




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      1. Baggman have you read through the comment section? Jim does a great job of demonstrating the amount of protein he gets in a normal amount of food. I find that when I run more miles in a week I eat more. More calories means more protein.

        Isn’t it amusing how we have been conditioned to think about protein needs above all else? I find the more I run the more I crave a potato!




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    2. W}hat makes you think this site has anything to do with bodybuilding? Or that it should?
      The site is about nutrition and health. Substances that deliver “optimum performance” often don’t deliver optimum health. Especially in bodybuilding (or so I have heard).




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      1. Well you heard wrong Tom. Natural aka drug free bodybuilding is absolutely the epitome of optimal health. So yes, I do expect this site to be highly relevant to bodybuilding as part of a truly healthy lifestyle..




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        1. The “typical” high-protein dietary recommendations promoted on BB websites lead to increased IGF1 and mTOR signalling which is not very healthy for an adult as these are growth factors that tend to grow things (e.g. cancer) that we are not looking forward to. You either need to pick that BB nutrition narrative or adopt the optimal health recommendations suggesting protein, and particularly methionine, restriction.




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        2. The original comment was about bodybuilding not natural AKA drug free bodybuilding. Surely you are not going to argue that I heard wrong about that?
          No doubt you sincerely believe that natural bodybuilding is the epitome of optimal health but where is the scientific evidence? To my knowledge, no scientific, health or medical authority anywhere in the world says that this is what the science shows. As noted previously, this site is about nutrition and what the science says about it. It says a lot about exercise and health but it definitely doesn’t say natural bodybuilding is the optimal approach. It is a niche sport. Try Michael Bluejay’s site if this is your interest
          http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein-strength.html




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  11. The problem with to much protein is that high protein foods like meat have a LOT of the amino acid methionine. Now, mehtionine is necessary for all kinds of beneficial bodily functions, but the problem is that when the body uses up methionine and change it around into different methyl groups, it often changes into homocysteine. Homocysteine is a free radical that is especially attracted to the lining of the arterial walls and causes endothelial injury. This injury causes inflammation. The inflammation makes cholesterol and other junk to stick to the walls of the arteries which in turn causes narrowing of the arteries which in turn can cause a heart attack, stroke, or peripheral artery disease. But, just the free radical damage of homocysteine on the cappillaries in the brain can cause depression, alzheimers, and other neurological problems. Homocysteine can cause free radical injury to ALL tissues of the body including thyroid, and other organs. So, Dr. Greger is RIGHT….a high protein diet is not good for one’s health. This is why everybody should be taking a B12, folate, and B6 supplement because these supplements help to turn homocysteine back into methionine or into other metabolized molecules that are not destructive to our tissues. The problem is that meat eaters do get B vitamins from meat, but, they ALL frequently eat a lot of sugar, drink coffee, drink alcohol, and smoke. These processes deplete the B vitamins that might have helped the meat eater to offset homocysteine free radical damage. So, yeah, even meat eaters need to supplement. However, since vegans are not getting any B vitamins from meat to offset homocysteine injury, they need to supplement for sure. Eating a high fiber diet of beans affords a lot of folate which helps in offsetting the onslaught of homocysteine damage to our tissues. But, I think it is wise to supplement in addition to our high fiber diet.




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      1. David: I’ve been looking for a product just like that without mega doses of vitamin B family members. Can you please share the name of the one you found? Thanks




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    1. Hi John,
      With the exception of B12, vegetables and some fruits are jam packed with B vitamins. Someone eating a whole foods plant based diet should not have to supplement any B vitamins except perhaps B12.




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    2. Curiously, while it was once thought homocysteine was the bad actor, it now seems a coincident marker of high methionine intake, which is independently harmful. See:

      Ueland & Loscalzo 2012. Homocysteine and cardiovascular risk: the perils of reductionism in a complex system
      Troen et al 2003. The atherogenic effect of excess methionine intake

      Animals with genetic hyperhomocysteinemia have so far not displayed atheromatous lesions. However, when methionine-rich diets are used to induce hyperhomocysteinemia… Mice fed methionine-rich diets had significant atheromatous pathology in the aortic arch even with normal plasma homocysteine levels, whereas mice fed B vitamin-deficient diets developed severe hyperhomocysteinemia without any increase in vascular pathology.

      As for also Hcy-associated dementia, I’m not aware of similar studies to tease out whether homocysteine is causal independent of methionine intake.




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            1. John:
              I read the abstract; nowhere therein does it say that homocysteine is a radical. It mentions NO, which is a radical. It talks about reactive oxygen species, some of which are radicals. (Oxygen itself is a radical, although not very reactive.) Homocysteine is not a radical. Why am I so confident ? I have a PhD in organic chemistry and have even done research on free radicals, published papers, including a frequently cited review article. If you could prove that homocysteine is a free radical, you could win the Nobel Prize in chemistry.




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              1. George, Could you tell us if any amino acids other than homocysteine lead to free radical production in the mitochondria of cells? if any amino acids other than L-ergothioneine protect against free radical production in the mitochondria?




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                1. Harriet: Two of the reactive oxygen species formed in mitochondria are the superoxide radical, which is also an ion, and the hydroxy radical. These two, like most radicals, are extremely unstable and therefore very reactive; they react with the first species they encounter, meaning that all standard amino acids could react with them. The well known ones are cysteine, methionine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, glycine, glutamic acid, histidine, valine, leucine, and isoleucine. When an amino acid reacts with one of the above radicals, the product is a radical (Let’s call it X). Oxygen (O2) we breathe every moment of our lives is also a free radical, but it’s not very reactive, so it reacts efficiently only with other radicals. X radical can react with O2. So in the presence of radicals, O2 itself can contribute to destruction of amino acids. I wasn’t familiar with Ergothioneine, so I looked it up. (Thanks for mentioning it.) Based on what I could quickly found, it prevents the formation of the hydroxy radical, which is exactly what glutathione also does. Hope this helps.




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                    1. Harriet: I’m afraid I can only access the abstract; to see the full paper free, registration is required. So what I’m writing is what I can gather from the abstract and what I already knew. Of the twenty standard amino acids, only cysteine (C) and methionine (M) contain sulfur, in addition to carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. The sulfur in C and M is bivalent sulfur, meaning the sulfur atom has only two bonds. Bivalent-sulfur containing compounds are very prone to oxidation, so of the twenty standard amino acids, C and M are the most prone to oxidation, and M undergoes oxidation more readily than C, so M residues in proteins are the most vulnerable to oxidative damage. The oxidation of M results in a compound called methionine sulfoxide (MS). The oxidation products of the other amino acids cannot be reconverted to the corresponding amino acids, but those of C and M can. The body has a small group of enzymes called methionine sulfoxide reductases (msr), which can convert MS, both free and in proteins, back to M. This paper claims that lowering methionine consumption increases the lifespan. One possibility is that the lower M content lowers the demand for msr, making the conversion of MS back to M more efficient, meaning the repair of the damaged protein is more efficient. The authors also claim that lower M content lowers the ROS production directly. I’ve heard of this before but haven’t seen an explanation of how that happens. However it happens, it slows the oxidation of M to MS.

                      I’m afraid I don’t know if methionine is unique in its ability to get into mitochondria. I don’t even know if free methionine is present in mitochondria in any significant amounts because to my knowledge free methionine has no function in mitochondria. Proteins in mitochondria obviously have methionine, but they are not made in mitochondria. But wherever methionine – and cysteine – are, they’re very susceptible to oxidative damage. The same is true for homocysteine, which, however, is not a standard aminoacid.




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                    2. Again, very helpful. To bring this discussion back full circle (to the central premise of this website), then certain phytonutrients or micronutrients in plants that contain considerable amounts of cysteine (alliums, sulfurs) or methionine would act as anti-oxidants and help protect against oxidation of C and M, correct?




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                    3. Harriet: You’re right: Something that undergoes oxidation, in chemists’ language is a reducing agent, which is technically an anti-oxidant. But a reducing agent is called an antioxidant only when it acts as a martyr, sacrificing itself to protect some other species from being oxidized. (Hey, please take electrons from me, not from my buddy.) A reducing agent is an antioxidant only when it’s not a structural component, for example vitamin C, or when it’s a structural component but its oxidation product can be reconverted back to it, examples of which are the two amino acids you have mentioned, with the caveat that, because reconversion involves enzymes and coenzymes, it’s efficient only when the antioxidant is present in relatively small amounts. For example, if one took methionine supplements for its antioxidant activity, he might end up overwhelming msr resulting in the accumulation of MS, which is presumably associated with lower life span.




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                    4. George,
                      Why don’t you sign up for Disqus and join those of us who want to follow each other’s trains of thoughts (that is, read all the comments that person posts–on any site)? Together we can. Somewhere in this free market of ideas we’ll find the gospel.




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    3. Have you been following the group of scientists who take a metabolic approach to understanding aging and disease? Methionine appears to cause free radical production in the mitochondria of cells–the part of the cell that burns, or metabolizes, fuel for energy. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16770005 On the other hand, the amino acid L-ergothioneine, abundant in exotic mushrooms, protects against free radicals in the mitochondria. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2885499/

      More on suspect proteins and the metabolic scientists here https://eatandbeatcancer.com/2015/12/30/2016-whats-on-and-off-your-anti-cancer-platter/ and here https://eatandbeatcancer.com/2016/01/16/part-2-whats-on-and-off-your-anti-cancer-platter-legumes-for-long-life/ and here https://eatandbeatcancer.com/2016/05/15/anti-cancer-news-the-new-york-times-on-feeding-cancer/




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  12. I almost felt like this video was done for me since I’ve asked quite a few times why we don’t use the nutritional content of the perfect human food as the basis for our human nutritional needs. According to this abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/392766 it states…. “Mature human milk contains 3%–5% fat, 0.8%–0.9% protein, 6.9%–7.2% carbohydrate calculated as lactose, and 0.2% mineral constituents expressed as ash. Its energy content is 60–75 kcal/100 ml.” which should at least give a good indication of the ratios we all would need. I suck at math so could somebody please make a ratio comparison when most sources will say adult nutritional needs (a “balanced diet”) are something akin to 35% fat, 25% protein, 40% carbs!
    If you try to google human breast milk, according to current RDA’s, it is quite “deficient” in most everything “based on a 2000 calorie a day diet”, which is what got my attention, seems kind of ridiculous! LOL!




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    1. Hi Vegetater. I suspect the percentages (3-5% fat etc) are NOT percentages of total calories because then the percentages would have to add up to 100%, since calories come from the macronutrients, protein, carbohydrate and fat. Possibly the percentages are by weight or volume, since the macronutrients add up to about 11 per cent. The rest would be water. Human milk is the perfect food for BABIES, who do not have teeth and who also do not yet have antibodies–antibodies from the mother are contained in the milk and help protect the baby for the first months of life while its own immune system gets going.
      The percentages of macronutrients that you list for the adult human diet are percentages of total calories, which is why they add up to 100%. As far as judging human milk deficient based on RDA’s, remember that RDA’s overestimate needs, to include a safety factor.
      In any case you can’t compare the percentages from the article (3-5% fat etc) because they do not refer to percentage of calories.
      Human milk has been working for as long as humans have existed, and if it didn’t work, none of us would be here because humanity would have died out long ago!




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      1. I get all that, I was just hoping there was someone who could somehow convert the numbers into something comparable for a point of reference. (A little tip…it isn’t just babies who don’t have teeth, unfortunately :)




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        1. Seems like Gatherer has answered for you abIve. But babies and adults have different needs for many reasons. The baby is growing and doubles its birth weight in 3-4 months, and comes close to tripling it in the first year of life. Not even the skinniest grownup can afford for that to happen! Infants typically feed every 2-3 hours, for 20 minutes or more….Etc. The infant brain is growing too….I am not really sure what you are trying to figure out, but I would not look to human milk to determine adult nutritional needs.




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          1. Dr. Maisel: ” The baby is growing and doubles its birth weight in 3-4 months, and comes close to tripling it ” This makes me wonder, does the nutritional constitution and composition of mother’s milk change with the changing needs of the fast growing baby or, does it remain more or less constant throughout nursing?(If it’s the former, donating breast milk may not be prudent.)




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            1. The composition of the milk varies somewhat depending on how long since the last feed, and of course it is affected by the mother’s diet. Human milk is not like a food you buy at the store, the nursing itself is such an important part of the connection between mother and child….




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    2. Taking the average values from the abstract you cite and using 8.8 kcal/g for fat and 4.1 kcal/g for protein and carbohydrate, then mature human milk is 52% fat, 5% protein, and 43% carbs by calories. However, human milk may be the optimal food for infants and toddlers, but it is NOT the optimal food for humans past the early stages of life. Stick, approximately, with your 15-10-75 ratios.




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  13. Your Awesome
    Thank you for all your doing all your doing and standing for :) :)
    I saw Vegan 2016 I <3 <3 the Impact you've been having on the World as well as the Environment Super YAY
    Happy your Book is a Best seller """ How Not to Die"""" Well deserved Your always so informative and highly educational




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  14. I was just speaking about the stress on the Kidneys Yesterday
    I had posted a You tube video on 50 grams of Raw Grain organic protein So many people ask me how do i have so much muscle on Organic Mostly Raw plant base regime So I made a little video i get asked everyday you have so much muscle definition you much take protein powders or eat meat the opposite Whats really crazy is if i was working out Id have lines every where Right now im taking it easy lots of Yoga Qi Gong rollerblading biking no weight or Pilates lately Lots of PaddleBoarding everything OUTSIDE




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    1. I had a workout just reading this. My wife Terry and I are 73. Terry’s 24/7 pain is eliminated twice a week at Acupuncture performed by an Oriental Medicine Doctor that practices Traditional Chinese Medicine. This is our primary health care provider for the last 13 years for every condition we have had. We learned natural health from Chinese medicine. If you ever decide to try acupuncture you must go to an Oriental Medicine Doctor O.M.D.




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  15. I must say this obsession with protein does my head! Since going plant based I find the questions about protein tedious in the extreme. Even Drs ask “where do you get your protein’ and there ensues a very annoying conversation about how little protein really matters.

    Years ago (when still eating meat) I did the high protein thing. I was eating 200-300 grams per day. I am also a keen cyclist and a rather disconcerting effect of all this protein was … it made my sweat smell exaclty like vinegar. No joke. i’d ride to work and wonder what the hell the vinegar smell was. I thought I was going bonkers.




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  16. The current US gov RDA is 0.8 g/kg of LEAN body mass (body weight minus the fat). Everybody seems to overlook the lean body mass point!




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  17. Vegan researchers put the human requirement for protein at about 10% of the calories. For more see “The China Study” by Cornell nutritional biochemist prof. T. Colin Campbell. In some situations more protein than 10% promotes cancer. BTW, that’s plant protein. Need animal protein? Gorilla’s are 98% our DNA strict herbivores strong as all get out. Oh, human breast milk is about 7% protein, just fine for babies growing the fastest we ever grow. And no, no mammal eats milk as an adult, particularly milk from another species with different nutritional requirements.




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  18. I’m trying to figure out why some trainers and doctors recommend 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, making someone working out 1-2 hours a day gulp down 2-3 times their protein requirement, mostly in the form of whey protein. Just does not make sense.




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    1. To me this is a prime example of “Bro science” where the same unsubstantiated claims are echoed repeatedly through men’s “health” magazines and weightlifting magazines, with some reinforcement from Paleo “academics”, until the shear volume of it lends a air of legitimacy to the recommendations to dramatically over consume protein and it becomes something that “everybody just knows”.

      Likely what is happening is that those that engage in high intensity training are young and their physiology is still capable of dealing with the huge amount of excess protein without causing acute illness. So they don’t see the long term damage they are doing to their bodies (I had read that kidney failure is many times higher in former bodybuilders than it is in the general population for example). Those same individuals also make substantial gains in strength, size, endurance while over consuming protein and so the correlation between large amounts of protein and success in reaching fitness goals is just assumed to be a causal relationship.

      What is funny is that the Paleo eating pattern due to the high protein content is one that is strongly associated with bodybuilding, powerlifting, cross-fit activities, and Paleo-pushers are the very first to start shouting “correlation does not equal causation” at the top of their lungs as if they were saying some damning to evidences of the healthfulness of other eating patterns such as plant-based.




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  19. Homocysteine causes free radical damage. Below is a quote from Dr. Greger.

    “Homocysteine is a vascular toxin meaning it DIRECTLY damages our blood vessels. Even moderate elevated levels of this toxic substance has been shown to be a setup for heart disease. The goal is for homocysteine levels under 10. Its a toxic substance so we want low levels in our blood and so if you look at data from 2001 for example, meat eaters have an average homocysteine level of 12, but lacto vegetarians had an average homocysteine level of 16 and vegans 19.”




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    1. John Axsom: That’s your choice. But in case you are interested, I just reviewed an entire week’s worth of deleted posts on the NutritionFacts website. Not a single one belonged to you. I don’t know why you think your post was deleted, but I can’t find evidence of that. If you want to check you posts, you can do so through the “profile” feature in disqus.




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    2. I thought I was deleted once. It’s not a good feeling-unless I expected it for misbehaving. But I didn’t that time and I got a bit Royally Pissed, as you must feel now.

      Then someone assured me my post was yet up. Finally I found that the comments “sort” option had been changed (probably inadvertently). That shifted the order, which kept me from readily scrolling back to my “missing/deleted” post where I thought it was supposed to be.

      So I’m not so punchy any more.

      I’d be even less punchy if the stupid pop-up subscribe now crap would stop-especially for those who _are_ subscribed and/or have seen/heard the same obnoxious behavior from every other site on the web and in most videos, over and over to the tune of about 187,500,000,000,000 times.

      This week. Has anyone at any time ever in his/her lifetime once _wanted to subscribe_ to a website/feed/blog/channel/thread and NOT been able to quickly ascertain exactly how to do it within scant seconds of becoming interested in doing such? Ever, once?

      Hey, hope your message issues are worked out soon. WP




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  20. Too much protein causes it to rot inside intestines.
    Also too much protein causes food-based leukocytosis, since 3% of the alien to your body’s protein gets inside the human’s blood stream from food. Immune system has to react, depleding it’s potential when this happens all the time.

    so it either poisons your body with roting chemistry or lowers your immune potential.

    There is no symptome of protein defficiency. Only the symptoms of starving. Golden rune – as long as you get enough energy from carbohydarates – protein will not be used a an energy source, and it would always be enough for the body.




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  21. I have been a vegan for about 2 years now, 16yo, 172cm, 54kg, I have lost a bit too much weight over these couple years and my strength has decreased, I was wondering if you could make a video on good practices in terms of diet when trying to gain weight and strength healthily? I only noticed how light I had gotten one day when I saw my ribs and my kicks in karate were kind of… puny.




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    1. Good for you taking an interest in your health . One of my complaints about vegans is a lot of them seem to be too skinny . It;s not my problem since I should lose about another 20 , but I am losing some weight every week so if I live long enough I’ll get there.
      Anyways we just recently switched from rice to whole oat groats , oats have a lot more fat than rice about 7% compared to 1% for rice, also has more complete protein.
      You can eat rolled oats right out of the bag raw, just put some soy milk or apple juice on it. You can eat at least a cup of oats this way. In Denmark almost everyone eats oats like that.
      In my grandfathers time , they ate mostly porridge of barley or oats, apparently they were poor , and that was most of what they ate. Two of my grandfathers brothers came to USA in the 1920,s and they went into pro wrestling and became tag team champs, they were very strong for sure . I never seen them wrestle but have meet people who recall seeing them wrestle.
      cheers!




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    2. Coras: The book, Becoming Vegan Express Edition, has a small section on teenagers, which begins with this sentence: “Vegetarian teens tend to be significantly better nourished than their non-vegetarian peers.” The devil is in the details however. I’m not an expert, but I have some ideas and resources for you.
      .
      The first idea is that I noticed you said that you have been vegan for 2 years now. Just being vegan is not enough to be a healthy. Eating healthy is about eating a whole plant food diet. Do you need some guidance on what this means and how to do it?
      .
      Assuming you understand what healthy (ie, whole plant food) diet is and are doing your best to follow it, then another important part to talk about is the calorie needs of a growing (and wonderfully active) teen. I don’t know if you have lost too much weight or not. (People are so used to seeing overweight/fat people everywhere, they don’t know what healthy looks like any more.) But that you have lost weight at all tells me that you are not getting enough calories to maintain weight. And if you are not getting enough calories, that *could* affect your karate performance. There are a lot of vegan athletes out there who are not just hanging on, but thriving and setting records. So, there’s no reason you can’t eat a vegan diet and thrive both in general healthy and with strong karate kicks!
      .
      The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) has a page for kids and teens. There is some great information in the links on that page, especially if you scroll down to the Nutrition section.
      http://www.vrg.org/family/kidsindex.htm
      The Teen FAQ page even includes a section on teen vegan athletes. VRG is a well-researched group and has been favorably referenced by Dr. Greger in the past. I think you can get some good information from that site.
      .
      —————————-
      You might also do some internet research on vegan athletes to get some inspiration. Here are a few snippets to get you started:
      .
      Story of Mac Denzig, winner of season six of The Ultimate Fighter Mac
      Danzig (born January 2, 1980) is a retired American mixed martial artist, who competed as a lightweight in several MMA promotions, most notably the Ultimate …
      http://www.ufc.com/news/Mac-Danzig-Diet-The-Truth-About-Vegan
      .
      Bite Size Vegan has a youtube channel
      “In this video series, you’ll hear from various vegan athletes from all walks of life and athletic abilities speaking to such topics as vegan athletic performance, building muscle on a vegan diet, vegan endurance running, bodybuilding, body image, and more!”
      https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmIqdlomtuSv9FQJgdj3Bwg9Nh9MNjKg4
      —————–
      Here’s another site that I like:
      http://www.greatveganathletes.com/
      .
      I found this story on the above site: “Pat Reeves has set a new world powerlifting record at the WDFPA World Single Lift Championships. The 66 year old lifter, who has been vegan for 46 years, lifted 94 kg to set a record for the under 50.5kg weight class while competing in France in June 2012. The lift was more than 1.85 times her bodyweight, which is exceptional for her division. Pat is now officially the oldest competing weightlifter in Europe.”
      .
      ——————————–
      from Meatout Mondays:
      Vegan Breaks World Record in Push-Ups
      .
      A vegan from Kerala (a South Indian state) has just broken the Guinness World Record for knuckle push-ups (press ups). K.J. Joseph—a manager of an ayurveda centre in Munnar—completed 82 push-ups in 60 seconds, beating out Ron Cooper from the US who held the record at 79 push-ups in 2015. “Joseph has already entered the Universal Record Forum by doing 2092 push-ups in an hour. He is currently the record holder in the India Book of Records,” notes OnManorama.com. Thanks for making us vegans look good, Joseph. And congrats on your win!
      .
      Check out the original story: http://english.manoramaonline.com/lifestyle/society/vegan-most-knuckle-push-up-guinness-world-record-joseph.html
      .
      ——————-
      From PCRM Weekly News Update:
      What do the world’s top male and female tennis players have in common? They love vegan food! In a new Huffington Post piece, Dr. Barnard talks about plant-powered Novak Djokovic’s recent win at the French Open. http://new.www.huffingtonpost.com/neal-barnard-md/plantpowered-novak-djokov_b_10282348.html
      .
      .
      I hope this helps!




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  22. Hi! I’m really curious about this study done in University of Eastern Finland, which appears to say “High-cholesterol diet, eating eggs do not increase risk of heart attack, not even in persons genetically predisposed”. Quote taken from UEF website. How is this possible, how did they get this result? I’m just really amazed at this because of all the research out there that says eggs are a contributor for T2 diabetes.

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2016/02/10/ajcn.115.122317.abstract




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    1. I presume that it is for the same reason that observational studies do not show (at least in Westernised countries) that saturated fat consumption is associated with heart disease. That is, people not eating saturated fat in Westernised countries are usually eating refined carbs, trans fats and “low-fat” processed foods instead which are just as unhealthy as saturated fat. In other words, what were people consuming in Eastern Finland in place of eggs and cholesterol? As far as I can tell from the abstract, no attempt was made to control for possible confounding variables. Cholesterol and eggs are not, of course, the only factor affecting CCA-IMT. Other dietary factors include meat and alcohol consumption, low plant sterol intake and low whole grain intake.These and other uncontrolled factors likely confounded associations between egg/cholesterol consumption and CCA-IMT.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20431391
      http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0032736
      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/6/1444.full

      Note that Eastern Finland had the worst heart disease mortality in the world (in the 1960s) because of a perfect storm of cardiovascular risk factors. Many of those factors have since reduced but would presumably still be present to a degree and confound observational studies such as this.
      http://www.bmj.com/content/352/bmj.i721




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  23. As a certified sports nutritionist and Stanford fellowship trained research consultant I commend you on the scholarly and credible arguments you make. Your analysis fails, however to address the special protein needs of athletes, pregnant women, growing children and seniors. Seniors in particular represent a population known to be protein deficient in America and this deficiency contributes to muscular atrophy, frailty and reduced quality of life!




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    1. The special needs of this group would not be surpassed by the needs of an infant, going through the most rapid natural growth of any persons life? I do not follow your reasoning. Please enlighten me.




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      1. My point is that there is irrefutable epidemiological and nutritional survey evidence showing American seniors suffer in statistically significant numbers from protein calorie malnutrition and that this deficiency contributes to muscle atrophy and asthenia (weakness) and that this loss of strength results in an inability to perform activities of daily living that diminish quality of life. In no way am I suggesting the protein needs of any group are more important than any other group. I am simply stating the fact that seniors are a population for whom protein needs are established as often being deficiently met…even in America. The information in this article largely downplays the need for dietary protein without acknowledging the increased protein needs of athletes, seniors, pregnant women and growing children.




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        1. Ahimsa: You wrote, “… increased protein needs of athletes, seniors, pregnant women and growing children.” I don’t have time to address each of these categories. The athlete category has been well addressed in other posts/conversations on this page. I recommend checking out Jim Felder’s post.

          But I thought I would address the senior category you spent most of the post discussing. The question is: Do these seniors really have “increased protein needs”? One can be protein deficient with out having increased needs compared to the rest of the population. Perhaps the real issue is that these seniors you are talking about have an overall calorie deficiency problem or a lack of healthy eating.

          In other words, I think calling it a “protein calorie malnutrition” is misleading. It is likely more of a calorie deficiency (which includes not getting enough protein) or the person is getting enough calories, but is eating junk food lacking in adequate protein. That doesn’t necessarily translate into seniors having increased protein needs over their younger selves. It just means that they have to find ways to keep eating healthy foods.

          There was one study that showed that maybe older people would do better having relatively more protein in their diet. But I didn’t find that study all that compelling and even if true, it wasn’t *that* much additional protein.

          The book, Becoming Vegan Express Edition, has some great info on seniors and protein needs. Here are a few quotes from page 233 :

          “Many seniors, vegan or not, don’t meet their protein needs…Protein requirements for seniors are at least as high as those for younger people, perhaps slightly higher. There are currently no separate dietary reference intakes for seniors…

          Vegan protein has been shown to be more than sufficient in maintaining the muscle mass of seniors, even if they get slightly less protein than nonvegetarians. In a study of men ages…

          A vegan diet may be an advantage because excess protein from meat, poultry and fish can worsen the decline in kidney function that some seniors experience.”

          Given the information above, your criticism of the article does not seem valid to me.




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          1. My name is Dr. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai, Thea. I am a certified sports nutritionist and have practiced as a UCSF Stanford physician and researcher for 35 years and served as an emergency physician for the SF Giants for ten seasons. There is no argument that protein recommendations vary for different populations. The estimated requirement for a sedentary adult is 0.8 grams of protein per kg body weight. For a growing teenage athlete, a body builder or endurance athlete it is 2 grams of protein per kg body weight.
            It surprises me that you would argue whether there is evidence for a specific protein deficiency in seniors in the standard American diet. Due to reduced income, access and the inability to chew there most definitely is. The need for protein is a need for the 21 essential amino acids whether they are derived from lentils or salmon is not my point!




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            1. “27% of seniors in America are eating less protein than they should to maintain good health. As people age their physical need for protein grows.” The Top 10 Reasons for a High Protein Diet in Seniors. http://www.SynergyHomeCare.com.
              Protein and Older Adults. Chernoff R. J Am College Butrition. 2004 Dec;23(6):627-630




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                1. There are three research sources sited in my comment WFPBRunner and none have documented disclosure of egg board funding. You are blocked!




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                  1. Those are not research articles. One is a website. The second has a link that isn’t good. When I found the article it is written by an author from the egg board. You should have leaned about what constitutes a good study. Neither qualifies.




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                    1. WfPBRunner, Thea, et.al., – Just thought I’d offer up that those of us watching this conversation ‘get’ the points you are trying to make re: insufficient calories overall in the diet (resulting in insufficient protein) is a different issue than an increased requirement of protein in an otherwise calorically sufficient diet in the elderly. The diets of the elderly who are not healthy whole food eaters, I would suppose, would lack not only protein but complex carbs and healthy fats as well. It’s the difference between an increase in need versus a dearth of normal healthy baseline.
                      The “Dr.” I don’t think got your point. But rest assured many of us out here did.




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                    2. Ginger: You worded the issue at hand very well! And more concisely than I…
                      .
                      Also, thank you for speaking up. Sometimes the reason I participate in a conversation, even when it is clear that a meeting of the minds is not happening, is to ‘speak’ to the bystanders. I know that I have learned a lot in the past by watching forum conversations between others. (Other times, I have an affinity for the person, and I am sure that if I can just find the magic words, the person I’m conversing with will understand what I’m saying and we will be friends for ever more…That’s my inner, innocent child peaking out at times. :-) )




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            2. Ahimsa: An essential amino acid is one that the human body cannot make on it’s own, and thus must be eaten in the diet. It’s my understanding that there are only 9 essential amino acids, not 21. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_amino_acid or check out this awesome article: http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html or here

              I’m glad you replied, because your reply says to me that you do not understand my point. But you helped the conversation a lot when you wrote: “Due to reduced income, access and the inability to chew…” Yes! That’s my point. Those issues *are* about not getting enough calories (and thus basic nutrition such as protein) to keep up with basic needs. Those problems are *not* about seniors having an increased protein need/ratio compared to their younger selves.

              If people can’t chew or afford enough food, they are not getting enough overall calories or they are getting their calories from junk food, which is known to be deficient in nutrients. And if they are not getting enough calories, they are not getting enough protein AND fat AND carbs (all else being equal). Or if they are eating junk food, they may be getting enough fat and simple carbs, but not protein due to the poor diet. However, your examples say nothing about a special protein deficiency per say. You are pointing to a calorie deficiency that includes protein among other problems. Here’s the key: *If* it is just a calorie deficiency, then it is not correct to say that seniors have increased protein needs. Instead, it would be more correct to say that seniors have trouble keeping up with their nutritional needs, which can lead to deficits in protein among other nutrients. I hope that makes more sense.

              As for the athlete example, again, I recommend you find Jim Felder’s posts as he does a great job of doing the math to show how an athlete can get more protein by eating more food, not necessarily needing to worry especially about protein over the other macronutrients–just what the article says and addressing your concern.




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              1. Please do not refer to me on a first name basis as we are not peers in training or expertise. I do not wish to be further engaged by someone who cannot conduct a 10 second Google search to find the 30 research URL’s that pop up immediately that substantiate the important issue of protein deficiency in seniors. It is clear from your behavior on this thread you enjoy senseless arguments and impulsive dominance of the topic. I am an expert and a professional who deserves to have my opinions documented and respected without your annoying interference. It is my preference that we end this downward spiraling conversation so that you can move on and harass the next commenter on the thread!




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                1. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai: No disrespect was intended when I used only your first name. I’m sorry I offended you the way I addressed the post.
                  .
                  Please note: Honest dialog and debate is encouraged on this site, no matter the participant’s profession or degree. In other words, it is not considered disrespectful for lay people to speak up and reply to posts from professionals, especially when people are able to support their opinions with evidence. On this site/culture, it’s not harassment. It’s engagement. You are welcome to post your opinions. Others are welcome to post theirs in response to you.
                  .
                  It’s totally fine that you want to stop this conversation. I hate downward spiraling conversations myself, though I would not have categorized this conversation that way. Being passionate and wanting to help someone can come off as too strong sometimes, though. I’m sorry you saw this as a bad experience and hope you have better experiences in the future.




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                  1. Very good points Thea and you are right-it is a overall calorie and nutrient issue. You should see what some of my patients eat. They are tired of me saying eat your fruits and vegetables. Some have none in a given day.




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                    1. Thanks WFPBRunner! If it gives you any hope, I used to be one of those people who didn’t eat their fruits or veggies. I would not be surprised if there were days that I didn’t have a single fruit or veggie worth talking about. So, there is hope your patients will listen to you some day!




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                2. This comment indicates that you expect people to accept your opinions without the need to offer any evidence.
                  Your opinions are irrelevant. Please provide evidence and display some common courtesy.




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                3. Ahimsa, you take yourself too seriously. If what you claim is true (i.e. working and living in US for many years), you should know that it is customary in North America to be called on a first name basis without having any connotation of “peerness” so knock down your sense of superiority a few notches when/if you decide to return to this discussion board.




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                4. Dr. Sumchai: I am a family physician, and volunteer website moderator for NutritionFacts. Thea is also a volunteer website moderator. While not a physician, she deserves a little common decency. She is a very learned and well-informed commentator on this site. Your accusations, above, and your demand for unconditional acceptance of your views as an “expert and a professional” are frankly extremely distasteful, and put physicians in a very bad light.

                  There is a lot of misinformation out there on the web. There are countless examples of “expert physicians” who have given extremely bad recommendations over the years — from insistence in the 1950s-60s that cigarette smoking is not harmful, to cardiologists in the 1970s recommending potent (and toxic) anti-arrhythmic drugs for the treatment of benign PVCs — until randomized controlled trials documented increased mortality in the treatment group, to numerous unnecessary surgeries that used to be commonplace (such as tonsillectomies, elective C-sections, spinal fusion for back pain, etc., etc.

                  People on this site are seeking the truth about nutrition, and we have to sift through a LOT of bad information. So, getting your back up in response to being challenged to provide peer-reviewed journal citations to support what you are saying, just makes you like anything but an “expert.”




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          1. Wade, Dr. Davis covers this very issue (in Proteinaholic, pp. 252 – 254), and he seems to feel that no “extra” is required:

            W. W. Campbell, T. A. Trappe, A. C. Jozsi, L. J. Kruskall, R. R. Wolfe and W. J. Evans 2002 Dietary protein adequacy and lower body versus whole body resistive training in older humans http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12122158

            W. W. Campbell, C. A. Johnson, G. P. McCabe and N. S. Carnell 2008 Dietary protein requirements of younger and older adults http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18996869

            A. J. Cruz-Jentoft, F. Landi, S. M. Schneider, C. Zúñiga, H. Arai, Y. Boirie, L. K. Chen, R. A. Fielding, F. C. Martin, J. P. Michel, C. Sieber, J. R. Stout, S. A. Studenski, B. Vellas, J. Woo, M. Zamboni and T. Cederholm 2014 Prevalence of and interventions for sarcopenia in ageing adults: a systematic review. Report of the International Sarcopenia Initiative (EWGSOP and IWGS) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25241753

            M. M. Adeva and G. Souto 2011 Diet-induced metabolic acidosis http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21481501

            S. Walrand, K. R. Short, M. L. Bigelow, A. J. Sweatt, S. M. Hutson and K. S. Nair 2008 Functional impact of high protein intake on healthy elderly people http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18697911

            My copy of the book has no index (lol), but Dr. Davis does conveniently provide all his study links online.




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            1. Yes, those studies you cite are more in line with what I believe about protein. Which is that we’re WAY over doing it (as a group overall, not you and me). I was requesting documentation from Ahimsa Porter Sumchai who yet believes the “status quo” opinions on protein (that many need more).




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  24. So, 8% to 10% from total calories are proteins, but what about fats and carbs?, 45% each? or i need more carbs/fats?. what are the exact % what we need? or it depend in yours nutricion goals ,fat loss for example.




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    1. Cristian: I don’t think anyone knows what exact percentages we need. I know that many experts prefer not to focus on macro nutrient percents, and instead recommend that you eat whole plant foods, following a system such as Dr. Gregers’ Daily Dozen or the PCRM Power Plate, etc.
      .
      Having said that, I do think it is helpful to get an idea of what range of percentages is likely to be healthy, especially for people just starting out and for giving us one way to judge the likely healthfulness of a diet. So, here’s some data to think about:
      .
      There have been a couple of people lately who have entered their Daily Dozen food into cronometer.com to figure out their macro nutrient percentages. Jim Felder did a great post here with an example from his own daily diet: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/caramel-coloring-carcinogens-coke-pepsi/#comment-2736766586 He came up with approximately 61% carbs, 14% protein, 10% fat. Moderator Renae did a sample entry into cronometer and came up with 23% fat, though an alternate scenario went as low as 19% fat. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/slowing-metabolism-nitrate-rich-vegetables/#comment-2699082846
      .
      Now, compare those numbers to what the traditional Okinawans ate. That population is one of the healthiest and long-lived people (lots of strong, 100+ people!) on the planet. And a survey of their diet found these percentages: 85% carbs, 9% protein, 6% fat, . And FYI, that diet included about 70% sweet potatoes.
      .
      I think all these numbers help to give you a proper sense that a) we don’t know *exact* percentages which are needed, and indeed those percentages may differ some for different people/needs, AND b) there is a range of percentages that is likely healthy. Going outside that range may be unhealthy. For example, for most people, eating 40% fat would likely be too much. While protein is vital, 30% is likely too much (and if a person is eating animal protein, they really, REALLY need to watch out, keeping it less than 10% if The China Study is to be believed). And we can see that no matter what model you use to base your diet on, the majority of your macronutrients should come from healthy carbohydrates, which means eating a Whole Plant Food Based diet with lots of intact grains, legumes, (sweet) potatoes, veggies, fruit, and mushrooms. with a small amount of nuts/seeds and a B12 supplement.
      .
      Does that help?




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      1. Thea: Sweet potatoes are now one of my staple carb foods. Eat some every day. Still can’t get those sweet potato greens to grow though :-)




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        1. HaltheVegan: So cool! Good for you!

          One of my local grocery stores is still selling the purple fleshed sweet potatoes. Usually by now, they are out of season. But I’m still able to get them and have been enjoying some every week. (But not as much as you.)

          re: sweet potato greens.
          That’s a very timely topic for me. (And reminded me that I need to water today.) It is fairly comment that my organic, store-bought purple sweet potatoes start sprouting greens before I can eat the potato. So, I have a lot to plant. But they don’t make it past one or two seasons. That *may* have something to do with me almost never watering them. And maybe the location isn’t so great either? And perhaps the other plants crowding nearby aren’t a help. Hmmmm. ;-)




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  25. I’m using the Cron-o-meter to track my food from time to time. I have trouble hitting the RDA for Calcium (1000mg). What is the best way to cover calcium? I read that supplements aren’t that good…




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    1. Kent Lang: I don’t think the RDA for calcium is a legitimate RDA. I don’t have access to the book Building Bone Vitality at the moment, but I remember reading in that book that other cultures have much lower intakes of calcium and no bone problems. (I think one culture went as low at 400 or something like that.)
      .
      Calcium *is* in an important nutrient. The question is, how much? From what I have seen, there isn’t enough information to determine exactly how much calcium a person should take in. I think the answer is likely to depend on a number of factors, including how much weight bearing exercise one gets. After looking at the data, Dr. Greger recommends, “At least 600 mg daily via calcium-rich plant foods—preferably low-oxalate dark green leafy vegetables, which includes all greens except spinach, chard, and beet greens (all very healthy foods, but not good calcium sources due to their oxalate content).” See: http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/
      .
      Most people who are concerned about getting adequate calcium intake are really concerned about bone health. Focusing so much on calcium for bone health is to ignore that bones are made up of something like 17 or substances, all equally important. Getting too much of one substance over the others, especially calcium, can put your body out of balance and be a problem for bone health. The book Building Bone Vitality provides an awesome big picture of what you need to know for bone health. If you are interested, this is the book: https://www.amazon.com/Building-Bone-Vitality-Revolutionary-Osteoporosis–Without/dp/0071600191/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1467668791&sr=1-1&keywords=building+bone+vitality
      .
      Finally, if you are convinced that 1000 mg calcium a day is a good thing, the book Becoming Vegan (either the complete guide or the express edition) has a lot of ideas on how to meet that 1000 mg level by eating various foods. The book also includes some meal plans that meet all the RDAs. So, looking at the book may give you an idea on how to meet your goal.
      .
      Does this help?




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  26. I’m getting a lot of protein from legumes, mostly from beans and lentils but also from peanuts. Cronometer tells me I’m getting 10 grams of saturated fat from the peanuts, and I’m wondering wether this is something I should be concerned with or not. AHA recommends that no more than 5% of daily calories should come from saturated fat, and I’m exeeding that limit by putting 75g/2,5oz of peanutbutter in my oatmeal. Maybe I have to find another source of healthy fats and protein. Thank you!




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    1. According to what I’ve come to believe, so long as you consume whole foods with the fiber intact, then the fat content of those foods is irrelevant. Your body understands foods with fiber naturally present. It doesn’t not understand foods with fiber removed (processed). This is the basis of our obesity epidemic. Not saturated fat.

      Eat a wide variety of these foods plus a good variety of spices and seasonings and most all the bases are covered. Keep it simple.

      I eat a lot of peanuts, and tree nuts. No worry about their contents of anything. Oils and sugars and animal products are where the trouble starts.




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  27. Wait, I’m sorry, are you saying Kwashiorkor is NOT a disease of protein malnutrition? Because this is what is still being taught in medical school. This is wrong? I would love to know more about this please.




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  28. You say breast milk is the best place to look for optiumal human nutrition…. Except you write about how terrible saturated fat and cholesterol are…. guess what human breast milk has an abundance of? Both.




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  29. I was Paleo up until three months ago for two years and felt great, I must say. But over time I had some symptoms that emerged, like white marks on my nails. Over time, I also became temperamental and angry. I ate quite low carb, not a lot of fruit. Otherwise my skin was clearer than ever and I felt lean and muscular.

    I ended up getting sick from a meat product which turned me off of eating it (meat) completely for some time. I have lovely friends who are vegan and with some research, decided to try the other life. My head felt better with more carbs and it felt lovely eating fruit again. I have been also eating legumes and porridge for the first time in forever.

    I eat according to the rules on this site most of the time. I don’t eat heaps of grain products, but only because I’ve been told by a professional that I have gluten and wheat sensitivites, and am taking enzymes before meals. I guess my gut needs time adjusting.

    The unfortunate things of late have been that my memory seems to be slipping (I take b supplements and algae omega 3). My skin is also breaking out. I have a bit of a gut when I’m normally quite lean. The biggest change is that the veins in my arms are always bulging, I’ve developed what looks like a varicose vein in my bicep and my head sometimes feels like it’s throbbing. Apparently my hormones are a bit out of whack ATM as well (had tests done and my hypothalamus is not entirely happy).

    I do believe that this diet is such an amazing way forward, if not for personal health than for the world’s benefit.

    I am just wondering what I’m doing wrong. I eat heaps of veg, some fruit, lots of nuts, omegas, flax etc.

    I am also hoping to conceive next year and at this rate, I’m not sure I know enough to make me feel comfortable being vegan and pregnant. I am also low in the amino acid Taurine at the moment. So could this cause problems when pregnant? Do I supplement? How much fat should I be taking in? Very low fat, although completely legitimate and proven, makes me nervous to try given future pregnancy, etc.

    I am having an inner struggle. I know what’s best and I want to persevere. I completely respect this site, Dr Greger and this community.

    Thanks for helping me out and apologies for this long winded post. It’s unlike me to post anywhere. So I appreciate your patience in guiding me!

    Anya




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    1. Hi Anya – Thanks for reaching out to us! It sounds like you’ve made many wonderful changes. However, I’m concerned with some of the symptoms you’ve described – especially memory loss. I would recommend a follow-up with your PCP for an evaluation, just to be safe. Here’s some info on plant-based diets and pregnancy from our friends at PCRM: Vegetarian Diets for Pregnancy. I thought you might find this article helpful – it’s a good reference for supplementation, etc. As for fat in the diet – you can definitely get adequate amounts of fat from flax, hemp seeds, raw nuts, all-natural nut butters, avocado, etc. You can check out Dr. G’s Daily Dozen for more info and exact serving sizes. Hope tis helps! Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.




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  30. From the Doctor’s Note: “The “low” protein level in human breast milk (about 6% of calories)
    doesn’t mean adults only need that much because babies are such
    voracious suckers. A 15-pound infant can suck 500 calories a day. An
    adult, ten times heavier—150 pounds, say—doesn’t typically consume ten
    times more food (5,000 calories). So, since we weigh ten times more, but
    may only eat four or five times more, our food needs to be more
    concentrated in protein.”

    Dr Greger may want to clarify or modify that statement. Protein turnover is the balance between protein breakdown (degradation) and protein renewal (synthesis). Proteins turnover during all stages of life. For an infant the rate of protein synthesis far exceeds the rate of protein degradation thus the infant is in a state of rapid growth. This high growth rate requires a relatively large amount of protein. For an adult the rate of protein synthesis is roughly equal to the rate of protein degradation and the rate of growth is minimal (and later in life is actually negative). As protein is degraded to amino acids most of the amino acid are recycled into new protein, but some are lost and need to be replenished by diet.

    Using the example of Dr Greger’s above where, compared to the infant, the adult eats about half the weight of food per unit of body weight or 2,500 calories, the protein should consist of about 7% of calories. That is, the adult requires 0.66 g protein/kg body weight. The 150 lb adult (68 kg) requires 0.66 g x 68 kg = 45 g protein. 45 g protein x 4 cal/g = 180 cal. 180 cal / 2500 total cal x 100 = 7%.

    Therefore, the infant gets 6% of protein by calories in human milk and the adult requires 7% protein by calories in food. Seems pretty similar to me.




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  31. What does “straight” means here: “This is one of the reasons why feeding straight cow’s milk to babies can be so dangerous.” ?
    How should I translate this? Raw? Directly? Unprocessed? Simple?




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    1. Rodrigo Cardoso: That’s a good question. Not everyone knows this.

      I don’t have a reference for you, but I remember hearing a talk from another plant based doctor (I think Dr. McDougall, but I could be wrong) that said that milk from other species has to be diluted before it can safely be given to human babies. That’s because milk from mothers of other species is too high protein. If non-human dairy milk is given to human babies undiluted/straight, it ends up killing the babies because their bodies can’t handle all that protein. If I remember, I think the non-human milk has to be diluted with sugar water so that the human baby gets the correct ratio of carbs to protein and fat, but I could be wrong about the way in which it is diluted. Maybe they just use water?

      Maybe someone else could jump in with a reference for this information.




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  32. I disagree with this video. Protein is a panacea to all our health-ralated problems! A friend of mine has lost over 120 pounds of fat in less than a year by eating >300g of protein per day from protein shakes, protein bars, Greek yogurt, eggs, chicken, beef, and fish.

    According to Jim Wendler, author of the 5/3/1 weight training program, the following diet plan should be followed in order to capitalize on his weight lifting program (and of course, everyone who cares about their health needs to lift weights!):

    “Each meal will consist of the following, in this order:
    1. 50g protein shake (you choose whey, casein or whatever you want or tastes good). You can mix this with milk or water.
    2. 30-50g of protein from eggs, chicken, fish or beef. Eat as much whole food protein as you can but no less than 30-50g of protein. Do not eat any other food until this is done.
    3. One serving of a fruit or vegetable.
    4. Any amount of carbs you can stuff in your face. This can be rice, potatoes, oatmeal or some doughnuts. If you want the gains to be leaner, opt for less carbs and cleaner carbs. If you want to gain some weight, eat as much of whatever you can get your hands on.
    5. Strive to start with 4 meals/day with this eating plan. You can work yourself up to 6 if you have the time and the appetite.”

    Note that this means a person will be consuming anywhere from 320g to 600g of protein per day.

    As for me, I still haven’t been committed enough to increasing my physical strength to actually change my diet to attain these numbers. I typically get only 150g of protein per day, mostly from legumes. I just really like the taste of beans and lentils. And I also really like pooping 3 times a day.




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    1. BenzoSt: Your primary reason believing that massive amounts (far beyond the amounts considered healthy by the experts) of protein is healthy is because you had a friend lose weight while eating those massive amounts of protein. What humans have learned, however, is that there are all sorts of ways to lose weight. Not all of them are healthy. You can lose weight when you get cancer, for example. If someone told you that they lost weight smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day, would you promote cigarettes?

      It’s an honest question, because the diet you are promoting is as cancer-promoting and other disease-promoting as smoking. At least. Here are some topic pages from NutritionFacts to get you started if you want to learn more:
      >>> eggs: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/eggs/
      >>> chicken: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/chicken/
      >>> beef: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/beef/
      >>> fish: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/fish/

      Now, here is an overview of protein. While it does not address the quantity problem that you raise, it is important information for someone who is concerned about protein: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/protein/ My understanding is that too much protein (even the amount most normal Americans eat, not to mention the amounts your body builder is promoting) is bad for the kidneys. I don’t have a handy source for that at the moment, though.

      If increasing muscle mass is your thing, it can be done with healthy amounts of protein. Here’s a story about a bodybuilder who doesn’t use any supplements. Just eats whole plant foods:
      http://www.forksoverknives.com/vegan-bodybuilder-plant-based-diet/?mc_cid=b8b1865825&mc_eid=09aaf03269

      I have links to articles about other super-cool body-builders who have gone on to become better after going vegan. One man even went on to break world records. Let me know if you are interested.




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      1. Plain text doesn’t convey the facetiousness of my initial post! But I wrote that post to draw attention to the popular idea that excessive protein magically makes people stronger and healthier. In other words, I drew attention to broscience: the predominant brand of reasoning in bodybuilding circles where the anecdotal reports of jacked dudes are considered more credible than scientific research.

        I actually think the amount of protein recommended by Jim Wendler, proponents of GOMAD (Gallon Of Milk A Day), and broscientists (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2rFbrAS1gM) is indeed excessive. Athletes need a little more protein, but I think that the idea of needing so much protein is based more so on marketing than science. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 1.2g to 2.0g of protein per kg of body weight for athletes, which is more than the typical and perhaps arbitrary recommendation of 0.8g per kg. And since I am 75kg, 150g of protein is the maximum amount I ought to be able to make use of, providing the ACSM know what they are talking about.

        Yet if I were to go up to 200g of protein per day I suspect that doing so would neither help nor hinder my athletic performance. But I wouldn’t want to resort to eating meat, egg yolks, and dairy fat because when I was fooled into believing those foods were healthy my cholesterol went above 300! I brought it down to 190 by ditching those foods and bringing my diet more in line with a hybrid of the plans promoted by Dr. Ornish, Dr. Greger, and the Tufts Health and Nutrition Newsletter, albeit with a bit more protein from legumes, soybeans, pea protein isolate, nonfat yogurt, and wild Alaskan salmon 1-2 times per week.

        As for my friend, he is doing so profoundly well with his diet and exercise that I’m not going to recommend any real change besides having a can of beans every day. His blood work is also excellent. The most important thing he did was quit soda and desserts cold turkey, which are foods I regard as even worse for human health than conventional meat found at the grocery store. But he is a different organism than I am, and it’s foolish to derive sweeping conclusions from experiments with a sample size of 1 person.

        Sure there are vegan strength athletes. However, your link to the anecdotal success story at Forks Over Knives about one vegan bodybuilder carries equal clout as my anecdotal success story about my friend who eats an animal-protein-based diet — very little!

        The general consensus among strength athletes is that meat is absolutely necessary for optimal strength. I suspect this idea is based upon the simplistic idea that to build muscle one must eat muscle. I would love to see a large, well-controlled experiment that pits large groups of vegans vs. omnivores with equivalent macronutrients to find out if there is something special about meat that promotes athleticism. I hypothesize that the vegans will not be quite as absolutely strong, but that they will lose bodyweight and be just as relatively strong and have better surrogate biomarkers for cardiovascular disease and lower IGF-1. To quote the ACMS position stand on nutrition, “Currently, research is lacking regarding the impact on athletic performance from long-term vegetarianism among athletic populations.”

        Finally, I think protein increases glomerular filtration rate, but there isn’t any evidence that excessive protein actually harms healthy kidneys.




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      2. Plain text doesn’t convey the facetiousness of my initial post! But I wrote that post to draw attention to the popular idea that excessive protein magically makes people stronger and healthier. In other words, I drew attention to broscience: the predominant brand of reasoning in bodybuilding circles where the anecdotal reports of jacked dudes are considered more credible than scientific research.

        I actually think the amount of protein recommended by Jim Wendler, proponents of GOMAD (Gallon Of Milk A Day), and broscientists is indeed excessive. Athletes need a little more protein, but I think that the idea of needing so much protein is based more so on marketing than science. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 1.2g to 2.0g of protein per kg of body weight for athletes, which is more than the typical and perhaps arbitrary recommendation of 0.8g per kg. And since I am 75kg, 150g of protein is the maximum amount I ought to be able to make use of, providing the ACSM know what they are talking about.

        Yet if I were to go up to 200g of protein per day I suspect that doing so would neither help nor hinder my athletic performance. But I wouldn’t want to resort to eating meat, egg yolks, and dairy fat because when I was fooled into believing those foods were healthy my cholesterol went above 300! I brought it down to 190 by ditching those foods and bringing my diet more in line with a hybrid of the plans promoted by Dr. Ornish, Dr. Greger, and the Tufts Health and Nutrition Newsletter, albeit with a bit more protein from legumes, soybeans, pea protein isolate, nonfat yogurt, and wild Alaskan salmon 1-2 times per week.

        As for my friend, he is doing so profoundly well with his diet and exercise that I’m not going to recommend any real change besides having a can of beans every day. His blood work is also excellent. The most important thing he did was quit soda and desserts cold turkey, which are foods I regard as even worse for human health than conventional meat found at the grocery store. But he is a different organism than I am, and it’s foolish to derive sweeping conclusions from experiments with a sample size of 1 person.

        Sure there are vegan strength athletes. However, your link to the anecdotal success story at Forks Over Knives about one vegan bodybuilder carries equal clout as my anecdotal success story about my friend who eats an animal-protein-based diet — very little!

        The general consensus among strength athletes is that meat is absolutely necessary for optimal strength. I suspect this idea is based upon the simplistic idea that to build muscle one must eat muscle. I would love to see a large, well-controlled experiment that pits large groups of vegans vs. omnivores with equivalent macronutrients to find out if there is something special about meat that promotes athleticism. I hypothesize that the vegans will not be quite as absolutely strong, but that they will lose bodyweight and be just as relatively strong and have better surrogate biomarkers for cardiovascular disease and lower IGF-1. To quote the ACMS position stand on nutrition, “Currently, research is lacking regarding the impact on athletic performance from long-term vegetarianism among athletic populations.”

        Finally, I think protein increases glomerular filtration rate, but there isn’t any evidence that excessive protein actually harms healthy kidneys.




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        1. BenzoSt: Thanks for clarifying. I had definitely missed your point. :-)

          ****************************
          While the following is just more anecdotes about vegan athletes, I think they are appropriate for this stage of the conversation and am sharing just in case you or anyone else is interested in these very fun stories.

          (article from meatout mondays)
          Vegan Bodybuilders Dominate Texas Competition

          The Plant Built (PlantBuilt.com) team rolled into this year’s drug-free, steroid-free Naturally Fit Super Show competition in Austin, TX, and walked away with more trophies than even they could carry.

          The Plant Built team of 15 vegan bodybuilders competed in seven divisions, taking first place in all but two. They also took several 2nd and 3rd place wins.

          For More Info:
          http://www.plantbuilt.com/

          ———————
          There was that other guy who just did a world record in weight lifting. “Congratulations to Strongman Patrik Baboumian who yesterday took a ten metre walk carrying more than half a tonne on his shoulders, more than anyone has ever done before. After smashing the world record the Strongman let out a roar of ‘Vegan Power’…” For more info:
          http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/vegan-strongman-patrik-babaoumain-breaks-world-record/
          another article on the same guy: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/09/08/vegan_strongman_shoulders_550_kg_a_record_perhaps_at_vegetarian_food_fest.html
          And another article: “I got heavier, I got stronger, I won the European championship title in powerlifting, I broke three world records so everything was going perfect … my blood pressure went down, and my recovery time was so much faster so I could train more.” http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/06/health/vegan-strongman-patrik-baboumian-germany-diet/
          —————–
          When Robert Cheeke started VeganBodybuilding.com in 2002, being the only vegan athlete he knew of, he may not have imagined that the website would quickly grow to have thousands of members. Robert says, “We’re discovering new vegan athletes all the time, from professional and elite levels… to weekend warriors and everyone in between.”

          For More Info: http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/
          —————–
          Mr Universe – “Since going vegan, he has actually gained even more mass, now at 107 Kilos…” http://www.thediscerningbrute.com/2015/07/14/mr-universe-goes-vegan/
          —————–
          Bite Size Vegan has a youtube channel
          “In this video series, you’ll hear from various vegan athletes from all walks of life and athletic abilities speaking to such topics as vegan athletic performance, building muscle on a vegan diet, vegan endurance running, bodybuilding, body image, and more!” https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmIqdlomtuSv9FQJgdj3Bwg9Nh9MNjKg4
          —————–
          Here’s another site that I like: http://www.greatveganathletes.com/

          I found this story on the above site: “Pat Reeves has set a new world powerlifting record at the WDFPA World Single Lift Championships. The 66 year old lifter, who has been vegan for 46 years, lifted 94 kg to set a record for the under 50.5kg weight class while competing in France in June 2012. The lift was more than 1.85 times her bodyweight, which is exceptional for her division. Pat is now officially the oldest competing weightlifter in Europe.”

          ————————-
          Story of Mac Denzig, winner of season six of The Ultimate Fighter
          http://www.ufc.com/news/Mac-Danzig-Diet-The-Truth-About-Vegan
          http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Mac-Danzig-3396
          http://www.mikemahler.com/online-library/articles/mma-training/ufc-fighter-mac-danzig-vegan-diet.html
          ————————–
          And another article from Meetout Mondays:

          Vegan Figure Skater Takes Silver
          Canadian Olympian Meagan Duhamel and her partner Eric Radford won a silver medal in pairs figure skating at this year’s Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.

          Duhamel proudly took to Twitter announcing that she is an “Olympian, vegan, yogi and nutritionist.” Wonderful! Congratulations to Meagan for being an outspoken and shining example of what healthy vegan eating looks like. …

          —————–
          (from Meetout Mondays)
          Plant-Powered Athlete: Griff Whalen [NFL Player]
          His teammates say he has the most enviable body on the team. They say he consumes an average of 6,000 calories and 200 grams of protein a day. They also say, he does it all by eating plants!

          In a recent interview on IndyStar.com, Indianapolis Colts’ wide receiver Griff Whalen, talks about his vegan ways.

          “I feel a lot lighter, faster, quicker on the field. There isn’t that heavy feeling, that groggy feeling after I eat,” says Whalen.

          Hooray for another plant-powered athlete for us to cheer on. w00t! w00t!

          Read the full article on: org2.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=X9u7eAG%2FDmVet3kwZgrmHD5TipkEhWa4
          ****************
          (from Meetout Mondays)
          NFL’s David Carter on Living Vegan: In an interview last month on Rich Roll’s podcast, 27 year old Chicago Bears’ defensive lineman, David Carter spoke of a day in the life of the NFL, what he eats daily, his vegan journey, and his commitment to animal advocacy.

          “I can honestly say that being vegan is not only the most efficient way to be full-body strong, it’s also the most humane; everyone wins,” Carter said on the podcast.

          Carter is also the founder of The 300 Pound Vegan, a lifestyle blog where the NFL player writes about his journey through veganism and shares plant-based recipes. If nothing else, Carter shows us that living on plants is not just for endurance athletes or yogis but can positively impact heavy hitters in terms of their size, speed, agility, power, and quickness. Aww, yeah! Thanks for being so rad, David. We love it!

          Listen to the full interview on Rich Roll: http://www.richroll.com/podcast/david-carter-300-pound-vegan/
          Or for a written story with sample menu plan: http://www.gq.com/story/vegan-diet-of-nfl-player-david-carter

          ——————————
          And another article from Meetout Mondays:

          Record Setting, 92 Yr Old Vegan Runner

          Mike Fremont has been vegan for over 20 years, and has been setting single age marathon running records just as long.

          “At age 88 [Mike] ran a 6H5M53S marathon in Cincinnati Ohio and at age 90 ran a 6H35M47S marathon in Huntington West Virginia. [He] also set a single age world record for 90 years old in the half marathon in Morrow Ohio in August 2012,” said Veg World Magazine.

          According to an interview with Veg World Magazine, Fremont credits his vegan lifestyle for his continued record setting runs, at his age.

          We love seeing vegans making positive media waves, and what better way to showcase the health benefits of plant-powered living than Mike’s awesome running career. Here’s to you Mike, and vegan athletes of all ages!

          Learn more about Mike Fremont a VegWorldMag.com.
          http://www.vegworldmag.com/amazing-92-year-old-vegan-runs-another-half-marathon/

          ——————————
          from Meatout Mondays:

          World’s First Vegan Pro Soccer Team

          The Internet went wild last week as the news that English soccer (A.K.A football) team, the Forest Green Rovers, announced that the entire team and club is going completely vegan.

          “We stopped serving meat to our players, fans and staff about four seasons ago,” said club owner Dale Vince (via a recent article on Edition.CNN.com). He continued, “We’ve been on a mission since then to introduce our fans to this new world.” The article explains that while the club has been vegetarian for the past few years, they’ve decided to take the next step in going fully vegan (including their beer and cider options). Also cool to know: the club’s field is organic and they collect rainwater to use for irrigation. This is seriously super cool, you guys. Keep it up!

          Read the source article on: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/30/football/world-health-organization-meat-vegan-football/

          ——————————–
          from Meatout Mondays:
          Vegan Arm Wrestler: Rob Bigwood

          “Some of his opponents say that since going vegan Rob is stronger, his stamina grew, and he became more difficult to pin,” notes an interview-style Facebook post by ‘Starry N Ight.’

          A competitive arm wrestler since 2000, Rob Bigwood has been making a name for himself in the arm wrestling community—not only as the one to beat but also as the guy who eats plants. Rob has said, “I was concerned at first [about not eating meat for strength] but didn’t care. I made a conscious and ethical decision to give up meat…It is more important to practice what I believe in than to worry about being a strength athlete. I have never felt better in my entire life and it was one of the smartest decisions I ever made.”

          Check out one of Rob’s interviews on http://www.scribd.com/doc/39221267/Interview-with-a-Vegan-Arm-Wrestler

          ——————————–
          from Meatout Mondays:
          Vegan Bodybuilder Bucks Stereotypes

          Vegan bodybuilder Joshua Knox shares his game changing and inspiring vegan story during a TEDxFremont, California presentation.

          In this five-minute long video, shared by Mercy for Animals, Knox talks of his ‘meat and potatoes’ upbringing and what led him to give veganism a try. The results were nothing short of wonderful.

          “Not only was I able to continue increasing my strength and performance but also saw massive gains in endurance as well… [and] rather than feeling like I was missing out on foods I really felt that I was opening my mind to so many things I would have never put on my plate…” Knox said during his presentation. Joshua also noted a drop in his cholesterol, while experiencing mental and emotional health improvements as well. Rock on, Josh! Thank you for sharing your story

          Watch the short video on Mercy for Animals’ youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43f2qWARXnA

          ——————————–
          from Meatout Mondays:
          Vegan Breaks World Record in Push-Ups

          A vegan from Kerala (a South Indian state) has just broken the Guinness World Record for knuckle push-ups (press ups). K.J. Joseph—a manager of an ayurveda centre in Munnar—completed 82 push-ups in 60 seconds, beating out Ron Cooper from the US who held the record at 79 push-ups in 2015. “Joseph has already entered the Universal Record Forum by doing 2092 push-ups in an hour. He is currently the record holder in the India Book of Records,” notes OnManorama.com. Thanks for making us vegans look good, Joseph. And congrats on your win!

          Check out the original story: http://english.manoramaonline.com/lifestyle/society/vegan-most-knuckle-push-up-guinness-world-record-joseph.html

          ———————————
          from Meatout Mondays:

          Professional Bodybuilding Couple Celebrate Veganism
          Named 2014 Mr Universe, Barny Du Plessis and his fiance, named UK’s strongest woman, Josie Keck are excited to share and to celebrate their one year vegan anniversary this month. In a comprehensive interview by British publication, Daily Mail, the vegan (literal) power couple are “…serious about [their] crusade to save the Earth, the animals, [themselves], and our dignity as a species,” said Barny. The articles noted that, “Barny is on a mission to destroy the idea that eating meat is associated with manliness.” He said, “I’m living proof that you simply don’t need to eat meat or animal products to make great gains, be strong, healthy, fit, and feeling mighty.” We couldn’t agree more, Barny. Congratulations to you both on your anniversary! We’re so jazzed you’re passionate about veganism.

          “When training for competitions Barny eats up to 4,500 calories a day, while Josie consumes 2,200 of vegan food. While preparing for a competition their typical diet consists of a wide variety of vegetables; fruit such as apples, bananas, dates and berries; grains such as basmati rice, quinoa and tapioca, pulses like chickpeas and brown and red lentils; as well as powders such as rice protein, hemp protein and vegan protein blend.” And the article includes a sample daily menu for each of them. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3495676/Obese-woman-met-fiance-gym-vegan-bodybuilders.html

          ——————-
          From PCRM Weekly News Update:
          What do the world’s top male and female tennis players have in common? They love vegan food! In a new Huffington Post piece, Dr. Barnard talks about plant-powered Novak Djokovic’s recent win at the French Open. http://new.www.huffingtonpost.com/neal-barnard-md/plantpowered-novak-djokov_b_10282348.html




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          1. With the growing popularity of veganism and these success stories, there does seem to be impetus for an experiment that splits large groups of athletes into vegan and omnivorous groups. As for my friend, once his weight loss plateaus, I’ll share some of these anecdotes with him and dare him to try veganism as I did for an experiment last year. I think that anyone interested in their health should at least try veganism for 4 months with visits to their doctor before and after (because HBA1C takes 3-4 months to be thoroughly affected by dietary intervention). Smart veganism, that is, as detailed in this here book titled How Not to Die.

            Anyway, during my experiment I lost weight yet slightly increased a few lifts like my deadlift and bench. The only unwelcome and curious thing was that although my cholesterol got lower as expected, that drop was ENTIRELY a reduction in HDL; my LDL didn’t go down at all. I’m actually trying veganism again just because I want to see if the cholesterol thing was a fluke or a result of doing less cardio and more weights at the time. After all, it’s summer in MA and therefore the best time of year for running, cycling, and swimming outdoors!

            I should add that a particularly good Youtube channel targeting vegan weightlifters is Cory McCarthy’s channel. I actually think it’s worth viewing most of his videos even if you are not a vegan. At least it will give you some good advice and hopefully encourage you to eat more vegetables, which the average American desperately needs to do!




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    2. You disagree with this video ? The % of protein in human breast milk is not an “Opinion” for you to disagree with. It is what it is. You can google it. Google says it’s 1%. Gorilla’s milk protein is 8% higher. Dr. Greger simply reads from the supporting document that is displayed in the video. You can pause the video and search for the report on the web. I found it & read it. It’s not an opinion.




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      1. My happiness in life depends upon my massive ego, and my ego fares better when it isn’t bothered with facts that are contrary to my existing beliefs!

        Actually, my previous post pokes fun at the amount of protein some athletes think they need to be at their best. Sure, athletes probably require more than the USDA requirement for protein, but I’ve seen some athletes who ingest more grams of protein than any other macronutrient which I reckon is unnecessary.

        In the past I was tricked into thinking eggs and red meat were healthy, and my cholesterol went above 300. When I got rid of those and substituted legumes, my cholesterol got much better. But I’m still eating a relatively high protein diet because I eat lots of legumes and green vegetables.

        Since my friend is doing so well on his current plan, I’m not going to browbeat him into following the guidelines in How Not to Die until his weight loss plateaus.

        Dr. Greger is NOT on Quackwatch.org, and given that his references are straight from primary literature, I trust the credibitily of the presentations.




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  33. As I talk to omnivores, they always say the same thing that meat was essential part of our evolution and the high amount of protein in the meat was and still is responsible for our brain’s growth and development (especially cooked meat, since carnivores & omnivores are not smart). Since most % of the brain growth occurs during the first few years of life while baby is breast feeding, and human milk is the best food for human baby, isn’t low % of protein, disprove this omnivore theory that vast majority of people believe in and is the reason they eat meat (for protein) ?




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  34. There was a study published in 2014 titled Low Protein Intake is Associated with a Major Reduction in IGF-1, Cancer, and Overall Mortality in the 65 and Younger but Not Older Population reporting seniors require far more protein than Dr. Greger suggests in this video. I’d like to hear Dr. Greger’s thoughts on how much protein is required by older people.

    This is great website. Thank-you Dr. Greger!




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  35. There was a study published in 2014 titled Low Protein Intake is Associated with a Major Reduction in IGF-1, Cancer, and Overall Mortality in the 65 and Younger but Not Older Population reporting seniors require far more protein than Dr. Greger suggests in this video. I’d like to hear Dr. Greger’s thoughts on how much protein is required by older people.

    This is great website. Thank-you Dr. Greger!




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  36. I’m new to this. I posted some questions regarding protein and they were deleted. I posted a second time and they were deleted again. Anyone know why my posts are being deleted? Thanks.




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    1. Roy: I am one of the volunteer moderators for this site. I checked and neither of your posts have been deleted. We use a third party program called disqus for managing the comments section and disqus is not as user friendly as it should be. So, sometimes new people think their posts have been deleted when they have not.
      .
      One way to find a post is to scroll to the bottom of the comments section and keep hitting the button “Load More Comments” until the button goes away. Then you an use your browser’s Find feature to find your comments.
      .
      Another option: If you posted a post that was not a reply to anyone, but just your own post and you posted recently, then you can change the sort order by using the control on the upper right side of the comments area. Change to “Sort by newest” and you should see your comment.
      .
      Finally, if you are logged into disqus, you should see your name just above the sort control. Click the drop down arrow next to your name and pick “profile”. You will then see a complete list of all your comments and can chose “view in discussion” if you want to see your comment here on the original NutritionFacts page.
      .
      Welcome to NutritionFacts. I hope you find the information here as fascinating and helpful as I do.




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      1. Hi Thea,

        Thanks for getting back to me. Below is a screenshot taken right after I posted my comments. Notice my comments are not on the screenshot and there are two notifications of comments being deleted.

        Thanks.

        Sent from my iPad




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      1. interesting. so it seems that the only thing one has to be concerned about when switching to plant based diet is b12 consumption? I read that nutritional yeast and spirulina and good sources of b12, but they are also very expensive. is there an alternative?




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        1. the observer: The devil is always in the details, so I’m hesistant to say “only” thing. But in general, the biggest concern is B12. I don’t know about spirulina, but you can definitely get B12 from those nutritional yeast products which have b12 added. There are other products that also add B12. But then you have to make sure that you are eating adequate amounts of the b12 every day. As as you noted, some of those foods are expensive. Another way to get enough B12 might be to eat like our ancestors, eating dirty food and water. Obviously not the best idea. I think the best/easiest way to get B12 is to just take a supplement.
          .
          There are some other potential nutrients of concern. You can see Dr. Greger’s overall nutrition recommendations. I tried to give you a link to the page and I couldn’t get the search feature in NutritionFacts to work just now. I’m getting an error. (I’m not sure if my PC is having troubles right now or if it’s a general NF problem.) If you are interested in seeing that page (which covers specific recommendations for B12 too) and can’t find the page, let me know and I’ll see if I can find it another way.




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          1. actually it’s a general problem with your webpage. I tried to search for a couple of things and it didn’t work too. some links don’t even open too (and it’s not country specific because I shared links with family and friends in different countries and they couldn’t open it).

            I’ve been trying to shift to a plant based diet, but it’s difficult with g6pd. I felt quite weak. I eat black rice, and usually eat lots of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. it’s impossible to get kale here.




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            1. the observer: Thank you so much for sharing that you are seeing a problem with the website also! That’s really helpful for me to know that it’s not just me. I’ll report this to the staff at NutritionFacts.
              .
              re: feeling week. I’m not an expert and can’t say what is happening to you for sure with your specific condition, but I have some ideas for you. Sometimes when people switch to a plant based diet, they eat so many foods that are so low calorie density that they are not getting enough calories. And of course, if you do not get enough calories, you will feel weak. I have suggested to several others that they make sure to get enough calories and most of the time, people report back that eating some more higher calorie foods (which are still whole plant foods) solves the problem. So, they started eating some more nuts and seeds and avocadoes and tofu and whatever. They might eat more of the rice, and potatoes and whole grains. It’s not that your cruciferous veggies aren’t healthy. They are. And they are very important. But they are also very low calorie density. You need a proper balance.
              .
              You might consider checking out Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen to get suggestions on types and amounts of foods to eat. Of course, you would replace the bean suggestions with other starchy foods.
              .
              It sounds like you are already on top of it, but you might make sure you are getting enough B12.
              .
              And if after all of that, you are still feeling weak, you might go a to a doctor, because that’s not how it should be. Most people report feeling lots of energy and feeling strong when they go to a plant based diet. So, if you are not feeling strong, you need to figure out why and fix it. You should feel good.
              .
              Oh, I just thought of one more thing! Some people’s bodies may literally be addicted to meat. Those people can’ t go cold turkey. They have to wean themselves off meat slowly. http://www.vegsource.com/news/2013/12/are-failed-vegans-addicts-michael-klaper-md-video.html Dr. Klaper has a great talk about the mechanisms that may be involved. The answer (says Dr. Klaper in the part of the talk that the video clip cuts out) is to treat meat as medicinal. Figure out the smallest amount you can eat in a day and still feel OK. And then very slowly wean yourself off of the meat over time/months. See if you can start going every other day. Then maybe once every few days, etc. That’s something you could also try.
              .
              Good luck!




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        2. The cheapest one is multivitamin pills (usually they have 200-400% of daily allowance of B12 + a whole bunch of other vitamins and minerals (cost is about 5-15 cents per pill). I take about 3 per week (once every 2 days or so).




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  37. The #1 reason people eat meat is for protein. We were told from childhood to eat meat for our brain’s normal healthy growth and development. If you google it, human brain grows fastest the first year of life while breast feeding only on mother’s milk. However human milk has one of the lowest % (1%) of protein of all animals, even less than cow (3.4%), chimpanzee or gorilla. Therefore very little Protein (about 1% by weight) is needed for fastest human brain growth and development ! This little fact destroys omnivore theory based on superstitious false belief that animal protein (meat) makes us smarter.




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  38. I have a co-worker who went “vegan” years ago. Unsure if plantbased. Anyway she got regular blood work because she has a heart condition and her Dr. Told her she needed to eat meat bc her body couldnt process plant protein. Has anyone ever heard of this? I found it hard to believe and wasn’t sure what to say to that. Her mother also was vegan and developed cancer that she was able to go into remission when she started eating fish.




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    1. Hannah,

      Good laugh, but basic nutrition comes into play. What might have been misunderstood is her need for more iron than available/absorbable from plants, not the plant protein issue.

      Without an extensive and not typical testing panel you can not make the statement that someone can’t process plant protein. What can be said is that they may lack or have a different ratio of some of the digestive enzymes. This could result from environmental, genetically or a disease. However, most people have adequate digestive enzymes for a variety of products, be that animal or plant.

      Without a deep chemistry lesson, all proteins are digested by a group of enzymes (proteases) and hydrochloric acid in our digestive system along with further breakdown via the microbiome (bacteria in our gut) . As we age, a good number of people fail to make adequate amounts of HCL and indeed their breakdown and utilization of proteins can be much less efficient or give them GI distress.

      Dr. Alan Kadish Moderator for Dr. Gerger

      Want to learn more about the GI tract ? https://www.gdx.net/clinicians/medical-education/educational-modules/gi-university/products-of-protein-breakdown




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  39. Hi NF team,
    Do we have any video about body building and protein?
    The recomndation value among body builders is 2.2gr/Kg which is probably too much but I need the science to back it up.

    Thanks,
    Ron.




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    1. Ron: Here’s a NutritionFacts video about body building: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-bodybuilding/ There are also some NutritionFacts videos dealing with muscle soreness/relief: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/reducing-muscle-soreness-with-berries/ and http://nutritionfacts.org/video/watermelon-for-sore-muscle-relief/
      .
      For body building, I also recommend checking out the following article on Strength And Protein for Athletes: http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein-strength.html
      .
      Also, while the list below is just a set of anecdotes, I think they are helpful stories for people interested in body building.
      .
      Hope this helps.
      .
      ********************************
      (article from meatout mondays)
      Vegan Bodybuilders Dominate Texas Competition

      The Plant Built (PlantBuilt.com) team rolled into this year’s drug-free, steroid-free Naturally Fit Super Show competition in Austin, TX, and walked away with more trophies than even they could carry.

      The Plant Built team of 15 vegan bodybuilders competed in seven divisions, taking first place in all but two. They also took several 2nd and 3rd place wins.

      For More Info:
      http://www.plantbuilt.com/

      ———————
      When Robert Cheeke started VeganBodybuilding.com in 2002, being the only vegan athlete he knew of, he may not have imagined that the website would quickly grow to have thousands of members. Robert says, “We’re discovering new vegan athletes all the time, from professional and elite levels… to weekend warriors and everyone in between.”

      For More Info:
      http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/
      —————–
      There was that other guy who did a world record in weight lifting. “Congratulations to Strongman Patrik Baboumian who yesterday took a ten metre walk carrying more than half a tonne on his shoulders, more than anyone has ever done before. After smashing the world record the Strongman let out a roar of ‘Vegan Power’…” For more info:
      http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/vegan-strongman-patrik-babaoumain-breaks-world-record/
      another article on the same guy: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/09/08/vegan_strongman_shoulders_550_kg_a_record_perhaps_at_vegetarian_food_fest.html

      And another article: “I got heavier, I got stronger, I won the European championship title in powerlifting, I broke three world records so everything was going perfect … my blood pressure went down, and my recovery time was so much faster so I could train more.” http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/06/health/vegan-strongman-patrik-baboumian-germany-diet/
      —————–
      Here’s a story about a bodybuilder who doesn’t use any supplements. Just eats whole plant foods:
      http://www.forksoverknives.com/vegan-bodybuilder-plant-based-diet/?mc_cid=b8b1865825&mc_eid=09aaf03269
      —————–
      Mr Universe – “Since going vegan, he has actually gained even more mass, now at 107 Kilos…”
      http://www.thediscerningbrute.com/2015/07/14/mr-universe-goes-vegan/
      —————–
      Bite Size Vegan has a youtube channel
      “In this video series, you’ll hear from various vegan athletes from all walks of life and athletic abilities speaking to such topics as vegan athletic performance, building muscle on a vegan diet, vegan endurance running, bodybuilding, body image, and more!”
      https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmIqdlomtuSv9FQJgdj3Bwg9Nh9MNjKg4
      —————–
      Here’s another site that I like:
      http://www.greatveganathletes.com/

      I found this story on the above site: “Pat Reeves has set a new world powerlifting record at the WDFPA World Single Lift Championships. The 66 year old lifter, who has been vegan for 46 years, lifted 94 kg to set a record for the under 50.5kg weight class while competing in France in June 2012. The lift was more than 1.85 times her bodyweight, which is exceptional for her division. Pat is now officially the oldest competing weightlifter in Europe.”

      ————————

      from Meatout Mondays:
      Vegan Bodybuilder Bucks Stereotypes

      Vegan bodybuilder Joshua Knox shares his game changing and inspiring vegan story during a TEDxFremont, California presentation.

      In this five-minute long video, shared by Mercy for Animals, Knox talks of his ‘meat and potatoes’ upbringing and what led him to give veganism a try. The results were nothing short of wonderful.

      “Not only was I able to continue increasing my strength and performance but also saw massive gains in endurance as well… [and] rather than feeling like I was missing out on foods I really felt that I was opening my mind to so many things I would have never put on my plate…” Knox said during his presentation. Joshua also noted a drop in his cholesterol, while experiencing mental and emotional health improvements as well. Rock on, Josh! Thank you for sharing your story

      Watch the short video on Mercy for Animals’ youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43f2qWARXnA

      ————————–
      from Meatout Mondays:

      Professional Bodybuilding Couple Celebrate Veganism
      Named 2014 Mr Universe, Barny Du Plessis and his fiance, named UK’s strongest woman, Josie Keck are excited to share and to celebrate their one year vegan anniversary this month. In a comprehensive interview by British publication, Daily Mail, the vegan (literal) power couple are “…serious about [their] crusade to save the Earth, the animals, [themselves], and our dignity as a species,” said Barny. The articles noted that, “Barny is on a mission to destroy the idea that eating meat is associated with manliness.” He said, “I’m living proof that you simply don’t need to eat meat or animal products to make great gains, be strong, healthy, fit, and feeling mighty.” We couldn’t agree more, Barny. Congratulations to you both on your anniversary! We’re so jazzed you’re passionate about veganism.

      “When training for competitions Barny eats up to 4,500 calories a day, while Josie consumes 2,200 of vegan food. While preparing for a competition their typical diet consists of a wide variety of vegetables; fruit such as apples, bananas, dates and berries; grains such as basmati rice, quinoa and tapioca, pulses like chickpeas and brown and red lentils; as well as powders such as rice protein, hemp protein and vegan protein blend.” And the article includes a sample daily menu for each of them. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3495676/Obese-woman-met-fiance-gym-vegan-bodybuilders.html
      —————————
      from meetout Mondays

      Weightlifting Record Set by Vegan

      With a record-setting deadline of 452 pounds, Iceland native Hulda B. Waage says it was her vegan diet that helped her pull out the win. “You can be strong without eating meat and animal byproducts,” she said. “I’ve reached the age when the body produces more swelling. I believe my diet helps with this, and I recover more quickly after practices.” Hulda has her sights set on the 2023 World Weightlifting Championships. Awesome, Hulda! Way to represent vegan athletes in a most wonderful way. And thank you for all you do to help inspire and forward a cruelty-free world. http://org2.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=FiCd30wCeTG%2FBmw0po%2FMQXpx0aVdsgbp
      .
      .
      OTHER THAN BODY BUILDING, VEGAN ATHLETES HAVE BEEN TAKING TROPHIES AND SETTING RECORDS IN OTHER AREAS TOO
      .
      .
      ————————-
      Story of Mac Denzig, winner of season six of The Ultimate Fighter
      http://www.ufc.com/news/Mac-Danzig-Diet-The-Truth-About-Vegan
      http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Mac-Danzig-3396
      http://www.mikemahler.com/online-library/articles/mma-training/ufc-fighter-mac-danzig-vegan-diet.html
      ————————–

      Another article from Meetout Mondays:

      Vegan Figure Skater Takes Silver
      Canadian Olympian Meagan Duhamel and her partner Eric Radford won a silver medal in pairs figure skating at this year’s Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.

      Duhamel proudly took to Twitter announcing that she is an “Olympian, vegan, yogi and nutritionist.” Wonderful! Congratulations to Meagan for being an outspoken and shining example of what healthy vegan eating looks like. …

      —————–
      (from Meetout Mondays)
      Plant-Powered Athlete: Griff Whalen [NFL Player]
      His teammates say he has the most enviable body on the team. They say he consumes an average of 6,000 calories and 200 grams of protein a day. They also say, he does it all by eating plants!

      In a recent interview on IndyStar.com, Indianapolis Colts’ wide receiver Griff Whalen, talks about his vegan ways.

      “I feel a lot lighter, faster, quicker on the field. There isn’t that heavy feeling, that groggy feeling after I eat,” says Whalen.

      Hooray for another plant-powered athlete for us to cheer on. w00t! w00t!

      Read the full article on :
      org2.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=X9u7eAG%2FDmVet3kwZgrmHD5TipkEhWa4
      —————–

      (from Meetout Mondays)
      NFL’s David Carter on Living Vegan: In an interview last month on Rich Roll’s podcast, 27 year old Chicago Bears’ defensive lineman, David Carter spoke of a day in the life of the NFL, what he eats daily, his vegan journey, and his commitment to animal advocacy.

      “I can honestly say that being vegan is not only the most efficient way to be full-body strong, it’s also the most humane; everyone wins,” Carter said on the podcast.

      Carter is also the founder of The 300 Pound Vegan, a lifestyle blog where the NFL player writes about his journey through veganism and shares plant-based recipes. If nothing else, Carter shows us that living on plants is not just for endurance athletes or yogis but can positively impact heavy hitters in terms of their size, speed, agility, power, and quickness. Aww, yeah! Thanks for being so rad, David. We love it!

      Listen to the full interview on Rich Roll: http://www.richroll.com/podcast/david-carter-300-pound-vegan/
      Or for a written story with sample menu plan: http://www.gq.com/story/vegan-diet-of-nfl-player-david-carter

      ——————————
      And another article from Meetout Mondays:

      Record Setting, 92 Yr Old Vegan Runner

      Mike Fremont has been vegan for over 20 years, and has been setting single age marathon running records just as long.

      “At age 88 [Mike] ran a 6H5M53S marathon in Cincinnati Ohio and at age 90 ran a 6H35M47S marathon in Huntington West Virginia. [He] also set a single age world record for 90 years old in the half marathon in Morrow Ohio in August 2012,” said Veg World Magazine.

      According to an interview with Veg World Magazine, Fremont credits his vegan lifestyle for his continued record setting runs, at his age.

      We love seeing vegans making positive media waves, and what better way to showcase the health benefits of plant-powered living than Mike’s awesome running career. Here’s to you Mike, and vegan athletes of all ages!

      Learn more about Mike Fremont a VegWorldMag.com.
      http://www.vegworldmag.com/amazing-92-year-old-vegan-runs-another-half-marathon/

      ——————————
      from Meatout Mondays:

      World’s First Vegan Pro Soccer Team

      The Internet went wild last week as the news that English soccer (A.K.A football) team, the Forest Green Rovers, announced that the entire team and club is going completely vegan.

      “We stopped serving meat to our players, fans and staff about four seasons ago,” said club owner Dale Vince (via a recent article on Edition.CNN.com). He continued, “We’ve been on a mission since then to introduce our fans to this new world.” The article explains that while the club has been vegetarian for the past few years, they’ve decided to take the next step in going fully vegan (including their beer and cider options). Also cool to know: the club’s field is organic and they collect rainwater to use for irrigation. This is seriously super cool, you guys. Keep it up!

      Read the source article on: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/30/football/world-health-organization-meat-vegan-football/

      ——————————–
      from Meatout Mondays:
      Vegan Arm Wrestler: Rob Bigwood

      “Some of his opponents say that since going vegan Rob is stronger, his stamina grew, and he became more difficult to pin,” notes an interview-style Facebook post by ‘Starry N Ight.’

      A competitive arm wrestler since 2000, Rob Bigwood has been making a name for himself in the arm wrestling community—not only as the one to beat but also as the guy who eats plants. Rob has said, “I was concerned at first [about not eating meat for strength] but didn’t care. I made a conscious and ethical decision to give up meat…It is more important to practice what I believe in than to worry about being a strength athlete. I have never felt better in my entire life and it was one of the smartest decisions I ever made.”

      Check out one of Rob’s interviews on http://www.scribd.com/doc/39221267/Interview-with-a-Vegan-Arm-Wrestler

      ——————————–
      from Meatout Mondays:
      Vegan Breaks World Record in Push-Ups

      A vegan from Kerala (a South Indian state) has just broken the Guinness World Record for knuckle push-ups (press ups). K.J. Joseph—a manager of an ayurveda centre in Munnar—completed 82 push-ups in 60 seconds, beating out Ron Cooper from the US who held the record at 79 push-ups in 2015. “Joseph has already entered the Universal Record Forum by doing 2092 push-ups in an hour. He is currently the record holder in the India Book of Records,” notes OnManorama.com. Thanks for making us vegans look good, Joseph. And congrats on your win!

      Check out the original story: http://english.manoramaonline.com/lifestyle/society/vegan-most-knuckle-push-up-guinness-world-record-joseph.html

      ———————————
      From PCRM Weekly News Update:
      What do the world’s top male and female tennis players have in common? They love vegan food! In a new Huffington Post piece, Dr. Barnard talks about plant-powered Novak Djokovic’s recent win at the French Open. http://new.www.huffingtonpost.com/neal-barnard-md/plantpowered-novak-djokov_b_10282348.html




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  40. Can Dr Greger comment on Diatomaceous Earth for bone health due to it’s silica content?
    What about the effect of D.E. on overall human health?




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  41. Hello Dr Greger, I would like to know your opinion about a number of medical papers on pubmed about kwashiorkor due to rice milk, and there are others that point the danger of give a toddler vegetables milks because de risk of severe malnutrition. I think the investigators did not analize other aspects in the children’s diet that may cause their health problems but I will love to know your opinion.regards from Mexico




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  42. What if you are trying to gain some muscle and get tonned? Just for myself, not a competition. I work out 5x a week for at least 30 minutes to an hour. I’m 19, 4′ 11″, and weigh 93 pounds. How much do you recommend and is it safe to have 60-90 grams for me? Eating whole food proteins of course. Thanks!




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  43. There really is no limit, within reason, on your protein intake if its all whole food plant based. As an example beans contain high quality protein at 30-40%….BUT….keep in mind, as the title of the video outlines….that this notion that you require an inordinate amount of protein is a “fiasco” and simply not true. Eating massive amounts of protein will not increase your muscle mass in and of itself. Don’t forget that a human infant doubles her lean body mass every few quarters on her mother’s milk, yet human milk is only 5% protein. Also, your body does not waste amino acids (the building blocks of muscle protein); your body recycles them to be rebuilt back into muscle. It is important that you get adequate caloric intake though, so make sure you eat enough, matching the calories you burn over the course of the day, which can be a challenge to people new to the WFPB lifestyle as the food calorie density is much lower than the standard western diet.




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