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High-Protein Mania vs Facts

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

I'm getting tired of this unexplained high-protein diet mania. Aren't you?


Protein, in the body, is utilized for more than just building muscles, yes. But does that mean you should eat as much as you possibly can? Well, no.

How much protein should you consume then? Like with anything else, the answer is: "it depends".


First things first. If you:

- are not a competitive/professional athlete,

- don't eat high-quality foods, but load on junk instead,

- don't meet overall macro- & micronutrient needs,

- don't get enough quality sleep,

- don't care about recovery days at all,

- have a poor relationship with food and your body image,

- cannot manage your daily stress levels,

- don't know how to cook,

- don't even know how much protein you ACTUALLY consume,

- have digestive problems or other illnesses/conditions,

- consider protein shakes & bars, fried chicken and other protein supplements "high quality", and the foundation of your diet,

- don't get enough dietary fibre,

- don't hydrate properly,

- don't know how to control your food portions...


Do you really think that protein intake should be your focus?


 

Protein has a greater thermic effect than either fat or carbohydrate. It also has a greater satiety value than fat or carbohydrate. Therefore there is strong circumstantial evidence for increased dietary protein as an effective weight loss strategy. That partially explains the recent "low-carb high-protein weight-loss diets" hype. There is, however, an ongoing debate on how much protein should be consumed and when. Too many factors play a role. So simply giving a value that fits all it's not a solution.


While you can, most likely, eat more than the current RDA (0.8g/kg/day), loading up on a humongous amount of protein will have little to no benefit. Unless your goal is to put on weight or test your overall health & performance.

A short-term high protein diet could be necessary for several pathological conditions (malnutrition, sarcopenia, etc.) however, it is evident that “too much of a good thing” in diet could be useless or even harmful for healthy individuals.



One study claims that "athletes who adhere to lower carbohydrate and higher protein diet may be depriving themselves of the fuel that is by far the preferred substrate to power muscular contraction."



Let's not forget that recommendations are GENERIC. And protein never comes in a pure protein form. We eat food, not nutrients. Eating high-protein foods means consuming other nutrients, like fats or other additives, like the spices and condiments that you add to your meals.


Conclusion:

  • Stop playing a dietitian if you aren't one.

  • Eat regular food first, then supplement if NECESSARY.

  • If you think that you need to increase your protein intake, contact a qualified person who can help you.

In the meantime, forget loading on protein shakes. It won't magically grow your biceps.


 

Source:

https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/ijsnem/16/2/article-p129.xml?content=pdf

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/dietary-protein-requirements-and-adaptive-advantages-in-athletes/07A4F888A7FE5205E2D3D12CFD12B8AD

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1743-7075-6-12#Sec4

https://downloads.hindawi.com/archive/2013/126929.pdf


 
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