Facts on meat Vs plant protein
To eat animal or not to eat animal, that is the question!!!
It has long been considered that humans are Omnivores (we appear to have evolved to metabolize both meat and plant proteins, it is assumed that we owe it to our very existence in fact) however, it is also known that potentially the volume of meat (including animal by-products), types of meat (Dioxins in animal feeds) and the preparation processes in our modern diet, can also be very detrimental to our health. So what should we be doing?. The choice of Lifestyle is your own, but it is always good to know the facts. The following outlines some interesting research and possible lifestyle guidelines, plus one testimonial by a ‘plant protein’ convert and the benefits to their well-being.
Foods containing protein
Meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and eggs
Pulses, nuts and seeds
Soya products and vegetable protein foods
Why is protein important?
From hair to fingernails, protein is a major functional and structural component of all our cells. Protein provides the body with roughly 10 to 15 per cent of its dietary energy, and is needed for growth and repair.
Proteins are large molecules made up of long chains of amino acid sub units. Some of these amino acids are nutritionally essential as they cannot be made or stored within the body and so must come from foods in our daily diet.
Although all animal and plant cells contain some protein, the amount and quality of this protein can vary widely. The required amount of protein for a man is 45g per day, there has never been a single known case of protein deficiency in the western world, from anyone eating a suitably calorific diet of ANY kind.
Protein from animal sources contains the full range of essential amino acids needed from an adult’s diet. But red meat, in particular, should be eaten in limited amounts due to the high level of saturated fat it contains, which may raise blood levels of ‘unhealthy’ LDL cholesterol. Animal products can also contain levels of antibiotics and Dioxins.
A high intake of saturated fat can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other related disorders. As a safer alternative source of animal protein, choose poultry, fish and shellfish.
The 2007 World Cancer Research Fund report recommended meat eaters limit their consumption of red meat to no more than 500g a week, with very little processed meat, as these have both been linked to certain forms of cancer.
Fish is a source of animal protein. Oil-rich fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, trout and sardines are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Aim to eat a couple of portions of fish every week, with at least one portion being an oily fish.
Advice for vegans and vegetarians
Vegetarians rely on plant sources for their daily protein. By eating a well-balanced diet that contains a variety of different vegetarian foods, it is possible to consume the required amino acids (complete protein complex), regardless of the time of day they’re eaten or in what combinations within a meal.
Foods such as nuts, seeds, beans, pulses, vegetable protein foods and soya products all contain protein. There are also small amounts in grains and dairy products. Due to this variety of protein-rich foods available in the UK, protein deficiency is extremely rare.
How much is enough?
Health professionals suggest men should eat 45.5g protein a day and women 35g. In practical terms, eating a moderate amount of protein – in one or two meals every day – should give you all the protein you need. Most people in the UK eat far more protein than they actually need.
You should eat two to three servings of protein every day from both plant and animal sources. Here are some examples of one serving (about the size of a standard pack of playing cards):
100g boneless meat (eg lean beef, lamb or pork)
100g boneless poultry (eg chicken or turkey breast)
100g fish (eg salmon, sardines or tuna)
2 medium eggs
3 tablespoons of seeds (eg sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
3 tablespoons of nuts (eg almonds or walnuts)
Latest Plant protein sterol research
Recent research has discovered that plant sterols inhibit the growth of breast, colon and prostate cancer cells. In fact, sterols had been used in Germany for over 20 years. Even more astounding was that beta-sitosterol (the active sterol in the phytosterol mixture) not only inhibited the growth of cancer cells, it also increased the rate at which cancer cells died. However, sterols are not readily absorbed by the body, so it became important to ensure that the sterols were absorbed, and retained, by the body.
One of the most amazing developments in the area of natural remedies is the discovery of phytonutrients. They are found in the cells and membranes of most plants, seeds, grains, nuts, and also in pine trees. Today’s diets are generally deficient in phytonutrients, due to the processing and storage methods used in modern foods. Our bodies cannot make or store phytonutrients, and insufficient dietary intake can result in a weak immune system and a consequent deterioration of health.
The best known members of the phytonutrient family are beta sitosterol, stigmasterol, campesterol, brassicasterol and their associated glucosides. The most remarkable member of this family is beta sitosterol. Beta sitosterol is chemically similar to cholesterol, but is totally different in its biological function. There are literally hundreds of studies and reports that attest to the effectiveness of this natural plant derivative, beta sitosterol, in preventing disease and maintaining health. Phytonutrients have been extensively tested in clinical trials involving over 25,000 patients with no known toxicity and no well known drug interactions. (1).
Phytonutrients in their natural state are often bound to the fibers of plants, making them difficult to absorb during digestion, particularly in the case of older people and those having weak digestive systems. Only plants can synthesize phytonutrients, and humans and animals have to obtain them from their diet. Even though their absorption efficiency is low, their apparent synergistic stimulatorary effect on the immune system and prophylactic effect on a variety of diseases indicate their importance in human and animal nutrition. (2).
Our bodies cannot synthesize beta sitosterol and its elimination rate is relatively fast. Beta sitosterol has been proven to be very safe due to its poor solubility, low absorption and rapid excretion into the intestinal tract unchanged. Supplementation of the diet with phytonutrients provides important therapeutic as well as preventative health benefits.
Overview of Beta Sitosterol Benefits:
– Stopping Prostate enlargement
– Prostate function
– DHT reduction in the body (dihydrotestosterone)
– Potential for Hair Loss reduction or prevention
– Regulation of Testosterone in the body
– Can rectify urination problems/issues in men
– Relieves symptoms of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia)
Clinical studies have shown that patients devoid of phytonutrients rapidly become free of beta sitosterol (3). This implies that these nutrients should be taken daily and an insufficient dietary intake could rapidly result in deficient pool sizes in the body with a consequent deterioration of health. The recommended daily intake of phytonutrients is 200-300mg per day. Interestingly enough some poorly maintained vegetarian diets appear to result in a deficiency of phytonutrients.
Research has shown phytonutrients to have important immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, anti-diabetic and anti-cancer properties. They are thought to be responsible for the health benefits of a variety of medicinal herbs including saw palmetto, pygeum, pumpkin seeds and many others!
For more detailed information on Beta-Sytosterol, visit: immunity-health.co.uk
1. Arthritis Trust of America Bulletin, Summer 98
2. Pegel KH, S. African J Sci Vol 93
3. Salen et al Jnl of Clin. Invest. Vol 49
Some common mispellings of Beta Sytosterol:
Beta; Sitosterol, Sytosarol, Sytosteroid, Sytosterel, Sietosterol, Siteosteryl
A testimonial to a 100% plant protein sterol diet. Anonymous (34 yrs old)
What was your previous lifestyle?
I became vegan/ vegetarian over 4 years ago. Having continuously struggled with weight fluctuation and extreme fatigue for a number of years due to a previously over intensified gym orientated exercise regime in my mid 20’s, (I bulked out at 17st.13lbs at my heaviest, found stairs more challenging and my waist had filled to 38″) Although I was mainly muscular, I decided that I needed to take action to try and bring my BMI (Body Mass Index) sensibly in to line with my height, so reducing/reverse training muscle mass to a sensible level and becoming leaner and healthier, preventing major weight fluctuations and the extreme fatigue problems, i.e falling asleep at work etc. I was overburdening my metabolism in many ways. My main dietary consumption at the time was an excess of meat and dairy produce to sustain weight levels needed for heavy gym work. I was misled by the dairy and meat industry into the thought process of protein excess = muscle gain.
So what did you do to change?
My new lifestyle regime started with a slightly more intense and regular (2/3 times a week for 1hr) cardio routine and general lifestyle change. i.e walking and riding more regularly, whether to work, or for fun. Coupled with elimination of all dairy and meat products and a reduction in alcohol consumption. [I was mainly consuming fish at this point anyway] I maintained a gym routine throughout 3 times per week.
What was the outcome of changing your diet?
My diet eventually became entirely plant based. My immediate recollection was watching the scales plummet by around 1.5 stone in a matter of 3/4 months….I also experienced an increase in overall vitality, reduced sluggishness and importantly to me, a marked improvement in my tone and maintenance control, over the layer of fat around the abdominal area. i.e less effort to maintain tone in the abdominal region. Other features of the plant based diet were, facial tone…..my jaw line is now fully visible, I look younger, my skin has a healthy glow, I believe this diet has slowed the ageing and collagen depletion and oxidation process dramatically.
I now find it easier to keep my weight (and hunger pangs) in check, it only fluctuates by around 3-4lbs instead of three quarters of a stone over a weekend!!! Feel more vitality, look better, feel better, better concentration, almost zero fatigue, better stamina and better cardiovascular performance whilst jogging hills!
Have you been ill since changing your diet?
YES!!! I suffered a reaction to bacteria in mixed seeds! This makes me have a bout of nausia and mild food poisoning sometimes vomiting…..ironically the bacteria from this is said to derive from animal bacteria somehow transfered in the processing and storage so I have read. If I eat seperated seeds I am fine, but when they are mixed together I can fall pretty ill. So I always buy sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts in seperate bags and opt for better quality makes. I also have to be careful when eating almonds as they can turn rancid…it pays to nibble your way through Almonds!
Would you go back to a meat/dairy based diet?.
Never……and that is mainly ethical, as I know that the entire industry is of the ethic: “breed them as fat and as fast as possible, by whatever means” and for that reason I would not go back, when I benefit and still gain and maintain muscle mass consuming a 100% plant based diet, not even considering the other benefits I have already touched on.
Aren’t you deficient?
I don’t believe I am deficient in anything and blood tests (I give Blood) bear this out, I also give blood regularly (iron level is normal)……I feel in perfect health and look in perfect health and have an increased vitality level and improved outlook/mindset on life in general. The ironic thing is that from my meat and dairy eating friends two have fractured major bones, one has suffered osteoperosis and two suffer spine related problems. Should I be the one to worry about deficiencies?!?!
I think Bill Clinton (Quadruple heart bypass) and anyone else that considers their health should watch the Dr Michael Klaper video!!!