The very popular Atkins diet consists of eating low carbohydrates and focuses on consuming fats and proteins. According to the Mayo Clinic, the main goal of this diet created by Robert C. Atkins in 1972, was to maintain a balanced amount of carbohydrates and fats and proteins for ideal health and weight loss. When the Atkins diet was first introduced, it was believed that consuming too many carbohydrates led to blood sugar imbalances, cardiovascular complications, and weight gain. The main idea of restricting levels of carbohydrates consumed and increasing fats and proteins has evolved like most other diet plans (Mayo Clinic Staff).
The Atkins diet now focuses more on eating high fiber vegetables and accommodates vegan and vegetarian needs. In addition, many health experts believe that consuming large servings of fats and proteins from animal sources, which is permissible in the Atkins diet, can increase your overall risk of heart disease and even promote cancer (Mayo Clinic Staff). Does the source of where the protein comes from affect our bodies? Many of us believe that animal-based protein is most healthy for us; however, to achieve optimum health, we should strive to consume plant- based proteins.
After learning what protein is and does, you will ee why plant-based proteins are the better choice. Protein is located in nearly every part of our body including our skin, hair, bones, tissue, and muscles. Approximately ten thousand different protein encoded genes are present in a typical human cell (Harvard School of Public Health). Protein is constructed from building blocks called amino acids. Amino acids are made in our bodies in several different ways. The first way is called non-essential amino acids. These acids are naturally occurring and are synthesized on their own.
The second way our body makes amino acids is called essential amino acids. Essential mino acids are not made on their own, but instead they must come from a food source (U. S. National Library of Medicine). These amino acids do not need to be consumed over one sitting. As long as they are balanced throughout the day, your body will use what is required to produce the protein that you need. You might ask how much protein is enough. The amount of protein needed is not a one size fits all number, but instead is based off of your weight, height, gender, and activity level.
It is recommended that an average healthy adult should consume a minimum of 0. 08 grams of protein per every kilogram of body eight in a day (Institute of Medicine). Healthy men and women ages nineteen to thirty should consume ten to thirty-five percent in protein of their daily calorie intake. With these calculations, an average male will intake approximately fifty-six grams of protein in a day, and an average female will consume forty-six grams a day (Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer). Athletes on the other hand, require higher amounts of protein in their diets because of their intense exercises.
An average athlete should ingest at least one gram of protein per every kilogram of body weight in a day. Use of Protein Folding Reagents). Millions of people around the world do not receive adequate levels of protein intake. Protein malnutrition could potentially lead to kwashiorkor, which is caused by insufficient intake of protein with reasonable caloric or energy ingestion (Rook, Ed A. ). A lack of protein in a person’s diet also leads to decreased immunity, weakening of the respiratory system and the heart, failure to grow, loss of muscle mass, and even lead to death (Rook, Ed A. .
Now that you know the background of protein and its main purpose in the body, you may think that everybody should be consuming as much rotein as possible. Wrong! You can actually overconsume protein, which is quite damaging to your body and your health. Overconsumption of protein leads to dehydration; weight gain due to conversion of calories into sugars, which then turn into fats; excess body fat; and stressed kidneys or kidney disease due to high nitrogen levels that must be expelled through urination (“The Protein Myth”).
Combined with amplified blood sugar levels, which feeds pathogenic yeast and bacteria’s, this can fuel cancer growth (Dr. Mercola). Cancer growth is stimulated by the mechanistic target of rapamycin (MTOR) biochemical pathway. This biochemical pathway plays many significant roles in various cancers (Dr. Mercola). When you reduce the protein levels in your body to the range it needs, the MTOR remains repressed. This helps minimize cancer growth. When you consume higher levels of protein that your body cannot tolerate, the mTOR no longer stays inhibited, and this encourages cancer growth. Dr. Mercola).
Other drawbacks of overconsumption include leakage of imperative bone materials, which may lead to osteoporosis and kidney stones. Consuming high levels of protein over long periods of time weakens bones where osteoporosis then occurs. In the Nurses’ Health Study, researchers discovered that women who consume over fifty-six grams of protein on a daily basis, were twenty percent more likely to break their wrists than the women that did not overconsume protein (Feskanich, D. , et al. ).
This happens because when you consume protein, acids are released into your blood stream. Those acids are neutralized into buffering agents and calcium. This means that when you overconsume protein, your body is going to need more calcium, and some of the needed calcium comes off your bones, weakening them (Feskanich, D. , et al. ). This is mostly caused by consumers of nimal-based products that are likely to excrete more calcium than an average person. Due to higher calcium levels, people are at higher risk of osteoporosis (“The Protein Myth. “).
Now we know what protein does for the human body, we will examine how protein functions throughout the body. The main goal of protein is to help progress the building of muscle and help manufacture enzymes, hormones, nucleic acid, cellular messengers, along with immune system constituents (Contributing writer of Bodybuilding. com). Protein is delivered to your muscles after it is ingested, and it helps heal the micro ears in your muscles after intense contraction, which most commonly occurs after a strenuous workout (Contributing writer of Bodybuilding. com).
Micro tears are very tiny tears located in your muscle tissue that are created by muscle tightening during workouts. When your body lacks protein, it fails to construct sufficient structures to cells, tissue, and organs and degenerate’s biochemical substances, which is used to improve muscle growth, healing, and contraction along with cardiovascular function (Contributing writer of Bodybuilding. com). This is why it is so essential to have enough protein in the body. Otherwise, the lack of protein can cause muscles to shrink rather than grow (Mack Lemouse).
After learning what protein does for the human body, we can now turn our attention to the pros of animal-based protein diets. There are several benefits to having an animal-based protein diet. Unlike plant-based protein diets, animal-based diets have all of the amino acids required to produce protein (Harvard School of Public Health). The high protein contents in animal-based protein helps maintain blood sugar and prevents chronic diseases. When your blood sugar is stabilized, you are able to battle sugar cravings and are less ikely to have cravings of fattening foods (Kadya Araki).
Animal- based proteins also contain minerals and vitamins that aid in muscle repair and growth. For instance, they contain iron, which boosts energy levels and resists fatigue, as well as creatine, which is a nitrogen containing compound that provides muscle energy through protein synthesis, and this encourages muscle gain (Kadya Araki). Finally, animal-based proteins also burn off fats. Meat has a high thermogenic affect due to its protein content. This means that approximately thirty percent of the calories are burned off during digestion (Kadya Araki).