Chris Castig Co-founder of Adjunct Prof at Columbia University Business School.

The Optimal Amount of Protein Your Body Needs

1 min read

The body has an optimum percentage of protein that it needs each day. Think of it like a sweet spot that you want to hit. Let’s use a houseplant as a metaphor:

How much protein do I need?

If you’ve overwatered a plant you know what that’s like—it looks pretty nasty. And if you under water it? Also not good. But there’s an optimal amount of water ever plant needs to be healthy — and that’s what we’re talking about, the optimal amount of protein you need to stay healthy.

What happens when you exceed that amount? Over time your body is more prone to disease (in the research they specifically looked at cancer, heart disease, obesity, and autoimmune diseases).

What does 10% of animal protein look like?

What does 10% protein look like?
Gram estimates based on Web MD:


The Big Payoff: Not all proteins are alike

In the China Study, author T. Colin Campbell explains, “plant protein did not promote cancer growth, even at the highest levels of intake.”

To summarize, the 10% (of calories per day) threshold for protein I mentioned is exclusive to animal based proteins, and therefore if you eat a plant-based diet you’re much less likely to promote disease in the same way animals proteins do.

Perhaps I’m oversimplifying the study a bit (in that there is some context missing as to which specific types of protein were tested, and how and when these reactions occurred), but the higher level takeaways are:

1. There is an optimum level of protein your body needs.

2. Not all proteins are alike. Animals proteins tend to have an “overwatering effect,” leading your body into disease, whereas plant proteins don’t contribute to the overwatering effect.

Learn more about The China Study:

This article was originally posted on NYC Vegetarian Food Festival and China Study Diet. 

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Chris Castig Co-founder of Adjunct Prof at Columbia University Business School.