Where do you get your protein?

I started reading a book about nutrition and health this week. It is very good and disturbing. Disturbing, because it really shows the lack of awareness about how nutrition effects our health. That is why I decided that for random Food Facts I will focus on the most common nutrition questions I get asked.

First, and the most popular, “Where do you get your protein?” 

Could be the most commonly asked question when people find out you don’t eat meat.

There are many sources of protein and most foods have a combination of nutrients. We need 6 major nutrients; carbohydrates, fats, protein, water, vitamins and minerals.

Most people eat too much protein. It is almost impossible to get too little. In a study that compared nutrient intake of 30,000 non-vegetarians, 20,000 vegetarians, 5,000 vegans and flexitarians everyone ate enough protein. Even the vegans and vegetarians ate 70% more than they needed.

How much do you need? If you are an adult, not pregnant and not an endurance athlete, than about 0.8 grams/ kg or multiply your body weight in pounds by 0.45

97% of North American adults get enough and more. What happens if you eat too much protein? Too much protein, especially when combined with low carbohydrate intake, increases the build up of ketones. Ketones are the result of  fat breakdown for fuel when there is insufficient carbohydrates.  This is the theory of high protein diets. Ketosis, the desired state of the high protein diet followers.

Ketosis has a few other side effects, such as dehydration, kidney damage, bone loss, heart palpitations, heart stress and loss of muscle mass. 

Another problem with our obsession with protein is that most meat eaters are deficient in one very important ingredient. 

Fiber.

97% of Americans are fiber deficient. Fiber only comes from plant sources. 50% of Americans believe that steak is a significant source of fiber.

You don’t really need to worry about your protein consumption. You are most likely getting more than enough. Add a few more fruits and vegetables to your diet and you could be eating more fiber than most people. The best part, there are no health risks to eating more fiber.

And the book I’m reading I would recommend it, you can buy it here. It’s called “How Not to Die”

Change your mind, change your health,

Shayla

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