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Can Too Much Protein Hurt Your Health?

Can Too Much Protein Hurt Your Health?

“Too Much Protein Is Hurting Your Health.” That was a headline that recently ran in a national newspaper.

It seems that every time I turn on the TV or pick up a magazine lately, the “experts” are telling me that a high-protein diet is dangerous and causes more harm than good.

The list of health problems “they” say are connected to a high-protein diet is long and includes weight gain and excess body fat, cancer, diabetes, kidney damage, heart disease, osteoarthritis and more.1,2,3

But a protein-based diet is what our primal ancestors ate. Their whole culture was built around hunting for and eating meat. And they never suffered from the diseases that affect us today.

Let me explain why protein is so good for you.

A diet high in protein helps to:

  • Add lean muscle mass and boost metabolism
  • Increase energy
  • Balance hormones
  • Improve libido
  • Sharpen memory

But there is a problem with a lot of the protein that’s available today. Let me explain.

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Today’s toxic food supply

Today’s meat, poultry, and fish is nothing like the pure, whole foods our ancestors ate. Our toxic environment has contaminated our food supply.

Food safety is a serious public health issue. One out of six Americans gets sick from eating contaminated food each year. More than 100,000 end up in the hospital.4

Most beef in your grocery store comes from sick cows.

For food manufacturers, a bigger cow equals bigger profits. To increase the size of cattle and to get them to the slaughterhouse faster, manufacturers inject the animals with growth hormones. These hormones show up in the meat you feed your family. Japan, Canada, Australia, and the European Union have banned these hormones but the U.S. still allows them.

hormones-cattle

    To further fatten them up, cattle are also fed an unnatural diet of grain, especially corn. A cow’s digestive system evolved around eating grass. Grain is so unnatural that it makes the animals sick. To counter this problem, the cows are pumped full of antibiotics.

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    Try to avoid this meat at all costs. Instead, choose grass-fed beef from cattle that were allowed to graze in open fields. The meat from grass-fed cattle is pure and full of the protein, vitamins, and nutrients you need to thrive.

    grass-fed-cows

      And if you’re still worried that eating meat will drive up your cholesterol, it won’t.

      A large-scale study found that including lean meat in your diet helps reduce cholesterol levels. And it doesn’t matter whether it was white meat or red meat. Both lowered LDL cholesterol and raised good HDL cholesterol.5

      Fish is one of the healthiest high-protein foods you can eat

      But only if you know where your fish comes from.

      Unfortunately, most of the fish sold today is full of toxins like mercury and PCBs. These contaminants come from factories, farms, plastics, and more. They make their way to the world’s oceans and are ingested by fish.

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      fish-contaminants

        And if you think farm-raised fish are a safer option, I’m sorry to tell you that — with the rare exception — the opposite is true. Fish farming is a dirty, disgusting industry. The fish produced by most aquaculture farms are more contaminated than wild fish.

        There are good options available, though. Seafood Watch, a nonprofit program to sustain healthy oceans, has a list of five of the best fish to eat.6 They include Atlantic mackerel, freshwater Coho salmon, Pacific sardines, wild-caught fresh Alaskan salmon, and canned wild-caught Alaskan salmon.

        When shopping for high-quality fish, look for the following logos:

        Alaska Seafood: Wild, Natural, Sustainable, MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) for Wild-Caught Fish and BAP (Global Aquaculture Alliance Best Aquaculture Practices) for farmed fish.

        Poultry is a perfect protein choice

        However, chickens and turkeys are often infected with Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria. To kill these bacteria, some manufacturers soak their poultry in toxic chemicals.

        To make sure your poultry is safe, look for these guidelines:

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        • Free range
        • Certified organic
        • Raised without antibiotics
        • Certified humane raised and handled

        To Your Good Health,

        Al Sears, MD, CNS

        References:

        1. Enos D. “How Protein in Your Diet Affects Weight Gain.” Live Science. March 27, 2013.
        2. Walton A. “Why High-Protein Diets May Be Linked to Cancer Risk.” Forbes. Mar 4, 2014.
        3. Greger M. “Does Animal Protein Cause Osteoporosis?” NutritionFacts.org. July 31, 2014.
        4. Hunninghake DB, Maki KC, Kwiterovich PO Jr, et al. Incorporation of lean red meat into a national cholesterol education program. step I diet: a long-Term, randomized clinical trial in free-living persons with hypercholesterolemia. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000;19(3): 351-60.
        5. Mann N. Dietary lean red meat and human evolution. Eur J Nutr. 2000 Apr;39(2):71-9.
        6. Seafood & Your Health. Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.

        Featured photo credit: wikimedia.org via upload.wikimedia.org

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        Last Updated on September 20, 2018

        How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

        How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

        Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

        If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

        1. Breathe

        The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

        • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
        • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
        • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

        Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

        2. Loosen up

        After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

        Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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        3. Chew slowly

        Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

        Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

        Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

        4. Let go

        Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

        The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

        It’s not. Promise.

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        Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

        Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

        21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

        5. Enjoy the journey

        Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

        Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

        6. Look at the big picture

        The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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        Will this matter to me…

        • Next week?
        • Next month?
        • Next year?
        • In 10 years?

        Hint: No, it won’t.

        I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

        Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

        7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

        You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

        Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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        8. Practice patience every day

        Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

        • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
        • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
        • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

        Final thoughts

        Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

        Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

        Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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