Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The problem with protein

The following article is by the author Robert Cohen (

Many people refer to milk as liquid meat, for good reason. Our children are taught in kindergarten that animal protein consumption is essential for their good health. Year after year that lie is reinforced with only one side of the scientific story, and that is criminal.
Why do nations with the highest rates of bone disease also have the highest milk consumption rates? The highest rates of osteoporosis are to be found in Denmark, Holland, Norway, and Sweden.

The key to bone disease is not how much calcium you eat. It's how much calcium you prevent from leaving your bones. Real science has taught that dietary calcium plays little or no role in preventing bone loss. (Note by Russell Eaton: this is true, and in fact dietary calcium can actually increase the risk of osteoporosis – for more information go to

Why Does Calcium Leave Bones? There are 28 amino acids in nature. The human body can manufacture 19 of them. The other nine are called "essential." We must get them from the foods we eat. One of those "essential" aminos is methionine. One needs methionine for many human metabolic functions including digestion, detoxification of heavy metals, and muscle metabolism. However, an excess of methionine can be toxic, making the blood too acidic. This in turn leaches calcium from the bones.

"Dietary protein increases production of acid in the blood which can be neutralized by calcium mobilized from the skeleton." (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1995; 61,4).
Animal proteins (milk, meat) contain much more methionine than plant proteins. Dairy milk products are particularly acidic, and for this reason alone should be avoided.

In 1988, N.A. Breslau and colleagues identified the relationship between protein-rich diets and calcium metabolism, noting that protein caused calcium loss. His work was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology (1988;66:140-6).

A 1994 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Remer T, Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59:1356-61) found that animal proteins cause calcium to be leached from the bones and excreted in the urine.

"Osteoporosis is caused by a number of things, one of the most important being too much dietary protein." (Science 1986;233, 4763). (Note from Russell Eaton: excess protein acidifies the blood. This in turn pulls calcium from the bones, setting up a chain of events that erodes valuable bone-making cells. This in turn leads to osteoporosis).

"Even when eating 1,400 mg of calcium daily, one can lose up to 4% of his or her bone mass each year while consuming a high-protein diet." (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1979;32,4).
"Increasing one's protein intake by 100% may cause calcium loss to double." (Journal of Nutrition, 1981; 111, 3).

"Consumption of dairy products, particularly at age 20 years, was associated with an increased risk of hip fractures...metabolism of dietary protein causes increased urinary excretion of calcium." (American Journal of Epidemiology 1994;139).

For more supporting evidence, go to