Everywhere I swim in the murky waters of the internet I’m coming up against the decrepit flotsam of Paleo and other versions of such dietary dizziness. Even vegans are now jumping on the high protein bandwagon like it’s the coming of the dietary savior.
Protein’s reign as king of the macro nutrients has come and gone. He has been deposed in favor of the rightful queen, carbohydrate. Now people will say that carbs aren’t necessary for life but protein is. Utter codswallop. Carbohydrates are necessary for life1. In fact, all of the macro nutrients are.
We need the trifecta of protein, carbs and fat in order to function at our best, but we need fats and protein in way less amounts that carbohydrates. In fact, our protein needs and fat needs at the minimum are roughly the same at about 4% to 5% of calories. Carbs on the other hand we need at much higher amounts 50% to 75%.
But the problem is that carbs have been demonized by the broscience of high protein fog and mirrors. People are putting simple carbs like sugar and white flour in the same camp as complex carbs that include fiber such as wholegrain breads, cereals and pasta.
I’d even argue that simple carbs are less harmful than a high protein diet. In fact, simple carbs in moderation can be especially satiating for those who enjoy them. And I enjoy a nice New York style sesame seed bagel every so often. The crunch exterior and chewy interior with some yummy Tofutti cream cheese. That’s just the ticket.
But now we’ve gotta eat like our Paleo bros and chomp down on seitan steaks and fake meat treats just so we feel like we’re part of the team. That’s maybe excusable, but a lot of folks are doing it because they’re misinformed or because they want to be misinformed. Thinking that more protein increases weight loss or helps keep you more satisfied longer. Crap.
Cats have amino acid tasting taste buds, we do not2. We have carbohydrate or sugar tasting taste buds. Yet another reason we are natural vegetarians and cats are natural carnivores.
So, this is my plea to get off the protein proselytizing plane and get back onto the carbohydrate comfort food carbwagon. We need all of them, but need carbohydrates the most of all. Don’t be another proselytizing protein Peter pooper. Protein is necessary but as we’ve known for a century, protein is not a problem on a varied diet with sufficient calories3.
As vegans especially, let us not delude ourselves and in turn help delude the public into thinking that protein is a huge issue and we’re all desperately in need of more. We’re not, and as vegans we should be setting the example of putting protein in its proper case. As knights along with fat to the queen of the diet which is carbohydrates.
I promise you, if you are eating a predominantly whole foods vegan diet with sufficient calories you need pay no attention to protein nor fat. Everything naturally falls into place and you’ll be eating a bucket load of heart and brain healthy carbs that your body will thank you for and your bowels will sing a happy tune thanks to the fiber.
Carbs for the win, and everything else falls into place.
1 – http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/macronutrients.htm
2 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2063449/
3 – https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/apr/protein.htm