T Nation

Do I Know Too Little or Are They Stupid?


...and with an agenda, to boot.

Why on Earth do some people say animal proteins are "acidifying" etc. and are bad for your bones, while vegetable proteins, not?

A protein is (usually) a long chain of amino-acids. Some proteins might contain metals or minerals (casein is a phospho-protein). Ok. And myosin, myoglobin, albumin etc. have a different structure compared to vegetable protein. Logically.

But which, oh, which is the effin' difference between an animal protein and a vegetable protein - except the incomplete-ness of the vegetable protein and the fact that the animal protein contains purines - that makes animal proteins bad for your bones-acidifying-toxic... stuff while veggie proteins are so good and cute and fuzzy and would never cause any harm? (hmm, zein might kill you in a painful way...for example...)
Is it all (in their heads) because of the purines and, as such, uric acid?


I don't know what a purine is, but I just read that vegetables tend to have a lot of bicarbonate precursors, which tends to act as an acid buffer.


I'm asking strictly about protein.
The argument is "animal protein = weak bones (and cancer and stuff), vegetable protein = good". If something else is to blame, not the protein in and of itself, they are stupid/lying, as militant vegans usually tend to. (I said militant vegans, not someone who chooses to be vegan)

Even though veggies are usually basic (while also containing close to no protein). Come to think of it, grains and legumes, which are the main sources of vegetable protein, are HIGHLY acidic, and the main factor in deciding PRAL (acidity) is...PROTEIN.


Mostly I hear the argument being made with meat vs. vegetable generally, not protein in and of itself.


Effect of dietary protein on bone loss in elderly men and women: the Framingham Osteoporosis Study.
Hannan MT, Tucker KL, Dawson-Hughes B, Cupples LA, Felson DT, Kiel DP.
SourceHebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged, Research and Training Institute and Harvard Medical School Division on Aging, Boston, Massachusetts 02131-1097, USA.

Few studies have evaluated protein intake and bone loss in elders. Excess protein may be associated with negative calcium balance, whereas low protein intake has been associated with fracture. We examined the relation between baseline dietary protein and subsequent 4-year change in bone mineral density (BMD) for 391 women and 224 men from the population-based Framingham Osteoporosis Study. BMD (g/cm2) was assessed in 1988-1989 and in 1992-1993 at the femur, spine, and radius. Usual dietary protein intake was determined using a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and expressed as percent of energy from protein intake. BMD loss over 4 years was regressed on percent protein intake, simultaneously adjusting for other baseline factors: age, weight, height, weight change, total energy intake, smoking, alcohol intake, caffeine, physical activity, calcium intake, and, for women, current estrogen use. Effects of animal protein on bone loss also were examined. Mean age at baseline (+/-SD) of 615 participants was 75 years (+/-4.4; range, 68-91 years). Mean protein intake was 68 g/day (+/-24.0; range, 14-175 g/day), and mean percent of energy from protein was 16% (+/-3.4; range, 7-30%). Proportional protein intakes were similar for men and women. Lower protein intake was significantly related to bone loss at femoral and spine sites (p < or = 0.04) with effects similar to 10 lb of weight. Persons in the lowest quartile of protein intake showed the greatest bone loss. Similar to the overall protein effect, lower percent animal protein also was significantly related to bone loss at femoral and spine BMD sites (all p < 0.01) but not the radial shaft (p = 0.23). Even after controlling for known confounders including weight loss, women and men with relatively lower protein intake had increased bone loss, suggesting that protein intake is important in maintaining bone or minimizing bone loss in elderly persons. Further, higher intake of animal protein does not appear to affect the skeleton adversely in this elderly population.

As far as cancer...if they controlled for fiber intake, the corellations for meat consumption and colorectal cancer would disapear....


Vegans - Spreading false, outdated & mythical "info" since the first one learned to speak.

Ok. But still, is there anything "bad" & more "acidifying" in animal protein?
(especially since the most acid part of any food is...protein, regardless of source)


tbh i'm not certain...

I just know that blood ph is maintained in a very narrow range(the body has an extremley efficient self regulating system in place)...only people with metabolic/respiratory disorders will have issues with acid base balance...

you should be careful when listening to people who think in terms of ALL or NOTHING like vegans...because Human physiology is nothing like that...there are just too many variables at play...


Ok I dont know the science but here is what I remember about that.

Protein gives an acidic load
Vegetable gives basic load
that's one of the reason why we eat vegetable while we eat meat, to neutralize everything. If what we eat is too acid our body will degrade muscle or bones (I dont know) to neutralise the load. We dont want that.

So eat your vegetables


They just don't want you to eat their dog. Just remember since man and woman first walked he and she have been killing and eating meat, why all of a sudden stop now? (minus all the stuff they put into farmed animals and living conditions etc)


some people are stuck in a certain mindset and wont change, some will only believe info from a certain source, maybe environmental (parental) influences when growing up. some (companies)have investments in pushing certain view points. its like this for anything


Vegetable proteins are not the "holy grail" of proteins as these "people" you referenced believe them to be. The only thing "soft" or "fuzzy" about their veggie proteins will be their appearance after they have high cholesterol and nutrient deficiency. Animal proteins contain many of the essential nutrients and aminos our bodies need to function efficiently, whereas the veggies contain less to none of those nutrients. As far as toxicity, animal proteins have sulfur-containing aminos like taurine, cysteine and methionine that eliminate the toxic metals and synthetic chemicals our bodies are exposed to everyday, whereas veggies DO NOT. The argument to avoid animal protein due to its cholesterol content has been largely disproven.

Excess homocysteine, mineral deficiencies, toxic metals, infections and inflammation correlate much better with heart disease. Vegetarian diets can result with the same cardiovascular problems as someone who ingests raw bacon for a living simply because their bodies lack the essential nutrients to combat their condition. As far as bone health, when the body doesn't have the calcium support it needs the result is it will rob the bones and ultimately weaken them to support the lack of calcium that is not obtained from vegetables. In my (uneducated) opinion animal proteins do far more better for the body then bad. And with a healthy diet and nutrient supplementation the body will regulate its health more efficiently with animal proteins than it would with vegetable proteins.

all imHo,


Guys I have heard the same thing but the person i was talking to said it was not the protein it was all the animal fat associated with eating animal protein that was acidic. I don't really give a shit either way because ill still eat the hell out of some meat, but I was always curios as to what the hell acidic blance in the body would do.


can someone please show me proof of calcium being leeched from bone due to animal protein intake?

i've never seen that occur in healthy people.


I haven't seen any studies showing low bone density resulting from animal protein intake. However while reading I did see a couple studies from Australian and Vietnamese based companies that related vegetarian diets to low bone density, because as I posted earlier, the body will begin taking calcium from its already calcium-rich sources to supplement it's needs elsewhere.


yeh i understand...

I just never seen it occur...high protein intakes do cause increased calcium excretion, but it's not resulting in actual bone loss...

there must be something more to it then calcium intake - calcium execretion=calcium balance...other things are occuring here....

I know that is the case for nitrogen balance....nitrogen balance is a terrible measure for muscle protein synthesis...the only good way to measure mps is to do a biopsy...

i would think that is the same with bone density...


Found some reading material, including buffering mechanisms and PRAL / acidic load calculation method.


PRAL calculation: .49*protein (grams) + .037*phosphorus (mg) - .021*potassium (mg) - .026*magnesium (mg) - .013*calcium (mg)
Strange that it doesn't take into account acids like citric acid, acetic acid, oxalic acid etc. (or are they all broken down during digestion?).

So, it's protein (regardless of source- animal or plant) & phosphorus (regardless of source) that are acidifying. Fat and carbs have nothing to do with it. (both have a PRAL of 0 - ZERO - NULL)

As such, anyone saying that veggie protein is not acidifying is very NOT smart. Since protein is protein and 100% acidic. :slightly_smiling:

Since as strength athletes we need a lot more protein, and since as a vegan one will probably have to resort to protein supplements (which are 100% acidic. Ha ha), they'll probably get a sheet-load more of an acidic load.

What the tables tell us:

-Buckwheat, wheat, oats and grains are acidic.
-Some beans (white & lima) are actually very basic. White beans can actually be twice as basic as spinach!
-Most nuts are acidic.
-Raisins and dried fruit are also very basic
-Milk (not cheese) is ~neutral
-Meat, eggs and cheese are acidic. (parmesan and other very hard cheeses are VERY acidic)

Morale: Since the body's buffering mechanisms REQUIRE calcium (or other minerals) (phosphate buffering system; uses 85% calcium) AND/OR protein (protein buffering system)(basic physiology), it makes sense to eat some basic foods in order to spare minerals and proteins...
White beans, spinach and dried fruit are very calcium (and probably magnesium and potassium, and protein) sparing. Avocados, beet & turnip greens, kiwi, leeks, chard, sweet potatoes and kale, also.

Or...one could simply take a high-potency mineral supplement. PRALs: 1g of magnesium = -26 ; 1 g of potassium = - 21 ; 1 g of calcium = -13

Or...better yet (covers your bases and pisses of vegans)... bone broth! Why eat a salad when you can simply eat even MORE of an animal?

Why on Earth would one eat dog or cat (or rabbit, which is even leaner) when he can eat fatty meats like pork or beef??? Protein + T-building cholesterol and sat fat + quality calories, all in one package.

Disclaimer: I don't have anything against vegans, just like none of us do, I don't tell non-militant vegans to eat meat (well, around here there aren't many), militant vegans are too brain-washed and evil to care about them (and they'll probably soon be sterile due to too much soy), no vegan pissed me off (recently at least), but it's fun to make fun of vegans. Since so many are hippie soy-sippin' barbell-dreadin' 10"-armed couch potatoes or marathon runners.


You don't know a joke when you see one...


this study shows that protein is anabolic to bone, the more veggies/fruit you eat, the more anabolic the protein, and they did not find a bias towards low or high sulfur diets suggesting that as long as a minimum intake of animal protein is met it matters not. Calcium intake is not a factor, but we know that already. The calcium balance mechanism is described as well.

If you take in 1g of magnesium, I guarantee you will shit yourself. ZMA has 450mg per dose and that already affects some people. It is kinda stupid to try to make up for alkaline minerals with pills.

Most pork and beef cuts are not that fatty, one will still need fat or carbs from other sources to get enough food, meanwhile a chicken leg has quite a bit of fat and a decent balance too.

@WW3General: fatty acids are neutral or damn near so, the real issue with meat cooking is when it burns. Anything black is bad. Tasty cajun-y goodness, but bad for you.

Quinoa and sweet potatoes/yams are basic and provide a good whack of minerals and fiber in addition to slow digesting carbs.

Certainly grains suck.

Another PRAL study:

Moral of the story, eat your meat, eat your veggies, eat your fruit, eat your non-grain starches, and leave the bread for the veggies, because really they are breadatarians who are too lazy to cook meat and need to feel better than you. The way I see it, less meat eaters = cheaper meat.


Well, I actually thought you meant that they are so dumb as to think one might want to eat their dog...sowwy.



The anti-animal protein crowd have an agenda they are pushing. This doesn't mean they are lying to you deliberately. More than likely they believe their own propaganda.