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November 7, 2018
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What If You Want More Protein?

I f you want to boost your protein levels, you might consider using shelled seeds (hemp, flax, and chia seeds are excellent), or seeds that have been ground into a powder, so you get all the benefits of the whole foods. What about more refined protein supplements? That may not be the best idea. In 2018, the Clean Label Project tested the most popular protein powders on the market. They found that virtually all of the 134 protein powder products tested contained detectable levels of at least one heavy metal, and 55% tested positive for BPA. Strangely, the plant-based and organic protein powders were not exempt from these problems — and in many cases actually fared worse. But the good news is: So long as you eat a varied diet based around whole foods and get enough total calories, chances are you have no need for protein supplements anyway. (More on that later — keep reading!)

Guess What? Protein Deficiency is Shockingly Rare According to 2014 research from The NPD Group, almost 80% of U.S. consumers say they want more protein in their diet. But do they need it? This may come as a surprise, but protein deficiency is virtually nonexistent in industrialized countries. Most American adults eat substantially more than the recommended amount — averaging more than 100 grams of protein per day. And most Europeans get more than they need, too. If you’re eating enough food, so you don’t lose weight, and you’re eating a variety of whole foods, it’s almost impossible to consume too little protein. In general, the only people who are truly deficient in protein are those who aren’t eating enough calories — which is a serious and potentially life-threatening concern for hundreds of millions of people on the planet who don’t have enough food to eat. Protein deficiency can also become a problem for “junk food vegans” who eat no animal products and a lot of processed foods. There’s no protein in sugar or bottled oils and very little in fries or chips. And protein deficiency can also be a problem for alcoholics, people with eating disorders such as anorexia, and addicts — all of whom tend to have diets that are deficient in many important nutrients. But with these exceptions, in the industrialized world, where starvation is relatively rare, inadequate protein consumption is almost unheard of. If you eat 2,400 calories in a day and 15% of your calories are coming from protein, you’ll be eating 90 grams of protein. In fact, as surprising as it may sound, we’re beginning to understand that far more people may be suffering from getting too much protein, than suffering from getting too little.

If you want to boost your protein levels, you might consider using shelled seeds (hemp, flax, and chia seeds are excellent), or seeds that have been ground into a powder, so you get all the benefits of the whole foods. What about more refined protein supplements? That may not be the best idea. In 2018, the Clean Label Project tested the most popular protein powders on the market. They found that virtually all of the 134 protein powder products tested contained detectable levels of at least one heavy metal, and 55% tested positive for BPA. Strangely, the plant-based and organic protein powders were not exempt from these problems — and in many cases actually fared worse.

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