Friday, May 18, 2012

Bill Pearl

After my diagnosis of NHL in the early 90s, the chemo treatment that followed, and my recovery from the treatment about eight weeks following its end, I became very interested in physical fitness and went through a weight-training phase.  During the course of that phase, I banished the car from the garage, parked the camper in the backyard, and replaced them with barbells, dumbbells, a rack for the plates, and even a  used "universal" weight lifting machine that a friend of mine gave me, just to get it out of his garage.  Of course I read a lot of books, and one author was Bill Pearl.  Still on my bookshelf are his Keys to the Inner Universe and Getting Stronger

During the present Crossfit era, with its emphasis on high intensity training and developing "the core," Body Building, Bill's sport, may seem a little quaint. But to Bill and many others it remains a completely serious pursuit.  Diet was extremely important.  Bill's approach to diet was (and is -  he's still in business) very enlightened.  Here are some excerpts from his discussion on diet in Keys to the Inner Universe, pages 33-35:

The high protein myth is so permanently engraved in our thinking that I hesitate to suggest it may be erroneous. Yet due to my desire to help the sincere seeker of lasting health and physical power, I am compelled to try.

It is not difficult to understand how the high protein myth originated. Proteins are important components of our daily nutrition. Your body is built largely of proteins. Your muscles, hair, skin, vital organs, and glands, even your hormones are made up of proteins. Twenty percent or more of the cellular composition in your body is protein. Since your body is constantly renewing and repairing itself, you need lots of protein in your diet for the building of new cells.

And that leads us to the question, "Just how much is 'lots'?" Many experts suggest that you need from seventy to two hundred and fifty grams or more of protein each day. Scientists around the world are beginning to suspect a mistake in their original estimation of our protein needs. More and more evidence is turning up to show that enough protein is good, but to much is bad. Sugar is essential for our health, but too much sugar in the diet has been established as a cause for many health disorders. We certainly need fats, but too much fat in the diet will cause a legion of troubles. Even too much of certain vitamins or minerals may cause ill health. And so it is also with proteins, especially cooked animal proteins, which may cause disorders in the metabolism and a biochemical imbalance in the tissues. These conditions may lead to the most common degenerative diseases, including arthritis, arteriosclerosis, and heart disease

Studies by well-known nutritional authorities show that our actual requirement for protein is somewhere between thirty and forty grams per day. One of the most reliable sources on matters of nutrition today is The International Society for Research on Nutrition and Vital Substances, the scientific council which is comprised of four hundred doctors of medicine, bio-chemistry, nutrition, and natural science. This foremost scientific authority has stated that our "classical" protein requirement tables need an overhaul. "Meat, fish, and eggs supplement a basic diet, but a daily intake of these foods is not necessary," says The International Society for Research on Nutrition and Vital Substances.

The outdated calculations with regard to human protein needs were based on nineteenth century research by Justin Von Liebig, Karl von Voit, and Max Lubner, who believed that man's daily protein requirement was one hundred twenty grams. Until today, many of the beliefs and opinions regarding protein requirements were based on these men's faulty calculations. As Dr. H. B. Lewis had pointed out, it is, indeed, "very dangerous when great men make mistakes." Although the official tables of protein requirements have been showing lower listings for the past several decades, and are now set at about one-half gram per pound of body weight per day, many authorities continue to cling to the old, outdated, "more, more, and more protein" idea, with a heavy emphasis on animal proteins, mainly from red meats.

In accord with the latest research, and taking into consideration the great variation of protein need of each individual, plus the extra demands under conditions of stress, a general conclusion would be that fifty to sixty grams of protein per day - with seventy-five to eighty percent derived from vegetable sources - is sufficient for optimum health. Proteins in excess of those amount are not needed by the body and are only burned as fuel for energy, or stored as fat. As fuel, proteins are inferior to natural carbohydrates and fats.

You do not need meat for protein.  .  .  .  The long held belief that meat proteins are superior to vegetable proteins has been disproven  .   .   .   You do also do not necessarily need meat protein for strength.  .   .   .

The only thing Bill seemed to miss is the problem with dairy and eggs.


Sean Meade said...

interesting that some of this applies to CrossFit, but then they have the whole almost 180-degrees different Paleo thing...

Paul said...

I don't get the paleo, Sean.