Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Diet for the Urban Troglodyte - 07. The Protein Issue

Is protein an issue? No! O.K. some people make it an issue. I must admit that transitioning to become a vegetarian in the early 1990ies I thought getting enough protein would be an issue. It isn’t! If you eat an adequate amount of calories you would have problems designing a diet inadequate in protein.

How about our caveman ancestor?
Eating lots of meat – no problem.
Eating lots of fish – no problem.
Eating lots of seeds – no problem.
Eating lots of grubs and insects – no problem.
Eating lots of nuts and seeds – no problem.
Eating lots of leafs, grasses, blossoms, fruits, tubers – no problem.
Each season however might have been different for our caveman. But he wouldn’t have a problem with protein if he had enough to eat. So the caveman was faring well, and the urban troglodyte will fare even better.

On the average we already eat too much protein. Some people promote an increase in protein to lose weight – a myth! The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine [1]: “… Americans tend to take in twice the amount of protein they need already.” And: “Excess protein has been linked with osteoporosis, kidney disease, calcium stones in the urinary tract, and some cancers.” Taking more and more protein to get healthy is a myth. Another myth had been unwillingly created by Frances Moore Lappé in her book “Diet for a Small Planet”: combination of plant protein. No you haven’t.
Too much protein means more nitrogen to be excreted by the kidneys. It also means an increase in calcium excretion and thus promotes osteoporosis. Highest calcium and vitamin D intake have traditionally living Inuit, but they also have the highest rate of osteoporosis. Some proteins and also amino acids promote growth, and so might increase the risk for cancer; the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) would be such a protein, which you get by drinking milk and eating dairy products [2]: “The consumption of cow’s milk and milk products is linked to increased levels of IGF-1, which in turn are linked to various cancers.” The caveman had no access to milk and dairy. The urban troglodyte doesn’t have to use milk and dairy.

The urban troglodyte should take an adequate amount of protein. Veggies, dark leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and legumes would be perfect.  




  1. Journal of Infusion Nursing; 29: 6, 338-345.

    1. What an interesting remark. The articles title is: "Evaluation of a visual infusion phlebitis scale for determining appropriate discontinuation of peripheral intravenous catheters."