[By the way, that video I blogged on Sunday? Alternatives for milk? We had the wrong video up, but now it’s right!]
Amy: What’s the right balance of macronutrients?
GSG: Americans have been duped into thinking we need 20% protein. Dr. Robert Atkins spread that far-and-wide, popularizing the way fast-food-enamored America wanted to eat anyway. (Too bad bacon-and-eggs are NOT a way to health.) Poorly educated bodybuilders and personal trainers continue to perpetuate this skewed diet that consumes far more resources than is sustainable. (20 pounds of plants are needed to produce 1 pound of animal flesh for you to eat.)
There are two ways to achieve that 20%. One, eat a lot of processed protein products (bars and powders and drinks). Or a boatload of animal flesh (this is what most Americans are doing–many of them at all three meals).
Colin Campbell’s Oxford-Cornell China Project is the biggest nutrition study in history, documenting with both animals and then people that a high animal protein diet is linked to cancer, heart disease, and auto-immune diseases.
Read my review of that study here. Dr. Douglas Graham has begun to shift the obsession with macronutrients to a more appropriate breakdown. (He’s a raw vegan.) He advocates for 80-10-10–which is essentially just validating the perfect balance found in nature if you eat a fair variety of plant foods. The average plant food has 10% protein (and about 80% carbs, 10% fats). Greens, of course, have much lower fat and much higher protein.
If you are struggling to accept that 10% protein is perfect, consider that the World Health Organization states that 5% is ideal! Also, carbs aren’t bad. Carbs are your body’s FUEL and should be your predominant macronutrient. Just eat complex carbs, not refined ones that spike-n-crash blood sugar and insulin. That takes a toll on your energy and ages you quickly.
Very frankly, I pay very little attention to macronutrients. I guess I have a sense of what a balanced meal/snack is. For instance, I don’t eat fruit all day. I make sure to get nuts/seeds, greens, lots of veggies, and often some grains/legumes in my diet. But besides making sure each snack or meal is 60-80% raw, and purchasing and eating whole foods, I don’t worry about macronutrient breakdown.
(Do you think Adam and Eve did? Do you think your grandparents did? To me it’s a national neurosis–I’d rather see you focus on other things, because if you follow correct basic principles, macronutrients take care of themselves.)