T Nation

Excessive protein

Hi guys. I was wondering if you guys have had any experience with prolonged high protein intakes. I’ve been taking in at least 250 grams a day(165-180lbs over this period between dieting and mass gaining) for a while now…I started with the high intake during dieting and then adopted a 40-35-35 or 45-35 20 diet. I am wondering If I have created an extremely high baseline for myself and am now forced to keep protein intake at this level or risk muscle loss. I am at 275-280 grams a day right now. Just wondering…thanks, Mike

Mike, I averaged about 200 grams a day – 1977 thru 1989, and about 240 grams a day - 1995 thru Nov.12, 2001. And lately, on heavy training days, even higher (300 grams). (I was recovering from a severe back injury – 1989 thru 1994 so my protein intake was much lower in those years.)

My bodyweight was about 147 lbs in 1977… and I currently fluctuate between 167-171 lbs.

Do I need all that protein?.. Probably…NOT! But too many carbs have always made me FAT, and I gotta fill up on something! How is my health? EXCELLENT! – Joey Z.

The body is an awesome adapting machine! So basically what ever it gets used to it will pretty much handle it. That is to say if you do cut your protein down to significantly lower levels the body will take some time to adjust, but that given some time it will basically get used to what ratios of foods you supply it.

Mike you bring up an interesting point. It seems the body does accomodate itself to a certain protein intake. This was the premise behind the protein cycling diet layed out on t-mag during it’s infancy. I believe this is one reason why after taking a good layoff from hard training and high protein eating and eating more like a typical american for a while the body really responds quickly once protein levels are raised back up. Old timers like Vince Gironda recommended a person only shoot for all out gains for short periods of time like around 3-4 weeks. During this time the protein and calorie intake would be sky high with staples such as eggs by the dozens, cream, half and half and up to 1/2 lb of protein powder per day being consumed with minimal to moderate carb consumption. After several weeks of this you’d back off and let the body detoxify for a couple of weeks by following more of a vegetarian based diet. It worked for them and makes some sense if you review the science behind protein metabolism.

I was averaging 350-400 grams per day about 2-3 months ago. I had absolutely no problems, the only side effects of high protein is more muscle.

Thanks for the responses guys. I have seen pretty good gains with the high protein. i’m thinking that like all macros though…if you have too much you get fat.I’m worried about the fact that if i bring protein down to a lvel of about 180 grams a day, my cals will be too low and i will have to increase intake through carbs and fat. I’m at 250 grams of carbs right now and I think this to 275 grams would be the cieling for gaining there.With Dietary Fat, if its not burned its stored, so tahts touchy too. Kelly as always awesome info bud, I was thinking along the lines of that article too, and I wasn’t aware of V Gironda’s techinques. I couldn’t go Vegan though haha. I’m thinking of droping down to 180 grams or so in my off weeks and my matienece might be around 225…We’ll see, Mike