Why ever would you want to limit protein intake, when it is needed to build muscle and used as a weight loss tool? Many personal trainers, gyms and body-builders advocate using protein. So much so that there's a whole industry of protein supplements to supply the increasing demand. But is it worth it or should we limit protein intake?
Whilst it is true that we need protein to build muscle.
Our muscles will not build just in response to increased protein.
Our muscle will build as a response to the proper exercise that stimulates them in the correct way.
Then when our muscles have the signal from exercise to build – they need protein.
If we eat that extra steak or take that protein supplement when we haven't done enough exercise to stimulate our muscles to build - then there's every chance we'll just get fat.
Latest theory is that too much protein may accelerate ageing and there is much research being carried out.. It is thought that our cells need protein to replicate themselves when damaged. But if the protein is not available in our body, it is thought that the cells repair themselves rather than replacing themselves.
There is a limited amount of times our cells can reproduce before they die.
Each time the cell does reproduce there is a greater risk of it not being a perfect copy – just like a photo-copy of a photo-copy is not as perfect as the original.
Therefore if it is possible can extend the life of our cells by limiting our protein intake – maybe we can extend our life as a whole. Even if it doesn't extend our life – if our cells remain young and healthy then so too will we look young and feel healthy.
A study shows the possible benefits of low protein here. There is much on-going work in this field.
This was also discussed in a BBC programme How To Stay Young, fronted by Dr Chris van Tulleken who went to America to see residents, noted for living longer than the average. There secret could be the fact that they were Seventh Day Adventists living a lifestyle that involves no meat and subsequently a diet low in protein. However some may point to the fact that religion can also help people to live a longer and healthier life.
A Horizon programme: Eat, Fast and Live Longer, advocated fasting and also pointed to the fact that where in history there have been times of famine– the population can be more likely to have an increased lifespan. This programme also included some research as evidence.
There is much work to be done by the scientists on this subject so in the meantime Whilst I would not advocate becoming vegan unless it something you want to do – I take the view that everything in moderation is good. There may be many factors involved in ageing but personally I have seen enough evidence to suggest that there may be a link between increased protein so whilst I'm not turning vegan I'm happy to continue to be a vegetarian (that eats fish), and for once if I don't get loads of protein – I'm not going to worry!
We should be able to get all the protein we need from a normal balanced diet and if we are lacking now and again – there's every chance it may help us stay youthful.