Practical Issues > Health - Index > Vegan Index
How Much Protein Do We Need?

"You're in a mess, and in excess."
- Billy Strayhorn

I am often asked this same question regarding the amount of protein humans need to maintain good health. My response usually includes the following:

"Go to any American hospital and you will find zero patients occupying beds who are there because they eat too little protein. On the other hand, investigate the reasons people become un-healthy, and you will find that in almost every case, the etiology (eat-y-ology) of most dis-ease can be found in the types of protein people eat (animal, containing too much methionine and cysteine) and the gross amount (entirely too much for the human body to process in an efficient manner)."

Dr. John McDougall writes:

"People Require Very Little Protein. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that men and women obtain 5% of their calories as protein. This would mean 38 grams of protein for a man burning 3000 calories a day and 29 grams for a woman using 2300 calories a day."

In his magnificent book (The 80-10-10 Diet), Dr. Douglas Graham makes a healthy argument that one of those "tens" in his title represents the percentage of protein needed by the average adult human. The other ten percent is fat. Can you guess what food group is represented by the 80?


I have full respect for those men and women of medicine and nutritional healers who have arrived at the same logical conclusion.

"Everything in excess is opposed to nature."
- Hippocrates

Robert Cohen

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