Protein MD focuses on using nutrition to prevent or slow the ravages of aging and diseases like obesity, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's.
Nonhuman animals evolved an appetite to eat an amount of protein that optimizes fertility, permitting their species to bear and raise maximum numbers of offspring. Yet these animals live longer when fed less protein than this. In other words, the amount of protein their appetite drives them to eat shortens their lives. Why would this not be true of humans?
Evolution has had little reason or opportunity to preserve human health, and possibly extend lifespan, by selecting for (a) individuals who eat just enough protein for bodily growth, repair, and reproduction, over (b) those who chronically eat excess protein, especially after age 30. This is for two reasons:
(1) Higher daily consumption of dietary protein than needed, with few breaks, may be a recent phenomenon, becoming prevalent not only after farming and animal husbandry started about 10,000 years ago, but also with the availability of processed foods over the last 100 years. Significant genetic changes in a population usually take longer to occur, although heritable epigenetic changes (e.g., changes in DNA methylation patterns) induced by the environment can happen faster.
(2) Effects of eating excess protein with no breaks, in accelerating aging and promoting certain diseases, become manifest mainly during people's postreproductive years, too late for natural selection and sexual selection to operate.
James W. Hill, MD, is a physician trained in internal medicine and radiology and a partner in the law firm of FisherBroyles.
This blog does not give medical advice. Please get your doctor's OK before trying anything you read here.
This is great! There have been a lot of rogue amateur physicians out there starting blogs on this topic (I am one of them, and by “amateur physician” I mean not a physician AT ALL). It will be interesting to follow someone who is actually in the medical field on this topic.
Thanks for the encouragement.
I like how your blog tracks your physical progress as you modify diet, exercise, and sleep patterns. Keep up the good work.
Hi. Just say this blog today. I saw it reading Stephan Guyenet’s latest piece. It is very, very confusing stuff to me. I appreciate people who put in the effort to try to help others understand the role of diet and nutrition in our lives.
Like I said, I find the whole thing very confusing. What I do know, is that I seem to perform better on a diet that is fairly high in fat (I eat a lot of meat and eggs, some coconut oil, some cheese…), high in vegetables and fairly high in tubers (sweet potatoes in particular). I seem to react very poorly to pretty much any grains in both weight management and energy levels. For some reason, tubers don’t make me sluggish, but wheat products do.
Anyways, good luck with your blog and your work.