When most Americans eat their meals, their first thought is what protein they are going to eat. Protein especially with the help of low carb diets has become the main stay for American meals. The average American actually eats more protein than they need and in some cases more than is healthy. American men consume twice as much protein as the Government recommends; women, nearly 1.5 times as much. The other issue is that most of the protein comes from animal sources.
Now some studies have suggested that extra protein may pose a health risk. Americans would be better off first focusing on what complex carbohydrate (Eat Carbs and Get Thin) they are going to have with their meal and then what protein to add.
Many studies have found a correlation with colon, rectal, and prostate cancer with high consumption rates of meat. The main problem with meat is that they are high in fat. When you pick animal proteins you want to use turkey, chicken, tenderloin pork, and fish which have less fat and more of the essential fats our bodies need.
Raising blood cholesterol levels is the biggest concern with eating to much animal protein. High cholesterol is the leading risk factor for coronary heart disease. Diets high in animal protein have been demonstrated to increase the bad cholesterol in our bodies, while diets high in plant protein generally have the opposite effect on cholesterol levels.
Research done on humans has shown that substituting some of the animal protein with plant protein can lower cholesterol levels. According to one review of that evidence, cholesterol levels decreased by at least 6 percent in 20-38 studies, including the largest one. For people with normal or low cholesterol substituting plant protein for animal protein seems to have little effect. Most likely over all people with normal to low cholesterol levels are probably eating a balanced amount of protein from both plants and animals. There are essential components to animal protein that you are not able to get from plant protein. Even if you have high cholesterol, cutting out all animal proteins would not be recommended.
Most of the research on protein, cholesterol, and cancer comes from the National Cancer Institute. Researchers from several countries exhaustively catalogued the diets of some 6,500 people in 65 different counties in China, where eating habits and disease rates vary tremendously among different regions. What they found was that as the consumption of animal protein increased so did the risk of coronary heart disease. Researchers even accounted for the fat in animal protein to give an accurate comparison.
The Chinese develop both coronary heart disease and cancer far less than Americans do. On average, Americans eat one-third more protein than the Chinese do. The big factor is that 70 percent of the protein Americans eat comes from animal protein as compared to 11 percent for the Chinese.