You Eating Enough Protein Or Too Much?
by Gabriel Cousens, M.D. Patagonia, AZ
Fact and Fear
The high versus low-protein controversy is more an issue of fear and confusion
The high-protein approach to nutrition was initially based on nineteenth
century German research that asserted people need a minimum of 120 grams
of protein per day. This high protein thinking lingers today, even though
the requirement is now considered by conventional nutritionists to be
60-90 grams of protein each day. But expert research around the world
suggests that the real protein requirement is closer to 25-35 grams, and
less if the protein we eat comes from live foods. It is also interesting
to note that the average protein concentration in mothers milk is
just 1.4 percent, sufficient to supply the human organism with all the
essential amino acids and protein needed during the period of most rapid
growth and brain development. Apes, considerably stronger that humans,
live on a fruitarian diet that averages between 0.2 and 2.2 percent protein,
equivalent to the protein concentration in human breast milk. These facts
lead one to question: Just how much protein do we really need?
Excess Protein and Degenerative Disease
In terms of metabolic combustion, excess protein in the diet does not
burn cleanly. It has been associated with creating an over-acid
system due to the accumulation of toxic wastes such as uric acids and
purines in the tissues. The late nutrition expert, Paavo Airola, Ph.D.,
pointed out that overeating protein contributes to the development
of many of our most common and serious diseases, such as arthritis, kidney
damage, pyorrhea, schizophrenia, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, heart
disease, and cancer: and that a high protein diet causes premature
aging and lowers life expectancy.
A high animal protein diet includes twenty times more phosphorous than
calcium, which in turn depletes calcium resulting in osteoporosis and
tooth decalcification. Studies strongly suggest that most people eat too
much protein, and that excess protein, especially if it is meat protein,
is detrimental to our health.
The Wendt doctrine, a result of thirty years of research by a family of
German physician researchers, connects excess protein consumption to some
forms of chronic degenerative disease. The Wendts were able to prove with
electron microscope pictures, that excess protein clogs the basement membrane,
which is a filtering membrane located between capillaries and cells. This
membrane helps regulate the flow of nutrients and waste products between
capillaries, cells, and fluid in the tissues they penetrate. The more
excess protein there is in the diet, the more protein is lodged in the
basement membrane. This makes it more difficult for proteins, other nutrients,
including oxygen, to enter the cells and for waste to exit. Eventually,
the basement membrane becomes so clogged with excess protein that the
cells on the inside of the capillary walls begin to store and secrete
the excess protein in insoluble forms that accumulate on the inside of
the capillaries and arteriole walls, causing atherosclerosis, hypertension,
adult-onset diabetes, and what the Wendts term capillarogenic tissue degeneration.
This system-wide condition produces cellular malnutrition. The key understanding
is that excess protein in the diet results in a protein storage disease
that slowly chokes off the system. It is much harder to meditate when
one is choking on a cellular level and the vitality of the system is slowly
dying out. The Wendts found that this whole process could be reversed
by stopping the intake of all animal protein for one to three months and
by eating a low protein diet.
Protein Combining Is Unnecessary
One of the most unnecessary vegetarian practices is combining protein
at meals. This inaccurate concept is that our system only utilizes protein
in its complete state and we must eat all the amino acids at once to supply
sufficient protein for our system to use metabolically. This fearful type
of thinking comes from the idea that we do not store proteins and amino
acids. The Wendt doctrine clearly proves that this is not true.
There Is Enough Protein in Vegan Foods
The biggest fear generated by pro-meat eaters and new vegetarians is about
not getting enough protein. The real problem is just the opposite: We
take in too much protein. According to the Max Planck Institute for Nutritional
Research in Germany, there are many vegetable sources of protein that
are superior or equal to animal proteins. The Planck Institute found complete
vegetarian proteinsthose that contain all eight essential amino
acidsto be available from almonds, sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower
seeds, soybeans, buckwheat, all leafy greens and most fruits. Fruits supply
approximately the same percentage of complete protein as mothers
milk. Dr. Airola feels it is virtually impossible not to get enough
protein, provided you have enough to eat of natural, unrefined foods.
In many cases, as our system changes with meditation, fasting, eating
lighter, and increasing live food intake, our basement membranes become
clear, more porous, and thinner, so the protein we take in moves into
the cells more readily. Accordingly, our protein needs spontaneously drop.
Perhaps over time we might find that the 1.4 percent protein--as found
in mothers milk-- is all we need.
Excerpted with permission from Spiritual Nutrition, 2005, North Atlantic
Dr. Gabriel Cousens is an M.D., homeopathic physician, Diplomate in
Ayurveda, family therapist and life-food nutritionist. An internationally
celebrated spiritual teacher, author and lecturer, his books include:
Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine, Conscious Eating and Tachyon Energy:
A New Paradigm in Holistic Healing, co-authored with David Wagner.
for more information.