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Did You Eat Your Proteins Today?

Your whole living body is constantly being broken down and remade. Deepak
Chopra describes the body like the flowing river that appears unchanging.
Yet, the content of the river, the water, is constantly changing. Just like
that, the body too seems unchanging. However, we now know, it is constantly
being replaced. After all, you get new cells in your stomach walls every
four minutes, new skin every four weeks and new bones every 12 weeks. In
fact, sophisticated studies using mass atomic spectrometry show that all us
up emerge 98 percent new every year!

Just pinch the flesh on your face. What is it? It is mostly protein and fat.
So is are organs. Your tissues. Your immune system. Even your bones are
protein (all that calcium will be useful without proteins like chondritin
and glucosamine!). Just pinch the flab around your tummy (you should have it
if you are unfortunately like the rest of us!). Even that is mostly protein.

You are what you eat! So, if your are serious about living, you must be
eating proteins – a lot more than you are right now, just to replace the
protein parts of you! You need some fat too. However, you are not made of
carbohydrate and thus you need none of it! You might want to take some for
energy and maybe ..taste. It should not be the bulk of what you take. Why
should a sedentary population like us need to take all that carbohydrate. No
wonder, we are all so fat!

Debunking Some Protein Myths

Perceptions and myths die hard! Here are some common myths that you have to
confront when you tell people that you are on a low carbohydrate (and thus
higher protein diet):

1. Eating more protein causes calcium and bone loss

Many studies have disproved the argument. According to this theory,
increased protein in-take should cause increased acidity of the blood, as a
result of an elevation of protein breakdown products. To maintain the proper
acid level, the body must therefore neutralize the acid excess by leaching
calcium out of the bones to act as the buffer. The calcium would then pass
into the urine, at the expense of the bones. This all sounds very convincing
and frightening. However, this is just untrue. In fact, Herta Spencer, M.D.,
considered the foremost calcium research ex-pert in the world, has published
a number of papers showing absolutely no correlation between protein
consumption and loss of calcium in the urine. Anthropological evidence also
goes strongly against this myth. A close study of the bones of our ancestors
shows that although their consumption of proteins was some two to three
times higher than that of ours, they had stronger and bigger bones. In fact,
their outer bones were much thicker.

2. Protein intake causes cholesterol to increase.

Protein sources come with fat especially cholesterol. So the thinking goes
that “eating more protein is bound to push up your cholesterol”. That is a
common myth that is again absolutely untrue. There have been numerous
studies to disprove this deeply entrenched notion. In a very well done
Canadian study, two groups of patients with relatively high blood
cholesterol levels were randomly assigned to follow a low- or high protein
diet for five weeks and then switched to the alternative diet for another
five weeks. Fasting blood samples were drawn and tested on a weekly basis.
The results showed that when dietary proteins were exchanged for
carbohydrates, the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or what we commonly refer
to “bad” cholesterol, was significantly reduced. In addition, high-density
lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol, was significantly increased.
Additionally, fasting total triglycerides were reduced by a whooping 23% as
well. This study is significant because it supports protein intake and not
carbohydrates, as a means of reducing atherosclerosis. (Canadian Journal Of
Cardiology 1995; 11 – Supp G: 127G-131G)

3. Eating more protein elevates uric acids and causes gout

Gout is a metabolic disease which results in the build up of uric acid
levels in the blood. This can lead to uric acid crystal formation in the
joint tissues leading to severe inflammation and pain. While scientists have
long suspected a genetic link in the disease process, the cause has been
largely unknown until recently.

While many overweight people were known to suffer from the disease, the
underlying connection between the disease and excess weight remained
unclear. With the exception of the link to high alcohol consumption in some
patients, the role of diet has been at best uncertain. However, the standard
dietary prescription has been the avoidance of purine rich foods such as
anchovies, sardines, some seafoods and other organ meats. Some researchers
have concluded that dietary restriction is often not necessary.

New findings have been providing exciting insights into the genesis of gout.
This revelations appear to explain both the obesity-gout connection as well
as the alcohol’s role in this disorder. Work by Dr. Facchini and his
colleagues have found that insulin resistance leads to increased uric acid
concentrations. The more the insulin resistance, the more the uric acid
build up. Dr. C.H. Tseng and Dr. T.Y. Tai in their three year follow up
study also found that raised insulin levels themselves were linked to higher
uric acid levels. It also makes logic that overweight individuals are more
likely to get gout: the very hormonal imbalance that can cause one problem
can also cause the other.

Other research has clarified that diet may indeed play a central role in the
development of the disease. Not surprisingly, high carbohydrate foods, like
fruit or foods that a metabolized along carbohydrate like pathways, like
beer and other alcoholic beverages, have been shown to bring on the gout
attacks. These findings further support the insulin link in the development
of gout. The reduction of foods with purine content have been largely
ineffective as only 15 percent of the uric acid in the diet comes from the
diet. Thus, the attempt is at best symptomatic. (Rajen M.)

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