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The Protein Wars – the Battles Continue

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There have been numerous articles recently which claimed that a High Protein diet increases the risk of Heart Failure. Perhaps one of the fairest reports came from the University of Eastern Finland where the study was done. “High protein diet slightly increases heart failure risk in middle-aged men.

Researchers studied 2,441 men, age 42 to 60, at the study’s start and followed them for an average 22 years. Overall, researchers found 334 cases of heart failure were diagnosed during the study and 70 percent of the protein consumed was from animal sources and 27.7 percent from plant sources. Higher intake of protein from most dietary sources, was associated with slightly higher risk. Only proteins from fish and eggs were not associated with heart failure risk in this study, researchers said.

At the bottom of the article was a link to the actual study report. That report actually speaks to a number of variables that really impact the results.

Table 1 shows the baseline characteristics of the study population. Men with greater total protein intake were younger, more likely to be married, had longer education, and higher income than those with lower protein intake. On the contrary, they had higher BMI and were more likely to have diabetes mellitus. They had higher intake of fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids, fruits, berries and vegetables, and processed red meat. High animal protein intake was also associated with more favorable socioeconomic factors, but with higher BMI, higher probability of being smoker and having diabetes mellitus. Those with higher animal protein intake had lower intake of fiber but higher intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids. High plant protein intake was generally associated with healthier lifestyle and dietary factors (Table 1).

Two questions unanswered:

(1) What amount protein is actually a high protein diet? If you are eating a VLCHF diet, you should be eating “normal” levels of protein – whatever that amount is. For me – it is one (1) gram per pound of lean body mass.

(2) Can you eat healthy if you are eating VLCHF? Yes – No Question. You merely need to know how to eat. Eating the way we do has put me on the healthiest food path of my many ill spent years. Knowledge is everything.

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Protein – How Much? The never ending discussion.

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 A recent meta-analysis of 49 prior studies with 1863 participants was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The conclusions were not surprising.

I’ve always used the rule of 1 gram of protein per pound of Lean Body Mass. So for a guy – like me – weighing 180 pounds with 20% body fat, you would top out at 140+/- grams of protein per day.

Their conclusion: 1.6 grams of protein per kg of body weight. 180 pounds = 81.6 kg x 1.6 grams = 130 grams. Not a significant difference in calculation. Another way of looking at it – .70 grams of protein times your body weight.

Summary/conclusion Dietary protein supplementation significantly enhanced changes in muscle strength and size during prolonged RET [Resistance Exercise Training] in healthy adults. Increasing age reduces and training experience increases the efficacy of protein supplementation during RET. With protein supplementation, protein intakes at amounts greater than ~1.6 g/kg/day do not further contribute RET-induced gains in FFM [Fat-Free Mass].

Let this be your guide to how much protein you need to maximize your gains from exercise.

One more concept – don’t forget Gluconeogenesis: a metabolic pathway that results in the generation of glucose from certain non-carbohydrate carbon substrates, such as protein. Too much protein generates glucose and undermines Ketosis.

One more post script: This only applies if you are actually doing Resistance Training.

Protein – How Much is Too Much?

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Here we go again. Protein – how much is too much? Spotted this ARTICLE on one of the news gathering sites: 

How eating too much protein in middle age can SHORTEN your life: Experts reveal this result of low-carb diets could be seriously detrimental to your health.

Their thesis is that our needs change over our lifetime. In our early years, we may need 100 grams of protein a day, but that amount is reduced once you hit middle age – 50-65 years. Then it increases to stave off muscle wasting in our latter years.

They go on to posit that if you eat too much protein in middle age – you will be shortening your life expectancy. 

[A] team at the University of Southern California analysed the diets of nearly 7,000 middle-aged people, discovering that eating a high-protein diet between the ages of 50 and 65 increased the chances of developing cancer, diabetes and other life-limiting diseases.

But – here is the the thing – they are unable to really quantify the amounts. There are just too many variables to rely on the information they are selling.

What gets me is this statement – shouted at the top of their lungs:

[M]any of today’s low-carb diets recommend upwards of 30 to 40 per cent of total calories coming from protein.

I am unaware of any respectable Low Carb diet that is that High in Protein. Any person who works out is going to want 1 gram per pound of lean body mass. If you don’t work out – reduce that to .7 or .8. The end result is an average of 20% or less. Do the math!

The High Protein label on a Low Carb diet is obviously one which annoys the hell out of me because it is just not true.

Rant Over!

Squib – Short Description

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I have a love-hate attitude about News Gathering Services. They pull it all together and make it easy for you to see the information you want – but – and here is the VERY BIG BUT – The Squib or Short Description often is a biased lead in to the article. It is designed to hook you in to read the damnable article. On some services – they at least identify it as “Sponsored.”

Here’s one that got my dander up.

An Easy Way Diabetics On High Protein Low Carb Diets Can Avoid Early Symptoms Of Kidney Failure
The American Diabetes Association insists patients with type 2 diabetes should not go on a high protein diet as a means for weight loss because of the unknown long-term effects of protein intake on kidneys.

Please tell me where a VLCHF diet is a High Protein Diet. And tell me – what the hell is “high protein?”

The article from EmaxHealth is a prime example: 

Early signs of kidney failure often have no symptoms and can easily go undetected until they are very advanced, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Poor Diet Recommendations Are The Cause

All too often with diabetic patients the primary focus is on blood sugar control when it comes to diet recommendations. Practitioners often recommend a high protein, low carbohydrate diet to keep glucose levels low and it’s killing the kidneys.
According to Mayo Clinic findings, some high-protein, high fat diets are stressful on the digestive system and the kidneys. These diets include animal protein and dairy products, which are high in fat, contributing to other factors of the disease such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The American Diabetes Association insists patients with type 2 diabetes should not go on a high protein diet as a means for weight loss because of the unknown long-term effects of protein intake on kidneys. High-protein diets worsen kidney function in diabetics because the body may have trouble eliminating all the waste products of protein metabolism. 

OK – I’m ranting. I’ll stop.

Protein impact on Weight Loss

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Check out this Press Release dealing with a study which identifies one of the mechanisms by which a high protein diet aids weight loss.

A common end-product of digested protein – phenylalanine – triggers hormones that make rodents feel less hungry and leads to weight loss, according to a new study…

Interesting experiment identifying the impact of protein.

My only problem – the use of the phrase “high protein diets.” Never sure where the line is drawn.

Low Carb Beer – with a Twist!

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I really don’t care for Low Carb beer. If I am going to drink, I’d rather have Wine or Vodka.

Still, on a hot summer day or while watching a game, a good full bodied beer or two does the trick. It will undermine your LCHF eating routine – but – hey – we still need to enjoy.

I spotted a report on this new beer on Flipboad: Barbell Beer. This is a high Protein – Low Carb Beer. Really – No kidding.

Energy (kj) 386.6 121
Energy (kcal) 92.4 28
Protein 21.8g 6.6g
Carbohydrates 1.7g 0.5g
Fibre 0.3g 0.1g
Alcohol Volume 3.6%

Years ago, I found a recently empty can of beer in the locker room at my gym. I guess that guy believed that ingesting carbs after a workout was the way to go. 😉

Now – you can have your Protein fix after your workout – with a kick.

Can’t wait for this to hit the states.