The Problems With Protein

2. The Problems With Protein

The following conditions may result from too much protein in the diet:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Kidney damage
  3. Constipation
  4. Tumors and cancerous growths
  5. Biochemical imbalances in the tissues (overacidity)
  6. Arthritis
  7. Bone-loss (osteoporosis)

Let’s look at some of these problems caused by an excessive protein diet in more detail.

2.1 Eat Your Meat, Lose Your Bones

As people on a traditional diet grow older, they often experience “bone loss” or osteoporosis. Bone loss usually occurs more often in elderly women than anyone else, but almost everyone who eats a high-meat and protein diet will suffer from some amount of bone loss, and this includes children as well as mature adults.

Bone loss, or osteoporosis, occurs when calcium is removed from the bones of the body in order to fulfill the body’s metabolic requirements for this stored mineral. Why does the body need so much calcium that it must rob its own bones?

Quite simply, the answer, according to medical researcher Dr. Robert Heaney, is that “the more protein

you take in, the more calcium you excrete.” His studies have shown that a diet that contains 50% more protein than is needed may result in as much as one percent loss of bone per year.

Since almost every woman (and man) in this country exceeds the 50% excessive protein amount, bone loss does occur in about 98% of the population,. What are the dangers of the bone loss?

One of the most obvious signs of bone loss occurs around the teeth and under the gum lines of the mouth. As bone is lost or removed from the jaw, the teeth loosen and eventually decay or fall out. Most so-called gum disease in this country comes from bone loss.

Another very obvious danger of bone loss is the tendency of older people to crack their bones after a minor fall. The hips especially are susceptible to bone loss in elderly women, and there have been many instances where these women’s hips have actually snapped under the body’s own weight.

A high-protein diet can cause a total bone loss of 1 % or more per year. This means that a normally healthy woman of 25 years could lose up to half of her bone structure by the time she reaches 75 years, if she continues to eat the typical high-meat, high-protein diet of twentieth-century America.

2.2 Protein: A Kick In The Kidneys

If protein is not needed by the body for tissue synthesis (or rebuilding the body), it is returned to the liver. In the liver a process called deamination takes place which separates the amino acids into a nitrogenous residue and non-nitrogenous residue. The nitrogen portion undergoes a series of chemical changes and is converted into urea by the liver and excreted in the urine.

Intake of protein greatly in excess of the body’s needs creates extra work for the liver. Excessive protein also creates extra work for the kidneys. Ideally, it is their job to remove excess acids, the deaminated group of chemicals being most suitably disposed of when excreted as urea.

When a high-protein diet is followed, the kidneys soon become overworked as they try to eliminate all the toxic by-products of protein metabolism.

David A. Phillips, a Hygienist author and lecturer from Australia, observes that: “The premature breakdown of kidneys in the Western world no longer surprises one when it is realized that the body’s protein intake has risen all out of proportion to its needs.” This condition is unfortunately compounded when the nature of the protein is more complex and more prone to create a high-acid residue, such as characterizes animal proteins.

Dr. Herbert M. Shelton, writing on the effects of a high-protein diet on the kidneys, states: “In middle-aged adults perfectly normal kidneys are the exception rather than the rule. By a careful selection of a low-nitrogen (low-protein) diet, it is possible to reduce the amount of work required of the kidneys to a level at which they are able to keep the waste products in the blood within normal limits.”

Uric acid in the bloodstream, besides overworking the kidneys, is a preliminary to the later development of gout or arthritis, both conditions being invariably traceable to excessive, unsuitable protein in the diet.

2.3 Protein: Are Those Just Rumors About Tumors?

According to a recent popular survey, one of the things that Americans fear more than death itself is cancer and the painful, lingering death that ensues.

And no wonder. Cancer seems to creep up on us in the twilight of our lives—silent, unwarning, implacable, and uncontrollable. It is the death sentence that twentieth century man passes upon himself, and we fear it as much as any inevitable executioner or, faceless murderer.

Yet we create cancer in our own bodies with every bite we take of processed, refined, and preserved foods. And the biggest offenders are the traditional high-protein foods—cheese, eggs, and especially meat.

In 1982, the National Academy of Sciences suggested that there is a strong link between animal product foods high in protein and occurring cancers of the breast, prostrate, and colon. In fact, Dr. Colin Campbell, a member of the panel who studied the link between diet and cancer had this to say:

“The weight of the evidence certainly points to a link between high-protein foods and resultant cancers.

You don’t hear too much about it because consumption of animal products is a big industry in this country. It’s also a status symbol. But the result is that there’s a higher level of breast cancer here than in countries where people eat fewer animal products.”

By now it should be old news that cancer is related to the consumption of animal products high in fat (meat, dairy products, eggs, etc.). Heavy beef eating is directly related to the high incidence of colon and rectum cancer in this and other predominantly meat-eating populations. Almost ten years ago, Dr. Ernest Wynder announced to the Greater Boston Medical Society that dietary fat and animal protein combine with bacteria in the colon to form acids which are linked to tumor formations. He also said that evidence furthermore shows that such high-protein, high-fat foods are also implicated in tumors of the breast, pancreas, kidneys, ovaries, and prostrate.

Although animal protein is the biggest offender, all high and concentrated protein foods have the potential of becoming carcinogenic. Excessive protein, whether from animals or vegetable sources (seeds, nuts, beans, grains), decomposes or rots in the stomach and turns into poisonous ammonia. This ammonia in turn produces nitrosamines. Nitrosamines, according to biochemist Dr. Lijinsky, are “among the most potent cancer-causing chemicals known.”

Malignant tumors require amino acids for growth that only protein foods can supply. The high-protein requirement for cancerous growths comes, as a rule, from eating animal carcasses (meat). Tumors have been described by some researchers as “traps” for excess nitrogen in the body. In controlled experiments, the rate of a tumorous growth increased twice as fast when concentrated protein was added to the diet.

Many recovered cancer patients must limit their protein intake so severely that they cannot eat even the vegetable foods high in protein. In her book How I Conquered Cancer Naturally, Eydie Mae Hunsberger described how fasting and a raw food diet allowed her to overcome breast cancer. In the book, she states how she must avoid all high-protein foods, even peas and beans. “I go easy on the proteins,” she said, “because cancer patients have a protein digestive problem. Soy products, for example, are too high in protein for me. If I want protein foods, I choose avocados, almonds, sunflower seeds, and sprouts.”

The demand for protein by cancerous cells is almost ten times the amount as required by healthy tissues. Sufficient protein builds healthy bodies. Excessive protein builds tumors.

2.4 The High-Protein, Low-Health Weight-Loss Diet

By just following the typical United States diet of heavy animal foods, meat, and dairy, you will experience many problems associated with a high-protein diet. The average American woman consumes 50% more protein than the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA), while the typical male will eat almost 100% (twice as much) more protein than the RDA. Please remember that all RDAs are set intentionally “high” to make sure that people get all the nutrients they need. Even by these high standards, Americans are heavy protein eaters.

Yet there are some people who intentionally consume even more protein!

Athletes, weight-lifters, and body-builders are some of the people who consciously eat extra high-protein foods in a mistaken belief that such foods are needed for energy. Yet there are some people who increase their protein intake and reduce their carbohydrate intake in a bizarre effort to lose weight fast. On such a diet, weight-loss and a health-loss do occur.

The rationale of high-protein diets for weight loss, such as the Stillman high-protein diet or Dr. Linn’s liquid protein diet, is based on the fact that protein requires much more body energy for digestion and metabolism than it supplies.

The body’s first nutrient need is for fuel—carbohydrates. When excessive protein is eaten instead of needed carbohydrates, the body will try to convert the extra protein into a carbohydrate-type of fuel source. This conversion process is a difficult and energy-expending one for the body, and so a net-calorie or weight loss may occur.

The problem with this attempt at weight loss with a high-protein diet is that harmful by-products are produced in the protein to carbohydrate conversion process. Dr. Robert R. Gross, Ph.D., New York professional Hygienist, stated the problem this way: “The hitch is the end products of protein digestion are acidic—urea, uric acids, adenine, etc., which, beyond a certain normal range, will cause degeneration of body tissues, producing gout, liver malfunctions, kidney disorders, digestive disturbances, arthritis and even hallucinations.”

Dr. D. J. Scott, D.C., N.D., Ohio professional Hygienist, also agrees that weight-loss through high-protein diets is a dangerous practice. He says: “Too much protein solidifies (like coffee) and has the same stimulating effect, and a high-protein diet will eventually destroy the glandular system, and damage the liver, adrenals and kidneys.”

2.5 You Can’t Fool The Body!

High-protein diets for weight-loss are all based on fooling the body. Instead of giving it the carbohydrate fuel it needs, you fill the body with acid-forming protein that must be expensively converted into fuel within the body. It’s like pouring water into your gasoline tank and hoping that your car will try to turn it into suitable fuel. Your body does try, but it really can’t be fooled. Consider these latest research findings:

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a husband and wife research team, Drs. Judith and Richard Wurtman, discovered that you simply cannot deny the body carbohydrates in preference to protein. In a controlled study, the researchers studied people who were denied carbohydrate foods (such as fruits, potatoes, etc.) and fed protein foods instead.

After a few days, the people on the no-carbohydrate diet did indeed lose weight. But they also developed such strong cravings for any kind of carbohydrates that they uncontrollably ate sugary and starchy foods in such amounts after the diet that they gained all their weight back.

In the January 1983 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the MIT researchers concluded that carbohydrate-starvation caused by a high-protein weight-loss diet actually creates a chemical imbalance in the brain.

This imbalance drives people to seek out carbohydrates (which is only natural since carbohydrates are our most efficient fuel source). The desire for a predominantly carbohydrate, low-protein diet is inherent in the human make-up, and it cannot be fooled by a high protein diet.

The article in the journal also suggested that instead of a high-protein approach to weight loss, a more natural and healthy approach would be to eat small amounts of naturally occurring high-carbohydrate foods (such as fruits) and forget about the protein.

2.6 The Ultimate High-Protein Diet

What’s worse than a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet for losing weight? Answer: An all-protein diet.

Incredible as it may seem, there were thousands of people in the late 1970s who followed a high-protein, weight-loss diet that consisted of nothing more than highly-processed animal protein, sugar, and artificial coloring.

Called “liquid protein,” the only foods consumed in this diet were vials of animal extracts that contained hooves from cows and other animal waste products from slaughter houses. This “protein” (actually the unusable by-products from meat-packing) was liquified or melted down and then artificially flavored and colored so that it would taste like a grape or cherry soda. You can imagine how melted cow hooves would taste—small wonder that they had to disguise the obnoxious odors and sickening taste of such a product.

Each day, a person would open a plastic tube of this pure protein “gunk” and squeeze it down the throat. The protein syrup would fill the person up at a low-calorie cost, and weight loss would follow.

Unfortunately, not only did weight loss occur, but so did vomiting, dehydration, muscle cramps, nausea, dry skin, and loss of hair.

In the late 1970s, the liquid protein diet craze was at its peak. Thousands and thousands of vile vials of grape- and cherry-flavored protein were sold to gullible men and women who proceeded to wreck their health on a dangerous 100% protein diet.

To be certain, these people were also losing weight. And some even lost more.

In Dix Hills, New York, Donna Cochran began an eight-month  Super Pro-Gest liquid protein diet. First Mrs. Cochran lost sixty pounds on the diet. Then she lost her life. She dieted because of heart complications brought about by the all-protein diet. Her husband and son sued and received $55,000—a small amount indeed for a loved one’s life.

Liquid-protein diets can cause hard-to-detect, and possibly fatal, heart problems. The all-protein diet, disrupts the body’s mineral balance, and drastically reduces the potassium level. This dangerously reduced potassium level leads to arrhythmia, or the abnormal beating of the heart.

The liquid or all-protein diet was first developed by a doctor who got the idea from intravenous feeding. Just like intravenous feeding, the liquid-protein diet is an unnatural and debilitating practice. Fortunately, word has now gotten around about the dangers of this all-protein diet trick. Unfortunately, people still believe in the power of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss, and think it is safe.

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