High protein diets have been the most popular way to lose weight since the Atkins in the 90’s but is too much protein bad for you? In this article we take a closer look at –
- What the recent WHO report means to high protein diets
- How much protein you should be consuming safely
- Best way to prepare protein to minimise carcinogens
Are High Protein Diets still safe after findings on red meat?
Ok so why am I (a devoted follower of the Paleo diet) writing this article? Well, it’s in response to the release by the world health organisation that there could be a possible link between bowel cancer and the overconsumption of processed meats and red meat. The problem with this report is that is does not state any amounts or thresholds that they recommend and simply just dates that too much of these proteins may cause bowel cancer. Seems like the people at the United Nations are just releasing this to stem the popularity of the Paleo diet and other high protein diets that are re emerging such as the Mediterranean diet.
Would love to hear what you think of these reports.
Anyway, back to the article, does anyone remember the Atkins diet?
This became a phenomenon back in the 90’s and started the trend of low carb diets. This became a massive hit back then and did so well that Dr. Atkins made well over 600 million dollars with his all you can eat meat diet which saw his followers start the day with a massive plate of bacon, eggs and sausages.
Problem with the Atkins diet was that it was so heavy on proteins, it lacked any carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fibre which is essential for maintaining a healthy body and systems. This eventually caused the diet to fizzle out and paved the way for the newcomer on the scene.
The Paleo diet.
Now this diet has held its own for a while now and for good reason. It is not just a diet, it’s a lifestyle. It’s high protein and low carb like the Atkins but also plays a very special role in consumption of vegetables for vitamins, minerals and fibre. Unlike the Atkins, the Paleo diet also contains complex carbohydrates from sources such as sweet potato which gives followers of this lifestyle all the nutrients they need to lead a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable and enjoyable.
So is a lot of meat actually bad for you in high protein diets?
The answer to this is yes! A lot of protein is bad for you BUT all protein is not created equal. For example, the world health organisation states that your recommended allowance of cooked red meat should be 500g a week. This is for medium cooked meat. Now following you consume your red meat rare, this allowance can be increased to 650g a week. To further add to this, if you source your red meat from organic grass fed sources AND consume it rare, you can up your allowance to 800g per week.
Did that make sense? So if you focus on quality organic sources that are grass fed and cook for a lesser amount of time (retains more moisture) you should be able to consume a lot more meat without increasing your risk of developing bowel cancer.
Now processed meat on the other hand is bad for you and contains nitrates and other chemicals that increase your risk of cancer. Studies have shown that consuming 50g of processed meats such as ham, bacon slices, salami etc a day can increase your risk of bowel cancer by 18%!
So if you are a good Paleo, you will be avoiding processed meats (shame on you if you haven’t already) so I don’t see the problem here. If you are on the Atkins or Dukan, you have a problem because processed turkey slices seem to be a popular theme in these.
What are your thoughts on this? Would love to hear from you in the comments below and maybe some recipe ideas?
PS – Before you start on the Paleo Diet, take moment to check out my free eBook. It will save you a ton of time as I share the mistakes I made first time round and how to fix them.
References and Inspirations