Rats with Twice the Spunk

I got a kick out of a lecture I listened to today given by T. Colin Campbell, one of the nation’s top nutrition research doctors. He once had two sets of rats. One set of rats was given a diet of only 5% animal protein (the rest of the diet was carbs with a little fat). The other set of rats got a 20% animal protein diet. The rats who got higher protein got sick from cancer faster, but how did they feel up until then? More energetic?

A little counting device measured the number of rotations the rats put on their exercise wheels. The rats who ate the 5% animal protein diet ran twice as far.

Twice as far.

In my practice, I advocate a WFPB diet for better long-term health. That’s short for whole foods, plant-based diet. Go ahead, ask how a diet of mostly plants can provide enough protein for exercise. Many people want to know. Here’s my answer, which is based upon large population-based studies such as the China Study: a good amount of protein for a healthy rickshaw-pulling or plow-pushing villager is about .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That equates to about 45-56 grams of protein a day, and this amount is easily met by a WFPB diet.

But if they gave you more animal protein, say, like in the Paleo diet, wouldn’t you feel more energetic? After all, that is the advice I hear from, say, the guys doing cross-fit at the gym down the street. The short answer is, NO. And eating more animal protein promotes cancer growth, anyway. It makes the wrong stuff grow.

There’s no denying those gym rats at the cross-fit gyms are incredibly fit. They work hard to see those results. In terms of diet, they eschew processed foods like pizza and pastries, and that’s a big step in the right direction. Could they complete a grueling workout eating a WFBP diet? Yes. And, they might find that they really do feel twice the spunk.

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