I am a Food Over Medicine instructor through Wellness Forum Health Wellness Forum Health in Columbus, Ohio. I do presentations for groups to help them better understand how they can take charge of their health. This presentation dispels some of the myths that have circulated in our society and uses data and research to explain the true facts. For example, many people believe that diseases are genetic. If your mom or dad had heart disease or cancer, you are more likely to get it. However, the presentation shares research and statistics that identical twins and Native American populations who are genetically identical or similar often have different health outcomes and it can all be traced back to diet. It was the diet that determined their health, not their genes. If you think about it, you probably eat what your parents ate and that’s why you might get their same diseases.
There are many controversial topics in this presentation, not the least of which is the section on diabetes and the myth that too many carbs that leads to this disease. The presentation states that it is the fat and protein that causes diabetes, not carbs. It states that research has shown that diabetes can be controlled by eating more carbs and less fat and protein. As I was presenting this to a group recently, one of the people basically said that what I said was a lie. Her extreme reaction was a good experience for me. She will not be the only one who thinks that this is a lie. Carbs have been vilified in our culture. God forbid if you eat a potato! This caused me to do some more research. That is when I picked up the book Proteinaholic by Dr. Garth Davis. What an excellent read! If you are interested in bettering your health through food (which should be the primary way to improve health and prevent illness in my opinion) you need to read this book.
One of the things I really liked is that Dr. Davis comes clean. He admits that he was a person who ate a protein rich diet and promoted this diet to this bariatric patients who were looking to lose weight. He states that he was simply doing what the medical establishment had told him — that protein was king and that you needed to eat a lot of it. When you think about it, how many packages have you seen that state “high in protein” as their selling point? For whatever reason, protein is seen as the king of nutrients. However in this book he tells the real truth behind protein and how eating too much of it can lead to poor health.
Dr. Davis had some health scares and he was overweight as well. This led him to do his own research and he came to the conclusion that protein was the cause of many health problems. As a result, he became a plant based eater and has lost weight and is now more healthy than he has ever been. I don’t want to give the whole book away, but here are a few things that he discusses to help people realize that, while we need protein, we don’t need it in the quantities that we currently consume it. Eating a diet rich in protein only leads to obesity and disease. Here are a few highlights:
One of the biggest factors behind the obesity epidemic is that a higher consumption of animal protein causes weight gain. This has been proven through numerous of research studies.
Most people eat twice the RDA of protein each day.
The US eats more protein, spends more money on health care, and is the sickest country on the planet
Thriving populations with the longest life spans (known as blue zones) are eating very little protein and lots of carbs. In addition, no populations have thrived on a high protein diet. I would hope you would agree that this country is not healthy. We are some of the sickest people in the developed world.
Much of the research that shows that high protein diets are better is flawed. The studies are very short. They rarely followed their subjects more than a year, have small sample sizes, and many are funded by the organizations that stand to gain from the results. When the Dairy Council, Beef Council, and Egg Board funds the research you can bet their findings are going to favor what they are selling.
Plants contain protein (believe it or not) and eating a variety of plants each day will give you the protein you need. The CDC recommends 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men. You only become protein deficient if you are on the starvation diet. Eat enough calories and you get enough protein in most cases.