How Much Protein Do I Need?

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Excess protein from any source is harmful; some more than others.

It is important that we have a realistic idea of the body’s true protein needs because of the damage that may occur when we eat beyond those needs. Almost every American consumes an excessive amount of protein, even by highly-inflated government standards. A protein-deficient diet is rare in this country, although nutrient-poor diets are the norm. Protein poisoning from an excessive amount of protein is more common than a true deficiency.

When protein is consumed in greater amounts than can be processed by the body, toxicity results from the excessive amount of nitrogen in the blood. This extra nitrogen accumulates as toxin in the muscles and causes chronic fatigue.

Acute protein poisoning, causes headaches and a general aching. Various symptoms of protein poisoning, such as a burning of the mouth, lips and throat, rashes, etc., are very similar to the symptoms attributed to allergies. In fact, many so-called allergies may be cases of protein poisoning instead.

A high-protein diet eventually destroys the entire glandular system. It overworks the liver and places a heavy strain on the adrenals and kidneys to eliminate the toxins it creates. In many people, symptoms of arthritis have disappeared after they adopted a low protein diet.

-T.C. Fry – Life Sciences Health System – Chapter 08 – Protein In The Diet.

Additional passages from, “Proteins In The Diet,” from Terrain Wiki and T.C. Fry.

So how much protein do we need?

No other area of nutritional needs has been surrounded by so much controversy as the daily protein requirements. Nutritionists and scientists have made protein allowance recommendations that have varied as much as 600%. To arrive at a realistic estimate of our protein needs, we first need to understand how some of the current protein standards were derived. We then need to study the actual protein intake requirements of healthy human beings following a traditional diet that has been in effect over several generations. In this manner, we can see how many of the protein allowances today have been inflated beyond normal health needs.

Perhaps a more reasonable way of establishing true protein needs is to study the daily protein intake of groups of people who:

  1. Maintain a reasonable level of good health.
  2. Have followed a traditional diet over a long period of time.

Even this method tells us little about what amount of protein a person must have, but it is an interesting case study that probably has more validity than laboratory experiments on dogs, etc.

For instance, in Japan there are farming districts where dietary habits have been established for hundreds of years (unlike most Western diets which have fluctuated and changed rapidly over the past eighty years or so). In these districts, a primarily vegetarian diet was followed, consisting of many greens, plums, wild fruits, roots and occasionally fish in small amounts. These farmers were in excellent health and performed heavy manual labor all through the day. They consumed an average of 37 grams of protein per day, about half the official recommendation.

On various islands in the Pacific are tribes of people who have followed the same diet for dozens of generations—fruits, roots and tubers. They enjoy excellent health and consume about 15 grams of protein a day.

Finally, a study was done by Dr. Jaffe of the University of California at Berkeley on the effects of a non-meat diet over several generations. He studied several generations of fruitarians, ranging from young children to adults whose diet consisted principally of all raw fruits, supplemented by occasional nuts and some honey. Their diets supplied them with about 24 to 33 grams of protein a day. None exhibited any signs of protein deficiency, nor of any other nutrient deficiency. In fact, he discovered all of them to be in exceptional health.

Obviously, if large groups of people around the world are existing in good health on 15 to 35 grams of protein a day, and have done so over several generations and hundreds of years, then protein recommendations of 70 grams can only be deemed excessive.

During the last sixty years, several researchers (Rose, Boyd, Berg, et al) all independently proved that between 3.7% and 4.65% of the total food intake was all the protein necessary to maintain good health. These percentages are equivalent to about 24 to 30 grams of protein.

Careful investigations by Dr. Max Rubner, director of the Hygienic Institute of the University of Berlin, showed that only 4% of the entire caloric intake had to be in the form of protein. On a 2,500 calorie diet, this is about 100 calories of protein or about 28 grams.

Although Natural Hygiene and Life Science do not endorse gram counting, calorie counting or a preoccupation with minimal daily requirements, it seems that a reasonable estimate of the protein needs of an adult is probably in the 25 to 30 grams daily range — or about 1 gram per five pounds of body weight. If a person eats a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts, he is assured that he will meet this protein requirement, along with all the other nutrient needs.