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Protein and Gluconeogenesis

Ok, so it seems common knowledge in the BB community that you need a minimum of 1 gram (often said 1.5 or even more grams) of protein per pound of lean mass. How much protein can the body actually use in one day?

I ask because I am a type 1 diabetic. This gives me a strange advantage (as well as numerous disadvantages which are off subject) in that I can see when I eat more protein than I can use and my body converts the rest into glucose/glycogen.

I am also, just FYI, on a low carb diet that is very consistent. I eat at regular times, take consistent amounts of insulin, and can keep my blood sugars fairly stable between 80 - 100 24/7.

So what I’ve noticed is that if I eat a big ole steak, my blood sugars do not significantly increase, despite the 40+ grams of protein in it. Most likely this is because those 40+ grams of protein take time to be digested, time in which the body can burn through the previously available proteins and thus is able to utilize the new ones as they become available.

On the other hand, if I take 2 non-rounded scoops of whey protein (roughly 42 - 44 grams) each of which have ~3 grams of carbs (not that signicant, broccoli has much more), I need to take a bolus of around 10 units of humalog insulin just to not get sugar high. If instead I take one non-rounded (or even rounded) scoop of whey protein (say 20 - 24 grams) I only need around 2 units of insulin to avoid a blood sugar increase.

There are the factoids. My theory is that with whey protein, because it is quickly digested and made available, is able to be more easily wasted. If you ate 160 grams of dead cow for your protein, your body would probably be able to utilize most of it. Why? Because that is a HUGE amount of MOOOO. It would require multiple meals, combined with slower digestion, which means more even distribution of that protein throughout your system over the course of a 24 hour period.

Simultaneously, it is very easy to have 2 scoops of protein after a workout, along with a meal, with a snack, whatever. It is fairly obvious to me that it is easy to waste alot of the whey protein you may consume and thus your body would not get its recommended number over the course of a 24 hour period. If you, for example, ate 100 grams of moooo, squak, oink and baaaah over the course of the day, but had two 50 gram protein shakes as well, it is quite possible your body only gets 150 grams of that protein and the remaining 50 get turned into sugar/bodyfat/whatever.

I bring this up not as solid proof, but as a hypothesis based on personal, ie not to be trusted, research (because n=1 is not good science). When people say “I’ve had better results when I eat most of my protein rather than drink it” there may be some truth to the bro science. If you do (as I do) take whey protein, take smaller amounts more frequently. I have found that this does not significantly impact my blood sugars implying minimal stimulation of gluconeogenesis.

Cheers, and your thoughts are welcome.

–Me

P.S. Sorry about the wall of text there.

Have you tried a whey/casein blend or just casein? Would be interested to see that.

That said, it makes since, regular whey protein digests rather quickly and much of it can be “burnt” up in the liver…

BTW- have you noticed or tested whey protein + fats in a meal to see if that changes anything?

Does it matter how / when you take your whey? Do you always get the same response regardless of timing (morning/evening/pre-wo vs. post-wo? Does it matter if it’s mixed with anything (fats specifically)? Just curious if any of those factors result in differing levels of blood sugar elevation for you.

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
Have you tried a whey/casein blend or just casein? Would be interested to see that.

That said, it makes since, regular whey protein digests rather quickly and much of it can be “burnt” up in the liver…

BTW- have you noticed or tested whey protein + fats in a meal to see if that changes anything?[/quote]

I tried Casein and hated it. While it was slower disolving, if I took two scoops I just had slightly less elevated blood sugars for a much longer period of time. Was difficult to manage with fast acting insulin or super slow acting insulin. But same effect, just stretched out.

As for fats, I eat about 50% protein, 40% fat, and 10% carb (that would be my highest carb, there are days when I’m less). So all of my meals tend to be “high fat”. I’ve never tried protein, to be honest, without fat. Good point, though. It would be interesting to see how it would be with lower fat. Even faster?

–Me

[quote]wswnsc wrote:
Does it matter how / when you take your whey? Do you always get the same response regardless of timing (morning/evening/pre-wo vs. post-wo? Does it matter if it’s mixed with anything (fats specifically)? Just curious if any of those factors result in differing levels of blood sugar elevation for you. [/quote]

With one exception, it doesn’t matter at all. In the mornings there is something called the “dawn phenomenon” where the liver creates extra glucose. Either G-d or evolution (don’t want to alienate anyone here) decided it was important for you to get extra energy prior to refrigeration as you went out for your morning hunt. If I take protein in the morning, insulin requirements are increased beyond even the increased requirements for the dawn phenomenon.

The rest of the day, it doesn’t matter. noon, 3pm, dinner time, all have the same affect, insulin requirements et al.

As for the fats, I mentioned above I’m on a med protein/med fat/low carb diet due to the (type 1) diabetes.

–Me

50% protein seems rather high, possibly try to switch the fat and protein and see how that affects the response ;), or even slightly higher fat than that.

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
50% protein seems rather high, possibly try to switch the fat and protein and see how that affects the response ;), or even slightly higher fat than that.[/quote]

Well, these are fit-day numbers including the whey protein. And to be honest, as I’m currently trying to lose some body-fat without losing muscle, I’m a bit higher protein than normal and on a caloric deficit. When I’m back up around 3k calores a day, then it is more like 45/45/10 (protein/fat/carb).

I’d argue that a diabetic doesn’t metabolize protein or react to insulin in the same way that a non-diabetic does. Whey is known to produce an insulin response in people, although gluconeogenesis only occurs in healthy individuals when they are in a ketogenic state. Otherwise, the mechanism does not function. So a healthy individual taking two scoops of whey post-workout could very well metabolize most or even all of that protein whereas you have this other peculiar reaction.

That said, it’s very interesting your own experiences and I think they could prove pretty useful, especially regarding the diabetic community at large. So I’m pretty intrigued about this thread and will keep my eye on it.

[quote]kravi wrote:
Ok, so it seems common knowledge in the BB community that you need a minimum of 1 gram (often said 1.5 or even more grams) of protein per pound of lean mass. How much protein can the body actually use in one day?

I ask because I am a type 1 diabetic. This gives me a strange advantage (as well as numerous disadvantages which are off subject) in that I can see when I eat more protein than I can use and my body converts the rest into glucose/glycogen.

I am also, just FYI, on a low carb diet that is very consistent. I eat at regular times, take consistent amounts of insulin, and can keep my blood sugars fairly stable between 80 - 100 24/7.

So what I’ve noticed is that if I eat a big ole steak, my blood sugars do not significantly increase, despite the 40+ grams of protein in it. Most likely this is because those 40+ grams of protein take time to be digested, time in which the body can burn through the previously available proteins and thus is able to utilize the new ones as they become available.

On the other hand, if I take 2 non-rounded scoops of whey protein (roughly 42 - 44 grams) each of which have ~3 grams of carbs (not that signicant, broccoli has much more), I need to take a bolus of around 10 units of humalog insulin just to not get sugar high. If instead I take one non-rounded (or even rounded) scoop of whey protein (say 20 - 24 grams) I only need around 2 units of insulin to avoid a blood sugar increase.

There are the factoids. My theory is that with whey protein, because it is quickly digested and made available, is able to be more easily wasted. If you ate 160 grams of dead cow for your protein, your body would probably be able to utilize most of it. Why? Because that is a HUGE amount of MOOOO. It would require multiple meals, combined with slower digestion, which means more even distribution of that protein throughout your system over the course of a 24 hour period.

Simultaneously, it is very easy to have 2 scoops of protein after a workout, along with a meal, with a snack, whatever. It is fairly obvious to me that it is easy to waste alot of the whey protein you may consume and thus your body would not get its recommended number over the course of a 24 hour period. If you, for example, ate 100 grams of moooo, squak, oink and baaaah over the course of the day, but had two 50 gram protein shakes as well, it is quite possible your body only gets 150 grams of that protein and the remaining 50 get turned into sugar/bodyfat/whatever.

I bring this up not as solid proof, but as a hypothesis based on personal, ie not to be trusted, research (because n=1 is not good science). When people say “I’ve had better results when I eat most of my protein rather than drink it” there may be some truth to the bro science. If you do (as I do) take whey protein, take smaller amounts more frequently. I have found that this does not significantly impact my blood sugars implying minimal stimulation of gluconeogenesis.

Cheers, and your thoughts are welcome.

–Me

P.S. Sorry about the wall of text there.[/quote]

Good post. I think you are on to something. Being able to measure glucose levels can give a definite advantage.

Knowing our personal tolerance to specific foods can help us determine proper nutrient timing and load. We could do this for ketone bodies as well (BOHB).

I have been thinking about this a bit lately and will post more when I have some time to think and research a bit more.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
I have been thinking about this a bit lately and will post more when I have some time to think and research a bit more.[/quote]

looking fwd to it…

[quote]kravi wrote:
If you ate 160 grams of dead cow for your protein, your body would probably be able to utilize most of it. Why? Because that is a HUGE amount of MOOOO.[/quote]
160 grams of meat is a very small portion, I count at least 200 grams for women and children and much more than that for lifting men. I take it you mean the meat equivalent of 160 grams of protein, which would be about 800 grams?

[quote]kakno wrote:

[quote]kravi wrote:
If you ate 160 grams of dead cow for your protein, your body would probably be able to utilize most of it. Why? Because that is a HUGE amount of MOOOO.[/quote]
160 grams of meat is a very small portion, I count at least 200 grams for women and children and much more than that for lifting men. I take it you mean the meat equivalent of 160 grams of protein, which would be about 800 grams?[/quote]

That is exactly what I meant. Excuse me :slight_smile: 160 grams of protein from dead cow. Obviously there would be a lot more meat there.

–Me

[quote]animus wrote:
I’d argue that a diabetic doesn’t metabolize protein or react to insulin in the same way that a non-diabetic does. Whey is known to produce an insulin response in people, although gluconeogenesis only occurs in healthy individuals when they are in a ketogenic state. Otherwise, the mechanism does not function. So a healthy individual taking two scoops of whey post-workout could very well metabolize most or even all of that protein whereas you have this other peculiar reaction.

That said, it’s very interesting your own experiences and I think they could prove pretty useful, especially regarding the diabetic community at large. So I’m pretty intrigued about this thread and will keep my eye on it.[/quote]

How would you argue that a diabetic doesn’t metabolize protein like anyone else? A diabetic without insulin becomes catabolic, but those of us under control (my HbA1C is on average, 5.3) have normal metabolisms. I haven’t heard from any doctors or seen any research to suggest that my ability to metabolize protein is impaired.

Second, my understanding differs from yours about gluconeogenesis. All people’s livers create a baseline amount of glucose consistently to ensure that the body’s glucose requirements are met. Even when you are carb loading, the body doesn’t entirely stop creating glucose, it just creates significantly less.

My point, assuming I metabolize protein the same as a non-diabetic, is that due to the fact that I inject insulin, I can see at what point I am having protein that isn’t needed and becomes glucose. This should be (more or less) the same amount of protein that another person of a similar height, weight and metabolism would use, and I doubt it would be that different from someone smaller or larger. I’m kinda like the parrot on the shoulder of the miner :wink:

Are you on metformin?

[quote]kravi wrote:

How would you argue that a diabetic doesn’t metabolize protein like anyone else? A diabetic without insulin becomes catabolic, but those of us under control (my HbA1C is on average, 5.3) have normal metabolisms. I haven’t heard from any doctors or seen any research to suggest that my ability to metabolize protein is impaired.

Second, my understanding differs from yours about gluconeogenesis. All people’s livers create a baseline amount of glucose consistently to ensure that the body’s glucose requirements are met. Even when you are carb loading, the body doesn’t entirely stop creating glucose, it just creates significantly less.

My point, assuming I metabolize protein the same as a non-diabetic, is that due to the fact that I inject insulin, I can see at what point I am having protein that isn’t needed and becomes glucose. This should be (more or less) the same amount of protein that another person of a similar height, weight and metabolism would use, and I doubt it would be that different from someone smaller or larger. I’m kinda like the parrot on the shoulder of the miner ;)[/quote]

I didn’t say impaired. Just different. My point is that there is no reason to assume that a healthy individual’s rate of gluconeogenesis from protein intake is the same as yours, especially when it comes to whey because of its insulinogenic effects (which, we absolutely know that insulinogenesis in a diabetic and in a non-diabetic are completely different).

I’m not saying that you’re wrong. There’s just not enough information to reach any sort of a conclusion. At best, we can say, “Interesting” and hope we see some controlled studies in the future.

[quote]SEMILE wrote:
Are you on metformin?[/quote]

Type 1, friend. Type 1.

–Me

[quote]animus wrote:
I didn’t say impaired. Just different. My point is that there is no reason to assume that a healthy individual’s rate of gluconeogenesis from protein intake is the same as yours, especially when it comes to whey because of its insulinogenic effects (which, we absolutely know that insulinogenesis in a diabetic and in a non-diabetic are completely different).

I’m not saying that you’re wrong. There’s just not enough information to reach any sort of a conclusion. At best, we can say, “Interesting” and hope we see some controlled studies in the future.[/quote]

Yeah, I don’t think we’re arguing right or wrong :slight_smile: I know for a fact that gluconeogenesis is the same in type 1 diabetics and non-diabetics. The part of the liver that creates glucose from protein doesn’t give a rat’s ass that part of the pancreas has gone on strike. And while whey may provoke an insulin like response, that doesn’t nullify what I was talking about. I mean, with non-diabetics taking 48 grams of protein, that insulin like response and increase in insulin will do the same that I do with an insulin-like response plus a bolus of insulin. My point in bringing it up was the obvious gluconeogenesis going on with a mere 48 grams of whey protein. Because of my diabetes I could realize that it was too much to be efficiently used whereas a non-diabetic wouldn’t know that their insulin levels have spiked due to gluconeogenesis.

Though now that you bring it up, I have no science one way or the other to show that a non-diabetic wouldn’t metabolize protein more efficiently, it just doesn’t seem likely. Call this a beer fact :wink:

–Me

I’m having some trouble with your logic though.

Okay, so intake of whey = high blood sugar, requires insulin to bring it down.

Non-diabetic has insulin response to whey. Theoretically, the way we would test this is… if there is protein conversion into glucose additional to what is academically expected, then blood-sugar should be lower than normal (because the insulogenic response in the absence of additional blood-glucose would result in conversion of the pre-existing free blood-glucose). If your theory is correct, we should expect to see either no change in blood-glucose or a slight increase in a non-diabetic, correct?

Although, I still don’t think that gluconeogenesis occurs excessively in normal populations. Over the baseline (which I don’t argue against), protein conversion into glucose is protective mechanism against starvation/ketosis. That said, that could actually be an argument in your favour if the base for gluconeogenesis is the same across both populations.

[quote]animus wrote:
I’m having some trouble with your logic though.

Okay, so intake of whey = high blood sugar, requires insulin to bring it down.

Non-diabetic has insulin response to whey. Theoretically, the way we would test this is… if there is protein conversion into glucose additional to what is academically expected, then blood-sugar should be lower than normal (because the insulogenic response in the absence of additional blood-glucose would result in conversion of the pre-existing free blood-glucose). If your theory is correct, we should expect to see either no change in blood-glucose or a slight increase in a non-diabetic, correct?

Although, I still don’t think that gluconeogenesis occurs excessively in normal populations. Over the baseline (which I don’t argue against), protein conversion into glucose is protective mechanism against starvation/ketosis. That said, that could actually be an argument in your favour if the base for gluconeogenesis is the same across both populations.[/quote]

While you can’t say that gluconeogenesis is the same in healthy and diabetic individuals, a healthy individual certaintly does not need to be starving or ketogenic to undergo gluconeogenesis. Someone who just worked out and did not consume carbs after and just had protein would begin gluconeogenesis, because yes while whey will cause insulin to be released, it is also causing glucagon to be released and thus signals for gluconeogenesis to occur.

[quote]relentless2120 wrote:

While you can’t say that gluconeogenesis is the same in healthy and diabetic individuals, a healthy individual certaintly does not need to be starving or ketogenic to undergo gluconeogenesis. Someone who just worked out and did not consume carbs after and just had protein would begin gluconeogenesis, because yes while whey will cause insulin to be released, it is also causing glucagon to be released and thus signals for gluconeogenesis to occur.[/quote]

Very good point. And I hadn’t considered that. But what do you reckon a non-diabetic would experience with an equivalent dose of whey and 50-60g of dextrose or malto? I feel like that’s the norm, especially for those bulking (although, obviously, not necessarily).

Lots of interesting questions ITT.