Getting to the bottom of high protein intake

In the October issue of Men’s Health, the mag debunks five nutrition myths concerning (among other things) protein intake, potatoes and salt. Among the five, the most interesting was Myth #1: “High protein intake is harmful to your kidneys.”

The mag reads:

The origin: back in 1983, researchers first discovered that eating more protein increases your “glomerular filtration rate,” or GFR. Think of GFR as the amount of blood your kidneys are filtering per minute. From this finding many scientists made the leap that a higher FGR places your kidneys under greater stress.

What science really shows: Nearly 2 decades ago, Dutch researchers found that while a protein-rich meal did boost GFR, it didn’t have an adverse effect on overall kidney function. In fact, there’s zero published research showing that downing hefty amounts of protein – specifically, up to 1.27 grams per pound of body weight a day – damages healthy kidneys.

The bottom line: As a rule of thumb, shoot to eat your target body weight in grams of protein daily. For example, if you’re a chubby 200 pounds and want to be a lean 180, then have 180 grams of protein a day. Likewise if you’re a skinny 150 pounds but want o be a muscular 180.

Anyone who has gotten sound nutrition advice has heard the, “One to 1.5 gram(s) of protein to pound is optimal” speech. I think the bottom line section in the Men’s Health article hits the nail on the head. If you’re a hard gainer looking to be 180, then shoot for 180 grams of protein a day. If you want to drop a few pounds and be a lean 180, then shoot for the same grams-per-day average.


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