4 Protein Myths, Busted

In North America we are obsessed with protein. Discover protein myths as well as some surprising truths.

Myth #1 You need more protein to be healthy and strong. 

Truth: The average man in the U.S. eats 175 percent more protein than the recommended daily allowance and the average woman eats 144 percent more.  (Surgeon General’s Report, 1988)

Myth #2 Plant proteins are incomplete and need to be part of a meat-based diet to deliver adequate protein.

Truth: All vegetables and grains contain eight of the essential amino acids and the 12 other nonessential ones.  Beans have more protein per calorie than meat.

Myth #3 To build muscle you need lots of protein daily. (Bodybuilders say you need 30 – 40  percent protein or more!)

Truth: Athletes and very active people only need 1.6-1.8 g/kg BW per day according to research. Inactive people need even less. Human breast milk is only about 6 percent protein, yet a baby grows lots of lean tissue on a diet of exclusively mother’s milk.

Myth #4 The best place to get protein is from meat.

Truth: Moderate consumption of red meat, as little as one serving a day poses a more serious health risk than first thought. (Research from the Harvard School of Public Health)

There has been too much focus on protein in the diet!

Protein is needed by every living cell for structural and functional purposes. But,b we also need carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals and healthy oils for the body to fully function. A balanced diet with a range of whole foods is needed for a healthy body.

One of the major reasons the average diet is so poor is that we equate protein with good nutrition and think animal products are the only way to get it into our diet.

Vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds are filled with good protein. Green vegetables, peas and beans have more protein per calorie than meat and plant food proteins are rich in nutrients and phytochemicals and low in calories. Even fruit has small amounts of protein. There are no antioxidants and phytochemicals in animal foods.

People do not die from protein deficiency in the western world.

Visit any U.S. hospital and ask:

“How many patients occupy beds here because they do not eat enough protein?”
The answer you will get is, “Zero.”

Hospitals are filled with Americans who have eaten too much dietary animal protein.

  • High Protein Diets may shrink the brain as well as the waistline, raising the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in later life.
  • Eating more protein than the body needs creates extra work for the liver.
  • “The weight of the evidence certainly points to a link between high-protein foods and resultant cancers.” Dr. Colin Campbell
  • Too much protein in your diet can cause your body to go into ketosis. Ketosis may result in organ failure and gout, kidney stones or kidney failure, according to Cleveland Clinic’s nutrition experts.
  • The real cause of heart disease is excess animal protein, processed carbohydrates and sugar.”  (Swedish scientist Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD.)

We are consuming too much protein. Yes, too much!!!

How much protein is enough?

The amount per day:

  • 160-pound man needs about 58 grams
  • 120-pound woman needs about 43 grams

(National Academy of Sciences)

Eat 2 – 4 servings of fruits, 3 – 5 servings of vegetables, and 6 – 11 servings of whole grains and your diet will include substantial amounts of vegetable protein.

World’s Most Recognized Vegan body Builder Speaks On Protein and How He Changed His Life.

Robert Cheeke’s story sounds like it was made up just to inspire others.

He was a cliche — the skinniest kid in the class who wanted to become something better.

He did just that, and became a word class vegan bodybuilder. Cheeke, along with many other vegan body builders and athletes, has inspired the rest of the world.

Listen to how Robert’s view on protein and how he changed his life:

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Read more about Robert Cheeke – Vegan Bodybuilder.


3 High Protein Vegetarian Recipes:

Myths About Veganism Debunked
21 Sources of Protein for Vegetarians
25 Vegan Sources for Protein

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Kay Martin
Kay M.2 years ago

Thank you for the great article with all the good information on protein. also thanks to the over 126 care 2 members that commented on this article. I enjoyed reading all of them. I like the way members go back and forth with each other on the fine points of each comment. It shows the interest this material brings up. Keep up the good work, and continue with the great information. That is the only way we are going to be able to make good decisions....period.

Hassan M.
Hassan M.2 years ago

Interesting and concise. Thanks for giving sources for the data

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper2 years ago


Michael H.
Mike H.2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Judy Apelis
Judy Apelis2 years ago


Mary ann S.
mary ann s.2 years ago

Thank you

Chinmayee Jog
Chinmayee Jog2 years ago

Thanks for sharing, this is a very important article!

Manuela C.
Manuela C.2 years ago

Every food has proteins, it's just some foods have more proteins than others.

Michael H.
Mike H.2 years ago

Thank you for posting

Christine Stewart

I agree with Pat P- there are too many people who eat too much protein which means there are millions of animals suffering in factory farms and inhumane slaughter every day. Humans are capable of eating meat, but most humans do not need to eat it- and if we all greatly reduced our meat consumption, we would all be healthier and there would be so much less animal suffering on the planet.