Does this sound like bias from a militant vegan? Consider this. The Food and Drug Administration, yes the United States FDA, conducted an evaluation called the Total Diet Study that found bacon had 48 different pesticide residues, bologna and other luncheon meats had 102 different industrial pollutants and pesticides, fast food hamburgers had 113 residues, hot dogs had 123, and ground beef had 82 industrial and chemical residues. I’m sure the FDA wasn’t jumping for joy when they had to release those results, but chances are they didn’t call in the media for a press conference either.
It is often that we hear people ask how vegetarians and vegans get their protein, so once in a while I like to post the truth about how much protein we need. You will not find this in most fitness magazines, but you will find hundreds of “studies” conducted by the people selling supplements themselves that state you need considerably more protein than you actually need, especially if you want to be bulked up like the models in their pictures!
More Protein = Giant Muscles (not)
Most people are conditioned to think that we need more protein than we do, and that it is healthiest to attain that protein from animal sources. That fact is that people are wrong on both accounts. People who have worked out at a gym or who have worked with a personal trainer have heard for years how we need to eat much more protein if we are to build muscles, and usually they are the ones that can sell it to us! I cringe when I see high school kids pouring scoop after scoop of whey protein into their post workout drink because they think that 3 times what is recommended will make their muscles three times as big!
Although protein is an energy source, it is not a major one. They are many other vital roles that protein plays for our metabolism and the body will only metabolize them for energy when the other energy nutrients are not available. Our skin, hair, muscles, and multitude of enzymes that keep us alive and active are made up mostly of protein, and our body is made up of at least 10,000 different ones. Protein also plays the role replacing worn out cells, transporting various substances throughout the body, and aiding in the growth and repair of our tissues and muscles.
Are animals the only source of protein?
If this was the case, there would be a lot of dead vegan and vegetarian people out there. Yet this is the question we get 90 % of the time after learning we are vegans. Although we do not influence our lifestyle on others, it is important for people to know that there are much healthier sources of protein than animal products. In Walter Willett’s bestselling book, Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, it states that worldwide surveys of protein consumption and heart disease death rates hint that the more animal protein in the diet, the more heart disease, and the more vegetable protein, the less heart disease. It also reflects that there are studies that hint that people who regularly eat hot dogs, bologna, bacon, and other processed meats are more likely to develop type II diabetes than those who don’t.
Next week I will talk about the risks with consuming protein from animals, so keep an open mind and if you are skeptical, do a little research over the weekend and you will be amazed at what you find when you discover our true protein requirements.