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