“So is protein bad for me?”
Two notes on more recent studies: Deutz and Wolfe are soon going to publish an “opinion paper” in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition that’s titled “Is there a maximal anabolic response to protein intake with a meal?” Their answer that it isn’t is however misleading, because they are dealing with “high protein meals” of 30g and total protein intakes of 1.5g/kg (Deutz. 2012). Of much greater significance not just in the context of this individual blogpost, but also with respect to the dietary guidelines and thus public health is a paper by Volpi et al. in the Journals of Gerontology in which they demand that the guidelines for protein intake in the elderly have to be revised (Volpi. 2012). Just like me they put a much greater emphasis on the importance of hitting the threshold intake (~30g total protein) with every meal than on the total amount of protein in the diet and point out that the data from the latest NHANES study clearly suggests that older individuals reach this threshold – if anything – with dinner.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to put you off protein (both literally as well as metaphorically 😉 – but there is a physical reality out there that is full of thresholds, which are often more than just upper limits and you can hardly argue with Bilsborough and Mann as far as their conclusion with respect to physically active people and their effort to build and preserve body protein is concerned:
“Diminished reserves of TCAI through restricted carbohydrate intake [which would become necessary if you don’t won’t to overeat with too much carbs on top of all the protein] could potentially bring about an early onset of fatigue, decrease exercise performance, and promote muscle catabolism. As protein absorption of real foods is approximately 1 to 4 g/h, and fat is absorbed at approximately 14 to 18 g/h, the need for adequate glucose to prevent muscle gluconeogenesis and hence preserve lean muscle is important and further supports the need for a minimum carbohydrate intake, especially for active people. A carbohydrate intake of 120 to 150 g/d could be sufficient with active people consuming > 150 g/d from a large variety of cereals, whole grains, fresh fruit, and vegetables.” (Bilsborough. 2006)
Actually I believe there is no additional “bottom line” necessary here (aside from picking the right “whole grains” and “cereals”, of course): Protein is the building block for lean muscle tissue, but what happens on a construction site if you have plenty of building blocks, but neither electricity (carbs), nor gasoline (fats) to power the devices (let alone beer to satisfy the workers *rofl*)? Right, nothing happens! And in the end you can be happy if the part of the house that’s already standing won’t whither away and fall apart…
I guess among you there will be only few who still fall into the category of mislead protein worshipers, but just to make sue: 2g/kg is more than enough and my longstanding suggestion that 1.5g/kg would do as well – if it’s from EAA rich protein sources, even better – still stands.