When it comes to losing weight, commercial diet plans will stop at nothing to get you to believe that their diet works. They will tell you:
- You can eat all the processed junk you want and still lose the weight.
- You can eat at restaurants every night and still lose the weight.
- You can eat high amounts of protein and still lose the weight.
In fact, commercial diet plans have become especially creative in getting their clients to believe in unhealthy and irresponsible methods of weight-loss. They often do this by using celebrity endorsements. One diet plan on the radar, no thanks to Kim Kardashian, is the Atkins plan -- the plan that killed the doctor who created it -- Dr. Robert Atkins himself, who died of a massive heart attack.
For those not familiar with the Atkins plan, it is a high protein, low fat, low carb diet that strains the organs into ketosis, whereby jumpstarting the body to burn its fat reserves.
In an attempt to resurrect the infamous and "now newly updated" Atkins Diet, Kim Kardashian has gotten on board the rah-rah-rah train to breath new life into the plan. Her personal reason for doing Atkins after both pregnancies is simple: it worked for her late father, Rob Kardashian, who incidentally, diet of cancer.
If you think Rob Kardashian's cancer and his high protein diet practices aren't related, think again. Acidic, high protein diets wreck human health, hinder weight loss and in the long run and lay the groundwork for disease. Here's a sneak peak of a chapter from my book EAT! -- Empower. Adjust. Triumph! Lose Ridiculous Weight where I discuss the dangers of a high protein diet like the Atkins plan.
"Dr. Robert Atkins, remember him? He was a cardiologist and the founder of the famous Atkins Diet – a highly acidic, high-protein, high-fat, low-carb diet. Ironically, Dr. Atkins died of cardiac arrest – proof that his own acidic diet plan had failed him.
Now that you've been empowered by understanding the importance of the alkaline/acid balance, and you know that diets high in animal protein are acidic to a body that is naturally alkaline, it becomes clear that diets like Atkins are too dangerously high in protein for good health and for weight loss to be permanent. High protein diets are vitamin stingy. Have you looked at how much Vitamin C – a vitamin humans would die without – is in animal protein? I’ll save you the effort – the amount of Vitamin C contained in animal protein is zero. While there is hesitance to reduce protein in our diets due to an underlying fear that we aren’t getting enough, this fear is not based in reality, since the western diet affords us more than twice the amount of protein we need and is high in saturated fat that is killing us.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, suggests we need only five to six percent of total calories from protein. This is lower than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for the average adult of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight – roughly ten percent protein. Subsequently, if you turn to nature you’ll see that the estimation of ten percent protein is about right, since breast milk, the milk Nature created for the greatest growth spurt of our lives, is also under ten percent. Subsequently, eating a diet high in animal protein, especially during middle age, makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein, plant-based diet. This is a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking twenty cigarettes a day. Let that sink in. This astounding information has initiated the 2015 U.S. dietary guidelines to back off from meat and promote sustainability by eating more plant-based foods. (For children and those over sixty- five years of age, protein intake does need to be increased by about two percent.)
Animal protein is classified as meat, eggs, poultry, fish and milk. Some folks insist on eating a small amount of animal protein as a natural source of Vitamin B12. This is ok if there are no digestive issues, but generally, people with leaky gut, IBS and Crohn’s disease tend to overwork the digestive tract by eating animal protein. They never allow their gut to heal because it's so ingrained in them to eat protein with every meal that they can’t imagine life without it. With this in mind, eating animal protein is nothing more than a habit. I do not mean to say that health cannot exist by not eating animal products; but the truth is you cannot be as healthy with animal products as you can be without them. Every meal containing animal protein renders you more liable to various forms of chronic disease and cancer. Your intake of animal protein, especially red meat, should be kept to a minimum of four ounces, four times per month. All other protein should come from a plant source of nuts, beans, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Any meat that is processed or cured such as hot dogs, cold cuts, bacon and dried meats should be avoided since these have also been strongly linked to causing cardiovascular disease and cancer.
In a 2012 Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, 120,000 men and women were investigated for more than two decades. Processed red meats were strongly linked to death from cardiovascular disease. Every additional 1.5 ounce serving of processed red meat consumed each day was linked to a twenty percent increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease death. With every additional three-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat the study participants ate, their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease increased by thirteen percent. Interestingly, when I researched deaths of people eating plant-based protein, there was no data.
What’s more, researchers estimated that if all the men and women in the study had reduced their total red meat and processed meat intake to less than half a serving per day, and replaced them with healthier plant-based substitutions of protein, one in ten cardiovascular disease deaths would have been prevented. Eliminating animal protein can save lives.
Further, in a nutritional 2013 update for physicians, it was recommended that doctors recommend a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity. If your doctor hasn’t done this yet, you may want to find yourself a new doctor.
Not surprisingly, the largest land animals in the world – elephants, hippos, giraffes – are exclusively vegetarian. No different than humans in how they utilize protein, these animals grow to be thousands of pounds by eating nothing but plants. These animals couldn't grow to be ginormous if plants weren't loaded with protein, yet many people still insist they need their animal protein with every meal. Common vegetables have more protein than we need, and contrary to popular myth, they're also complete proteins.
Incidentally, for the purpose of bodybuilding more protein is not better. What if I told you that your body is doubly stressed by training and eating a high protein diet? It’s true. Your body perceives training as stress and your body perceives digesting meat for up to three days as stress. You say you’re not overeating? If you’re eating more than ten percent protein daily, you’re overeating. Not only are your muscles exhausted, your organs are exhausted by having to digest your high intake of protein. This combination of inner and outer stress will inevitably cause you to burn out. Additionally, ingesting high amounts of protein during training will not promote greater gains in strength or fat- free mass.
No thanks to diets like Atkins, it has long been a mistaken belief that high amounts of protein are needed for training and bodybuilding and while I know there are concerns about getting enough protein on any diet, these are probably due to USDA recommendations of consuming ten to thirty five percent of calories from dietary protein. However, this is outdated advice. Based on what we know about the dangers of eating high amounts of animal protein, the new, 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee suggests that a diet higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal based foods is more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current U.S. diet. Many national health agencies, including the World Health Organization recommend we need between five percent to fifteen percent of our total calories from protein, stating that ten percent is in fact adequate as Dr. Campbell has recommended.
Notably, plant protein shakes do not fit into this picture. Even if soybean and peas were dried and pulverized into powered form, how much nutritional content do you think you would get from them? We eat whole plant foods for a reason. We eat them in their whole, raw form because this is how the best digestibility, assimilation and absorption of nutrients occur. Vitamins are delicate things and they are easily lost when we process, cook, grind and chop our plant foods. Therefore, when you dry, and then pulverize plant foods into a “protein powder” they’ve lost their vitamins in both the drying and grinding process and become nutritionally dead foods.
If you’re even thinking of replacing real fruit and vegetable protein with a powered alternative, you’re missing the point of this book. Plant protein shakes are a processed foodstuff. They are loaded with synthetic ingredients that the body has no use for and are, by all accounts, synthetic junk. Avoid them.
In his book The 80-10-10 Diet, Douglas Graham explains, “Protein’s predominant minerals are acidic minerals – chlorine, phosphorus, and sulfur.” The body will try to compensate for acidic pH by using alkaline minerals. Therefore, an acidic diet exhausts alkaline reserves. To maintain its alkaline balance the body must counterbalance the acidity caused by the excess protein. It does this by going beyond its exhausted alkaline reserves leaching the alkaline mineral, calcium from the bones and teeth. This is where we begin to see tooth decay, osteoporosis, knee and hip weakness, arthritis, vertigo and other calcium deficient maladies in middle age.
Fruits and vegetables contain just the right amount of alkaline protein (calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium) to build and maintain the human body and its processes and replenish the body’s alkaline reserve. Swap animal protein options on your current diet plan with at least eighty percent nutrient-rich plant-based protein sources like those in leafy green foods, beans, nuts, seeds and fruit whenever possible. Keeping fruit and vegetable intake high replenishes alkaline reserves, prevents the body from becoming acidic and will also help you lose ridiculous weight and gain ridiculous health!"
While high protein diets may initially result in short-term weight loss, the dangers of a high protein diet have been proven as dangerous as smoking twenty cigarettes a day by researchers of the University of Southern California. Celebrity endorsements of diets such as these shouldn't be revered as healthful, but rather disease forming.