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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Americans are Consuming Excessive Protein and Not Enough Fiber

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From the heart​ of SALT LAKE CITY, a growing concern is emerging‌ about the dietary‍ habits of Americans. It appears that the average American is consuming more protein than necessary, while their fiber ⁢intake is falling ⁤short. This imbalance⁣ in diet could potentially lead⁣ to serious health‌ issues.

As⁣ reported by Vox, ⁢Americans seem ​to have developed an “unusual fixation ​with protein,”​ consuming⁤ double the recommended dietary allowance. Astonishingly, “60% of U.S. ​adults are striving to incorporate even more protein into their ⁤diets.” This protein obsession could potentially heighten the risk of diseases such as cancer ⁢and heart disease.

GoodRX Health highlights the importance of ⁢protein in our diets, stating, “Protein deficiency can ​pose a serious health risk‍ and is a common cause of malnutrition in other parts of the world. ‌As a ⁤macronutrient, protein is essential in large quantities for proper growth, development, and overall health.”

However, the article also ⁣warns about ‌the dangers ⁢of overconsumption. “An excess of​ protein in your diet can disrupt your macronutrient balance. Consuming high amounts of protein usually involves eating a lot of meat and dairy⁢ products, which are often high in⁤ saturated⁢ fat and low in fiber.”

The ⁢consequences of this can⁣ be​ an increase in bad cholesterol, leading to a higher risk of‍ heart disease and‌ cancer. On the flip side, “plant-based proteins (e.g., beans, grains, soy, nuts, and seeds) are lower in saturated fat, high in fiber, ⁤and rich in micronutrients like vitamin K⁣ and potassium (which Americans tend to lack),” according⁤ to the article.

The federal government’s Dietary Guidelines‌ for Americans, 2020-2025, suggest healthy protein foods ​include “lean meats, poultry ⁢and eggs; seafood,⁣ beans, peas, and lentils; and nuts, seeds, and soy products.”

The New York Times ​in 2016 explained, “People ⁤need sufficient protein in the diet because it‌ supplies indispensable amino acids that⁢ our bodies cannot synthesize on their own. These amino acids are the essential building blocks used to make and maintain muscle, bone, skin, and other tissues, as well as a variety of ⁣vital hormones and⁤ enzymes.”

However,⁢ the Times article also points out that Americans are likely​ consuming too much protein. It’s relatively‌ easy to meet the​ recommended daily protein intake — 56 grams⁢ for⁤ men and 46 grams for‍ women — without resorting to​ protein⁢ drinks or powders, which many people⁤ do. The Times noted that a cup of chopped chicken ​has about 44 grams of protein, while a cup of tofu ​or a serving of Greek yogurt has 20 grams. Three ​eggs provide 18 grams.

Adding a protein bar ​or shake ⁣to this ‍can easily lead to overconsumption unless you’re mindful of your intake.

The Dangers of Protein Overconsumption

About a decade ago,‍ the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that men consume nearly twice the amount of protein they need, ‍averaging⁤ about 100 grams⁢ per ⁤day. The revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggested that⁢ men and teenage boys, in particular, should “reduce ⁢overall intake of protein foods” and⁢ eat more vegetables. While ⁢teenage​ girls and older adults may not get enough protein, most American adults are getting too much.

The Times‌ article raised concerns that protein-rich foods don’t preserve muscle mass ⁢over time and a high-protein diet ​can lead⁤ to ​kidney disease for some. Some studies ⁣have suggested that too much protein can increase the risk of ⁣heart disease, cancer, and other⁤ problems.

“One study led by Valter Longo, the director of the⁣ Longevity Institute​ at the University of Southern California⁤ in Los Angeles, followed‍ a nationally representative⁤ sample of 6,381 adults. It found that ​those who ate ⁣a high-protein diet between the ages of ⁣50 and 65 were four times more likely to die of ​cancer than those who consumed less protein,” according to the Times.

However, ‍others argue that there’s not enough⁤ evidence to​ support this claim.

Scientific American highlighted⁢ another issue with excessive protein consumption in 2022. It reported that “protein-packed diets add ⁣excess nitrogen to the environment through ‍urine, rivaling pollution from agricultural⁤ fertilizers.”

Even if it’s not harmful to human health, the article stated, ⁢”This excess does pose a problem for the country’s⁢ waterways. The nation’s wastewater​ is laden ⁣with the leftovers from protein digestion: nitrogen compounds that can feed toxic‌ algal blooms and pollute the‌ air and drinking water. This source of nitrogen pollution even rivals that ‌from fertilizers washed off of ‍fields​ growing food crops, new research ⁢suggests.”

The Importance of Fiber

Eating Well emphasizes that‍ fiber, although not a popular food topic, is crucial to our‌ health. Fiber is found​ in fruits,⁤ vegetables, ⁤whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds, in ⁤two forms — soluble and insoluble. Both are⁢ vital to our ⁢health.

The article stated ‍that those who consume a lot of fiber have a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, ⁣and obesity. However, only 5% of Americans meet the recommendations‌ for fiber intake.

Inadequate fiber intake can ⁤lead to chronic inflammation, which is‌ linked to the aforementioned health issues. It can weaken the ⁤immune system, make weight management more difficult, and lead to ⁢constipation​ or diarrhea, hemorrhoids, an increased risk of colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease,‌ and other ailments.

One way to balance both​ protein and fiber intake is to opt for plant-based​ proteins more often and reduce consumption of⁤ meat⁣ and dairy.

Health.com listed the following ⁣as symptoms ⁣of protein deficiency:

  • Swelling;
  • Changes to​ hair and skin, including ⁤hair loss and graying or dry, thin, or peeling skin;
  • Frequent illness;
  • Muscle loss and weakness;
  • Decreased bone density;
  • Stunted growth;
  • Weight loss or gain;
  • Anemia;

Another Dietary Concern

Protein and fiber aren’t the only dietary concerns‍ for Americans.

Harvard researchers⁤ recently highlighted that Americans are also harming their health ⁢due to the consumption of ultra-processed foods. According to a recent post on Scienceblog.com, these foods make‍ up the “bulk of the American diet” — and largely explain the obesity epidemic in America, ⁣with more than⁢ 40% of ⁣the ⁣population being obese,‍ as per the Centers ​for​ Disease ⁢Control and Prevention.

In‍ the Harvard research, participants were randomly assigned to an ultra-processed or unprocessed diet for two weeks. Despite the two groups being matched for⁤ nutrients, the ultra-processed group consumed about 500 calories ⁣more per day than the other⁤ group, leading⁣ to weight and ‌body fat gain. Those who consumed minimally processed foods “spontaneously lost weight and lost​ body fat.”

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Truth Media Network
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2 COMMENTS

  1. Americans consuming excessive protein and not enough fiber is a concerning health issue that needs attention. We must prioritize a balanced diet for overall well-being.

  2. Agree Consuming excessive protein and not enough fiber can lead to various health issues such as digestive problems and increased risk of chronic diseases. It’s important to prioritize a balanced diet for a healthier future.

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