What’s The Deal With Protein?

In today’s episode, Jackson and Aaron go deep into the science of the controversial and extremely popular topic of protein.  Let’s face it, Americans have a love affair with this stuff.  As a society, we obsess over it. Protein has become synonymous with health, strength, and weight loss. It’s plastered on nearly every food item, and high protein diets are all the rage. Athletes of all types worship this nutrient as the secret to their gains and the more the better, drinking protein shakes like their lives depend on it. The media strangely makes protein seem like the most important macronutrient for both weight gain and weight loss. Sometimes it seems like you can’t have a conversation about nutrition, health or performance without mentioning this word.

Protein has also become synonymous with animal flesh and so when you make the leap to go plant-based, It’s no surprise the most common question you will get from people is where do you get your protein? It’s also a common excuse to not adopt a plant-based diet, in part a result of our culturally fueled fear of inadequate protein intake. To be fair, this is a legitimate question if you consider the importance of protein for our physiology, but the concern that plant-based diets will not supply you with enough or that plant protein is somehow inferior to that found in animal products is misguided.
So what does the science say? Our focus for this episode is to dive deep into the subject in quite a specific and reductionist way, and hopefully leave you with plenty of information to make educated, informed choices about food. We want you to finish this episode not worried about counting grams or obsessing about a single amino acid, but instead open your eyes to the fact that you really don’t need to worry that much about protein, even if you’re an athlete, if you are eating a varied, sufficient, whole foods plant based diet.  So grab yourself a pen and paper, sit back and get ready to take some notes because this episode is packed to the brim with data.
Aaron and Jackson dive deep into the scientific evidence to find out the truth on things like:
-Defining Protein
-The 9 essential amino acids (EAA’s) and why they are important
-Common food sources of EAA’s
-The difference between complete and incomplete proteins
-The three most common myths about plant-based proteins
-Why food combining doesn’t matter
-DRI for protein vs. the WHO recommendations and the science behind these numbers
-The microbiome’s influence on protein synthesis and why vegans are better at it
-The effect of too much protein on the kidneys and why plant proteins are a safer option
-The protein requirements of athletes
-Professional vegan athletes in all disciplines
-Why you shouldn’t waste your money on protein supplements
-Jackson and Aaron’s nutrition data showing total protein consumption for a typical day including how much protein the average fruitarian gets
-Protein deficiency and malnutrition
-6 take home lessons for you to remember
We managed to keep this puppy under an hour so we hope you can find the time to sit down and learn some really important things about protein, how easy it is to get on a plant-based diet and why you don’t need to worry about it, athlete or not.
If you have any questions for Jackson and I, please submit them via the contact form on thoughtforfoodpodcast.com.  We really want to interact with listeners as much as possible so don’t be shy! It would also be super helpful to us if you left a review on iTunes so we can move up in the fitness and nutrition category and gain some momentum. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes. Thanks so much for listening!
What’s your thought for food?

Show Notes:
References and Resources:
Essential Amino Acids/Protein
DRI Intake tables
Diet induced acidosis
Nutrient profiles of vegans/vegetarians
Myth of Complementary Protein
Slaying the Protein Myth
Microbiome and Kwashiorkor

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