Can eating too much protein actually be a bad thing?
Some of you might already know
how much I love preaching protein
both in my videos and across social media.
Side note, you should totally follow me on Instagram
for more protein goodness at picturefit.
Normally, I prescribe that, for healthy individuals,
1.6 grams to 2.3 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight
is ideal for virtually all fitness goals.
My reasoning for more than the usual 0.8 grams you might see elsewhere
is quite heavily outlined in my previous work.
So check that out if you’re interested to learn more.
But, what about eating even more than what I recommend?
Would more protein actually have more benefits?
Or do things turn for the worse?
Today, let’s jump into the research to find out.
Now, when we think about goals like weight and fat loss,
general recommendation is to adjust the amount of carbs and fats we are eating.
Protein rarely is ever the primary focus
and it’s often simply assumed that
that eating too much protein like carbs and fats,
would also lead to weight and fat gain.
However, this isn’t always be the case,
at least not for both weight AND fat.
A 2014 study in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition found that,
for 8 weeks, eating a very high protein diet
while eating the same amount of carbs and fats as a control group,
did increase weight,
but no changes to fat while adding more fat-free mass.
But the juicy part is in the details:
The high protein group ate LOTS of protein,
a staggering 4.4 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.
For an average 80-kilogram individual,
that‘s 352 grams of protein per day.
This study, however, involved slightly lighter folks
with an average of 307 grams of protein per day.
Still quite a huge lot of protein.
But perhaps the most eye-opening statistic
is not the protein, but the total calories.
On average, the high protein diet group
ate roughly 800 more calories than they nomally do.
And yet, they only gained 1.7 kilograms of weight on average within 8 weeks
and most of it was fat-free mass, not fat.
So what does this tell us?
For one, this goes right against the proverbial
“all calories are equal.”
Frankly, though, if we’ve been following the research,
this was always kind of the case
when considering the different uses we have for each macronutrient.
The macronutrients’ carbs and fats are primarily used for energy,
thus, the body will prioritize them for energy systems.
And any excess carbs and fats
will be stored energy in ways of fat.
Protein, is kind of magical,
in the sense that it’s rarely used as energy
since our body has many uses for it, like building muscle.
Also, it takes lots of energy to actually metabolize protein,
so it would be best if it wasn’t used for it.
Another point I’ve been emphasizing,
especially with infographics on my Instagram, @picturefit,
is the thermic effect of food.
In short, protein requires a great deal of energy to digest and absorb,
with some estimates of 35% of its energy provision used for digestion
versus carbs and fat’s 5 to 15%.
In essence, if you eat more protein, you naturally burn more calories.
简言之 吃越多的蛋白质 自然会燃烧越多的卡路里
And it’s been show to be even higher the more fit you are.
事实证明 你身体越好 燃烧的卡路里就越多
Now, the researchers of this study believe
that there could actually be potentially greater body composition changes.
Especially when previous studies, like a 2012 study by Bray et al,
found a very clear and distinct positive relationship
between lean body mass and protein intake
with no difference in fat mass.
This led to the researchers to run another experiment.
They believed the lack of body composition changes
in their previous study
wasn’t due to a potential limit to protein intake,
but likely because the subjects were not given a proper periodized training program.
So in 2015, for another 8 weeks,
the researchers compared a protein diet
of 2.3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight
versus a high protein diet of 3.4 grams
while deploying the subjects
into a periodized resistance training program 5 times a week.
This time with the results, while eating much more calories again,
the high protein subjects DID NOT gain any weight
but the lower protein group did.
Fat-free mass increased in both groups again,
with no statistically significant differences.
But the major difference is in fat mass.
Fat mass decreased, on average,
by only 0.3 kilograms in lower-protein subjects,
which is not statistically meaningful.
With higher protein intake, fat mass dropped by
a significantly higher 1.6 kilograms.
This is a 20.2 to 19.6% bodyfat percentage change
in the low protein subjects,
and an 18.3 to 15.9% bodyfat change
in the high protein group.
Bear in mind again, both groups were eating MUCH more calories than usual
and still dropped fat while not gaining weight with higher levels of protein.
In essence, and the answer to this video,
having a decent training program
paired with eating LOTS of protein isn’t all that much a bad thing,
but instead can potentially help you build muscle while losing fat
given you are training sufficiently.
Now, some of you might be thinking, and for good reason,
is eating this much protein actually SAFE?
In the 2015 study,
the researchers did measure certain protein-related health variables,
such as glomerular filtration rate and creatinine,
and found no changes when eating the high protein diet.
But, this was only an 8-week study.
Long-term effects are still unknown,
and if you have related pre-existing issues,
then please take these findings with a huge grain of salt
and consult your healthcare professional first.
Even then, I personally wouldn’t recommend
more than my usual 1.6 grams to 2.3 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be
much of a long-term risk in this range
as long as you’re healthy.
I’ve talked about this in other videos
as well as my infographics on my INSTAGRAM, @picturefit,
so please come check that out if you like.
Other than that, please let me know what you think about eating super high amounts of protein.
If you enjoyed this video, please give it a super thumbs up
and share it with your protein-loving friends.
As always, thank you for watching and,
fittingly, GET YOUR PROTEIN!
Can eating too much protein actually be a bad thing?