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Do you need carbs to help break down protein?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 11, 2010 at 3:31 PM

I have been eating mainly zero carb lately, mainly due to the fact the veggies always seem to go bad. I live alone, and even the smallest amount of veggies I buy is still too much and tend to end up in the trash. Anyhow, a co-working commented on my all-meat lunches, saying that I need carbs to help digest the protein better. He is rather open to my paleo diet, and knows I avoid all grains, but thinks I still need the veggies.

How important are my veggies/carbs in the breaking down of protein? I tend to think that it isn't a necessary. I do, however, think veggies are important for other reasons (nutrients).

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on October 03, 2010
at 01:39 PM

Possible source of this idea: "Apart from eating vegetables cooked, it is important to have some raw vegetables with meals, as they contain vital enzymes to assist digestion of the meats." -GAPS Diet http://www.gapsdiet.com/The_Diet.html

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on October 02, 2010
at 01:29 AM

You're absolutely right there ben. I have never has more perfect, simple easy bowel movements since going Paleo this last two years

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on August 13, 2010
at 04:15 AM

Rabbit starvation is from insufficient fat. It has nothing to do with lack of carbs. There is an entire forum of zero carb eaters and none of them suffer from rabbit starvation.

1e68c6909db3ce6c272a7a0bf2c2978b

(320)

on August 12, 2010
at 09:40 AM

By the same token, it's not really "protein poisoning" as it is "fat deficiency" - I see no reason to demonize protein (within a fairly wide range of intake).

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 12, 2010
at 03:36 AM

I imagine if you didn't eat enough fat, then you would progressively crave it more and more and spontaneously find your hand reaching for the bacon in the grocery aisle..

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on August 11, 2010
at 06:49 PM

An all-meat diet in no way implies a high-protein diet. It is only high-protein if it is not enough fat.

4ab3b10d52010fcb0d00b1a893b3d9df

(194)

on August 11, 2010
at 05:12 PM

Yeah, I am very much aware of protein poisoning. However, the term "rabbit starvation" originates from eating rabbits (if I am not mistaken). Rabbits have less than 5% body fat, and eat exclusively rabbit results in protein poisoning because of the late of fat. It is why our ancestors favored the Buffalo, with its 20% body fat and also why they ate primarily the organ meat. Eating beef and pork, which have a higher fat content, will not result in protein poisoning (I am assuming).

Af842c68e3d07fa0e35b4274f3acaeec

on August 11, 2010
at 04:22 PM

Eva - couldn't have said it better myself!

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5 Answers

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8
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 11, 2010
at 03:46 PM

LMAO! No you don't need carbs to digest protein. Never heard such a thing! Enzymes in your stomach and intestines are responsible for breaking protein down into smaller amino acids. In fact, if the body wants more glucose in the system, it can create that glucose from those amino acids via gluconeogenesis. You don't need to eat carbs or glucose. The body can regulate all of that on its own. Ironically, you can't live without fat and protein intake, but you can live just fine without carbs or glucose intake. Glucose is the one thing of the three that the body can make on its own from other ingredients. And that is just so cool when you think about it! Your friend is misinformed.
-Eva

Af842c68e3d07fa0e35b4274f3acaeec

on August 11, 2010
at 04:22 PM

Eva - couldn't have said it better myself!

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on October 03, 2010
at 01:39 PM

Possible source of this idea: "Apart from eating vegetables cooked, it is important to have some raw vegetables with meals, as they contain vital enzymes to assist digestion of the meats." -GAPS Diet http://www.gapsdiet.com/The_Diet.html

2
8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on August 11, 2010
at 05:06 PM

Your friend is right, to an extent (not about the whole "breakdown of protein" thing, but he's close). A high-protein diet is unhealthy for humans.

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/12/myth-of-high-protein-diet.html

Human breastmilk has only 6% protein. Most hunter-gatherers consume between 10-20% of their calories of protein (including the Inuit!). There is no human culture that has ever consumed a high-protein diet, that is, a diet in which the majority of calories come from protein.

Without carbs and fat, humans will go through what is called "rabbit starvation" or protein poisoning.

The Inuit discarded lean meat and tried to get as much fat out of the animal as they could, to avoid this problem. Since they had no major source of carbs (but they were NOT "zero carb", they had carbs from organ meats and berries and sea vegetables), they had to balance out the protein with fat.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 12, 2010
at 03:36 AM

I imagine if you didn't eat enough fat, then you would progressively crave it more and more and spontaneously find your hand reaching for the bacon in the grocery aisle..

1e68c6909db3ce6c272a7a0bf2c2978b

(320)

on August 12, 2010
at 09:40 AM

By the same token, it's not really "protein poisoning" as it is "fat deficiency" - I see no reason to demonize protein (within a fairly wide range of intake).

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on August 13, 2010
at 04:15 AM

Rabbit starvation is from insufficient fat. It has nothing to do with lack of carbs. There is an entire forum of zero carb eaters and none of them suffer from rabbit starvation.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on August 11, 2010
at 06:49 PM

An all-meat diet in no way implies a high-protein diet. It is only high-protein if it is not enough fat.

4ab3b10d52010fcb0d00b1a893b3d9df

(194)

on August 11, 2010
at 05:12 PM

Yeah, I am very much aware of protein poisoning. However, the term "rabbit starvation" originates from eating rabbits (if I am not mistaken). Rabbits have less than 5% body fat, and eat exclusively rabbit results in protein poisoning because of the late of fat. It is why our ancestors favored the Buffalo, with its 20% body fat and also why they ate primarily the organ meat. Eating beef and pork, which have a higher fat content, will not result in protein poisoning (I am assuming).

0
F05c3ac6737a96c7dab977eb1e7173ec

on May 17, 2013
at 09:04 PM

Breaking down nutrients isn't a proper question. Assimilation however is. You most certainly need carbs to assimilate protein efficiently. Amino a acids compete for uptake, and carbohydrates, along with fat, assure that you have maximum uptake. Real evidence based information with conclude that protein taken with carbs yields higher amino acid uptake than without.But do not rely on my word, or anyone else is a Internet post. Because most people in these forums are ignorant, and speak without anything to back up what they say. I'm not going to back up what I say either, because I don't want to take anymore time then I already have. Take the time and responsibility to find the info you seek. And for people who think following a diet, which people of inferior intelligence, and about a 30 year life span is a good idea... Lmao at that. However, you do probably see improvement, because you stopped eating processed food.

0
Dab7b9248237a4082e35ac0ce869781d

on March 06, 2013
at 10:44 PM

I on the other am having problems with my bowel due to excess protein or mon lean meat I have been suggested to eat more fiber rich food and protease . I suggest going to a more well rounded diet where you have veggies, carbs etc..

0
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 01, 2010
at 02:10 PM

im betting the person is more thinking about passing-the-food, ie pooping it out.

I am currently eating only animal products myself (and loving it for over three months now by the way) and on the rare occasion when i do discuss it with SAD people the first thing many bring up is digestion, concerning bowel movements.

Mainstream education teaches that if you dont have the broom of vegetation as it were, then the entire poop system just shuts down.

Im just guessing, from my own experience, maybe that is what the person means when they talk about "helping breakdown the protein" or something.

Personally i always questioned it and now having a pretty good amount of time with my n=1 experimentation am convinced that, all other things being equal (meaning that you have good good health), fat and protein alone does the guts just fine. Actually better stool formation i think, but i dont wannt get too particular:)

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on October 02, 2010
at 01:29 AM

You're absolutely right there ben. I have never has more perfect, simple easy bowel movements since going Paleo this last two years

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