The role of protein in the diet is often an emotional issue. If you wish to confirm this, try to take a steak away from a meat-eater. "But I need my protein" he cries. Tell your friends you are a vegetarian. They may look worried, disturbed—"Where do you get your protein?" they ask, as if you might drop dead at any time.
Perhaps never have so many been so confused over a subject about which they know so little. Much of the information the general public receives about protein comes from special interest groups such as the meat-packing and dairy industries. Consequently, the average person believes that eating large quantities of meat, eggs, milk, cheese, etc., is desirable.
They may be full of poisons; they may cause cancer: they may cause heart disease—but, they all furnish that magical substance called protein.
If we are to separate emotion from reason, and propaganda from facts, we must educate ourselves about the true need of the body for protein. We must discover how much protein we actually need, how we can best get it and, after all, just what it is.
Why We Need Protein
Protein is needed by the body for only two reasons: I) growth and 2) tissue repair and replacement. Protein is not necessary for muscular energy, increased activity or as a source of fuel.
Growth and Tissue Repair
Proteins support normal growth and maintenance of the body tissues.
Perhaps the role of protein in growth is best exemplified in the development of babies and newborn animals. A relatively high amount of protein is found in the milk of lactating mothers to insure healthy tissue growth in the young child. The protein needs are highest when growth is the fastest. For instance, compare the protein content in mother’s milk after the first six months of birth:
|Time After Birth||Percent Protein|
|From the 8th to 11th day||2.38|
|From the 20th to 40th day||1.79|
|From the 70th to 120th day||1.49|
|At the 170th day and later||1.07|
Notice that the highest protein contents occur during the earliest stages of growth to allow for rapid development of the baby. As the growth of the child begins to slow, so does the protein content found in the mother’s milk. It is also interesting to note that the percentage of protein found in mother’s milk is approximately the same as the protein content of most fruits and vegetables. For example, grapes have a 1.3% protein content, raspberries 1.5%, dates 2.2% and so on.
We can also find a relationship between the protein content of the milk of lactating animals and the growth rate of their young by studying the following chart:
|Number of Days for Newborn to Double Its Weight||Average Protein Percentage In Mother’s Milk|
The highest need for protein in the diet occurs for most animals during the above periods when the newborn is doubling its birth weight. It is important that we realize the protein content in mother’s milk, the optimum food nature has provided for rapid growth of the young, is far below the usual foods that are recommended because of their high protein content (such as meat, nuts, legumes, grains, etc.). Protein is indeed important for growth, but we might well question the alleged necessity for concentrated, high-protein foods.
Tissue Repair and Replacement
The second role of protein is in the repair of tissues or replacement of worn-out cells. After an organism reaches its full growth (usually between 18 and 22 years for humans), protein is needed only to supply the loss incidental to tissue waste. Cell degeneration and waste occur primarily because of toxicity in the body. If we adopt a lifestyle and diet that introduce a minimal amount of toxins into the body, then tissue waste will decrease significantly. As a result, actual protein needs will also diminish.
After an individual reaches adulthood, the only protein needs are for the repair and replacement of tissues that have deteriorated, due largely to body toxicity.
Not As A Fuel Source
Protein is not used directly as fuel for the body or for muscular activity. In muscular work, excretion of nitrogen as a result of protein usage increases only very slightly. Instead, it is the excretion of carbonic acid and absorption of oxygen that increase. These changes indicate that an expenditure of energy is derived mainly from non-nitrogenous foods (such as carbohydrates and fats) and not, from protein.
It is true that the body can use protein to generate fuel for physical activity, but it does so by breaking the protein down into a carbohydrate form. Protein is used as fuel only when there is either an excess of proteins or a lack of carbohydrates.
When this occurs, the body splits off the nitrogenous matter from the protein molecule and uses the remaining carbon contents to produce fuel. This process not only involves a net loss of energy, but it also places an unnecessary strain on the liver, kidneys and other organs to eliminate the unusable nitrogenous wastes.
It is for this reason that the popular high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets result in weight loss and also why they are dangerous. Since the body has to expend so much energy in converting the excess protein into the needed carbohydrates for fuel, a net loss occurs in the body and the dieter loses weight. At the same time, he also places a heavy burden on his kidneys to eliminate all the uric acid generated by this protein breakdown and simultaneously overworks an already exhausted liver.
If more physical activity is anticipated, it is only necessary to increase the carbohydrate intake of the diet. Proteins are very poor in fuel-efficiency and do not aid directly or efficiently in muscular activity.
How Much Protein Do We Need?
No other area of nutritional needs has been surrounded by so much controversy as the daily protein requirements. Nutritionists and scientists have made protein allowance recommendations that have varied as much as 600%. To arrive at a realistic estimate of our protein needs, we first need to understand how some of the current protein standards were derived.
We then need to study the actual protein intake requirements of healthy human beings following a traditional diet that has been in effect over several generations. In this manner, we can see how many of the protein allowances today have been inflated beyond normal health needs.
Background of Current Protein Recommendations
In the late nineteenth century. Baron von Liebig was the first person to separate foods into proteins (nitrogenous substances) and carbohydrates/fats (non-nitrogenous substances). Since the muscles are composed chiefly of protein. Liebig concluded (incorrectly) that proteins supply muscular energy and the amount of protein consumed must be related to bodily activity. In fact, it is actually the non-nitrogenous foods that supply the best fuel for muscular activity.
Liebig was one of the first scientists to make a recommendation for protein intake. He determined the body’s protein requirements by measuring the actual amounts of protein consumed by a group of men engaged in physical activity who ate a heavy diet. He reasoned that by measuring the protein intake of men who ate more than average and worked harder than usual, he could arrive at a safe recommended allowance of protein for all people. Such a technique for establishing a standard is somewhat akin to clocking race car drivers in order to establish a safe speed for schoolzones.
Anyway, based on this experiment Liebig determined that about 120 grams of protein daily would satisfy the needs of a moderately active adult. To obtain 120 grams of protein, a person would need to consume about 17 eggs or a pound and a half of meat or twenty ounces of almonds per day.
Following Liebig, Voit in 1881 performed a series of experiments on dogs and likewise determined that we should consume between 100 and 125 grams of protein a day. Doubtless, dogs can safely consume 125 grams of protein per day. The protein requirement for a growing puppy is five times as great as that for a growing baby. Voit, unfortunately, did not adjust his results to account for the differences between humans and dogs.
From the very beginning, we can see that protein requirements were artificially determined and excessively high. As early as 1887, experiments in Germany showed that 40 grams of protein was a sufficient daily amount about one-third of the current recommendations. The old standards of Liebig and Voit, however, were already firmly fixed in the minds of the medical establishment, and the belief persisted that a high-protein diet was conducive to health anyway, so why lower the recommendations?
After many more experiments proved that a daily protein intake of 30 to 40 grams was entirely sufficient, the establishment finally revised its recommendations down to 60 or 70 grams. Although only one-half of the early estimates, this figure is 50% too high, even by conservative nutritional standards. Today, with the support of the meat, dairy and egg industries, the protein allowances still remain around 70 grams per day. It should also be noted that a typical American meat-eater consumes about 93 grams of protein daily—more than anyone else in the world on the average.
True Protein Needs
Perhaps a more reasonable way of establishing true protein needs is to study the daily protein intake of groups of people who: 1) maintain a reasonable level of good health and 2) have followed a traditional diet over a long period of time. Even this method tells us little about what amount of protein a person must have, but it is an interesting case study that probably has more validity than laboratory experiments on dogs, etc.
For instance, in Japan there are farming districts where dietary habits have been established for hundreds of years (unlike most Western diets which have fluctuated and changed rapidly over the past eighty years or so). In these districts, a primarily vegetarian diet was followed, consisting of many greens, plums, wild fruits, roots and occasionally fish in small amounts. These farmers were in excellent health and performed heavy manual labor all through the day. They consumed an average of 37 grams of protein per day, about half the official recommendation.
On various islands in the Pacific are tribes of people who have followed the same diet for dozens of generations—fruits, roots and tubers. They enjoy excellent health and consume about 15 grams of protein a day.
Finally, a study was done by Dr. Jaffe of the University of California at Berkeley on the effects of a non-meat diet over several generations. He studied several generations of fruitarians, ranging from young children to adults whose diet consisted principally of all raw fruits, supplemented by occasional nuts and some honey. Their diets supplied them with about 24 to 33 grams of protein a day. None exhibited any signs of protein deficiency, nor of any other nutrient deficiency. In fact, he discovered all of them to be in exceptional health.
Obviously, if large groups of people around the world are existing in good health on 15 to 35 grams of protein a day, and have done so over several generations and hundreds of years, then protein recommendations of 70 grams can only be deemed excessive.
During the last sixty years, several researchers (Rose, Boyd, Berg, et al) all independently proved that between 3.7% and 4.65% of the total food intake was all the protein necessary to maintain good health. These percentages are equivalent to about 24 to 30 grams of protein.
Careful investigations by Dr. Max Rubner, director of the Hygienic Institute of the University of Berlin, showed that only 4% of the entire caloric intake had to be in the form of protein. On a 2,500 calorie diet, this is about 100 calories of protein or about 28 grams.
Although Natural Hygiene and Life Science do not endorse gram-counting, calorie-counting or a preoccupation with minimal daily requirements, it seems that a reasonable estimate of the protein needs of an adult is probably in the 25 to 30 grams daily range — or about 1 gram per five pounds of body weight. If a person eats a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts, he is assured that he will meet this protein requirement, along with all the other nutrient needs.
Excessive Protein Is Harmful
It is important that we have a realistic idea of the body’s true protein needs because of the damage that may occur when we eat far beyond those needs. Almost every American consumes an excessive amount of protein, even by highly-inflated government standards. A protein-deficient diet is rare in this country, although nutrient-poor diets are the norm. Protein poisoning from an excessive amount of protein is more common than a true deficiency.
When protein is consumed in greater amounts than can be processed by the body, toxicity results from the excessive amount of nitrogen in the blood. This extra nitrogen accumulates as kinotoxin in the muscles and causes chronic fatigue.
Proteinosis, or acute protein poisoning, causes headaches and a general aching. Various symptoms of protein poisoning, such as a burning of the mouth, lips and throat, rashes, etc., are very similar to the symptoms attributed to allergies. In fact, many so-called allergies may be cases of protein poisoning instead.
A high-protein diet eventually destroys the entire glandular system. It overworks the liver and places a heavy strain on the adrenals and kidneys to eliminate the toxins it creates. In many people, symptoms of arthritis have disappeared after they adopted a low-protein diet.
Protein Supplements are Harmful
It is for these and other reasons that protein supplements should never be used. Protein supplements, by supplying the body with an excessive amount of nitrogen, throw it out of balance and can actually contribute to other nutritional deficiencies. The body must try to eliminate the protein it cannot use that is found in these supplements, and an additional burden is placed on the body.
Also, protein supplements are made from fragmented foods such as soy powder, dried egg whites, powdered milk, etc. When foods are eaten in a processed and fragmented state, they tend to oversupply the body with some nutrients while creating a deficiency of other nutrients. Consequently, protein supplements, besides supplying an excessive and harmful amount of protein, also disrupt the body’s nutritional balance.
Brewers yeast, a popular high-protein supplement, contributes to uric acid formation in the body. It is a waste product of the brewing industry, resulting when the barley is turned into malt. The industry then has no use for it. It is a “dead” food, because it’s heated before marketing to destroy the yeast organisms.
Dried egg whites result in constipation; soy powders have enzymes which actually inhibit the absorption of some of the amino acids; using powdered milk results in the formation of mucus (to aid in its removal from the body), and so on. All of these commonly-used protein supplements will be discussed in later lessons. None of them is ever necessary and they should never be included in the diet.
What Are Proteins?
We know now why we need protein in our diet, but what actually is protein? If you ask the average person what is the first thing that comes into his mind when you say “protein,” he will most likely respond with “meat.” Is protein simply meat or eggs or nuts?
Protein is one of the three categories for all foods, the other two being carbohydrates and fats. Proteins are highly complex compounds of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and small amounts of sulphur or iodine. They are present in the protoplasm of every living cell and are involved in every organic activity of an organism.
Principal Proteins and Their Chemical Compositions
There are many different types of proteins within the bodies of animals and plants. For example, all plants have at least two different types of protein, and within the human body are over 100,000 different kinds of proteins. Although all of these proteins differ in their molecular structure, they all have approximately the same chemical composition of 53% carbon, 22% oxygen, 17% nitrogen, 7% hydrogen and 1% sulphur, iodine, etc.
The principal vegetable proteins are albumin (found in fruits and vegetables), gluten (in wheat and cereals), legumin (in peas and beans), globulin (in nuts) and mucleo-protein (in peas and beans), globulin (in nuts) and muco-protein (in seeds). Some of the animal proteins are casein(found in
milk and dairy products), gelatin (in bones and tendons), fibrin (in blood) and myosin (in the flesh of animals).
All of these proteins are composed of amino acids. An amino acid is simply a substructure of a protein compound. You can think of protein as being chains of amino acids that are linked together to form one structure.
For example, a protein compound known as globulin exists in pumpkin seeds. It is composed of the following elements:
|Element||Number of Atoms in the Molecule|
Within this globulin protein molecule are chains of amino acids that make up the compound.
In the following example, an amino acid called isoleucine is contained within this protein molecule. It is composed of the following elements:
|Element||Number of Atoms in the Amino Acid|
Amino Acids Are the Building Blocks
You can see that many amino acids are necessary to form one protein compound. In many cases, several different types of amino acids are in the same protein molecule. It is these amino acids that are important to the body, and this is what the body uses protein for.
When you hear the word “protein” now, you should think of “amino acids.”
The Importance Of Amino Acids
Many different proteins are known, but all of them are constructed from 23 principal amino acids. These amino acids are the building blocks of all vegetable and animal protein. A molecule of protein may contain as many as several hundred or even thousands of these amino acids.
These amino acids are linked together within the protein molecule in a unique fashion known as peptide linkage. A specific protein contains a variety of amino acids linked together in a sequence specific to that protein.
The body cannot use or assimilate protein in its original state as eaten. The protein must first be digested and split into its component amino acids. The body can then use these amino acids to construct the protein it needs. The ultimate value of a food protein, then, lies in its amino acid composition.
It is the amino acids that are the essential nutrients. The proper study of the role of protein in nutrition can only be done with a thorough understanding of the amino acids.
Sources of Amino Acids
Amino acids are the end products of protein digestion. When protein is eaten, enzymes in the stomach and small intestine begin to break the linkages within the protein molecule and produce shorter and shorter chains of amino acids. Eventually, the amino acids are in a simplified enough chemical form so that they can pass through the intestinal walls into the bloodstream. They are then carried by the portal vein to the liver for elaboration and passed on to the blood, lymph and cells. The cells synthesize the amino acids into proteins as required.
This simplified description of the digestion and assimilation of protein applies to exogenous protein. Exogenous protein is the term for protein obtained through the diet or from outside of the body.
Protein may also be obtained from within the body. This is called endogenous protein. Endogenous protein does not come directly from the foods we eat, but from the synthesis of proteins from within the body.
Obtaining protein from the diet is common knowledge. The fact that the body can synthesize protein from its own proteinaceous wastes, however, is not widely known.
As the body’s cells undergo their natural catabolic processes, they produce proteinaceous wastes in the form of spent cells and other by-products of their own metabolism. These proteinaceous products enter the lymph fluid.
Other cells in the body are able to ingest these spent proteins and to digest them in vesicles (“stomachs”) of their own formation. The body’s cells are thus able to break these proteinaceous wastes down into amino acids and use them to synthesize their own protein.
Endogenous protein (or protein from within the body) is an important source of amino acids that is often overlooked by conventional nutrition writers. Many times, up to two-thirds of the body’s total protein needs are supplied through endogenous protein and not from exogenous dietary sources.
The Amino Acid Pool
From the digestion of proteins in the diet and from the recycling of proteinaceous wastes, the body has all the different amino acids circulating in the blood and lymphatic system. When cells need these amino acids, they appropriate them from the blood or lymph. This continually-circulating available supply of amino acids is known as the amino acid pool.
The amino acid pool is like a bank that is open twenty-four hours. The liver and the cells are continually making deposits and withdrawals of amino acids, depending upon the concentration of amino acids in the blood.
When the number of amino acids is high, the liver absorbs and stores them until needed. As the amino acid level in the blood falls due to withdrawals by the cells, the liver deposits
some of the stored amino acids back into circulation.
The cells also have the capacity to store amino acids. If the amino acid content of the blood falls or if some other cells require specific amino acids, the cells are able to release their stored amino acids into circulation. Since most of the body’s cells synthesize more proteins than are necessary to support the life of the cell, the cells can reconvert their proteins into amino acids and make deposits into the amino acid pool.
Between the deposits and withdrawals by the liver and cells, there is a continual flux of amino acids in the blood and plasma. This circulating source of amino acids, as well as the potential availability of the amino acids stored within the liver and the cells, makes up the important amino acid pool. This pool of amino acids is very important in understanding why complete proteins are not necessary in the diet and will be discussed later in this lesson.
The Specific Amino Acids and Their Functions
Specific Amino Acids—Descriptions and Sources
The following descriptions of the amino acids include their most important functions and some of the food sources in which they are found.
ALANINE — Is a factor in regulating the adrenal glands and insuring healthy skin, particularly the scalp. It is found in almonds, alfalfa sprouts, apples, apricots, avocadoes, carrots, celery, cucumbers, grapes, lettuces, oranges, strawberries, sweet peppers and tomatoes.
ARGININE — Is used in muscle contraction and the construction of cartilage. It is essential in the functioning of the reproductive organs and in controlling the degeneration of the body cells. Arginine is found in alfalfa sprouts, beets, carrots, celery, cucumbers, lettuces, parsnips, potatoes and turnips.
ASPARTIC ACID — Is used in cardiovascular functions and in the retarding of tooth and bone destruction. It is found in almonds, apples, apricots, carrots, celery, cucumbers, grapefruits, lemons, pineapples, tomatoes and watermelons.
CYSTINE — Is used in the formation of red blood corpuscles and is involved in hair growth and the functioning of the mammary glands. It is found in alfalfa sprouts, apples, brazil nuts, beets, brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, currants, cauliflower, filberts, kale, pineapples and raspberries.
GLUTAMIC ACID — Is used in maintaining blood-sugar levels. Anemia will not occur if this and other nutrients are obtained and used. Glutamic acid is also a factor in the secretion of gastric juices. It is found in brussels sprouts cabbages, carrots, celery, green beans, lettuces and papayas
GLYCINE — Is a factor in forming muscle fiber and cartilage and in regulating sex hormones. It is found in alfalfa sprouts, almonds, carrots, celery, okra, oranges, potatoes, pomegranates, raspberries, turnips and water melons.
HISTIDINE — Is used in manufacturing glycogen and in the control of mucus. It is a component of hemoglobin and semen. It is found in alfalfa sprouts, applet, beets, carrots, celery, cucumbers, endive, papayas, pineapples and pomegranates.
HYDROXYGLUTAMIC ACID — Is similar to glutamic acid and is a factor in controlling digestive juices. It is found in carrots, celery, grapes, lettuces, plums, raspberries and tomatoes.
HYDROXYPROLINE — Aids in liver and gallbladder functions, in emulsifying fats and in the formation of red blood corpuscles. It is found in almonds, apricots, avocadoes, brazil nuts, beets, carrots, cherries, cucumbers, coconuts, figs, grapes, lettuces, oranges, pineapples and raisins.
IODOGORGOIC ACID — Is a factor in all glandular functions. It is found in carrots, celery, lettuces, pineapples and tomatoes.
ISOLEUCINE — Aids in the regulation of the thymus, spleen, pituitary and the metabolism. It is also a factor in forming hemoglobin, lsoleucine is found in .avocadoes, coconuts, papayas, sunflower seeds and almost all nuts.
LEUCINE — Counterbalances the isoleucine amino acid and is found in the same food sources.
LYSINE — Aids in the functions of the liver, gallbladder and pineal and mammary glands. It is also a factor in fat metabolism and in preventing cell degeneration. Lysine is found in alfalfa sprouts, apples, apricots, beets, carrots, celery, cucumbers, grapes, papayas, pears and soybean sprouts.
METHIONINE — Aids in the functioning of the spleen, pancreas and lymph glands. It is a constituent of hemoglobin and tissues and is found in apples, brazil nuts, cabbages, cauliflower, filberts, kale and pineapples.
NORLEUC1NE — Balances the functions of leucine. Synthesized within the body if needed.
PHENYLALANINE — Is involved in the functions of the kidneys and bladder and in eliminating wastes. It is found in apples, beets, carrots, pineapples and tomatoes.
PROLINE — Involved in manufacturing white corpuscles and in the emulsifying of fats. It is found in apricots, avocadoes. almonds, beets, brazil nuts, carrots, cherries, coconuts, cucumbers, figs, grapes, oranges, pineapples and raisins.
SERINE — Aids in the tissue cleansing of the mucus membrane and in the lungs and bronchial. It is found in alfalfa sprouts, apples, beets, carrots, celery, cucumbers, cabbages, papayas and pineapples.
THREONINE — Aids in the balancing of amino acids. Threonine is found in alfalfa sprouts, carrots, green leafy vegetables and papayas.
THYROXINE — Involved with the activity of the thyroid, pituitary and adrenals and in metabolic functions. It is found in carrots, celery, lettuces, tomatoes and pineapples.
TRYPTOPHANE— Involved in the generation of cells and tissues and in the pancreatic and gastric juices. Tryptophane is also a factor in the optic system. It is found in alfalfa sprouts, beets, carrots, celery, green beans and turnips.
TYROSINE — Is a factor in the development of the cells and tissues and in the generation of red and white blood corpuscles. It is also found in the adrenals, pituitary, thyroid and hair. Food sources of this amino acid are alfalfa sprouts, almonds, apricots, apples, beets, carrots, cucumbers, cherries, figs, lettuces, sweet peppers, strawberries and watermelons.
VALINE — Involved in the functioning of the mammary glands and ovaries. It is found in apples, almonds, beets, carrots, celery, okra. pomegranates, squashes and tomatoes.
Functions of Amino Acids
We can say that, generally, the amino acids serve five functions in the body:
- They furnish the material from which proteins are synthesized by various cells.
- They are used by the cells in manufacturing enzymes, hormones and other nitrogenous products.
- They are used in constructing blood protein.
- They may furnish a source of energy, with some of the amino acids being transformed into glucose and glycogen.
- They aid the body in performing many functions as described in their individual descriptions.
Amino Acids—Essential and Non-Essential
Essential Amino Acids
Of the 23 amino acids, eight are termed essential. These are isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophane and valine. It is also said that a ninth amino acid, histidine, is essential for infants.
An “essential amino acid” is an amino acid that the body cannot produce by reduction (oxidation) from another amino acid. In other words, an essential amino acid must be found in a food source and cannot be produced within the body.
Non-Essential Amino Acids
The remaining 15 amino acids are termed “non-essential.” but this term is somewhat misleading. They are essential to our health and well-being, but it is not essential that they be present in the foods we eat (provided that there is an adequate supply of the essential amino acids in our diet).
Now that we have an understanding of the amino acids, we can intelligently discuss one of the biggest myths in nutrition—the necessity of eating complete proteins.
A complete protein is usually defined as* a single or combined protein source which has all eight of the essential amino acids. Meat, for example, is said to be a complete protein, and so are eggs, dairy products, soybeans and many nuts.
It has been suggested by some individuals and groups that a complete protein (or a combination of proteins that will provide certain proportionate amounts of the eight essential amino acids) be eaten at every meal to make sure that we obtain all eight of the essential amino acids, preferably in certain proportions.
Are Not Essential In the Diet
This idea of a “complete protein” has been so heavily advertised by special interest groups, such as the meat and dairy industries, that the average person believes he must eat meat (or at least milk and eggs if a “vegetarian”) or at the very least prepare protein combinations such as grains and beans or take protein supplements in order to get enough high-quality protein. All of these beliefs are false and. in fact, may lead to practices which increase the toxicity in the body.
This is an important concept in understanding protein needs: It is not necessary for all eight of the essential amino acids to be present in one food or even within one meal in order to obtain our full protein needs. As we have discussed, the body has its own amino acid pool to draw from to supply amino acids which may be missing from dietary sources.
Needed amino acids may be withdrawn from those already in circulation, or the necessary amino acids may be released by the liver or other cells into the circulatory system. The amino acid pool thus acts as the supplier of the essential amino acids missing from incomplete proteins. This fact is proven by observing patients after lengthy fasts who exhibited not a protein deficiency, but a restored protein balance.
Only the carnivorous animals in nature eat “complete proteins.” Most of the vegetarian animals eat grass, tubers, fruits, grains, etc. and often of a limited variety. Yet they never exhibit signs of protein deficiency. In fact, protein poisoning from eating high-protein foods is far more common among Western man than is protein deficiency.
The “complete protein” idea also falls apart if we realise that the amino acids in many of the so-called complete protein foods cannot even be fully used by the body. Meat as eaten, for example, is usually only the muscle meat of the animal, which is particularly low in some of the essential amino acids.
The soybean has an anti-enzyme factor which blocks or inhibits the assimilation of some of its essential amino acids. Proteins which have been cooked or heated (such as meat. fish, eggs and most dairy products) may lose-up to 50% or more of their essential amino acids due to the creation of enzyme resistant linkages caused by the cooking. So we can see that many of the so-called “complete proteins” are not even completely used by the body.
Are Present In Wholesome foods
If you are truly concerned about eating a food that has all eight essential amino acids which are in a form easily used by the body, we would suggest some of these wholesome foods.
All contain the eight essential amino acids:
| ||Sunflower Seeds||Eggplants|
| ||Walnuts||Sweet Potatoes|
| ||Brazil Nuts||Broccoli|
| || ||Corn|
| || ||Okra|
| || ||Squashes|
There are many other foods suitable for the human dietary which also contain all eight essential amino acids.
It should be emphasized, however, that it is not necessary for one food or one meal or one day’s intake of food to contain all eight essential amino acids. We do not need to eat meat, cheese or soybeans to obtain complete protein, nor do we need to mix grains and beans or milk and cereals to get a complete protein in one meal.
A varied diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts can furnish us with all the essential and non-essential amino acids, along with all the other nutrients we need. And, it can do so in the most wholesome foods suitable for the human diet and in a form most readily and efficiently used.
Protein And The Optimum (Life Science) Diet
So far we have discussed what protein is, why we need it and how much we require. Now it is time to examine the optimum diet for obtaining all our protein needs. A diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts can furnish us with the highest quality protein in a form that is readily digested and assimilated.
The protein in this diet is best for the human body for the, following reasons:
- It is consumed in its raw state;
- It is free from toxins and poisons that accompany many other protein sources;
- It is present in wholesome foods along with other needed nutrients;
- It is easily digested and assimilated by the body; and
- It is of sufficiently high quality and quantity to meet all the body’s requirements.
Raw Protein Is The Best
The Hygienic or Life Science diet includes proteins only in their raw form. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts do not require cooking to increase their palatability or digestibility.
When proteins are subjected to high heat during cooking, enzyme-resistant linkages are formed between the amino acid chains. Consequently, the body cannot break these amino acids down for its use. What the body cannot use, it must eliminate. The cooked proteins then actually become a source of toxic matter within the body.
When wholesome protein foods are eaten raw, the body can make maximum use of all the amino acids without the accompanying toxins of cooked foods. It should be noted that some high-protein foods, such as soybeans and lima beans, have naturally occurring toxins which are said to be neutralized by heat. It is best not to eat these types of proteins since the cooking process does not totally remove the toxic effect these foods create.
Wholesome Proteins Are Non-Toxic
Proteins consumed in the Hygienic diet are also free from the poisons and toxins that often accompany other protein sources. We have already mentioned the toxins present in many legumes (which, incidentally, are best neutralized by sprouting the legume instead of cooking it). Similarly, most grains (with the exception of young fresh corn) cannot be digested when eaten raw.
The cooked grains, however, still contain the toxic by-products from inhibitory enzymes present in the grains. Although legumes and grains are not a proper part of the Life Science diet, they are not nearly as toxic or poisonous as the other traditional protein sources:. meat, milk, dairy products, fish and eggs.
Not only do meat, milk, dairy products, fish and eggs contain naturally-occurring toxins injurious to the body, but they are also often poisoned during the producing and selling of them. Since the unsuitability of these foods is discussed elsewhere in this course, only a few facts about their drawbacks as protein sources need be mentioned:
- Meat and fish contain naturally-occurring toxins due to decaying cell nuclei in the flesh as well as toxins the animal itself releases when it is killed.
- Meat has many pesticides and additives, including but not limited to the following: methoxychlor, chlordane, heptachlor, toxaphene, lindane, benzene, hexachloride, aldrin, dieldrin, DDT, sex hormones, stilbestrol, nitrates, nitrites, etc.
- Meat, eggs and dairy products contain over ten times as much pesticide as commercially-sprayed fruits and vegetables.
- Eggs are usually produced on a high chemical-hormone diet and are totally nonconsonant with the human digestive physiology.
- Milk is poorly tolerated by the majority of the world’s population and contains the hormones that are produced in the cow as a result of the artificially induced and prolonged lactation. This writer personally knows a young girl who began lactating due solely to a diet that was heavy in hormone-laden dairy products.
- Meat, fish, eggs and dairy products are the major contributors to cholesterol problems.
Wholesome Protein Foods Contain A Wide Variety of Nutrients
Proteins consumed in the Hygienic diet occur in wholesome foods which contain a wide variety of needed nutrients. Many of the traditional high-protein foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, grains, etc. are usually poor in many vital nutrients.
For example, meat is an exceedingly poor mineral source; cow’s milk is so iron-poor that a growing baby must use its own stored iron supplies in the spleen for normal growth; grains are so low in sodium that people add salt to them for palatability.
On the other hand, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts are rich sources of all the minerals, vitamins and enzymes we need, besides being a source of high-quality protein. The Hygienic diet provides us with a totally balanced supply of all vital nutrients as they naturally occur within whole foods.
For instance, for efficient protein use, an adequate amount of carbohydrates must be present. Otherwise, the proteins are converted to carbohydrate fuel for the body and the protein is not used for its original purpose. Meat is so poor in carbohydrates that much of its protein must be used as a secondary and inefficient fuel source for the body. Fruits, vegetables and nuts, however, have a large supply of natural carbohydrates so the body can use all the protein contained within these foods for its original purpose and not create toxic byproducts through unnecessary protein conversion.
Wholesome Protein Is Easily Digested and Assimilated
Protein in the Hygienic diet is easily digested and assimilated, The Life Science diet stresses the importance of eating compatible foods for ease of digestion. Since protein digestion is the most complex gastric process, it is important that protein foods be eaten in proper combinations with other foods.
For instance, naturally occurring high-protein foods such as nuts, seeds and avocadoes should be eaten with non-starchy and leafy green vegetables for the best results. Salad vegetables aid in the digestion of concentrated proteins and “also supply high-quality amino acids of their own.
In a typical diet, proteins are often combined with starches: meat and potatoes, grains and beans, milk and cereal, and so on. Starches and proteins require completely different digestive environments and enzymes, and when eaten together, neither is fully digested or used by the body. As a result, most protein eaten in a conventional diet which ignores proper food combining is not fully digested by the body.
Protein in a Hygienic Diet Meets All Our Needs
The protein in a Hygienic diet is of sufficiently high quality to meet all the body’s requirements. All essential and non-essential amino acids may be obtained from a diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts.
A varied diet of these wholesome foods eaten in their natural state can provide all our protein requirements without concern for the exact number of grams of protein consumed. It is not necessary when eating a natural diet to be preoccupied with obtaining any specific nutrient.
They are all supplied in abundance, including protein. Simply for the sake of scientific validity, and not as a regular practice, we have chosen some examples of Hygienic menus in order to analyze their protein contents.
All of these menus and suggestions have been devised to furnish 30 grams of protein to an adult weighing 150 pounds. This is equivalent to one gram per five pounds of body weight. More or less protein may be required, depending upon body weight, metabolism, body toxicity, etc.
Daily Menu Suggestions To Supply 30 Grams of Protein
|Food||Ounces||Grams of Protein|
| Vegetable Salad||11.0||7.4|
|Total prams of Protein||30.0|
|Total Grams of Protein||30.0|
| Figs (fresh)||16.0||5.4|
|Total Grams of Protein||30.0|
Of course, we do not suggest that food be weighed or eaten in ounces; nor should we eat according to predetermined menus. These are only suggestions as to what one person might desire to eat in a day. If he did so, he would obtain 30 grams of protein with all the essential amino acids.
It is better to eat according to hunger and body need and not according to grams, ounces or nutrient charts. When presented with a variety of wholesome foods, the body naturally selects the foods it needs to satisfy its particular requirements at that time.
Frequently Asked Questions
When I stop eating high-protein foods I feel weak. Doesn't this prove we need these foods?
Actually, just the opposite. High-protein foods create an enormous amount of toxins in the body. When we stop eating those foods for a period of time, the body has an opportunity to eliminate those toxins. It is the elimination of the poisons from the body caused by a previous high-protein diet that causes this weakness—not a lack of protein. It is best to fast (for short periods of time or one longer fast) and allow the body to rid itself of these toxins. Then, you will feel quite strong eating those foods normally thought to be low in protein.
Is protein combining harmful. I read a good book about it.
Unfortunately, most books on protein combining suggest eating two or more concentrated protein foods together at the same time. Different proteins require different digestive processes, and combining two heavy foods, like grains and beans for example, makes the body work too hard. Some protein combinations, like milk and cereals, for example, are so indigestible that little if any good can come from eating them. Quite simply, the ideal protein combinations are those that require the same digestive processes. Nuts and leafy greens, for example, complement each other's ammo acids and at the same time are agreeable food combinations.
I can't digest nuts and seeds. Can I still get my protein from this diet?
Most definitely. Nuts and seeds are concentrated proteins—all the foods in the Hygienic diet
contain protein. If you eat a calorie-sufficient diet of fruits, vegetables and sprouts, you can obtain all the amino acids that you require. Avocadoes are sometimes better tolerated than nuts and seeds, and they too have a high concentration of protein. In time, as your health improves, you will probably gain greater digestive abilities and you will be able to eat moderate amounts of nuts and seeds.
Shouldn't we eat a high-protein breakfast?
I can't imagine why. The idea behind a high-protein breakfast is that it will give us "energy" throughout the day. Actually, it has the opposite effect because protein digestion is the most complex digestive process of all. If you want energy in the morning, eat a high-carbohydrate breakfast of fruits. Better yet give your body a rest from food in the morning. Soon you will be able to function at a higher level of energy than when you ate a heavy breakfast.
I'm a weight lifter, and I feel that I need protein supplements. Aren't I an exception?
Weight lilting and other strenuous physical activities primarily call for an increase in the consumption of natural carbohydrates for muscle fuel. While it is true that protein is used in building muscle tissue. I must refer you to the gorilla or the elephant. These are well-muscled animals. They eat no high-protein foods, take no protein supplements and drink no special protein drinks. In fact, they build their musculature from greens and fruits. If you feel that you need concentrated protein. I suggest seeds or nuts in moderation. Athletes who eat a very high-protein diet (as is the ease with weight lifters) often develop gout later in life and experience severe kidney problems.