THE IMPORTANCE OF PROTEIN

by Lawrence Wilson, MD

© October 2014, The Center For Development

              Proteins are the most amazing group of molecules in the human body.  They are incredibly complex chains of smaller molecules called amino acids.  These strings of amino acids are then folded into complicated shapes to create millions of critical body components. The DNA double helix is a familiar example of a protein.

            Proteins=Motion.  Proteins are associated with motion, the basic quality of animal life.  What sugars and carbohydrates are to plants, proteins are to animals.

 

WHAT ARE PROTEINS USED FOR?

 

Proteins include virtually all hormones such as insulin and progesterone.  Hemoglobin, a blood protein, carries oxygen to the cells.  Heat shock proteins help rebuild our cells after stress.  Transferrin and other transport proteins bind to minerals and carry them through the body.  Muscle protein is responsible for our ability to move.  Proteins such as RNA and DNA in the nuclei of our cells are responsible for the genetic code. 

Proteins are also essential for the body structure.  Bone forms in a protein matrix.  Other structural proteins include collagen, cartilage, elastin and keratin that forms the skin.

 

Enzymes.  All enzymes are proteins.  Thousands of enzymes facilitate every chemical reaction in the body.  Proteins may also be converted to sugar or fat to be used for fuel.  Adequate protein helps maintain a good energy level, stabilizes blood sugar, assists adrenal and thyroid activity, helps control weight and assists bowel function.

 

PROTEINS IN OUR FOODS

 

            The main source of protein is our diet.  We eat proteins from animals and plants.  We break them down into their amino acid components and then rebuild them into our body proteins.  This is called protein digestion and then protein synthesis. 

Protein-containing foods can be divided into three groups:

 

*         Concentrated protein foods include red meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, cheese, yogurt and beans.  Others are wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast and some algae such as spirulina.  These foods contain about 20% protein or more.  I do not recommend spirulina or algae as they are difficult on the liver due to some of their contents.  They are often found in some “green superfood’ powders, food bars and drinks.

 

*         Medium-protein foods include grains such as rice, wheat, oats, millet and barley.  These contain 6 to 14% protein and are considered incomplete proteins.  This means they should be combined with other protein foods to provide complete protein.  Unfortunately, modern hybrid grains often contain much less protein than the grains that were grown 100 years ago or earlier.  Wheat, for example, used to have 12-14% protein and now contains six percent in many instances.  Even organically grown grains today are hybrids.

 

*         Low-protein foods include fruits, vegetables and juices.  These contain less than 5% protein.

 

PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS

 

            In addition to the sources above, some people like to use protein supplements.  These include 1) protein powders, 2) protein bars, 3) meal replacements, 4) hydrolyzed or pre-digested protein and 5) amino acid supplements.  Let us discuss these products in more detail. 

 

            Powders versus whole foods.   Protein powders and supplements are made from a variety of sources.  Some are better than others.  The best is probably egg protein powder.  However, I never recommend protein powders and meal replacements for the following reasons:

1. Too yin.  Smoothies and shakes usually contain powders, which are all yin, combined with a sweetener, which is yin, and water, which is yin.  All of this is bad for health and difficult to digest properly for most people.  

2. Much less nourishing.  You will get far more nutrition from an egg than from egg protein powder, or from peas rather than pea protein powders, etc.  The powders are all refined and many nutrients have been stripped away.

3. Bad food combinations.  Combining powders with water with fruit, often and other things is usually a terrible food combination.

4. Must drink too much liquid with the drink.  It is best not have much liquid with meals.  this is not possible with a drink or smoothie.  The liquid dilutes the stomach acid and impairs proper digestion of the food.

 

Whey protein.  This product is extremely popular, especially among body builders and it is highly recommended by many holistic doctors.  It contains a decent balance of the amino acids and other minerals and substances. 

However, recent research I have done indicates it contains toxic forms of nickel and copper.  In addition, it is very yin when taken in a smoothie or a shake, and forms bad food combinations in these drinks with too much liquid with the food.  Therefore, I cannot recommend it at all.  Its toxic components cause it to be stimulating, so a lot of people love it.

Whey protein is reputed to help people quit smoking, and I would agree that using some whey protein is better than smoking cigarettes, but that is its only advantage.  Once you have quit cigarettes, then move on and stop the whey protein powder in favor of whole food proteins such as eggs, meats and raw cheeses.

 

Soy protein.  The most popular protein drinks and bars are often made from soy.  The label may say made from soy protein isolate or just soy or soybean protein.  However, often it just says textured vegetable protein and this also means soy in most all cases.  Thousands of products are made of this, such as Hamburger Helper, vegetarian burgers and many other products.

Soy problems.  Soy protein powders and foods made with it are probably the worst ones and are best avoided altogether.  Soy is not a particularly high quality source of protein, although it is technically a complete protein.

However, the soy is always processed and must be.  This renders it less desirable as processing damages the protein structure a lot.  In fact, it is usually a leftover byproduct of the manufacture of soybean oil.  Chemicals such as acetone may be used to extract the oil, leaving a residue of chemicals in the soy protein.

Soy has other drawbacks such as containing too much copper, low zinc, enzyme inhibitors, thyroid inhibitors and other toxic residues.  Its main benefit is its low cost, which is very important to food manufacturers.

 

Egg.  Egg protein powder is also often labeled as albumin.  This is generally a much better form of protein powder, drink or bar than soy or most others.

 

Milk Sources.  Another excellent source of protein powders widely used in some health bars and powders is whey powder, usually made from cow or goat milk.

The other form of milk protein powder widely used called casein.  This one is considered inferior to whey because it causes many sensitivities or allergies in some people.  Casein is a sticky substance that is mucus-forming for many people as well.

 

Others.  Protein powders may also be made from rice, yeast or fish.  These are also excellent for those who cannot tolerate the others.

Animal sources such as fish are generally more complete proteins, but are also more costly.  Nutritional and brewer’s yeast are good sources of protein that also contain selenium, chromium and B-complex vitamins that most people need. 

Rice or even oat protein sources are good if you are allergic to many protein foods.  However, they are less complete proteins. 

 

            Predigested protein and pure amino acids.  Some protein supplements such as Bragg’s Liquid Aminos contain pre-digested protein.  This means the protein has been broken down into its amino acids by a chemical process so it requires much less digestion.

            Hydrolyzed protein and free-form amino acids (see below) are the best ways to get protein if one’s digestion is totally compromised, as occurs with cancer patients and some other ailments.

 

Hydrolyzed protein.  These are found in some products.  The source is often soy, however.  This is a definite disadvantage.  Also, unfortunately, hydrolyzed protein always contains monosodium glutamate or MSG, a harmful food chemical.  It occurs naturally as part of the processing of hydrolysis.

 

Pure grown amino acids.  A much more expensive type of protein supplement is pure amino acids that are made by fungal organisms grown in a laboratory.  These usually come in capsules and are called free-form amino acids.

   These make excellent supplements unless on is sensitive to the fungus they are made from.  The other problem with these is very high cost relative to the other protein supplements discussed above.  However, they are excellent for ill people to improve their amino acid intake. 

 

              Meal replacements.  Protein powders are sold either as meal replacements or to add to a meal.  Meal replacements contain extra vitamins and minerals, and usually a sweetener.  Products designed to be added to food or drink usually do not contain as much sweeteners or added vitamins.

            If you use protein powder as a meal, be sure to buy a product that is enriched with vitamins and minerals.  Otherwise, you are getting a very incomplete meal.

I never recommend replacing more than one meal a day with a protein powder or bar.  Protein powders and bars make decent snacks between meals.  However, goat cheese, leftover chicken, seeds, nuts, nut butters and other natural foods also make excellent snacks and are often more nutritious and less expensive.

           

Sugary protein drinks, powders and bars.  Beware of bars, powders and meal replacements that are high in sugars.  This is often the case because otherwise the product would not taste good. 

The label may say sugar, corn syrup, fructose, glucose, lactose, liquid sugar, honey, agave nectar, rice syrup, barley malt or fruit juices.  If you are using the powder as a meal replacement, some carbohydrate is often acceptable.  If you are adding it to food, beware of how much sugar you are adding to your meal with your protein powder. 

However, I suggest avoiding all products containing Nutrasweet or Equal that are often used instead and in “low calorie” bars and powdered drink ixes.  To sweeten a protein drink, Stevia, xylitol, mnanitol or sorbitol are more healthful sweeteners.  Even better, stay with protein foods since all sweet-tasting foods and drinks tend to keep the sweet taste alive and the artificial sweeteners and the others can deceive your body to some degree and are thus less healthful.

 

            Other Additives.  Also beware that most protein powders, bars and drinks contain natural or artificial colors and flavors, preservatives and perhaps a dozen other chemicals.  This is yet another reason to eat food rather than chemical concoctions. 

Also remember that while protein supplements may be helpful at times, they are never a substitute for food. Whole, natural, minimally cooked and processed proteins are essential for our life and our health and there is no substitute for them.

 

PROTEIN QUALITY

 

            Complete protein foods.  Meats, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, yogurt, soy and peanuts are considered ‘complete proteins’.  This is a useful but not absolutely true concept that means that these proteins contain a good balance of all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need. 

Our bodies require at least 22 amino acids for health and well-being.  Of these, 10 or so are called ‘essential’.  This means we need to ingest them in our diet.  We don’t need to eat the other 12 or so, because we can convert the essential ones into them inside our bodies.

 

Incomplete protein foods. These include grains, beans, nuts, seeds and even some forms of meats such as rabbit.  They are commonly eaten as stapes in poorer nations and by strict vegetarians, also called vegans.

If a person does not eat complete protein foods, one must eat a variety of less complete protein foods in order to obtain all the required amino acids.  Otherwise deficiency symptoms, some irreversible, will begin to appear.

In our experience, eating a lot of incomplete proteins or lower quality protein foods is never advisable unless one is very ill with cancer or some other extreme situation.  They just do not nourish the body as well.

 

Biological quality. Some protein foods contain a much better balance of the essential amino acids than others.  A food with a good balance has a higher rating of biological quality.  Egg protein (albumin) rates highest in biological quality.  Meat protein has the second best biological quality.

 

Other quality factors.  These include freshness, how the food was grown or raised and how it is prepared.  Other quality factors include the breed of chicken or other animal, the soil the food is grown on and many other subtle qualities.  Even the altitude at which a food is grown or raised can influence its nutritional qualities, for example.

 

Raw protein foods.  Some people prefer all raw diets and I am aware of this.  However, we have not found this a beneficial system for most people, especially those with low vitality.  Read  about the concept of Vitality on this website.  Raw foods can contain parasites, bacteria, viruses fungi and other harmful microorganisms that are mainly killed by cooking. 

However, it is true that cooking denatures the protein, which is why an egg becomes harder with cooking.  For this reason, protein foods should be cooked a minimum amount for best nutrition. 

We don’t recommend overcooking meat, eggs (as in hard boiling or deep frying) because this ruins the protein structure and makes them much harder to digest.  Read more about this subject in the article on this site entitled Raw Foods.

           

PROTEIN DIGESTION

 

            Proteins must be broken down into their amino acids to be used in our bodies.  If they are not properly broken down, they rot or putrefy.  This is a very toxic process that literally poisons the body and causes foul-smelling bowel movements and gas.  This is how you know some putrefaction is going on. 

Pepsin and hydrochloric acid in the stomach and trypsin and chymotrypsin from the pancreas are among the important protein-digesting enzymes.  One must have enough of these enzymes to digest the amount of protein one eats or putrefaction will occur to some degree.  Most people do not have enough of these, which is why we supplement everyone with a protein digesting enzyme such as GB-3 or betaine hydrochloride and pepsin.

           

Digestion depends on general nutrition.  Our bodies convert sodium chloride to hydrochloric acid in the stomach to help break down protein.  Enzyme production also requires zinc, which is deficient in most people due to our depleted soils and refined food diets.  For example, vegetarian diets, for example, are lower in zinc.  Today, many children are born low in zinc due to their mother's zinc deficiency.

Other minerals and many vitamins are also needed to make digestive enzymes.  Thus one’s entire nutritional state is important for proper utilization of protein and its digestion into simple amino acids.  Then these must be recombined to make our proteins.  This is discussed later.

 

            Food habits and protein digestion.  For good protein digestion, eat slowly and chew thoroughly.  Relaxed, enjoyable, sit down meals help maximize digestive enzyme production.  Avoid overeating and relax after meals for at least 10 minutes to facilitate digestion.  

Take digestive enzymes if you are unsure whether you are digesting protein properly.  My favorite digestive enzymes are pancreatin and ox bile.  Hydrochloric acid and pepsin is another common protein-digesting product.

 

FACTORS THAT CAUSE PROTEIN DIGESTION PROBLEMS

 

1. High levels of toxic metals.  These interfere with zinc and other vital minerals.

2. Stress keeps the sympathetic nervous system active and interferes a lot with digestion, a parasympathetic activity.

3. Fatigue does the same as stress and it weakens the digestion tremendously.  Always rest before meals if tired, even if it is just for a few minutes.

4. Nutritionally depletion, as explained above, impairs digestion a lot.

5. Infections in the intestines, which are quite common.  These include parasites, yeasts, bacteria and more.

6. Illnesses affecting the intestines such as colitis, ulcers, cancer and others.

7. Some pharmaceutical drugs and over-the-counter product interfere a lot with digestion.  Among the worst are anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin, Tylenol, Aleve, Excedrin and other anti-inflammatory drugs that irritate the stomach and can even cause ulcers.

Beta blockers, proton pump inhibitors and calcium supplements are others that interfere with digestion.  Some of the common names are propanolol, Inderal, Protonix, Prevacid, Prilosec, Tums, Choos, OsCal and many others in the same classes of drugs.

In fact, any toxic substance, even food additives will interfere with digestion, which is quite a delicate process.  This is just another reason to eat well and rest after meals as Mexicans and Europeans often do with a siesta after the large meal of the day.  This is a wise idea for everyone, even if it is a 10-minute rest.

8. An alkaline stomach due to drugs or nutritional or other imbalances interferes a lot with protein digestion.  The wrong acid in the stomach is another issue related to this one.  This is why the pH of the stomach is not enough.  It must be the correct acid as well, and why supplements are so helpful in many cases.

9. Improper bowel flora is another common cause of digestive problems.  Although this is most common in the large intestine, it can occur in the small intestine as well.  It is responsible for bloating, often, in the stomach due to gas formation.

10. Constipation and/or low fiber in the diet may also interfere with proper digestion.

 

MINERAL ANALYSIS AND DIGESTION

 

            Mineral analysis reveals digestive problems in most everyone today.  This is due to the volume of toxic chemicals we ingest with our food and drinks, added to the stress of modern living and the use of pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter drugs that interfere with digestion. 

            Indicators for impaired digestion on a hair test include a phosphorus level of 12 or less or one that is higher than 18.  This is not the case, however, if a pubic sample is used as this may cause elevated phosphorus readings.

            Another indicator is a sodium/potassium ratio less than about 2.5:1.  the lower the ratio, often the worse the digestive strength or vitality.  For this reason, the ratio is called the vitality ratio.

Another indicator is a zinc level less than about 11 or a copper level above 2.5 or a hidden copper toxicity pattern.  Read Copper Toxicity Syndrome for ore information about hidden copper toxicity.

Another indicator is a potassium level less than about 4 mg%.  This is called Sympathetic Dominance and implies that the sympathetic nervous system is overused.  This, in turn, usually impairs digestion a lot, even if there are no recognizable symptoms.

            A final indicator is a high level of any of the toxic metals, since most all of them interfere with proper digestion and utilization of zinc, a critical element in the production of digestive enzymes.

            I would say most if not all the clients who come for nutritional guidance have one or more of these digestive indicators.  This is why most everyone, perhaps except young children, should take a digestive enzyme, at least until their hair analysis improves a lot.

 

THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF POOR DIGESTION

 

Vicious cycles are what destroy our bodies.  Impaired protein digestion causes nutrient deficiencies and often bowel toxicity.  This further impairs protein digestion, which in turn worsens nutritional status and the cycle continues until we die. 

This is why we make such a point of recommending only high quality protein in adequate quantity.  Also, it is why we suggest avoiding all drugs and food additives, if possible, and to have excellent eating habits.  It is also why we suggest plenty of rest, with some rest before and after meals as well.

In many people, this is the way to break the vicious cycle of poor protein digestion, a very essential body function.

 

PROTEIN SYNTHESIS IN THE LIVER AND ELSEWHERE

 

            Digesting proteins, which is breaking them down into their respective amino acids, is only half the battle in the proper utilization of proteins.  The other half is rebuilding the amino acids into the thousands of hormones, enzymes, tissues and organs of our bodies.

            Here another vicious cycle is to be avoided.  This is that poor nutrition in general impairs synthesis of proteins that are needed to digest and synthesize more proteins.  If this cycle persists for any length of time, chronic disease and death will ensue.

            Thus, improving the overall state of nutrition is paramount to assist proper protein synthesis.  This includes virtually all the minerals and vitamins.  Equally important is to rid the body of toxic substances such as cadmium, arsenic, lead and hundreds of toxic chemicals that interfere with proper protein synthesis.

The mineral zinc must be singled out as particularly important for protein synthesis.  It is required for the enzyme RNA transferase, a key step in protein synthesis.  However, in fact, many minerals and vitamins and other nutrients are required for this complex process of DNA synthesis.

Once again, most people are deficient in zinc and man other nutrients, so their synthesis of protein is quite impaired.  This slows all healing and all rebuilding of body tissue. 

We are often impressed how quickly and painlessly people with wounds or surgical scars that won’t heal complete their healing when they use a nutritional balancing program to improve their overall health.  This has a lot to do with protein synthesis.  Anyone with wounds, scars or other areas of the body that will not heal properly probably has problems with adequate protein synthesis.

 

SPECIFIC PROTEIN CONSIDERATIONS

 

            Meats.  Meats from animals raised without hormones and antibiotics are higher quality and to be preferred. Lamb, chicken, turkey and wild game are the best protein foods, along with eggs.

Beef is less recommended.  It is quite hybridized.  This means it is not the same animal as it was 50 years ago.  This is somewhat a problem with all our livestock, but beef most of all, and to the point that the animals are not as desirable for our nutrition.

Pork, ham, bacon and all pig products should be totally avoided in any form, as they may contain trichina cysts and other parasites, even when supposedly properly cooked.

Also avoid all processed meats, in general, as they contain many additives such as nitrites and nitrates that are quite toxic for some people.  Some is okay if it is all natural, such as natural hot dogs, for example.

Fresh meats are best, especially if freshly kllled.  Frozen chicken and turkey is okay.  Canned meats are usually loaded with additives to preserve them. Dried “jerky” is not bad unless it is full of additives, as it usually is.  Smoked meats and fish are not quite as healthful but may be eaten at times.

While meats are not of the highest quality today in most instances, it is still an excellent food, and an important source of zinc, B-vitamins, amino acids such as taurine, carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid and many other subtle nutrients.   Grass-fed and free range animals are often an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. 

 

            Eggs.   The most maligned protein food is the egg.  Eggs contain excellent quality protein as well as lecithin, vitamin A and many other nutrients. 

The famous Framingham, Massachusetts heart disease study examined the question of egg consumption.  The study found those who regularly consumed eggs lived longer than those who ate eggs only occasionally.  Especially for those who prefer to eat less meat, eggs are an essential source of high-quality protein. 

Six to nine eggs per week is not too many for most people.  Preferably rotate them (and all foods) by having them no more than every other day.  Fresh is always best with eggs.  Right from the chicken is wonderful and not too difficult in some places if you ask people who has chickens. 

Eggs and meats should not be overcooked.  We much prefer soft boiled, poaches, lightly fried or mushy scrambled eggs, rather than hard eggs of any kind.

            Avoid processed eggs like Egg Beaters and others.  These may contain oxidized cholesterol, which is toxic.  To learn more about eggs and cholesterol, read Cholesterolphobia.

 

            Milk and Cheese.  Milk is a high-quality protein food.  However, most people are allergic to the milk from hybrid cows.  Organic milk is much better in most cases, although hybridized milking cows are still used. 

Goat and sheep milks are excellent as well and should be organic if possible.  Natural, organic cheese and plain yogurts and kefir are also quality products unless one has a sensitivity to them.

If a person follows our suggestions, sensitivities to dairy and other quality foods go away, although this may take several years.  Goats and sheep are healthier animals and are less hybridized than cows.

 

            Fish.  Most fish are an excellent source of protein and many other nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and iodine.  However, all fish today are somewhat contaminated with mercury and other toxic metals.

For this reason, I only recommend eating very small fish such as sardines, perhaps fresh herring, if possible, or a little salmon, perhaps.  Eat it no more than twice a week.  Some believe that pregnant women should avoid all fish.

Strictly avoid all larger fish such as tuna, swordfish, shark, king mackerel and others.  These contain levels of mercury that make them toxic.  All shellfish are also more contaminated and to be totally avoided today. 

 

            Nuts and Seeds.  Nuts contain many excellent nutrients.  Almonds, especially toasted almond butter, is okay as a food source.  However, all nuts and seeds are yin, somewhat toxic and to be eaten only occasionally, up to once or twice weekly.

Be sure to chew them very thoroughly or they will putrefy in the intestines and cause gas and bloating.  Nut butters, if fresh, are better for this reason.

Seeds are also yin and may contain enzyme inhibitors that are destroyed by soaking the seeds overnight before consuming them.  Sunflower seeds, sesame, chia and others are nutrient-rich foods, but are also yin.  Toasted is best, often, for this reason.  Once again, sunflower butter, tahini or sesame butter and other methods of eating seeds offer better digestion of the seeds in most cases.

 

            Grains.  Grain is only a fair source of protein today.  Formerly, it was an excellent source.  However, modern hybrid grains, which includes organically-grown wheat, rice and others, contain much less protein than the non-hybrids of 100 years ago.

Non-hybridized wheat contains about 14% protein.  Today's wheat, including organic wheat, contains about 6% protein.  Books that suggest one can obtain one's protein from grains are no longer correct.  An excellent higher-protein grain food is quinoa.  But even this seed is only perhaps 10% protein and not of the best overall quality.

Therefore, grains must be considered second-rate sources of protein today, or not included at all as sources, preferably.  

 

            Beans and Soy.  Dried beans, in general, are not considered complete protein sources.  This means the balance of amino acids is not adequate.  Peanuts and soy are considered complete proteins, but their quality is not as good as eggs and meat.  

Soy has been discussed above.  Roasted soy beans, isolated soy protein, soy powders, soy milks and textured vegetable protein or TVP all contain anti-nutrients such as phytates, thyroid inhibitors and enzyme inhibitors.  Besides, soy powders and soy isolate are often leftover products from the manufacture of soy oil and contain chemical residues used in the oil extraction process. 

I suggest eating only traditionally fermented soy products such as tempeh and tofu – and not much of these.  These are less toxic products.  However, they are still lower quality proteins and I would limit intake to no more than two times per week at the most.  Ideally, skip them altogether.

 

HIGH OR LOW PROTEIN DIETS

 

            Today, many people are concerned about eating too much protein.  Reasons for this include possible calcium depletion and excessive cholesterol in fatty animal protein.

I do not think these reasons are valid.  However, other reasons may matter more.  These are mainly that one can easily overdo on protein beyond one’s digestive capacity.  This is especially true for older people and young people with digestive difficulties, which includes many of them.

Some vegan and other health advocates suggest that no concentrated protein foods need be eaten at all.  They note that animals such as horses and apes become strong living on grass alone.  They don’t mention that these animals digest foods that we cannot, have little stress, and they eat all day.  Please don’t follow this advice.

            Reasonable protein intake does not deplete the bones of calcium.  Bone loss is due to many factors, particularly trace mineral deficiencies.

            My observation as a clinician is that fast oxidizers need 4- 6 ounces of a protein food daily  or perhaps twice or even three times daily.  Slow oxidizers often need protein at least twice daily or three times.  Those with any type of cancer or digestive weakness may need less for a while.

While 60-70 grams of protein are adequate, many people eat less than 40 grams/day.  This is too little for most people.  Some mistakenly believe that less protein will cause weight loss, though the opposite is often true. 

            I suggest eating some concentrated protein food with each meal or at least twice a day for many people.  Those interested in food combining may say this is not good food combining.  However, if your digestion is weak, take digestive enzymes, which I recommend for almost everyone.  Skipping protein at meals often leads to protein deficiency, weight gain and low thyroid and adrenal gland activity.

 

ANIMAL VERSUS VEGETABLE

 

            In my experience, most people eventually do not feel well on a limited, vegetarian regimen.  Animal protein is higher quality.  It also contains many other essential nutrients including vitamin B12, zinc, niacin, carnitine, taurine, cysteine, methionine, alpha-lipoic acid and others.  These are not present or less biologically available in vegetable proteins.  Deficiencies can take years to develop and can be difficult to correct.

I encourage vegetarians to at least eat eggs for their high-quality protein, particularly the sulfur-containing substances such as taurine, cysteine and methionine.  These are essential for eliminating toxic metals and synthetic chemicals to which we are all exposed.  I cannot emphasize enough the need for the sulfur-containing amino acids and taurine (technically not an amino acid) found in greatest abundance in animal proteins. 

            The argument to avoid animal protein due to its cholesterol content has been largely disproven.  Excess homocysteine, mineral deficiencies, toxic metals, infections and inflammation correlate much better with heart disease than does one’s cholesterol level. 

In fact, cholesterol is the raw material from which we make stress hormones.  Several strict vegetarian clients had high cholesterol levels because their bodies were out of balance in spite of not eating any cholesterol-containing foods. 

 

PROTEIN AND WEIGHT LOSS

 

            Some people avoid protein thinking it will cause weight gain.  However, research by Robert Atkins, MD and many others indicates the exact opposite is true.  Protein stabilizes blood sugar and supports the activity of the adrenal and thyroid glands.  Thus it often assists weight loss.

 

SPECIAL PROTEIN NEEDS

 

            Children.  Adequate protein intake is very important for children, who are growing fast.  Vegetarian diets low in protein or diets high in soy products instead of meat and eggs lead to many problems for children such as growth problems, ADD, ADHD, infections and others.  Protein is the major scourge among poor children around the world.  Don’t copy the deficient diets of third world nations.

 

            Pregnant and Nursing Women.  During pregnancy and more so during lactation, adequate protein intake is critical.  Otherwise the baby’s nutrition and growth can be affected. Nursing mothers should always supplement their protein intake with oil fish or a fish oil supplement for the best brain development of the child.

 

            The Elderly.  Older people often suffer from protein deficiency because digestive enzyme secretion diminishes with age.  Often, they do not feel like eating as much protein as they cannot digest it.  Digestive enzymes are most helpful for older people, in particular.  The elderly may even want to eat some MSG to stimulate a poor appetite.

 

            Those with chronic illnesses such as cancer.  Protein digestion is severely impaired in cancer and to some degree in most chronic illness.  Proteolytic digestive enzymes are an important supplement for anyone with chronic illness.

 

            Body builders.  This is the one group that often overdoes on protein.  Their excessive protein intake may be hard on the kidneys and can unbalance body chemistry. 

I am appalled at some of the diets recommended by trainers and others in the body building industry.  They are often too high in protein, deficient in essential fatty acids and very deficient in cooked vegetables that supply the essential alkaline reserve minerals better than any other foods.  Please avoid these type of diets.

 

MAD COW DISEASE

 

            A few people avoid all animal protein, or at least beef, due to fears about Mad Cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalitis.  The truth of this sad illness, from what I have come to understand, is that it is a form of manganese poisoning.

It is apparently due to a the use of Phosmet, an organophosphate pesticide sprayed along the spinal columns of cows to kill fleas or for other reasons.  The pesticide bonds with manganese and this damages prions. 

If the cows are then fed diets high in manganese, the symptoms appear.  The symptoms are identical to a condition called ‘manganese madness’.  This theory best explains recent British and French outbreaks of Mad Cow disease.  However, the pesticide’s manufacturer blocked efforts to publicize the real cause of the disease.

            Hoof and mouth disease, another fear of some people, is not a human disease and poses no danger to humans.  It is caused by nutritional deficiencies.  This was proven in the 1920's by Sir Albert Howard, a famous British soil scientist.  For scientific references on these two conditions, go to www.mercola.com.

 

PROTEIN SUMMARY

           

1) What Proteins To Eat.   Excellent protein foods are natural lamb, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, nut butters, beans with grains, cheese and occasional small fish. 

Preferably do not rely on protein powders, smoothies or bars.  They are okay only on occasion.  If you have some, egg protein or whey protein sources are usually best. 

Eggs from free-ranging chickens are higher in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in cholesterol.  I do not recommend spirulina, which is rich in protein but somewhat toxic.  I also do not recommend commercial peanut butter which may be moldy, or pork, ham or bacon as they may be more toxic and may contain parasites. 

Also, avoid processed meats such as commercial bologna, salami, jerky and canned meats as they often contain many chemical additives.  Fresh is always best when available.

Twice a week you may have pintos, black beans, lentils, split peas and other dried beans.  I do not recommend soy protein unless it is in a fermented form such as tofu or tempeh. 

 Two times a week you may have white fish, cod, salmon, sardines, flounder and other small fish.  Avoid tuna, swordfish and shellfish as these are usually high in mercury and other toxic metals.

Wheat germ, brewers yeast and milks (dairy and non-dairy) are also protein sources - if you ingest enough of them.  If wheat germ or brewer’s yeast are your sole proteins at a meal, eat at least a tablespoon or more of them.  If milk is one of your protein foods, drink a large glass.  If possible, however, swish it around in the mouth as milk is really a food, not a beverage to be gulped down like water for best digestion.  A little milk on cereal, for example, does not count as a serving of protein.

Many people are sensitive to cow’s milk dairy products even if they have no symptoms when eating them.  All cows today are hybrids and their milk is not as high a quality food as it was even 50 years ago.

 

2) How Much?  Many people do not eat enough protein.  While 60-80 grams of protein are often adequate, many people eat less than 40 grams/day.  A good rule of thumb is to have at least two protein-containing meals daily.  At each meal, most adults need 2-5 ounces of a concentrated protein food.

 

3) Whole Protein Foods are Best.  Whole foods are nutritionally superior to protein powders or bars.  This means that eating eggs is preferable to egg protein powder.  Tofu is much superior to soy protein isolate.  Whole foods provide high-quality fats or oils, as well as many vitamins and minerals.  Whole foods are less processed, which means they contain fewer chemical additives and more intact nutrients.  Natural foods are also often less expensive, as you are not paying for processing.

 

4) Organically grown or raised is always best.  Organic foods have less pesticide residues, and a much higher mineral and vitamin content.  Organic meat and eggs are lower in fat and cholesterol, and much cleaner and healthier products.  Always seek out organic protein sources.

 

5) Protein Digestion.  Protein is one of the harder foods to digest, and if it is not digested it it rots or putrefies in the intestines.  Putrefaction produces harmful chemicals. 

If any protein food or protein supplement causes gas or bloating, discontinue its use or take digestive enzymes to make sure you tolerate it and digest it well.  I recommend digestive enzymes such as pancreatin, ox bile or others for almost everyone, at least for a while. 

Have sit-down, relaxed meals.  Eat slowly and chew thoroughly.  Sit for at least five minutes after you finish eating to allow digestion to begin before returning to other activities.

 

 

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