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.


Muscle layoff

There was an interesting question asked in the “Malegrams” section of the August 2007 issue of Men’s Health:

Q: How long can I go without lifting weights before my muscles disappear?

Answer (provided by trainer Mike Mejia): Contrary to popular belief, your muscles don’t turn to mush as soon as you stop lifting. In fact, a recent study of recreational weight lifters found that 6 weeks of inactivity resulted in only a slight decrease in power (10) percent after 2 weeks) and virtually no drop-off in size or strength. You could go the whole summer without pumping iron – as long as you’re keeping fit with activities such as swimming or tennis. These sports help retain muscle mass and offer the perfect physical and mental break from the tedium of the gym. Come fall, you can return to the gum refreshed and ready to take your workouts to the next level.

Interesting. Obviously if your goal is to put on a ton of size, you don’t want to go an entire summer without so much as looking at a weight. But those who get sick of the rigors of a gym routine can find solace – at least from Mr. Mejia and his research – that if you partake in sports and other physical activities, you won’t resemble Calista Flockhart by August.



In the April 2007 issue of Muscle & Body magazine, Dave Hawk’s response to a question concerning soy protein is, to say the least disturbing.? The reader asks, if soy is claimed to be an inferior protein by other authors, why is it used in different products?

Excerpt from Dave’s answer:

What I dislike to hear is the misconception, misinformation and misrepresentation of a great ingredient like soy protein isolate (SPI).? Not only does SPI have natural health benefits, it is 100% equal to whey protein isolate (WPI) in aiding muscle building in men.

Misinformation and misrepresentation, soy protein is garbage.? Obviously Mr. Hawk doesn’t keep up with what’s going on in the supplement or food industries because the FDA denied soy’s heart health claims because of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The only misrepresentation is by the soy industry and so called experts who spew their garbage in columns like Muscle Talk.? SPI is extremely low in quality.? The Protein Efficiency ratio, Biological Value, Net Protein Ratio and the Relative Net Protein Ratio, which are all ways scientists rate the quality of protein, consistently score soy protein toward the bottom.

Soy does score high with the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score.? The catch is, soy is set at a score of 100 and 100 is the highest score available.? Because the soy industry flexed their financial muscle, they can now claim their protein is as high a quality as other proteins.? The soy industry spends millions on funding false research and claims in an effort to sell product.?

Dave concludes, WPI is a great staple supplement for anyone’s muscle-building diet, but adding SPI to your daily protein regimen can be a great way to stack your nutritional protein arsenal.

SPI is one of the most highly processed foods one can consume.? Soy beans are regularly treated with heat, alkalis, acids, solvents and oxidizers, in order to make protein products.? Otherwise soy protein would taste like shit and be indigestible.

SPI contains trypsin inhibitors, which inhibits enzymes that help us digest protein.? Supplement wth a protein that inhibits the digestion of protein, smart.

SPI contains goitrogens, which block the synthesis of thyroid hormones.? As soy consumption goes up so does the incidence of thyroid disease.

SPI contains phytoestrogens, which lowers testosterone in men.?

The list goes on, but this is not the forum.?


Growth Zone my ass

Time under tension is a great tool to use when trying to make gains in size and strength.? It’s well accepted that in order for one to stimulate muscle to induce gains the optimum time under tension is 20 – 60 seconds for the vast majority of people.? In the April 2007 issue of Ironman magazine William Litz has written an article on extending time under tension using partial, burns and X-reps.

Let me start by addressing the before and after pictures included on the second page of the author.? Underneath the pictures it states, “William Litz took his physique from a soft 220 to a hard, abs blazing 210 in only eight weeks using X-reps partials and stretch overload.”?

Does he really think the readers of this magazine are that deficient in their reasoning ability they wouldn’t see how ludicrous the caption under the pictures is?? In a word, YES.? Remember that magazines primarily exist to sell product and could care less about dispensing valid training advice.? Most of what is found in muscle magazines is nonsense filler, like this article.

In this worthless article Litz states, “Why burns fell out of favor is beyond me.? It clearly produced amazing builds in the decades before chemical warfare.”? Yet performing burns and partials for over ten years proved ineffective for him.? He used partials and burns sice the early 90’s, but didn’t make “ab blazing” gains until using X-reps, which are a variation of partials and burns.?

Litz also claims new research indicates that bottom, or stretch position burns are more beneficial, but to keep variety alive.? No research is sited in the article.? Litz would like you to keep in mind that stretch position partials can activate a lot of fibers and may even lead to fiber splitting, if such a phenomenon exists.? It may lead to, if such a phenomenon exists?? Are you kidding me?? You could actually transport yourself from place to place within seconds if such a devise existed.

The fact is, we humans have a finite ability to recover from physical stress.? Stress induced by high intensity training is no exception.? There is no reason what-so-ever to take a set beyond momentary positive failure.? In fact, partials, negatives and other forms of extending sets fell out of favor because they do more to over-train individuals than anything else.? Top bodybuilders are always sited as proof a certain training program works, but what about the 10’s of thousands who use these vary programs and get nowhere.

You can not force growth.? If your progress has come to a halt, you’re not recovering.? Using partials and burns should only be used by advanced lifters wth low frequency.? Pushing beyond, doing more without allowing recovery, will only exacerbate the problem.?????


Five common exercises you should never do

In a recent Best Life article posted on, exercise physiologists listed five exercises that should be taken out of daily routines.

The five:

– Posterior (Behind-the-Neck) Pull Downs
– Behind-the-Neck Shoulder Presses
– Straight Ball Curls
– Leg Extensions
– Sit-Ups

I’ve heard sit-ups are bad for the back and some personal trainers aren’t big on posterior pull downs, but avoiding straight ball curls and leg extensions are news to me. Regardless, the article gives a brief description of why the exercise should be avoided, as well as safer alternatives.

To read the entire article, click here.


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