Hello Loyal Soup People! This week I’d like to chat about protein. Right now, protein is everywhere. I’m seeing more and more protein fortified foods, shakes, and even drinks on the market now. I’m ringing the alarm bell because this protein mania seems eerily similar to the fat-free craze of the 90’s. People’s near obsession with protein consumption is based on too little research, and we could pay for this style of eating later on. People have associated high protein diets with healthy diets without really knowing the full story.
Protein is complicated! It is a macronutrient containing amino acids. There are over 500 amino acids (units), and each protein source contains different combinations of these units. So it is difficult to speak about the health benefits and risks associated with protein in general because there are so many different types!
We do know that there are many long term concerns with consuming too much protein, especially the type that comes from animals. Studies suggest that consuming too much animal-based protein can cause kidney problems and other health issues.
You’ll notice that most food recommendations now focus on specific food sources and dietary patterns (i.e. the kinds of food you should eat), rather than nutrients in isolation. For example, food guidelines recommend diets emphasizing fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Nutrients impact us differently based on how they are found in your food. So when you lump all protein together (plant, fish, dairy, and meat), you are not really getting a complete picture.
What we do know is that many people who eat diets heavy in protein tend to avoid essential whole grains and other complex carbohydrates. These types of diets tend to be lacking in essential vitamins and fiber. When we put all of our focus on one specific nutrient, other foods becomes less important. Just like the fat-free craze… from which we are still recovering!
As you probably can guess, I’m never a fan of the latest diet craze. I always feel great when I eat simply and clean. Lots of fruits, vegetables, healthy grains and healthy fats. Not a lot of sugar and salt. Simple, clean, healthy, and delicious. No fads, no crazes, just basic healthy eating!
*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!