9 Health Benefits of Eating More Protein - Healthy Eating

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9 Health Benefits of Eating More Protein

suramo profile image

The media love to tell stories about how too much protein will damage our health.

However, protein is the most important macronutrient, and it is critical for our overall health.

Unfortunately, many people do not consume an adequate amount, and this is particularly true for those who need it the most.

This article presents nine science-backed health benefits of consuming more protein.


26 Replies

Hi suramo

Thanks for sharing this article. I am also putting a link to an article from Healthline about the dangers of eating 'too much' protein - as I think that is also an important consideration:


Zest :-)

suramo profile image
suramoStar in reply to Zest

Yes.Absolutely. Too much protein is not recommended. It's 0.8-1g/ kg body weight / day.More for those doing exercise depending on the severity of the exercise. Also proteins are insulinogenic. 0.56 is the conversion ratio.

Hey I’ve got a question, really not trying to be a troll, I’m interested in this protein subject. Is it really that important that we consume high amounts of protein?

I mean if you think about it where do we get most of our protein? There’s not so many sources in plants, I know cocoa is really high in it. But generally people get their protein from animals like cows and pigs. So far this all makes sense to me. But where do then the cows get their protein? They eat grass, they have the lowest protein diet imaginable. Yet they are able to convert that into protein in their own bodies.

If you compare a cow to a human, a cow has a much higher need for protein, calfs require a lot of it to grow, and hence cows milk has some of the highest amounts of protein in it compared to many other animals’ milk. But human milk has the lowest amount of protein of all animals...

So by my logic, I mean, we should be fine without needing so much right? And if you try to find cases of protein deficiency in people it’s so rare it only ever accompanies severe malnutrition and deficiencies, it’s never found on its own (like patient A is fine except for their protein levels).

If someone can shed a light why are we so obsessed with protein? Am I completely mistaken? If so please share your thoughts with me I’d love to be educated on the subject a little better.

(As a final note my assumption is that we can create our own sufficient levels of protein internally as other herbivores do without having to consume it).

suramo profile image
suramoStar in reply to dang



This will perhaps satisfy you.

Also pet animals like cow and buffalos are fed with bean pods, soy, maize etc to get good quality milk.They are also sources of protein.

dang profile image
dang in reply to suramo

Hey, thanks for the link. So it seems like it has to do with how cows are able to break down cellulose and humans aren’t, and the fact that cows have different stomachs etc...

That actually makes a lot of sense, but leaves me with other questions. Now that I understand better how a cow can turn grass into protein, what is the exact process for humans? Is it only straight protein consumption? If so then why still is protein deficiency so rare? (It would seem to me that it would be common in Asian countries with diets consisting of a lot of rice and little meat).

TheAwfulToad profile image
TheAwfulToad in reply to dang

Herbivores get most of their amino acid requirements from plants, not via synthesis, and even when synthesis does occur, the basic substrate must be another amino acid; that amine group has to come from somewhere, and animals can't fix nitrogen. Their gut bacteria are critical here - which is why ruminants get rapidly ill if their gut flora is disrupted. As suramo said, herbivores eat plenty of leguminous forage, especially if they're being raised for meat (factory farms in some countries actually use recycled animal protein, thereby causing health issues for the animal and putting humans at risk). Grass might be protein-poor, but they eat a LOT of it. In fact they spend most of their waking lives eating.

It is fairly hard for a human to get too little protein. I think the main problem with the modern diet is imbalance: the health gurus tell us that protein is bad for us, and fat will give us heart disease, so inevitably people end up eating nothing but carbs. Add to that the ridiculous idea that we have to measure out our calories, and you have a tendency to reduce absolute daily intake of protein and fat. And that absolutely is bad for you, in lots of different ways.

dang profile image
dang in reply to TheAwfulToad

Thanks for the info! I agree that measuring out carbs and what not is a stretch. To be honest I actually never heard protein is bad for us until reading this post, I always was taught we need more protein, more more

more! But I always saw humans being biologically more towards herbivores than carnivores on the scale. So was really confused about why were so obsessed with getting protein from meat.

Thanks for your info, along with the link from suramo it makes more sense. But now I’m wondering what is the process for humans to intake protein, are we completely unable to convert it from plant matter? Does that mean the only way is direct consumption? (I asked the same question to suramo, I’m hoping one of you has the answer)

TheAwfulToad profile image
TheAwfulToad in reply to dang

@dang: there's a persistent myth that "too much protein damages your kidneys", and like most health myths there's a grain of truth in it. If you eat an enormous amount of protein and little else, then yes there is probably some risk! If you are diabetic then you have to be careful with protein. For most people, there is a very wide range of acceptable protein intake - anywhere between 0.4g-2.0g/kg/day is considered normal.

>> humans being biologically more towards herbivores than carnivores on the scale.

Humans are true omnivores, like pigs. Given optimal conditions we'll eat mostly vegetables and some meat (or other animal protein). The only issue with plants is that they are deficient in certain amino acids, fats, and micronutrients, which we cannot synthesize: meat, fish, eggs and dairy are the only plausible sources. Vegetarianism is possible and healthy, but veganism probably isn't, unless very carefully managed. Very few human societies adopt truly vegan diets as a way of life because it's so difficult to be healthy eating nothing but plants.

dang profile image
dang in reply to TheAwfulToad

Yea I understand where you’re coming from. And of course I agree humans are omnivores, but this isn’t a biological thing. We aren’t actually “built” to eat meat, we evolved to do it in a very unnatural way. Without heat and tools it’s not possible for us to eat meat, we don’t have the teeth able to rip into uncooked meat, nor is our digestive system capable of dealing with uncooked meat. The intestines of a carnivore are about a 3rd the length of that of a human, we have something more similar to the intestines of a herbivore, long and for slow digestion of plant matter.

That having been said we are clearly still omnivores, I just see us biologically speaking as being much closer to herbivores on the scale. If you look at our evolution to where we are now we spent most of human history doing more gathering than hunting. (I have a feeling we’re on the same page).

Personally without the invention of fire I don’t understand how humans would have been capable of eating meat, would have been interesting to see what ancient man was like before.

TheAwfulToad profile image
TheAwfulToad in reply to dang

It isn't really true that humans can't digest uncooked meat - in fact it turns out that, if you want to live on nothing but meat, it's important not to cook it, because cooking destroys things like vitamin C, which you can get in adequate amounts from raw meat if you have no plant sources available.

We're certainly not as good at dealing with meat as carnivores - for example we can't use it efficiently as a primary source of energy - but raw meat is soft and chewable if the animal is a younger one. There are several societies that successfully subsist on raw meat, or eat it occasionally. The Japanese eat sashimi, of course (it's quite nice if the fish is very fresh and you have plenty of wasabi). Russians in the North-East commonly eat raw meat and raw fish (typically frozen and thinly-sliced). The Nordic countries are famous for their penchant for raw (and rotten) fish. The Inuit eat their fish and meat mostly raw, and their diet is almost entirely meat (or fat, to be exact). Even in Western cuisine there are some raw- or almost-raw dishes, like steak tartare and ceviche.

But yes, humans do seem to do pretty well on "mostly plants", as per Michael Pollan's dictum. Animal protein seems to be quite important, but only as an adjunct, not a primary means of sustenance.

dang profile image
dang in reply to TheAwfulToad

I’ve had all of those raw dishes. They still need to be prepared and softened even if not cooked. Tartar is beaten or ground. The raw Nordic fish is fermented, same with Inuits, sashimi on the other hand only really requires a knife to clean it, however I’ve had a number of food poisoning episodes from sushi to feel like maybe I’m not carnivore enough 😅

This is how humans have overcome their biological limitations in my opinion. My only point is if you wanted to bite into a cow the way a carnivore could, you couldn’t. This is part of what confuses me, if we need protein from meat why is it that we aren’t biologically capable of taking it. By all means not enough time has passed since we discovered fire for us to evolve this way.... how do chimpanzees for example intake protein? Or rats? oh it looks like I’ve got a lot more to research.

TheAwfulToad profile image
TheAwfulToad in reply to dang

I think you're looking at this from the point of view of our (rather helpless) current civilisation. Stoneage people were probably a lot more capable than we give them credit for. Humans find ways and means. For example, knives were one of the first things humans ever invented, so even prior to the invention of fire, humans would have been able to dice up their meat and possibly even make something palatable with it. Some human ancestors (eg., Neanderthals) had very big brains and may have been as intelligent as modern humans. There's no reason so suppose they literally attempted to pick up a whole dead animal and chew on it.

I suspect eggs were a big source of animal protein in our pre-fire history (as they are, in fact, for primates, pigs, and no doubt other animals). Eggs don't move as fast as animals! Fish is fairly easy to catch and is not unpleasant if eaten raw.

As you suggested, the main problem with raw meat is risk of food poisoning. However this is itself an issue with "modern" methods of meat handling, which introduces a massive pathogen load and then lets it fester. The inside of an animal is actually sterile unless you puncture the intestines. Raw meat (muscle) is likewise sterile unless it's contaminated.

dang profile image
dang in reply to TheAwfulToad

I believe you’re right, if we’re talking about Stone Age well that goes way farther back than humans at least modern humans, and cutting tools would have been invented by predecessors even. But still I don’t believe we evolved biologically during this time, it would take millions of years for us to become more carnivorous and if we look at our ancestors we just don’t see that we differ all that much in terms of teeth and bone structure.

Neanderthals by the way were likely intelligent, but very unlikely as intelligent as modern homo sapiens, when it comes to brain power what matters is ratio, brain size vs body size. Neanderthals were giants compared to sapiens and their brains not much bigger, we still have the biggest ratio of any living being we’ve known of (if I’m not mistaken).

dang profile image
dang in reply to dang

I’ve done a bit of research just now on this and have come to the conclusion that I need to do more research 😅 but you’ve really helped point me in the right direction. I understand now a big difference between herbivores and omnivores that I either didn’t know or have forgotten since school. That has helped to remove some misconceptions from my mind. So thank you!


suramo profile image
suramoStar in reply to dang

From the beans.

suramo profile image
suramoStar in reply to TheAwfulToad

But calorie counting and knowing how much macros does one eat is extremely important. That gives exactly what you have to eat and how much.Start doing it and you will realize how important the calorie counting and knowing macros is.

TheAwfulToad profile image
TheAwfulToad in reply to suramo

I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with you there, suramo. Zebras and chimps and toads don't need to count calories, so why would we? My opinion is that so-called "healthy" diets disrupt our appetites so that they don't function properly. Given the chance, your body knows what it needs and will prod you in the right direction.

I guess there's nothing wrong with doing a spot check on what you eat - for example, if a sedentary adult counts his calories and finds he's averaging 3000kCal/day, then there's a big problem. The question is then: what do you do about it? The answer, surely, is not "eat less calories", because if you do that you'll just be hungry.

Likewise, if you find you're eating less than the recommended 0.6g/kg/day in protein ... what to do about it? I suspect it happens because people are eating too many "healthy" synthetic food substitutes like low-fat yoghurt (made with modified starch), instead of (for example) red meat and eggs because they've been warned away from those things by the health experts.

Activity2004 profile image
Activity2004Administrator in reply to TheAwfulToad


If a person is diabetic, they have to count carbs and/or calories. This is to help keep the blood sugars under control.

True, but most people don't. And I'd say the requirement to count carbs (as opposed to just estimating them) is true only for T1 diabetics, because they have to match glycemic load with exogenous insulin. A T2 diabetic does not - his body is quite capable of controlling blood sugar, albeit with a seriously reduced capacity for doing so.

Counting calories is of no value for anyone, diabetic or otherwise. At least not on a regular basis. Reason being (a) there's no way to do the calculation in a way that's physiologically meaningful and (b) there's no way of determining the "correct" value to compare against.

suramo profile image
suramoStar in reply to TheAwfulToad

Even t2d and obese too need to know their calorie / macros intake. People taking lchf diet if take excess calories they will not be able to control their bs and diabetes. Any excess calories are stored as fats which cause so many diseases.

suramo profile image
suramoStar in reply to TheAwfulToad

You have to know how much calories you are eating. There are foods that will not let you feel hungry and supply less calories. Bland diet.Also eating more fats and protein and taking less carbs will keep you satiated.

If you take less protein your muscles would waste. There are 9 essential aa which our body can't synthesize and we must get from the food.So not eating protein is not good.And animal / fish proteins are the best protein sources for humans. Plant proteins are called poor proteins because they lack essential aas.

thankyou some well deserve info, I have been searching for...your " 9 Health Benefits of Eating More Proteinis very enlightening, I am going to see a nutionolists tomorrow on what I should be eating for LCHF - Keto diet... with High Protein.... So I will let you know what I find out tomorrow.....

Dear Suramo

Good information indeed! The role of protein is well understood .

Considering its importance, can we substitute a part of our recommended fat % by protein in a LCHF diet.

For example in a conventional LCHF diet in stead of 60:20:20 ( Fat: Protein: Carb) can we go for 50:30:20??

Warm regards

suramo profile image
suramoStar in reply to namaha

Nope.Ketogenic ratio should be 3-4:1. So 75-80% calories from fats. From the remaining calories only 5% ( out of total 100% ) recommended from carbs for t2d people. Fat should be from good sources and carbs complex.For nonveg pasture raised / grassfed animal protein is the best. Red meat.Fat meat better than lean meats.Certain fish like salmon and tuna and some others are the best. For veg people hung curd, cheese, paneer, certain legumes ( with caution ) and protein powders ( why and soy isolates ) are the sources.Carbs should be complex.

Interesting that protein levels in human breast milk is quite low. Why would that be? Why at the moment of a human's life when growth is the pre-eminent activity are protein levels relatively low?

I'd be interested in your take, suramo, on that.

suramo profile image
suramoStar in reply to andyswarbs

Yes. Newborn babies gat 6% caloric requirements from protein in the breast milk. So adequate for them.

Another logical answer is the babies need to develop brain more than muscles. So bm is rich in fats and carbs. Carbs for instant energy.

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