The Protein Debate...

Post questions and tips on right foods and right balance of nutrients for sprints, jumps, throws, and weightlifting.

The Protein Debate...

Postby Maxim » Jul 14, 2005 09:53

Hi all :)
I have read a lot about nutrition for strength sports and find it all very confusing.
When you read the recommendations given in bodybuilding circles you will be shocked, they advocate huge amounts of protein every day. They also write lots of articles dispelling the 'myths' about the dangers of excessive protein.

However in weightlifting circles(olympic, snatch/clean and jerk) you will often hear much more conservative recommmendations, generally 10-15 % of calories from protein. I wondered, maybe weighlifters need less as bodybuilders, but then I noticed powerlifters(squat, bench press, deadlift) follow the bodybuilding trend.


Is this all just marketting force to sell protein supplementation? I noticed the "sports nutrition" section of stadion links to high protein diets(zone, protein power etc), some explanation please.

Maxime
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Postby dragon » Jul 14, 2005 10:37

The last info i had on the subject(it may have changed since then,although it wasn't that long ago) was that no-one really knows how much is enough for a bodybuilder.
The opinion seems to be(again,in bodybuilding circles) to consume a bit more than you probably need to ensure your body doesn't become catabolic.

There are still differing opinions on this though,from 1gram of protein per pound of bodyweight to 1gram of protein per kilogram of lean bodyweight(pure muscle taken from your BF%).
This would be quite different amounts.

The only thing that most seem to agree on is that you can only digest so much protein at each sitting(with 2-3 hours between each sitting).I believe this amount is roughly 30grams although it may be a little more.

Dragon
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Question for Tom if he has time...

Postby Maxim » Jul 15, 2005 04:03

I noticed you link to high protein diets(zone, protein power), do you think such high amounts are appropriate? If so, what studies are you basing that on? I have been getting the feeling lately these recommendations(high protein) are just supplement advertisements.
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Postby dragon » Jul 15, 2005 04:24

I don't endorse or recommend any kind of diet as i'm not a dietician.
I know more about high protein diets than any other due to the fact that i took an interest in bodybuilding from a very early age.
If you have aspirations of becoming a successful bodybuilder you have to be a genetic mass monster these days(symmetry comes second to mass these days sadly).This means you need to gain size.Where do you get the additional calories from?Fat?Carbs?Or protein?
So maybe the high protein diet is just the best choice for a bodybuilder who wants to gain muscle whilst keeping their bodyfat as low as possible(although some fat gain is inevitable).
Chemical "assistance" can also play a role in the metabolism of protein,so this this can also enable a pro bodybuilder consume/digest/utilize more protein than the average person.
When i was younger i did suffer short term damage due to a very high protein diet(when you're young you always believe more is better) so as i said,i'm not recommending it,just offering a possible explanation.

Dragon
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Re: Question for Tom if he has time...

Postby dragon » Jul 15, 2005 04:30

In your first post you said the links to high protien diets are on Stadion.Then you said this....

Maxim wrote:I noticed you link to high protein diets(zone, protein power),


I assumed you were directing this to me personally as i replied to your post?

If so,i'm not connected to Stadion in any way.

I'm just some guy on a forum.....

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Postby mmeloon » Jul 15, 2005 13:39

First, I think you can disregard anything you read in bodybuilding magazines. Anything from training routines to nutrition to those monthly articles claiming that women are genetically programmed to be attracted to musclemen is a bunch of hooey. I'm not sure if those magazines what you were referring to in your message but I'd say stay away from all that stuff.

I don't remember what SoST says about this or even if Mr. Kurz gives recommended percentages. I know that in Charles Staley's book The Science of Martial Arts Training he confesses that he is now a believer in the 30/40/30 split after initially being skeptical (Staley is a Kurz fan, BTW). You could find plenty of advice over at the Hardgainer forum from people who take bodybuilding diets very seriously. In the past, I used to keep careful records of how much I ate and how many grams of protein I got. My personal feeling these days is that percentages are a little over rated. You should probably just experiment and see what works best for you. That will require effort and record keeping on your part but you'd have to do that anyhow even if you were given the perfect percentages.

All that having been said, I consume a signifcant amount of protein (probably about 1.5 pounds a day). My diet is based largely on meat and vegetables. Fruits come next and nuts, seeds, oils, and whole grains are secondary. You can read a little more about my thoughts on animal protein here.

-Mark
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Postby Maxim » Jul 16, 2005 04:42

Hi
No Dragon, I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, it was aimed at Tom Kurz.
Here is why: on the homepage there is a link to "sports nutrition" which talks about 'science of sports training', but also about high protein diets:

Stay in Peak Shape by Eating Right!
Below are listed books on sports nutrition that are recommended by our authors.These books from other publishers are available through Amazon.com—the largest online bookstore.

Enter The Zone: A Dietary Road Map by Barry Sears with Bill Lawren
Enter the Zone tells you how to achieve peak mental and physical performance and permanent fat loss through balancing protein, fat, and carbohydrate in your diet.

The Maffetone Method: The Holistic, Low-Stress, No-Pain Way to Exceptional Fitness by Philip Maffetone, D.C.
The Maffetone Method explains how to train and what to eat for consistent good health and high performance.

Mastering The Zone: The Next Step in Achieving Superhealth and Permanent Fat Loss by Barry Sears and Mary Goodbody
Master the Zone is a sequel to Enter The Zone. It gives even more detailed information than Enter The Zone on designing your diet for peak performance. It includes new recipes and compelling medical facts.

The Protein Power Lifeplan by Michael R. Eades, M.D., and Mary Dan Eades, M.D.

The Protein Power Lifeplan gives information complementing that in Enter The Zone. It is written simpler and its explanations of the nutrition are more thorough than those of Dr. Barry Sears.

The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet by Rachael F. Heller and Richard F. Heller
The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet covers some issues not discussed in Protein Power and in Dr. Barry Sears books, for example, importance of timing your meals.



I have doubts about the effectiveness and safety of these diets :?
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Postby dragon » Jul 16, 2005 04:46

mmeloon wrote:First, I think you can disregard anything you read in bodybuilding magazines. Anything from training routines to nutrition to those monthly articles claiming that women are genetically programmed to be attracted to musclemen is a bunch of hooey.


There are some decent articles on both training and nutrition in some magazines but they are few and far between.You recommend Hardgainer.com-the man who created hardgainer magazine/forum also writes a monthly article in Flex for example.
Sadly,the reason why a lot of the articles are misleading is because the bodybuilder writing the article is sponsored by certain suppliment companies(you can spot which magazines are the worst for this as every time one particular brand name is mentioned it's written in bold block capitals).If you are not a bodybuilder then the articles will have no specific importance to you anyway.

mmeloon wrote:I don't remember what SoST says about this or even if Mr. Kurz gives recommended percentages.


Kurz doesn't give a "one size fits all" protein recommendation.
It's worked out by determining the athlete's lean body mass and protein replacement rate based on that particular athlete's activity levels.

Dragon
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Postby dragon » Jul 16, 2005 05:19

Maxim wrote:Hi
No Dragon, I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, it was aimed at Tom Kurz.
Here is why: on the homepage there is a link to "sports nutrition" which talks about 'science of sports training', but also about high protein diets:

Stay in Peak Shape by Eating Right!
Below are listed books on sports nutrition that are recommended by our authors.These books from other publishers are available through Amazon.com—the largest online bookstore.

Enter The Zone: A Dietary Road Map by Barry Sears with Bill Lawren
Enter the Zone tells you how to achieve peak mental and physical performance and permanent fat loss through balancing protein, fat, and carbohydrate in your diet.

The Maffetone Method: The Holistic, Low-Stress, No-Pain Way to Exceptional Fitness by Philip Maffetone, D.C.
The Maffetone Method explains how to train and what to eat for consistent good health and high performance.

Mastering The Zone: The Next Step in Achieving Superhealth and Permanent Fat Loss by Barry Sears and Mary Goodbody
Master the Zone is a sequel to Enter The Zone. It gives even more detailed information than Enter The Zone on designing your diet for peak performance. It includes new recipes and compelling medical facts.

The Protein Power Lifeplan by Michael R. Eades, M.D., and Mary Dan Eades, M.D.

The Protein Power Lifeplan gives information complementing that in Enter The Zone. It is written simpler and its explanations of the nutrition are more thorough than those of Dr. Barry Sears.

The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet by Rachael F. Heller and Richard F. Heller
The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet covers some issues not discussed in Protein Power and in Dr. Barry Sears books, for example, importance of timing your meals.



I have doubts about the effectiveness and safety of these diets :?



I have never read any of the above publications,but looking at the titles and brief description,i wouldn't automatically assume they are all touting the high protein diet.They may just be about the importance of protein in an athlete's diet(whether it's large or small quantities).

If you have doubts,then approach your training in a different way.You have said you're a power lifter in other posts.
I would assume(maybe incorrectly) that your goal is to increase strength,not size.Therefore,i would also assume(again,maybe incorrectly) that your protein requirements are based on recovery/recuperation,not muscle growth.
Each athlete trains differently and you do what you need to do in order to become successful.As a power lifter,it would also be ineffective and unsafe for you to recieve blows to your body/head.As a contact fighter though,sparring is necessary.

Pavel summed it up well when talking about gaining muscle(although i can't remember it word for word)-

"Are these high levels of protein safe?NO! But then again,neither is weighing 260 pounds."

All that having been said:-

If your main query isn't about the effectiveness/danger of high protein,but why stadion endorses the products you mention(if they are indeed high protein diets) then Mr.K will have to answer that.I haven't got a clue.

Dragon
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Postby Maxim » Jul 16, 2005 09:16

Thanks Dragon, I am seeing a sports nutritionist in a couple of days and will ask him.
I don't know wether they really are unsafe, I'm just massively confused :?

here is an example:
http://www.dietitian.com/protein.html wrote:Your attempts to give sound advice on sports nutrition are appreciated. However, it seems inappropriate that you give advice on matters, which are obviously outside the realm of your experience and expertise. To suggest that a male weight lifter needs only "63 grams of protein" per day reminds me of my high school football days, when the coaches wouldn't let us drink water on very hot days because it was "too hard on the body and we would cramp up.". That advice came from people who had the credentials to call themselves experts, also.

Questions:

1) What modern research can you point to that says protein needs don't increase with heavy muscle tissue breakdown? Modern research on sports nutrition I've seen indicates time and again that protein needs increase, often drastically, in weight training subjects. Otherwise, much less than optimal benefit is derived from that exercise, the body simply is not afforded the opportunity to rebuild itself quickly and adequately.

2) As opposed to quantity, what is the quality of the protein ingested? Incomplete proteins may be of little or no benefit to the athlete, as you are probably well aware, but your readers may not be.

3) Regarding the specific quantity of 63 grams: Does the weight lifter weigh 150 lb. or 300 lb.? To suggest so specific a number for ALL males, regardless of their biochemical individuality and weight variation and intensity of workout is beyond my comprehension.

4) For your future reference as a RD, MetRx is an engineered food formulated by Scott Connelly, MD. It was originally conceived in the context of helping patients in severely catabolic states (such as burn patients) to be able to retain lean body mass through aggressive nutritional intervention. Bodybuilders found out about the product and started using it with great success to build as quickly as possible. Dr. Connelly now markets the product for those who want to recompose their body's muscle-to-fat ratio. One serving has 37 grams of very high quality protein and only 260 calories.

I'm approaching 40, have lifted weights for 23 years now and have read every sort of hype from both the commercial and scholarly sides for almost as many years. I am extremely fit, maintain a very low body fat percentage and workout very hard, while recovering very quickly. One thing I've discovered from EXPERIENCE, regardless of what a few so called "experts" say, is that keeping lots of high quality protein in my gut throughout the day is the key I'd been looking for in maximizing my health and physique. And I am still looking for someone to show me any research that shows high protein intake damages normal and healthy kidneys and livers in humans. That's another one of those nutritional myths, repeated endlessly by the "experts.

Just last week, a teacher at the school here was arrogantly telling me that my diet was dangerous, that she had an MA in biochemistry. People standing around listening were snickering at her, because they could see what my body and posture looked like, as she was standing there, 40 lb. overweight and smoking a cigarette. The "expert."





The RDA for protein for adult males is 63 grams per day. Athletes can maintain protein equilibrium (muscle building equals muscle breakdown) on 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. So take your weight, divide by 2.2 then multiply by 1. In fact most persons can achieve protein equilibrium (positive nitrogen balance) at 0.6 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram per day.

According to Dr. Carol Meredith at the University of California at Davis, muscle protein synthesis decreases during exercise and nearly doubles during recovery. Research she has shows that additional protein (studies of 1.35 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day) does not increase muscle mass or strength. In addition resistance exercise like weight lifting is a powerful anabolic (building) process that improves protein synthesis (increased muscle mass).

In fact what athletes need is increased caloric intake (60 calories per kilogram of body weight per day) which may contain protein food sources as well. One inherent problem with increasing protein from food sources, is you are probably also increasing fat content.

The supplement you are taking is 56% protein. Remember that your body can break down protein in food and break down muscle protein for energy if insufficient calories are consumed. So you may be burning expensive protein for fuel.

In regards to incomplete proteins, you are misinformed. If a person daily eats a variety of legumes (beans, peas, nuts), seeds, fruits, vegetables and grains, they will get all the amino acids an adult needs in sufficient quantity to supply all 8 essential amino acids. According to Dr. Peter Pellett at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the limiting amino acid is lysine, which would be a concern in persons eating only grains. I would suggest you read the vegetarian topic.

There is no food or supplement that will by itself convert fat to muscle as you indicate MetRx does all by itself. Otherwise, persons wanting to lose weight would have found instant success with it long ago. The only ways I know to lose body fat and replace it with muscle is through exercise, aerobic and weight training.

Burn patients lose lots of protein through the burn site which body builders do not. Body builder's protein losses are through sweat, urine and feces, the majority of which is not protein. When muscle is broken down during weight training, it frees amino acids into the blood which can then be recycled within the body unlike the burn patient whose protein loses are soaked up by gauze dressings. You are mixing apples and oranges.

There is lots of nutrition hype, most untrue in weight lifting and bodybuilding. While at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, I taught sports nutrition for several years, worked with college athletes, Olympic athletes and yes-competitive body builders. If you want nutrition expertise, ask a Registered Dietitian. Second, if you want exercise expertise, ask an exercise physiologist. Unfortunately your high school coach and the biochemistry teacher may not have the education and experience to provide "expert" nutrition advice. Think of the opportunity you missed with the biochemistry teacher to "teach" her what you have learned so that she could consider a more healthy lifestyle.

Lastly, remember that we are practicing nutrition like doctor's practice medicine. Nutrition science has changed even in the length of time I have been practicing. We don't have it perfect yet and recommendations like drinking water during exercise has changed over the years as a result of new research.

If you would like to read some good sports nutrition texts, try "The Athlete's Kitchen" by Nancy Clark MS RD or "Sports Nutrition" by Dan Benardot Ph.D., RD. Sports nutrition for children, try "Play Hard Eat Right" by Debbi Sowell Jennings MS RD and Suzanne Nelson Steen D.Sc. RD.


I found this one very convincing, since the "q" gives the typical arguments which are used to defend high potein.

You can also find loads of very convincing articles advocating high protein, that's what I find so confusing. I also ordered "Nutrition for serious athletes" by Dan Bernadot, I hope it will clear up some of the confusion.

Maxime
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Postby dragon » Jul 16, 2005 10:03

It seems you want to be convinced by the high protein argument but are waiting for confirmation from a reliable source.
It is important to be aware of all the facts but it is also important to go with what feels right for you and your training.
There are plenty of athletes that have succeeded using training routines/eating habits that the experts and scientific research says is "wrong".

Dragon
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Postby Maxim » Jul 16, 2005 10:58

Thanks Dragon, your input is appreciated as usual :)

Maxime
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Postby Kit » Jul 18, 2005 02:55

I recommend you have a look at these articles which are free from Stadion. read all three to get a more complete picture:

Carbohydrates: http://www.stadion.com/free/nltr0695.pdf
Protein: http://www.stadion.com/free/nltr0995.pdf
Fats: http://www.stadion.com/free/nltr0196.pdf


You will see these are pdf files and you will need to scroll down to the appropriate section on diet. I found these artciles and others in these reports extremely useful. You will also see a recommended way of determining how much protein an athlete should be eating.

As for supplements take a look at 'supplemts vs food' in: http://www.stadion.com/free/nltr0104.pdf
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Re: Question for Tom if he has time...

Postby Thomas Kurz » Jul 22, 2005 12:42

Maxim wrote:I noticed you link to high protein diets(zone, protein power), do you think such high amounts are appropriate? If so, what studies are you basing that on? I have been getting the feeling lately these recommendations(high protein) are just supplement advertisements.


I do not link to diets. I link to books on nutrition. If you want to know what studies I base my opinion on, read those books--each has an extensive bibliography of research articles. It is because of the research articles, which you can read yourself at PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi), that I recommend those books. You can also read the chapter Nutrition in Science of Sports Training in which I quote other sources besides those books.
Thomas Kurz
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Postby Maxim » Jul 26, 2005 05:26

Thanks :D
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