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7 Ways Animal Protein is Damaging Your Health

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Sofia Pineda Ochoa, MD, writes at Forks Over Knives:

Today, of course, we know that most proteins from both plants and animals are “complete proteins” (meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids we need).1 However, people sometimes use the term “low quality” to refer to plant proteins because they typically have a lower proportion of these essential amino acids as compared to animal proteins.

But it’s important to understand that having a higher proportion of essential amino acids, as animal protein does, is actually damaging (not advantageous) for our health. We outline seven ways that animal protein damages your health.

1. Animal Protein and Fiber (or total lack thereof)

Unlike plant protein, which comes packaged with fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, animal protein comes with exactly none of the foregoing. To this point, meat, eggs, poultry, dairy, fish and other animal foods have absolutely no fiber whatsoever.

Many people, in their effort to “get enough” protein, tend to eat large amounts of animal foods, which displaces plant foods that have these important nutrients. Fiber deficiencies, in particular, are far more common than not.

For example, The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume 38 grams of fiber, but the average adult only eats about 15 grams per day—less than half the recommended amount. In fact, according to the USDA, almost all Americans (~95%) do not get an adequate amount of dietary fiber.38,39

High fiber intake is associated with decreased cancer risk, specifically colon and breast cancers, as well as lower risk of ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, constipation and diverticulitis. It may also reduce the risk of stroke, high cholesterol, and heart disease.40,41

2. Animal Protein and IGF-1 (increased cancer risk)

When we ingest proteins that have a higher proportion of the essential amino acids (which is a characteristic of animal protein), it results in our bodies producing higher levels of the hormone insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).2-8

This hormone stimulates cell division and growth in both healthy and cancer cells and, for this reason, having higher circulating levels of IGF-1 has been consistently associated with increased cancer risk, proliferation, and malignancy.2-8

3. Animal Protein and TMAO

Consuming animal protein also results in us having higher circulating levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO).

TMAO is a substance that injures the lining of our vessels, creates inflammation, and facilitates the formation of cholesterol plaques in our blood vessels. And that, of course, is highly problematic for cardiovascular health.9,10

TMAO is created by complex interactions involving our gut flora and the nutrients in the food we eat. And when we eat animal foods, it alters our gut flora in such a way that facilitates the creation of TMAO.9,10

So, consuming animal foods result in higher TMAO levels, which is damaging to our vessels. Even without all of the other problematic aspects of animal foods, this one issue involving TMAO is, according to the recent president of the American College of Cardiology Dr. Kim A. Williams, sufficient by itself for people to vigorously avoid animal foods.11

4. Animal Protein and Phosphorus . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 November 2019 at 4:33 pm

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