Nutrition
Video/Text

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.
    • Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate postprandial protein accretion (Boirie et al 1997) (Pubmed Link) (Download Text)​​​ 


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.

Pen
>