80/10/10 book review: Part 1 – proteins

Hello guys 🙂

I’m back after a longer break. I’ve been keeping eating healthy food with lots of veggies and fruit and almost no sweets, I still work out 5 times a week and I drink so much water, I’m sure I have never drunk so much before, but the days are hot and I’m thursty all the time. I also got a new student job at a small restaurant in the town center, so I broke my writing habit, but I’ll continue right now. 🙂

A few days ago I finally finished the book Diet 80/10/10 by Dr. Douglas N. Graham. I heard of it about 1 year ago, following many vegan pages and groups on Facebook. I had no intension to read it, if I haven’t found it in the superfood store where I had worked before, I’d probably never read it. But thanks to the boredom at workplace with almost no custumers, the book came in my hands.

I knew about the meaning of the numbers before: 80% carbohydrates, 10% protein, 10% fat. As a recreative athlete I am hearing and reading all the time about the importance of protein. Not only that our muscles are consisted of them, but also our skin, nails, hair, bones, teeth… I try to get them mostly from whey, plant sources (beans, peas, chickpeas, brown rice, quinoa, tofu, soy milk, broccoli, spinach, seeds, nuts, hemp powder…) and also eggs sometimes. Eating dead animals bodies is just disgusting, I never wanted to do it and I’ll never do it again. Maybe I’ll even move forward and go vegan one day. I like cheese too much, but giving up dairy is not the problem that cannot be solved. I have to go living on my own first, right now I have to be happy there are no more arguments between me and whole family of meat eaters. Going back to topic, proteins are good for us. And what does Graham’s book say – only 10% of protein? I’m not sure if it is enough.

What I learnt from the book about proteins:

1. American government reccomands between 10 and 35 percent of protein in your daily food intake. Did you know that the average percent of protein from all the food a person eats in one day (talking about an average american, who eats everything including meat, fish, eggs, dairy…) is just 16. It is closer to 10 than 35, right? Actually people hardly hit the number 25, unless they strictly eat mostly protein powders and egg whites. As Graham says, 10% or little less than that of protein from your food is completely enough. Once we stop growing, we need very little “building material”. Even athlets and bodybuilders don’t need more than 10% of protein from food. They oftenly restrict carbs and increase protein intake, because they think proteins promote strenghthening their muscles. That’s wrong, proteins theirselves don’t make muscles any stronger, weight lifting does. What is true about the need of higher protein intake: if someone doesn’t eat enough carbohydrates, there are more proteins reqired in order to transfer them into carbohydrates, which are the “fuel” for the body. – Believe it or not – I don’t get it. Body can make carbohydrates from protein?? It seems like nonsense to me. Is there anyone, who can explain?

2. Combining different protein sources to get all the essencial aminoacids is a myth. We need all 20 AA to make protein chains, but we don’t have to get all of them in one day.

3. All the plants have proteins. – It seems logical to me. Cells are made of proteins, right? Yes, all the plants have cells. Therefore all the plants have proteins. So lack of protein doesn’t exist. The nature itself takes care for us to get them enough 🙂 Here is the table to show the percentage of protein in some plants and foods made of plants (spaghetti :D)

To be more precise, it is counted how many percents of calories (not of weight) do proteins represent (it means water is not included).

4. “High protein” diets don’t exist. The reason for this is that “protein foods” we eat (meat – at least 50% of fat, eggs – 60% of fat, diary products – up to 88% of fat, nuts, seeds – up to 75% of fat) also contain high amounts of fat, so the percent of protein gets lower.


My conclusion: Many protein sources really have also very high amount of fat, that’s why we should be careful not to eat too much of these foods in order to get proteins. I think that required amount of protein depends of person’s sport activity and muscle work. “Overdosing” them may be harmful for the liver and exhausting for the body to digest. But I’m still sceptical if 10% is enough. I’ll stop thinking so much where would I get the proteins from for every meal, because of the things I learnt from the book, but it won’t change the sources of protein I take (vegetables, legumes, hemp, seeds, nuts, greek yoghurt, cottage cheese, eggs and whey).

I meant to write the whole review in one post, but I discovered it goes slow and it would be too long. And you people don’t like reading really long blog posts, do you? I prefer shorter. So I decided to write it part by part. In the next one I’ll discuss fats.

Your comments, questions, opinions, maybe also experiences are welcome. 🙂


3 thoughts on “80/10/10 book review: Part 1 – proteins

  1. Maja says:

    Hey, there, I just wanted to reply regarding your scepticism about body creating carbs from protein. Protein is made from amino acids – and amino acids are actually what our body needs and can use for it’s different metabolic processes. And quite a few of the amino acids are glucogenic. Which actually means they can “convert” into glucose via this chemical process called gluconeogenesis. This process serves the body very well, because it can degrade it’s own muscle tissue for energy if it needs to, this starts to happen if you are trying to loose weight or don’t eat enough food in general. Your body runs on glucose and it’s pretty much dead without it, so this enables your body to degrade protein (from muscle) it it ever finds itself in starvation mode. That’s why it’s kind of hard to keep the muscle mass when you’re trying to loose weight and are on a caloric deficit (heavy weight lifting helps, because it stimulates muscle synthesis like nothing else – it prevents gluconeogenesis). However, if you overdose protein via food intake, it is definite that some of the preotein you ate it is going to chemically convert into glucose too, because, like I said, that’s the fuel for the body and too much protein at once cannot be absorbed.

    As far as the percentage of protein you need in you diet goes, I’m a bit sceptical 10% is enough, but I can’t say for a fact, because I don’t have that kind of knowledge. And science doesn’t know that yet either. For what we know now, the body is very adaptable. I think it is best if you follow your gut and do whatever makes you feel good and is aligned with your goals. If you are happy with your weight and body size, then it probably doesn’t matter all that much. But if you are trying to gain some muscle, than protein intake should be a bit higher. I usually eat around 20% on most days and I do very heavy lifting and it seems to be working for me. :-)) Protein is also a bit more thermogenic than carbs, which means it produces more body heat and thus, makes your metabolism burn more calories just via protein absorption – which is good to know when you’re trying to loose weight. 🙂

    I hope it helped a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

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