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Johnny An
Mr. Cosmin
English 102
05 May 2015

Public Perception of the Amount of Protein Needed in the Average Diet

Most Americans are well aware that they can easily get excess amounts of fat and
sugar. However, not many Americans know that they can get too much protein, and this
can cause serious consequences. Most of the time people get excess amounts of protein
from eating animal sources, and this can lead to developing deadly diseases (PCRM).
However, because plants contain adequate amounts of protein, without being excessive, a
plant-based diet can reduce the risk of developing those deadly diseases. Therefore,
eating only plant protein can help the human body to function healthfully, instead of
eating animal protein, which can raise the risk of developing early puberty and deadly
diseases, like osteoporosis, kidney stones, cancer, and coronary artery disease.
Although dangerous in excessive amounts, protein is quite necessary. Protein and
its function were discovered in 1838, by chemist Gerardus Johannes Mulder (Kastritis,
Bonvin 2012). The functions of proteins in the human body include promoting growth
(particularly for children, teens, and pregnant women), aiding in tissue repair,
participating in immunity, acting as essential hormones and enzymes, providing energy
(when carbohydrates are not available), and preserving lean muscle mass (MHC 2014).
Obviously, there are no doubts concerning the importance of protein intake for a healthful

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Since protein is so important, many people think they need animal protein more
than plant protein, and as a result they end up getting excess amounts of protein. Some
diet books even encourage people to eat more protein as a weight loss method (PCRM).
Many people believe humans are physically designed to eat meat. When people were
asked why they eat animal products they usually answered with one of the following
responses: canine teeth were developed for eating meat (PeTA) or (the most popular
answer) to get enough protein (ADS). Consequently many people eat meat because they
think it is difficult to receive adequate amounts of protein without it. However, there are
two main misconceptions Americans have about protein. The first has to do with the
source of protein, and the second with amounts of protein needed. Many people think
they need protein from meat and that it is healthy for them to eat it.
What may come as a surprise to many people is that after the breastfeeding period
is over, humans are the only mammalian species that consume milk that is not from its
own kind. It is true that once a baby is born, they should breastfeed to consume adequate
amounts of protein for their growth. However, compared with animals, humans do not
need as much protein. The average human breast milk contains about 1.2 mg of protein
per liter, and the time it takes for human babies to double their weight is about 120 days.
However, animals like cows, horses, cats and rats require a lot more protein for their
growth, and the time it takes to double their size is much shorter. For example, the
mother rats milk contains about 11.8 mg/liter of protein, and the time it takes a newborn
rat to double its size is about 4.5 days, which is 27 times faster than a human baby
(McDougall 1983). Therefore, consuming animal milk for its protein can easily result in

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exceeding human protein requirements.

After the breastfeeding period is over many people still drink milk from different
species and it can lead to problems, such as osteoporosis, later in life. Osteoporosis is a
disease that increases the risk of bone fractures through the thinning and weakening of
bones (NIH 2013). Researchers at the University of Wisconsin studied overconsumption
of proteins; the study involved two different groups who consumed different amounts of
protein. The first group consumed 48g per day and the second group consumed 141g per
day while the group who consumed 48g of protein a day stored 10mg of calcium, the
group whose intake was 141g per day lost 84mg of calcium each day (JN 2015). This
study concluded that consuming excess amounts of protein causes bones to lose calcium
and, as a result, raises the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Eating excess amounts of protein is not the only factor that has been linked to
osteoporosis. The source of protein also matters. Eating meat can raise the risk of
developing osteoporosis. Meat contains amino acids that have sulfur ions, and when
people consume excess amounts of sulfur their blood becomes more acidic. Since the
human body maintains an alkaline pH level, when someone eats meat, which contains
sulfur ions that are acidic, the human body will try to maintain an alkaline pH level by
leeching calcium from the bones. As a result bones lose calcium through urine, which can
enhance the progress of osteoporosis (USIMD 2003).

From eating excess amounts of animal protein can lead to a disease called kidney

stones, which is even more common than osteoporosis (PSH). Researchers at the
University of Chicago conducted a study on kidney stones with participants between the
ages of 21 and 52. They were required to eat low carbohydrate and high protein food and

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drink 3 liters of fluid. Most of the people in the study lost about 9lb, but they all of them
developed ketones. Carbohydrates are the main fuel for the human body. However, when
there is not enough of them the body uses fat as a fuel, and when this happens to often it
can increase the risk of developing kidney stones (Josllin 2015). As a result, urine
calcium levels rise significantly, and the blood acidity level rises by 90%. This is a heavy
load on the kidneys (BMJ 2002). Therefore eating excess amounts of protein from animal
sources can increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
Many Americans do not know that excess amounts of protein can be dangerous
for their body (ADS). For example, bodybuilding has become a huge trend for people of
all ages, in spite of the problems with eating large amounts of protein. Most bodybuilding
trainers will recommend protein shakes. However, protein shakes give excessive amounts
of protein and this can cause kidney stones as well. That is why, oftentimes, body
builders developed kidney disease. (Hartung et. a 2000) The human body needs about
45g of proteins a day (FDF 2014), and anybody can easily consume adequate amounts of
protein by eating whole foods, vegetables, and legumes. (VRG 2011)
In America cancer is even more common than kidney disease and has also been
linked with consuming excessive amounts of protein. According to the World Health
Organization, up to 40 percent of all cancers are preventable, and each year about
589,430 Americans die from cancer. Diet is one of the main factors that have been linked
to cancer (ACS 2015). Eating large amounts animal protein increases the risk of
developing a cancer (Campbell 2013). However, those who eat a vegan diet eliminate the
foods that increase the risk of developing cancer. Therefore, eating a vegan diet can help
prevent cancer (PeTA). This fact was confirmed by the following study. In the United

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States, a research team studied on a religious group called Seventh-day Adventists. Most
of the members of this religious group do not drink alcohol or, smoke tobacco. They
practice a vegetarian diet or eat moderate amounts of meat. Among this group, the
research team compared between vegetarian and non-vegetarian members. The results
were clear: those who practiced a vegetarian diet had significantly lower risks of getting a
cancer compared to the group who ate meat (PCRM). Since practicing a vegan diet
reduces the risk of getting osteoporosis, kidney stones, and cancer, people should receive
a proteins, from a better sources: vegetables.
There are various reasons why eating animal protein increases the risk of
developing a cancer. One of them are excess amounts of protein weakens the immune
system and decreases its ability to kill cancer cells. A study conducted by National
Cancer Institute fount that the function of the immune systems is to recognize and kill
cells that are harmful to the human body, such as cancer cells (NCI 2014). White blood
cells play a big roll in protecting the human body from foreign cells like cancer.
However, eating excess amounts of protein weakens its function. More specifically, the
high amounts of protein weaken two types of white blood cells called T helper cells and
T cytotoxic cells. This weakening was demonstrated by a study that showed that less
intake of amino acids, called phenylalanine and tyrosine, improved the immune system
by increasing the number of T-helper cells, T-cytotoxic cells, and Natural killer cells.
However, when volunteers in the study went back to eating animal proteins, their
immune system was weakened. And because vegetables do not contain as much of those
two amino acids, compared to animal proteins, it is better to consume plant protein
(USIMD 2003). This is why eating too much animal protein can weaken the immune

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system and increase the risk of developing a cancer.

Another reason why eating animal protein can increase the risk of developing
cancer is the presence of different types of hormones in the protein. Cow farm workers
inject growth hormones to increase the volume of milk production and the growth of the
cows. The IGF-1 growth hormone is problematic because it increases the risk of
antibiotic resistance in human the body and increases the risk of developing colon, breast,
and prostate cancer (PSR 2015).
Since animal protein reduces the risk of deadly disease it also has the
potential of increasing longevity. A research team studied the people of the island of
Okinawa to find out the secret of their longevity. The Okinawa Centenarian Study
showed that Okinawans live about 5 years longer than Americans (OCS 1996), and that
this is linked to their diet. Historically, the inhabitants of Okinawa are known for eating
low fat, high carbohydrate diets. Because of their diet, they have less prostate, breast, and
colon cancer compared with Americans (Fleming, Holligan, Kris-Etherton 2013). Most
Americans are aware that protein is very important for the human bodys function,
however, this research has shown that eating plant protein is much healthier than eating
animal products as a sources of protein.
Animal proteins may not always cause deadly disease, but they have also been
linked to early puberty in humans. Statistics show that the age of puberty for children has
decreased compared to 30 years ago. Some people believed this is caused the fact that
kids in America are getting fatter (DCoC), however, that was not the main contributing
factor. This can be seen by the fact that European kids are also getting fatter, but their
puberty age has not decreased. Instead, researcher Michael Greger found that the problem

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is that related to how much kids eat but what they eat. Cows are injected with the
hormone IGF-1, and when people consume this hormone it can lead to health problems.
Every gram of animal protein that was eaten daily increased the risk of early puberty in
females under 12 by 17 percents (Greger 2013).
Although many Americans have been negatively affected by the health problems
discussed above, none of them have reached as many people as coronary artery disease.
There is a very strong relationship between eating animal products, as a source of protein,
and coronary artery disease. This disease increases the risk of getting a heart attack. In
America, nearly 2,400 people die every 37 seconds from heart attacks (UCSF).
Consuming animal products as a source of protein often leads to the additional intake of
very high amounts of cholesterol. This can damage arteries by blocking the circulation to
the heart. The cholesterol from meat causes the arteries to be blocked by plaque, which
accumulates, causing arteries to burst due to high blood pressure (NIH 2013). This is how
heart attacks can result from eating animal products as a source of protein.
There is no doubt that protein is essential for the human bodys function,
however, since eating animal proteins increases the risk of developing deadly diseases
due to excess amounts of protein, it would be good to review the best way to receive
healthy amounts of protein. Human caloric requirements for a male are about 2400 per
day, and 2000 per day for a female. However, eating the same amount of calories from
animal sources will results in the consumption of excessive amounts of protein. The key
is to practice a vegan diet because in consuming the same amount of calories by eating a
large amount of plant-based food will result in the consumption of less protein since
plant-based food does not contain as much protein as animal sources do (Mangels 2011).

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In addition practicing a vegan diet can reduce the chance of developing many deadly
diseases and at the same time provide adequate amounts of protein. For example, if
someone ate 500 grams of green leafy vegetables, and 60 grams of soybean products, 400
grams of sweet potatoes, and 400 grams of cereals for one day, this would already gives
them 71 grams of protein, which already exceeds the recommended 45 grams (Nedley
1999). Therefore, a vegan diet can give people an adequate amount of protein and also
prevent many deadly diseases.
While eating plant proteins reduces the risk of developing deadly diseases a study
has shown that it also helps prevent hot flashes. In the study a number of females who
had intense hot flashes during menopause felt very uncomfortable most of the time. They
also lost significant amounts of estrogen. The researchers gave them 20 grams of soy
protein per day. After taking the protein there hot flashes were greatly reduced. (Burke
In spite of the fact that evidence points to the plant-based diet as the healthiest
way to receive protein, the United States Department of Agriculture still recommends
animal products, like meat and dairy as a source of protein. Before 1977, because of
nutrition deficiencies the U.S. government recommended that people eat more meat and
dairy products. However, after the U.S. government realized that animal products
increased chronic diseases they recommended that people eat less animal products. It was
not until 1977 that Animal product companies that produce animal product started to
pressure the government to change the recommendation source of protein back to animal
products. As a result of these politics the government changed the recommendation for

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protein from decrease consumption of meat to have two or three (daily) servings of
meat (USIMD 2003).
Many American citizens could have avoided developing deadly diseases by
learning the results of eating animal products ahead of time. About 100 years ago there
was a book written by Ellen G. White that warned against a meat diet:
Many die of disease caused wholly by meat eating; yet the world does not
seem to be wiser. Animals are frequently killed that have been driven
quite a distance for the slaughter. Their blood has become heated.some
are not immediately affected, while others are attacked with sever pain,
and die from fever, cholera, or some unknown disease. (White 1938)
As time past scientific studies show that this evaluation was correct. Her statements were
not intended to scare people so that they would stop eating animal; instead, they were
presented to show a better way to receive nutrition. The Ideal basic diet plan boils down
to four categories: fruits, seeds and nuts (in moderation), vegetables, and whole grains
(Nedley 1999).
According to the Bible, changes from this ideal diet brought about horrible
results. In Genesis 1:30 it says I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
The original plan for the human diet did not include animal products. It was a plant-based
diet. However, after the flood humanitys diet changed from plant-based to nonvegetarian. The following chart shows that the first 10-generation lived on average about
900 years.

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However, after animal products were introduced into the diet human longevity decreased
by about 300 hundred years. As time passed the longevity of humans continued to decline
and reached the point where average people live less than eighty years (CDC 2013).

Receiving protein from animal products will continually cause deadly diseases and as a
result the chance of maintaining the current longevity will decrease. Some say science
has improved and that medical teams can help people live longer, however, the chance of
maintaining the current quality of life is very low (citation).
American society has a big misconception about the amount of and way to
consume protein. Many people think that eating animal products is a good way to receive
protein. However, eating animal protein increases the risk of developing diseases like
osteoporosis, kidney stones, cancer, and coronary artery disease. In addition, early
menstrual cycle can result from eating animals that have been injected with growth
hormones. On the other hand, eating plant protein reduces the risk of developing deadly

diseases, and provides adequate amounts of protein. Therefore, eating plant is the
healthiest way to receive protein.

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