Let’s continue our discussion that we started in Part I and see if there really is any association between meat and cancer.
It’s different if you already have a pathology
It is often implied that high-protein diet causes damage to your kidneys by “overloading” them with nitrogen by-products of protein digestion (that they naturally metabolise and excrete) – but as a healthy individual, you will have difficulty overconsuming protein, since your body has natural regulatory mechanisms that drive the desire for protein-containing foods. So you are unlikely to ever eat too much.
But is it correct to say that eating any amount will put a strain on your kidneys? Should you specifically reduce protein consumption to avoid damaging them?
The answer is – very unlikely. If you already have a kidney disease – increased protein consumption can definitely contribute to their pathology. But if you are healthy – you probably don’t have anything to worry about (read this article by Chris Kesser).
Meat contains a complex array of several amino acids. One of these amino acids is methionine – and recent studies have suggested that it’s this specific amino acid that may be responsible for increased oxidative stress and the ultimate link between meat, IGF-1 (see below) and cancer.
If you recall our discussion on organ meats – you will remember that methionine is balanced by glycine – another amino acid contained in large amount in bone broth, gelatin and organ meats – which helps your body metabolize and neutralize potential harmful effects of methionine. What follows is that if you balance your intake of methionine with your intake of glycine (by consuming collagen/gelatin, organ meats, bone broth, etc.) – potential harmful effects of overconsuming muscle meat can be greatly reduced.