Too Much Protein



Problems with poultry and fish

Many physicians and nutritionists are admonishing Americans, “You’re eating too much red meat.  You should be eating more poultry and fish!”

What’s wrong with this advice?

The average American in the past five decades has been eating more flesh protein than at any time in our history. Daily protein consumption of the average American far exceeds the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein.  Many of my patients who have vision problems are consuming more than double and even triple the RDAs of protein——and most of the average American’s protein is from flesh protein sources——foods such as beef, lamb, pork, chicken, duck, turkey, fish, and shellfish.  Some nutritionists have criticized the RDAs as being too low; nonetheless, considering longevity, vitality, reproductive adequacy, and freedom from morbidity as appropriate measures of success, the RDA for protein is quite sufficient.

Phosphorus/calcium ratio & muscle protein

What’s different about flesh protein compared to other sources of protein?  If we ask where in a lactating cow will we find calcium most concentrated, the answer is: in the milk and in the bones.  But the mostly muscular flesh of the cow is deficient in calcium in relation to its phosphorus content.  Americans and people of comfortable means throughout the world are eating so much flesh protein that their dietary intake ratios of phosphorus-to-calcium are becoming elevated to as high as a now not-uncommon ratio of 2.5 to 1 (or even higher), rather than the more desirable 1-to-1 ratio.

Secondary hyperparathyroidism

One consequence of taking in too much phosphorus and too little calcium (and magnesium as well) is a syndrome called “secondary hyperthyroidism.” This condition is probably heavily implicated in osteoporosis and, according to my evidence, is a principal cause of increased distensibility of the sclera (the white outer coat of the eyes), allowing more rapid development of nearsightedness (myopia) and other refractive changes.

The Scenario

secondary hyperparathyroidism and myopia development

a) The parathyroid gland gets the message that because of excessive intake of phosphorus in relation-to-calcium (as from flesh-protein sources, but also from bran, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds), the concentration of phosphorus in the bloodstream has become elevated, creating a hyperphosphatemia which the body needs to balance.  (Rather than bran or wheat germ, a better balance may be achieved by eating the whole grain, such as whole-grain breads or especially soaked or sprouted whole kernels of wheat or other grains, of which the bran and the germ are only parts.  Rather than eating large quantities of irresistible sunflower seeds, it’s better to sprout the seeds.)

b) The parathyroid gland releases parathyroid hormone (PTH) into the bloodstream.

c) Release of PTH results in mobilization of calcium and magnesium from the bone structure.  My evidence is that it also results in loss of calcium that had or would have complexed with the scleral-collagen matrix.

d) The complexing of calcium with scleral collagen is an easily reversible process.  When calcium is heavily incorporated into proteoglycans in the collagen matrix of the sclera, the eye becomes much more resistant both to distension and contraction, and hence to refractive change.

e) After the blood is balanced as to calcium-to-phosphorus ratio, the body redistributes the calcium and the phosphorus.

Muscle protein versus milk protein

In a study presented to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1982, I was able to show that, for the eye, it is not protein per se that causes the rerouting of calcium from bones to blood and thence to other tissues, but flesh protein, because of its high concentration of phosphorus, unlike milk protein, which is high in calcium and relatively low in phosphorus.  It is important not simply to trade one excessive practice——overeating of beef, lamb, pork——for another excessive practice——overeating of poultry and fish——because of the unbalancing effect of a too-low calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in flesh proteins.






(in mg)

(in mg)



per 100 g

per 100 g




Cheddar Cheese

530 810 0.65:1  
String beans 37.8 57 0.66:1  
Cow’s milk 92 120 0.77:1  
Zucchini  23 30 0.77:1  
Broccoli 82 105 0.77:1  
Grapefruit 17 18 0.94  
Chicory 26 25.6 1.01:1  
Watermelon 11 10.5 1.05:1  
Filberts  (hazel nuts) 333 226 1.47:1  
Sunflower seeds 600 360 1.67:1  
Sardine 258 85 3.04:1  
Egg, whole 216 56 3.86:1  
Whole wheat bread 265 63 4.2:1  
Tuna fish 200 40 5.00:1  
Sirloin steak 157 12 13.08:1
Trout 242 18 13.44:1  
Wheat germ 1100 69 15.94:1  
Chicken 200 12 16.67:1  
Mackerel 244 12 20.33:1  
Wheat bran 1240 43 28.84:1  


“In the Vanguard of Dietary Research and Integrative Therapy in the Prevention and Reversal of Eye and Vision Disorders”

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