So, I was over at the "Reboot" website that's associated with Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (see yesterday's post). I was looking at recipes when I came across one containing kale, watermelon, and blueberries (egad-- sounds terrible). But what caught my eye was that it had 6 grams of protein in it.
Wait a minute, I thought. Protein from where? I mean yes, I knew veggies contained small amounts of protein, but they're really small amounts, right? And mostly that's in the root vegetables, surely? Where do you get 6 grams out of protein out of a couple cups of watermelon, a cup of blueberries, and a half dozen kale leaves?
I decided to look up some veggies and fruits at the USDA website. It turns out that a cup of chopped raw kale has 2.2g protein. That may not sound like much, but consider that it only has 34 calories. A large orange has 1.7g protein and 86 calories. A cup of spinach has less than a gram of protein (0.86g) but it only has 7 calories (!). A cup of raw carrots is over a gram of protein (1.2g) and 52 calories.
A cup of blueberries, raspberries, or cherries each has over a gram of protein and less than 100 calories, while a cup of blackberries is 2g protein for only 62 calories. A cup of chopped green pepper has 1.3g protein and only 30 calories.
An adult needs something like 40-60g protein per day (a number which is still in dispute). If you were eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and aiming for even 1,500 calories per day, I've no doubt you'd get enough protein. The question is whether it's reasonable to attempt to consume that many calories from raw produce-- sheesh! Juicing would appear to be the only way you could consume and digest that much plant material, but I'm not at all sure that 6 16-oz juices per day (as recommended in the "Reboot" program) is going to be enough calories. Ten days of very reduced calorie intake might make your body go into famine mode, causing it to lower your metabolism and reduce energy expenditures.
On the other hand, maybe it's not all about calories, maybe it's about nutrient intake. If you're getting protein and oodles of micronutrients then maybe your body won't freak out (although I would certainly eat some olives and avocadoes because you can't go without fat).
One interpretation of obesity is that it's a disease of malnutrition. People's bodies want them to eat more and more because they're not getting the nutrition they need. The trouble is that you can eat as much McDonald's as you'd like and you'll never get the nutrients you need. Perhaps if you're getting flooded with vitamins, enzymes, and phytonutrients your body will be less sensitive to the gross number of calories, and will be more than satisfied on half a dozen large, raw juices. Surprisingly, the protein content may not be far off from the recommended amounts.