Episode 106. The Protein Con Job

May 21, 2018 | 0 comments

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Show Notes

Scott suggests that protein is over-promoted and over-consumed. He presents scientific evidence that shows it isn’t nearly as important as the industry wants people to think and may even be outright harmful.


Much ado about protein

  • Many medical professionals don’t stay current on diet and nutrition research and often participate unwittingly in spreading mistruths.
  • Protein consumption these days is supra-physiologic; we’re eating way too much of it. It’s not that protein isn’t important, it’s just not as vital as it’s being portrayed.
  • Protein deficiency isn’t a problem in the developed world. It’s not something that you often see being treated at a hospital or clinic.
  • Protein is being hyped everywhere: in the super-market, restaurants, even in airports. To go further, protein supplements are being customized to specific diet niches: paleo, vegan, etc.
  • The industry promotes expensive protein and amino acid supplements that have been shown to be harmful.
  • Animal-based proteins contain the saturated fats indicated in cardiovascular disease and some cancers, but has been ignored as a problem.
  • T. Colin Campbell, author of landmark textbook The China Study, said that “the protein effect has been mysteriously ignored as a cause of disease.”
  • Campbell also wrote that “animal-based protein itself, when consumed at levels above the total protein recommendation may [promote carcinogenesis.]”
  • Carbs from whole foods are healthy. Processed carbs aren’t. Yet low-carb-high-fat proponents equate processed refined carbs with whole food plant-based carbs to portray the macro-nutrient as unhealthy.
  • The body is too “wise” to rely on quantifying macros, as in grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
  • Satiation is a must for a diet strategy to work. Hunger obliterates self-control.
  • Scott doesn’t advocate formulas, but if one is needed, 80-10-10 is a good one: 80% carbohydrate, 10% fat and 10% protein.


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Meeker, D. R. & Kesten, H. D. “Effect of high protein diets on experimental atherosclerosis of rabbits.” Arch. Pathology 31, 147-162 (1941).

Carroll, K. K. “Lipids and carcinogenesis.” J. Environ. Pathol. Toxicol. 3, 253-271 (1980).

Carroll, K. K. “Dietary fats and cancer.” Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 53, 1064S-1067S (1991).

Armstrong, D. & Doll, R. “Environmental factors and cancer incidence and mortality in different countries, with special reference to dietary practices.” Int. J. Cancer 15, 617-631 (1975).

Carroll, K. K., Braden, L. M., Bell, J. A. & Kalamegham, R. “Fat and cancer.” Cancer 58, 1818-1825 (1986).

Hu, J. et al. “Repression of hepatitis B virus (HBV) transgene and HBV-induced liver injury by low protein diet”. Oncogene 15, 2795-2801 (1997).

Youngman, L. D., Park, J. Y. & Ames, B. N. “Protein oxidation associated with aging is reduced by dietary restriction of protein or calories.” Proc. National Acad. Sci 89, 9112-9116 (1992).

Koeth, R. et al. “Intestinal microbiota metabolism of L-carnitine, a nutrient in red meat, promotes atherosclerosis.” Nature Med 19, 576-585 (2013).

Wang, Z. et al. “Gut flora metabolism of phosphatidylcholine promotes cardiovascular disease.” Nature 472, 57-65 (2011).

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