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

I am often asked the same question regarding the amount of protein we 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 disease can be found in the types of protein people eat (animal, containing too much methionine and cysteine) and the amount (entirely too much for the human body to process in an efficient manner).

I subscribe to Dr. John McDougall's monthly newsletter. You can too by going to his website and scrolling down to the bottom of his page, middle column:


In this month's issue (May 1, 2007), Dr. 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. This quantity of protein is impossible to avoid when daily calorie needs are met by unrefined starches and vegetables. For example, rice alone would provide 71 grams of highly useable protein and white potatoes would provide 64 grams of protein.

Our greatest time of growth-thus, the time of our greatest need for protein-is during our first 2 years of life-we double in size. At this vigorous developmental stage our ideal food is human milk, which is 5% protein. Compare this need to food choices that should be made as adults-when we are not growing. Rice is 8% protein, corn 11%, oatmeal 15%, and beans 27%. Thus protein deficiency is impossible when calorie needs are met by eating unprocessed starches and vegetables.

The healthy active lives of hundreds of millions of people laboring in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America on diets with less than half the amount of protein eaten by Americans and Europeans prove that the popular understanding of our protein needs is seriously flawed."

I agree with Dr. McDougall's protein assessment. As a matter of fact, I have full respect for those men and women of medicine and nutritional healers who have reached the same logical conclusion.

Robert Cohen
http://www.notmilk. com

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