IS PROTEIN DANGEROUS?

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As I am finally settling down from Germany’s thrilling beat down of Portugal (sorry Ronaldo, but you had a pretty great feature in our last week’s newsletter), my red pen came across a gem from the Huffington Post. This week, they decided to jump on the “protein is evil” bandwagon.

You see, nutrition is a lot like fashion; they come in trends and waves. The 80’s brought us “fat makes you fat”, and then we had the “low carb/Atkins diet” in the 90’s. And now, apparently protein has become the new bad boy in town.

Let’s take a closer look at the claims made by the Huffington Post:

1. “If you’ve bulked up on the protein in your diet without cutting calories in other areas, you may find yourself gaining weight.”

Really? Eating extra calories can cause weight gain? I am shocked! What’s next? Tall basketball players? On a different note, protein is a hunger retardant (which carbs and fats are not) so protein is actually difficult to overeat. Try eating 2 lbs of chicken breast vs. one bag of gummy bears and you tell me which one you can actually finish.

2. “There’s some evidence to suggest that diets higher in protein put a greater strain on the kidneys.”

This is a particularly interesting piece of journalism. The study linked in the article is actually more of an article which states that people with pre-existing kidney issues can make their issues worse by consuming extra protein. While this is rather misleading in itself, there is no evidence that healthy athletes who are consuming more than the RDA (most athletes eat about 1 gram of protein per lb. of body weight) are anywhere near the dangerous levels in regard to excretions of urea and protein breakdown.

3. “In a 2002 study, as protein intake went up, hydration went down.”

There are so many things wrong with that statement; I have a hard time figuring out where to start. While it is true that protein digestion requires more liquids, we are talking about a very small amount. Secondly, this is something that can easily be fixed. Thirdly, maybe the dehydration issue stems from the fact that people on a high protein diet tend to be more active and therefore sweat more? In any event, if you keep your fluid intake to one quart per 40 lbs. of body weight per day (and a tad more in the summer time), you’ll be absolutely fine.

So in conclusion, there is no danger in consuming extra protein to the tune of 1 gram per lb. of body weight per day. High protein diets have again and again proven to be very effective for both weight loss and improved performance. Courtesy of the Huffington Post and other media outlets, there will be another nutritional bogeyman soon to deliver fodder for this author.

That’s it for this week, folks! As always, I would be honored if my writing thrilled you enough that you felt compelled enough to share this article with your friends and/or post it on your social media page!

Off to the beer garden,
Maik Wiedenbach

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