The Protein Myth
The time in our life when we grow fastest is, by far, the first month of life. According to the CDC growth chart, in the first month, infants grow approximately 2.5 lbs. In the second month the growth rate declines to 2 lbs, and continues to decline by 8 months to about 1/2 lb per month throughout most of childhood. During pubertal growth spurts adolescents grow approximately 1 lb per month. Since we grow the most during the first months of life, it stands to reason that we never need as much protein as we do during that period. Science has thoroughly established that human breastmilk is by far the best food for newborns. Nature has designed breastmilk to provide everything infants need for at least the first 6 months of life, when the most protein is needed, if not beyond. And yet, only 6% of the calories in breastmilk are made up of protein. 6%. This means that we can't possibly ever need more than 6% of our calories from protein, since that is enough for the rapid rate of growth during infancy, and we never grow that quickly for the rest of our lives. This chart shows what percent of calories from protein various plant foods have:
As you can see from this chart, the vast majority of plant foods provide far more than enough protein to sustain human health. As long as we eat enough calories we get enough protein, regardless of which foods we get those calories from. It is impossible to have a protein deficiency if we are eating enough food. We are far more likely to suffer from illnesses of excess, particularly excess protein and fat, which are abundant in animal foods and are found in appropriate quantities in plant foods.