Busting Common Protein Myths
Lesson 9 Module 2
When it comes to protein, there's a whole set of myths and misconceptions that are worth blowing out of the water, right now! Below, you'll find a list of the most common ones, along with the scientific research to back up the real truth. It's time to get evidence-based when it comes to protein.
MYTH: You only need 0.8g/kg of protein
FACT: Current research indicates 1.2-1.6g/kg of protein is needed for optimal health.
- 0.8g/kg is the amount needed to avoid protein deficiency (a disease called, Kwashiorkor).
- Protein "requirements" beyond the RDA: implications for optimizing health (Phillips et al, 2016) (Pubmed Link) (Full Text)
MYTH: You can only absorb 20-30g of protein per meal
FACT: All protein is digested and absorbed by the body.
- Most people don't need more than 30g to stimulate Muscle Protein Synthesis.
- Protein oxidation would simply increase.
- If you couldn't digest or absorb the additional protein, they would be "free" calories.
- Often this myth incorrectly extrapolated from this study looking at absorption rates.
MYTH: Too much protein will damage your kidneys
FACT: If you have no existing kidney issues, there's no evidence to suggest a high-protein diet is harmful.
- Changes in renal function during weight loss induced by high vs low-protein low-fat diets in overweight subjects (Skov et al, 1999) (Pubmed Link)
- “Moderate changes in dietary protein intake cause adaptive alterations in renal size and function without indications of adverse effects.”
- Do regular high protein diets have potential health risks on kidney function in athletes? (Poortmans and Dellalieux, 2000) (Pubmed Link)
- ”..It appears that protein intake under 2.8g.kg does not impair renal function in well-trained athletes.”
- The effects of a high protein diet on indices of health and body composition – a crossover trial in resistance-trained men (Antonio et al, 2016) (Pubmed Link)
- “..In resistance-trained men that consumed a high protein diet (~2.51–3.32 g/kg/d) for one year, there were no harmful effects on measures of blood lipids as well as liver and kidney function.”
MYTH: There's more protein in broccoli than steak
FACT: This is only true when you measure the amount of protein per calorie. In the real world this doesn't make any practical sense. Compare protein per 100g, rather than calories
- Broccoli has 9g pf protein per 100 kcals
- But you'd have to eat 770g of broccoli to get 20g of protein
- Steak (depending on the cut) has 7g of protein per 100 kcals
- You'd only need to eat 160g of steak to get 20g of protein
If you've heard any other myths when it comes to protein, let me know in the comments below.