Dietary Protein

The importance of protein in the diet cannot be overemphasized. Many people do not eat enough protein, limit themselves to only one kind of protein or eat a lot of poor quality protein such as refined soy protein. Here is a brief guide to dietary protein.


Basic Principles

How Much? At each meal, most adults need 2-3 ounces of concentrated protein food. Sources may include meats, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, nut butters, beans with grains, cheese, fish, tofu, tempeh, spirulina, or protein powders, bars or tablets. Wheat germ, brewers yeast and milks (dairy and non-dairy) are also protein sources - if you ingest enough of them. Have at least two protein-containing meals daily.


Whole Protein Foods Are Best. Whole foods are nutritionally superior to protein powders or bars. This means that eating eggs is preferable to egg protein powder. Tofu is superior to soy protein isolate. Whole foods provide high-quality fats or oils and many vitamins and minerals. Whole food are less processed, which means fewer chemical additives and more intact nutrients. Natural foods are also less expensive, as you are not paying for processing.


Soy Is Best Fermented. We believe soy foods are overrated these days. If you eat soy, eat it in a fermented form. This means that tofu, tempeh, miso and soy sauce are preferable to textured vegetable protein (TVP), soy isolate and other soy preparations. The fermenting process reduces enzyme inhibitors and phytates found in soy.


Getting Enough. If wheat germ or brewer's yeast are your sole proteins at a meal, eat at least a tablespoon or more of them. If milk is one of your protein foods, drink at least a large glass. A little milk on cereal, for example, does not count as a serving of protein.


Vegetables And Grains. One hundred years ago, grains such as wheat had up to 14% protein. Today's hybrid wheat has half that amount. This is why grains, vegetables and cereals are not considered protein-rich foods.


Organically Grown. Is Always Best. Organic foods have less pesticide residues and a much higher mineral and vitamin content. Organic meat and eggs are lower in fat and cholesterol and much cleaner and healthier products. Always seek out organic protein sources.


Protein Digestion. What matters is what you digest. If any protein or protein powder causes gas or bloating, discontinue its use or take digestive enzymes to make sure you tolerate it and digest it well.


Vegetable vs. Animal Sources

We continue to find that vegetarians often do not satisfy their body's protein needs. Vegetarian protein sources are limited. Also, vegetarian proteins are generally lower in zinc, higher in copper and deficient in the critical sulfur-containing amino acids. They do not contain taurine, carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin B12 and other nutrients. We encourage vegetarians to at least eat eggs and fish.


Protein Bars and Powders

Sources: Powders and bars are usually made from soy, albumin (egg), whey (milk), casein (milk), rice and fish. Soy is usually a refined byproduct of soy oil production and less recommended. Whey, egg, rice and fish sources are better. If you are allergic to a source of protein, you will need to avoid protein powder from that source.


Hydrolyzed Vegetables Protein and Amino Acids: Protein drinks may contain pre- digested protein or pure amino acids. Some are labeled hydrolyzed vegetable protein. This is often made from soy. The protein is broken down into amino acids, so it does not require much digestion. A more expensive type of amino acid supplements are made from pure, laboratory-grown amino acids.


Meal Replacements: Protein powders are sold either as meal replacements or to add to a meal. Meal replacements contain extra vitamins and minerals and usually a sweetener. Products designed to be added to food or drink usually do not have sweeteners or added vitamins.


If you use protein powder as a meal, be sure to buy a product that is enriched with vitamins and minerals. Otherwise, you are getting a very incomplete meal. We do not recommend replacing more than one meal a day with a powder or bar substitute. Protein powders and bars make good snacks, although seeds, nuts and other natural foods also make excellent snacks and are often more nutritious and less expensive.


Carbohydrates: Some protein powders and bars are much higher in carbohydrates than others. Often this is in the form of sugar, corn syrup, fructose, glucose, lactose, fruit juices and other sugars. If you are using the powder as a meal replacement, some carbohydrate is often acceptable. If you are adding it to food, beware of how much carbohydrate you are adding to your meal with your protein powder.


Sugar: Protein powders and bars that are very high in sugar or fruit juices are less desirable than ones that contain less sugar. An excellent sugar substitute is stevia. We do not recommend products containing Equal or Nutrasweet.


Other Additives: Less desirable additives include hydrogenated oils, artificial colors and flavors and preservatives. Look for powders and bars with natural ingredients.


Bse and Hoof & Mouth Disease

The recent outbreak of BSE, also called Mad Cow Disease, has been reported to be due to the use of Phosmet, an organophosphate pesticide sprayed along the spinal columns of cows in Europe. The pesticide bonds with manganese and damages prions. If the cows are fed diets high in manganese, the symptoms appear. The symptoms are identical to a condition called "manganese madness". This theory best explains recent British and French outbreaks of BSE. However, the pesticide's manufacturer has repeatedly blocked efforts to publicize the pesticide cause of the disease.


To avoid the condition, stay away from organophosphate pesticides used in anti-flea remedies for animals and in anti-lice remedies for children.


Hoof and mouth disease is not a human disease and poses no danger to humans. It is caused by nutritional deficiencies. This was proven in the 1920's by Sir Albert Howard, a famous British soil scientist. It is a shame that nutritional knowledge is so poor today in the veterinary industry and that thousands of animals are needlessly slaughtered.


In an ongoing effort to provide the best overall products available today, Endo-met Laboratories is in the process of reformulating several products, effectively removing any auxiliary beef products. We will keep you informed of any changes in future bulletins. Currently there is no evidence of any problems in America with any food supplements we are aware of. For scientific references for these two conditions, go to www.mercola.com.



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