Diet books and magazine articles continue to confuse the masses into believing that excessive amounts of protein in the form of animal products and protein bars and shakes are necessary for weight loss, increased muscle mass and good health. Most people do not realize that protein is contained in all foods, not just animal products. Vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds are all sources of protein. Interestingly, foods like peas, green vegetables, and beans have more protein per calorie than meat.
Countless studies have shown that as the amount of protein in the diet increases, so does the incidence of chronic diseases. Animal products do not contain immunity-boosting antioxidants or phytochemicals, but they do contain other harmful components. The average American consumes about 50 percent more protein than the recommended daily amount and this excess is not stored by the body as protein; it is converted to fat or eliminated through the kidneys, which contributes to osteoporosis and kidney stones. When animal protein intake is reduced or eliminated and vegetable protein intake is increased, reductions in cholesterol, obesity, cancer, and other major illnesses that plague Americans are seen.
Exercise, not extra protein, builds strength, lean bodies, denser bones and bigger muscles. More people need to think beyond the immediate effects of their diet-style and concern themselves more with the long-term effects to their health.