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Old 03-05-2012, 05:57 AM   #1
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Eat less protein? Is too much protein bad for you?

I was listening to Dr. Ron Rosedale on the Livin La Vida Low Carb show and Dr. Rosedale suggests we don't eat anymore than a gram of protein per kg of lean body wait. For me that comes out to be around 80 grams or so! That's incredibly little.. much much less than what I'm eating now. He sounds like he knows what he's talking about, but the idea of restricting protein to that extent is really unappealing to me. Anybody know if his ideas are sound? He was talking about Leptin and Mtor.

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Old 03-05-2012, 06:13 AM   #2
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Excess protein is coverted to glucose which causes a rise in blood sugar which in turn causes weight gain. Depending on the source you read, between 30-60% of excess protein converts to glucose (vs. 100% of carbs). Your activity level determines the amount of protein you need. For for most people who are reasonable active (not athletes) then the rule of thumb is one gram per kiloweight. Most healthy folks can double that amount without danger except possibly a bit of weight gain. Diabetics need to be more careful.

When Dr. Richard Bernstein has a patient on his diet (30 grams carb per day) trying to gain weight, he prescribes extra protein along with a small dose of insulin to cover the blood sugar rise. He states that either extra carbs or extra protein puts on weight. Since diabetics can't eat carbs, he goes the protein route.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:17 AM   #3
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Are you confusing the weight of your protein versus actual protein grams in the meat?

Meat is not 100% protein. It is imposed of water, fat etc... So for example, a 3oz piece of beef might supply you 20g of protein. But if you weighed that piece of meat it might weigh 100g, but that is not all protein. Think beef jerky, once dried out you are left with a thin piece of meat.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:12 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by belfrybat View Post
Excess protein is coverted to glucose which causes a rise in blood sugar which in turn causes weight gain. Depending on the source you read, between 30-60% of excess protein converts to glucose (vs. 100% of carbs). Your activity level determines the amount of protein you need. For for most people who are reasonable active (not athletes) then the rule of thumb is one gram per kiloweight. Most healthy folks can double that amount without danger except possibly a bit of weight gain. Diabetics need to be more careful.

When Dr. Richard Bernstein has a patient on his diet (30 grams carb per day) trying to gain weight, he prescribes extra protein along with a small dose of insulin to cover the blood sugar rise. He states that either extra carbs or extra protein puts on weight. Since diabetics can't eat carbs, he goes the protein route.
Belfry, what a great post.

I use the general standard of: one ounce of cooked meat = 6-7 grams of protein.

Dr. Jan Kwasniewski recommends moderate protein, as well. Here are his recommendations for macronutrient calculations, posted by Carolyn F, in the Kwasniewski Diet support thread.:

The principles of the Optimal Diet

The main principle of this dietary model is a marked increase in the consumption of fat, and the reduction in the consumption carbohydrate, as the energy source for the body. There are, however, strict rules on the proportion between the three main food components, protein, fat and carbohydrates, which need to be followed (with few exceptions) in order to achieve claimed benefits of the Optimal Diet.

The ideal proportion between the main food components of protein, fat and carbohydrates should be in the range of:
m m 1 : 2.5 - 3.5 : 0.5
In order to work out the correct daily food intake using this proportion, one has to know how many grams of protein needs to be ingested in a day to satisfy body's requirements. This amount varies from person to person and depends on a "due body weight". Due body weight, in kilograms, is equal to person's height in centimetres less 100 (± 10%). Thus, for a person 160 cm tall, a due body weight is 60 kg ± 6 kg.

A correct amount of protein to be consumed in a day is approx. 1 g per 1 kilogram of a due body weight. Thus, a 60 kg person needs to consume 60 ± 6 g of protein to satisfy body's daily needs. Any excess of protein, above the daily requirement, is converted by the body to fat, provided energy requirements are met by other components.

Having worked out the amount of protein, one can then calculate the amount of other components in a daily menu. Thus, for our typical 60 kg person, the consumption of 60 g of protein has to be accompanied by between 150 to 210 g of fat, and 30 to 50 g of carbohydrate in order to follow the principles of the Optimal Diet.

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Dr. Bernstein says in his book, The Diabetes Solution, that a person who is at his/her ideal weight of 150 pounds, ought not to go much below 54 grams of protein, and if doing strenuous exercise, that that person will need more protein.

I use Dr. Kwasniewski's recommendations and follow Dr. Bernstein's Law of Small Numbers.

The amount of protein needed is a fascinating subject. I have something vaguely in my memory by Dr. Michael Eades or Dr. Bernstein about less protein being needed on LC, but I don't have anything bookmarked on that.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:25 AM   #5
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Do you think there will be ill effects of too little protein of say, about a 20% shortage on average, over a long period of time?
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:30 AM   #6
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Too little protein, I guess the symptoms would be muscle wasting... actually, looking at the symptoms/side effects of anorexia might illustrate some hints of what happens with too little protein.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:34 AM   #7
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Too little protein, I guess the symptoms would be muscle wasting... actually, looking at the symptoms/side effects of anorexia might illustrate some hints of what happens with too little protein.
I am going to begin tracking the amount of protein I actually consume - I might be a little on the light side....
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Hoonosewen View Post
I was listening to Dr. Ron Rosedale on the Livin La Vida Low Carb show and Dr. Rosedale suggests we don't eat anymore than a gram of protein per kg of lean body wait. For me that comes out to be around 80 grams or so! That's incredibly little.. much much less than what I'm eating now. He sounds like he knows what he's talking about, but the idea of restricting protein to that extent is really unappealing to me. Anybody know if his ideas are sound? He was talking about Leptin and Mtor.
Yes, this is true. Dr. Groves and Dr. Eades never say to eat all the protein you want to eat. I think if Dr. Atkins lived longer, he would have agreed with this and made it clearer in his books.

Since you are a guy, you might be able to get away with 80-100 grams of protein a day, especially if you are muscular.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:39 AM   #9
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Cathy, I do think that too little protein, of the kind Dr. Kwasniewski recommends, or Peter Dobromylskyj, that our bodies can not build and regenerate. Dr. Michael Eades has posted about this. I'll see if I can find something at his blog.

Dr. Bernstein doesn't elaborate much on the consequences of some things. His simply stating that a 150-pound person, at his or her ideal weight, not ought go below 54 made a marked impact on me.

There are also a few comments at Hyperlipid, after posts, of folks not doing well at 40g/PRO/d and finding much improvement, abating of unpleasant troubles, at 60g/PRO/d.

I'll go look at Dr. Eades' blog....

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Old 03-05-2012, 08:42 AM   #10
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I know one anecdote I can provide; if I exercise (think 1-2 hours of bicycling) and don't eat much protein afterward, within a few hours I get this truly ravenous hunger... had it yesterday, tried eating some chocolate-butter confection but it didn't touch it. Was a pain too cause the lamb chops I cooked for dinner took a half hour or so to grill, but once they were done and I dug in... within 15-20 minutes afterward the hunger was totally satisfied. It's just interesting that eating fat as a snack didn't touch it. I'm guessing that's what happens with too little protein relative to activity level--hunger.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:47 AM   #11
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In induction, Dr. Atkins stated that roughly 35% of total daily food intake should come from protein, so I've always used ****** to calculate those numbers, and they always seemed right on.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:10 AM   #12
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My average percentage of protein has been around 29.6%. Which roughly equates to 102g of protein per day, According to ******. I have 118.74lbs of LBM, which is 53.5kg. So, I should only be eating 55g of protein per day? I've been eating double that amount since I started LC a week ago. Is that bad?

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Old 03-05-2012, 03:16 PM   #13
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Hi Melisa. At your present weight, it appears that your protein intakes should be approx. 110 g of protein per day so you are right on the mark. At least this is my understanding based on weight in kilograms, average activity and grams of protein.
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Old 03-05-2012, 03:28 PM   #14
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I'm so confused right now!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-05-2012, 03:47 PM   #15
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I'm so confused right now!!!!!!!!!!
Me too. *headache*


Very interesting topic.
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Old 03-05-2012, 04:13 PM   #16
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My average percentage of protein has been around 29.6%. Which roughly equates to 102g of protein per day, According to ******. I have 118.74lbs of LBM, which is 53.5kg. So, I should only be eating 55g of protein per day? I've been eating double that amount since I started LC a week ago. Is that bad?
Yes, according to the above formula, 55 grams of protein would be correct. Personally, that feels too low for me.

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Hi Melisa. At your present weight, it appears that your protein intakes should be approx. 110 g of protein per day so you are right on the mark. At least this is my understanding based on weight in kilograms, average activity and grams of protein.
Actually, it's grams of protein per kilogram of weight. There are 2.2 pounds per kilogram so roughly, 55 kilograms. Also, grams of protein are by nutritional value, not weight. Not that you were saying that, just to help with confusion. It's a fairly simple conversion but what weight you base it on varies. I think a lot of nutritionist say "lean body mass" so a 150 pound female may only have 110 pounds of LBM. It is the LBM you base your protein requirement on. It is your muscle mass, not fat.

I tried the OD once but did not feel good on it. Way too much fat, not enough "substance" but that's just me.
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Old 03-05-2012, 04:55 PM   #17
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Yes, according to the above formula, 55 grams of protein would be correct. Personally, that feels too low for me.



Actually, it's grams of protein per kilogram of weight. There are 2.2 pounds per kilogram so roughly, 55 kilograms. Also, grams of protein are by nutritional value, not weight. Not that you were saying that, just to help with confusion. It's a fairly simple conversion but what weight you base it on varies. I think a lot of nutritionist say "lean body mass" so a 150 pound female may only have 110 pounds of LBM. It is the LBM you base your protein requirement on. It is your muscle mass, not fat.

I tried the OD once but did not feel good on it. Way too much fat, not enough "substance" but that's just me.
I base my calculations on total body weight and average other factors such as age and activity so for a female of weighing 244lbs. or approx 110 kg. = 110 gms. protein. I have no knowledge of this figure being based on lean body mass but rather weight or bmi.
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:02 PM   #18
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Definitely better to overshoot a little than undershoot. A small bit of converted glucose is not going to harm you as much as lean tissue loss. (calorie-focused dieting is called yo-yo dieting due to the chronic muscle loss). The nervous system is good at gobbling up small amounts of glucose before they do any harm.

My understanding is that the body cannot use protein for energy directly. The "4 calories per gram" figure is misleading since ideally most of your protein intake will go toward cell repair and not for energy, but excess will be converted into the same 4-calorie glucose you'd get from dietary carbohydrate. I personally don't sweat it though--an excess protein diet would probably be unpalatable and expensive.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:54 PM   #19
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Definitely better to overshoot a little than undershoot. A small bit of converted glucose is not going to harm you as much as lean tissue loss. (calorie-focused dieting is called yo-yo dieting due to the chronic muscle loss). The nervous system is good at gobbling up small amounts of glucose before they do any harm.

My understanding is that the body cannot use protein for energy directly. The "4 calories per gram" figure is misleading since ideally most of your protein intake will go toward cell repair and not for energy, but excess will be converted into the same 4-calorie glucose you'd get from dietary carbohydrate. I personally don't sweat it though--an excess protein diet would probably be unpalatable and expensive.
This!

I track a few days a week and find that I always eat 100g protein. I weigh 155, but I probably have more muscle than the average American as I work out about 8-10 hours/week. The amount converted to glucose is easily handled, it's nowhere near the amount that you would get from eating a bowl of pasta or the bread on a sandwich, and so long as you are producing insulin, you are fine. In the back of my head, I wonder if as much as 30g more protein than your lean mass requires is really going to kick you out of ketosis, and whether it is all really converted to glucose. I would like to know what the Eades', Dr. Attia, and Dr. Phinney say...
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:46 PM   #20
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I base my calculations on total body weight and average other factors such as age and activity so for a female of weighing 244lbs. or approx 110 kg. = 110 gms. protein. I have no knowledge of this figure being based on lean body mass but rather weight or bmi.
110gram body weight ,110 grams protein should be close.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:47 PM   #21
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110gram body weight ,110 grams protein should be close.
I think you meant to say, 110 kg for body weight and thus 110 grams protein.

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Old 03-06-2012, 01:58 AM   #22
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I've been reading the Eades blog as well as Mark's daily apple and whatever else I can find and make time for, but I don't seem to remember them saying much about limiting protein intake other than Eades saying 100-120 grams of protein is a good range (but that seems quite a bit higher than other experts recommend.)

Is anyone well familiar with what the experts say on this? Is there any real consensus? Is the science behind it pretty well understood?

Also, another thought that came to mind. It seems to me that our ancestors would've likely eaten more than 80 grams of protein per day, which is supposedly roughly my recommended amount based on my lean body weight - 230 lbs, 5" 10.5 (recommended weight 175 at the higher end of the spectrum, which I think I would fit in because I've always had a lot of muscle.)

By the way, I am losing weight at over 100 grams of protein a day. I am not losing at a very rapid pace, but nonetheless losing steadily. It's especially noticeable in the measurements.
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:13 AM   #23
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Eades' recommendations may seem higher because he is considering a limit of about 30g carbs. Keep in mind that carbs are the body's preferred fuel source, and in limiting them, Dr. Eades considers the fact that the body will need to use both fat and protein for it's energy needs.

The basis of his ProteinPower is to insure that we lose more fat than muscle by providing the body with sufficient protein to protect muscle mass.

His 'higher' recommendations are not 'high protein' but 'sufficient protein'--i.e., no one should fear his recommendations.
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:46 AM   #24
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There is good evidence that suggests (I am NOT an anthropologist, but this is what I've read from many sources) that our ancestors ate 80% and upwards of fat, the rest mostly protein. Except Egyptians, who were into ag and died of heart disease at a young age much earlier than Europeans.

I am pretty sure that muscle biopsies have been done to determine protein metabolic processes, HOWEVER, most studies *only* are done, or published, for a period of 10-14 days... this does NOT allow for ketoadaptation. This is why I suspect that what the "experts" say is not exactly how it works when one is ketoadapted for a long period of time. I need to read the Bellevue study, I read it a long time ago, but I can't remember what exactly they measured and if they were able to measure glucose synthesis from protein back then, even if it was indirectly. In any case, there are a lot of problems with the literature. I keep hoping the Eades or Peter Attia will do a more comprehensive, long term study using the latest technology. A lot of the studies that *have* been done are only up to a few weeks, and I don't find that very conclusive, either... so, this is why I don't think we can necessarily jump to conclusions that eating 120g protein/day is going to have some negative effect... you would probably have to eat a LOT more than that, and it would not be very palatable.

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I've been reading the Eades blog as well as Mark's daily apple and whatever else I can find and make time for, but I don't seem to remember them saying much about limiting protein intake other than Eades saying 100-120 grams of protein is a good range (but that seems quite a bit higher than other experts recommend.)

Is anyone well familiar with what the experts say on this? Is there any real consensus? Is the science behind it pretty well understood?

Also, another thought that came to mind. It seems to me that our ancestors would've likely eaten more than 80 grams of protein per day, which is supposedly roughly my recommended amount based on my lean body weight - 230 lbs, 5" 10.5 (recommended weight 175 at the higher end of the spectrum, which I think I would fit in because I've always had a lot of muscle.)

By the way, I am losing weight at over 100 grams of protein a day. I am not losing at a very rapid pace, but nonetheless losing steadily. It's especially noticeable in the measurements.
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:31 AM   #25
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My unscientic decision

I've spent several hours trying to figure out what to do. I looked through one of Dr. Atkins book and could only find a reference to eat liberally of protein so that didn't really help me. Went through my Diabetes Solution book from 1997 and Dr. Bernstein mentions negotiating with your doctor how much protein you need. He does use one example that I think had 11oz of protein for the day, but then says you may need more or less than that....so not really any help.

Dug out my Protein Power book from the mid 1990's and followed Dr. Eades method of determining lean body mass (which I think CindyCRNA mentions) which he then uses to determine your protein requirement. This process covers several pages and involves measuring waist, abdomen, hips, (oh my ) and height. Finally when I recovered from all that I discovered he recommended 67g of protein for me.

I went to Jenny Ruhl's website and used a calculator that I found there and it says 87g of protein.

So having spent hours on this I am taking the completely unscientific step of using an average of these 2 figures and aiming for 77g of protein a day.

I'll use 77g for a while and see how I feel. Back in December I had reduced my protein to 60g a day and felt terrible. I was also eating about 20g total carbs. I am not doing that again...I don't think my body liked it at all and I did not break the stall I have been in since last July.
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:35 AM   #26
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I don't see how some excess protein can lead to weight gain. Let's say you are not very active and need 80g of protein per day. If you eat 150g which is considered optimal for an athlete, then you have eaten 70g more than you need. Only 58% will convert to glucose at most, which is 40g. That is like one serving of pasta in an entire day. And combine that with the fact that protein is the most satiating macro-nutrient, and you are likely to consume less calories overall than if you under-eat protein.

The only time you really need to worry about protein over-consumption is if you are trying to stay in ketosis or maybe have a pre-existing kidney condition. But staying in ketosis is completely unnecessary if you are looking for weight loss or maintenance.
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:11 PM   #27
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I'm also confused.

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Old 03-06-2012, 01:37 PM   #28
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Nikki, I'd be glad to try to explain something, if I can, about amounts of protein.
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:11 PM   #29
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I feel so dumb but this has been bugging me for months..I need to start tracking my food again but I'm pretty sure I'm getting too much protein..I weigh 135 pounds and I'm 5'3....how much would I need? I try to figure it out but I have a million different formulas and recommended amounts I just get flustered and say forget it,just keep doing what you're doing..but I'm not really losing anymore and think maybe finding my correct #s will help. Any input would be awesome.
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:15 PM   #30
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Start Date: originally march 08 but every day is a fresh start
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Originally Posted by loveispeakincode View Post
I feel so dumb but this has been bugging me for months..I need to start tracking my food again but I'm pretty sure I'm getting too much protein..I weigh 135 pounds and I'm 5'3....how much would I need? I try to figure it out but I have a million different formulas and recommended amounts I just get flustered and say forget it,just keep doing what you're doing..but I'm not really losing anymore and think maybe finding my correct #s will help. Any input would be awesome.
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