Plant-Based Nutrition

The Athletic Protein Obsession

Today, it seems that there is quite an obsession with protein and a widespread phobia of carbohydrates, with no thought at all given to fiber.  Most athletes, especially, have such a concern for protein intake that they include in their daily regimen many protein products, whether they are shakes, snacks, or anything that advertises protein.  However, an overabundance of protein is extremely detrimental.  An abundance of protein is taxing on bones, as well as the liver, kidneys, and other precious organs, while decreasing athletic performance and also promoting every single stage of cancer growth.  Not only that, the cancer it promotes may take months or even 10 years to develop after first exposure. This idea that we need so much protein has given all of us enough rope to hang ourselves.  It is the first question or objection in any discussion about plant-based diets with the average lay person.

The truth is that we only need 5-10 percent of calories from protein.  For individuals, both male and female, whether sedentary or extremely active, protein requirements only vary from 30-70 grams a day.  That is extremely easy to accomplish on a plant-based diet.  For example, in a 2,000-calorie amount of oats, over 80 grams of protein can be provided, while there are 80 grams in corn if 3,000 calories are consumed.  There are 40 grams of protein in 2,000 calories of watermelon, as well.  Who would have guessed that there are higher amounts of protein in broccoli than in beef?  We can plainly see that, when one is consuming enough calories, one is consuming enough protein.  At Cornell, we were taught that adults cannot increase muscle mass by consuming excess amounts of protein.  Muscle formation is dependent upon genetics, hormones, and exercise. Consuming excessive amounts of protein also is harmful because it can lead to fat deposits, nitrogen imbalances, dehydration, and it reduces the amount of carbohydrate consumption, which affects the glycogen in the muscles.  Therefore, a Whole Food, Plant-Based diet is extremely valuable for all individuals because it provides adequate amounts of protein without taxing the body, while also providing the carbohydrates, fiber, nutrients and minerals that are needed for optimal health.

Danica De La Mora

Here’s a video of Rip Esselstyn. He outlines the importance of good health through nutrition in under 20 minutes.

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