Protein That You Need To Stop It
Protein is my favorite macro.
Because steak is awesome, protein shakes are the greatest invention of the 20th century, and I like building muscle.
So naturally, I get a little frustrated when people spread falsehoods about my favorite macro.
Related: 43 Easy High Protein Recipes!
Now, seeing that I am a scientist and I value the truth, I think I should stand in on behalf of protein and defend it against some of the popular myths about it.
1. PROTEIN WREAKS HAVOC ON YOUR KIDNEYS
“Go easy on the protein shakes bro, you are going to wreck your kidneys.”
If I had a dollar for every time I heard or read that protein was going to hurt my kidneys…. well… I would probably be retired and blogging full time.
Recently, Dr. Jose Antonio did a study to answer the following question, “Basically, if we stuff you full of protein (like 4g/kg a day) what happens to your kidneys and your blood tests?”
Well it turns out that if you take healthy young men and cram them full of protein and have them lift weights, their kidneys are just fine and it had no effect on their blood work1.
These people ate about 270 grams of protein a day for 8 weeks and their kidneys and blood were just fine.
This myth really, really needs to die.
2. PROTEIN MAKES YOUR BONES BRITTLE
For some reason some doctors and scientists got some nonsense in their heads about protein making your blood acidic and that it caused calcium to be “leached” from your bones to buffer out your blood, effectively making your bones brittle and weak. Turns out, that is entirely untrue, the hypothesis has been refuted by several lines of evidence.
First, a study directly addressing this question found that a diet high in protein had no change in biomarkers of bone resorption or formation, indicating that a high protein diet has no adverse effects on bone health2. This evidence supports the notion that high-protein diets are not detrimental to bone health.
Second, we know that high-protein diets actually increase calcium absorption in the digestive tract, and increased blood calcium elicits calcitonin release from the thyroid and promotes calcium deposition in bone tissue. To this point, there have been several studies supporting the idea that increased intestinal calcium absorption due to high-protein diets may actually improve bone health3,4,5.
3. HIGH PROTEIN DIETS MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT
I thought of a lot of clever ways to put this, but to quote one of the most prolific high protein diet researchers in the field (Dr. Jose Antonio):
“You gain weight. No shit. If you lift weights and eat a bucketful of protein, you will likely gain lean body mass. But here’s the kicker. If all you did was overeat on protein (i.e., in our study, subjects overfed on whey protein), you would likely lose weight. And not muscle mass my friend. You’d lose fat”.