How Much Protein Do I Need?
It is widely believed that one can be deficient in protein, as with any nutrient, if not enough is consumed. The problem lies within the word “enough”; what is enough protein? As we at plantbased.ie repeatedly refer to, The World Health Organisation, the largest, non-commercial health organisation in existence, promotes a diet of 75% carbohydrates, with the remaining 25% from fat and protein
. Secondly, leading doctors in the plant-based field, such as T. Colin Campbell & Dr. Caldwell Esselstyne, advocate a diet of 10% protein as optimal for humans.
Finally, human breast milk, arguably the one food perfectly crafted by evolution to serve our health and growth needs (the most significant growth period in any human’s life is in the new-born stage) contains only 1%-2% protein
, the lowest of any mammalian breast milk content.
10% of dietary calories, should, therefore, be the universally accepted numeric value of protein required by humans. The world’s largest health organisation, respected medical professionals, and even nature all indicate or advocate a low protein diet as the optimal for human health. Any source or entity that claims humans need more than this tend to be selling some form of protein product or benefit financially from high demand & sales of this nutrient.
Protein Deficiency is a Myth
Kwashiorkor is the medical term for protein deficiency. The term first appeared in a study on childhood malnutrition, published by Dr. Cicely Williams in 1933
. In fact, her original paper centred around malnutrition as a whole, and did not explicitly identify protein deficiency; it merely stated that in malnourished children, “some amino acid or protein deficiency cannot be excluded”
. Like Dr. Atkin’s Diet revolution and carbohydrates, interpretations of this publication sparked a mass industrial & dietary movement on the nutrient of protein, which today is widely but wrongfully believed to be the most important nutrient. It is in fact equally important amongst the spectrum of other macronutrients, micronutrients, phytonutrients
Even Dr. Williams herself spent the final two decades of her professional life attempting to debunk the protein deficiency misinterpretation on her own research,
”For the last 20 years I’ve been spending my time trying to debunk kwashiorkor
” she was quoted as saying before her death. If one simply consumes enough calories, even exclusively from plants, they will achieve adequate levels of protein. Even white potatoes contain all essential amino acids
& are roughly 8% protein. Australian man Andrew Tailor spent 2016 eating nothing but potatoes, lost 50kg, reversed his heart disease
, and crucially, gained muscle mass in the process. He underwent full medical examination during and at the end of his mono-diet journey, and at no point was diagnosed with a protein deficiency.