T Nation

Protein Intake for Athletes?

My professor challenged our class to find any research that showed
that taking more than 2.0 grams of protein/kg/day. is more beneficial
than taking the 1.2-1.7 grams/kg that is recommended by the ACSM (this
is for any athlete, including weightlifters, bodybuilders,strongmen,
ultramarathoners…ect.). My professor is a guy that is overweight, not fit, and has never stepped under a bar in his life.

He states that taking anymore than 2.0 grams/kg. is just going to give
you expensive urine and the kidneys can’t handle any more than that.

So, I would appreciate it if anyone could share any peer reviewed
research articles either stating that he is correct or that taking
more than 2.0 grams/kg/day can be beneficial. I am looking mostly for
articles that show a significant increase in some performance marker,
increased recovery and/or greater anabolic environment, but any
article will be appreciated. Thanks for your time.

Bryce Teager, CSCS, USAW
UNO G.A. Strength and Conditioning Coach
Omaha, NE

The top reason for why the question is flawed:

Athletes, while quite active, usually do not have the primary goal of building as much muscle as humanly possible.

That is what makes bodybuilding a little different and why you won’t find studies done specifically for that reason (at least I have never seen one and I look). I don’t just lift weights, I lift weights with the main goal of building more muscle mass.

2gr per kg of body weight may be just fine for most athletes. All we have to go on for bodybuilding is what works for many trainers when it comes to maintaining the maximum amount of muscle mass when dieting or when working on building as much as possible.

Check out the discussion between Dr’s Berardi and Phillps. It will help put things in perspective.
http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=05-068-diet

Also, you should ask your prof about the harm from high protein intakes. Initial renal stress? Sure, but our body simply adapts.

[quote]bateager wrote:
He states that taking anymore than 2.0 grams/kg. is just going to give
you expensive urine and the kidneys can’t handle any more than that.
[/quote]

Hold out on giving HIM proof until he can give YOU proof of his statements above.

What good is debate if the other side doesn’t have to give out proof of it’s “findings” as well?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
The top reason for why the question is flawed:

Athletes, while quite active, usually do not have the primary goal of building as much muscle as humanly possible.

That is what makes bodybuilding a little different and why you won’t find studies done specifically for that reason (at least I have never seen one and I look). I don’t just lift weights, I lift weights with the main goal of building more muscle mass.

2gr per kg of body weight may be just fine for most athletes. All we have to go on for bodybuilding is what works for many trainers when it comes to maintaining the maximum amount of muscle mass when dieting or when working on building as much as possible.

[/quote]

Exactly. As much muscle as possible is not the goal of most athletes, and past a certain point more muscle can become counter-productive depending on the sport. It’s a different ballgame for bodybuilders. Still, I don’t you’ll find anything other than anecdotal evidence. It would be very difficult to conduct such a study for one.

You’d need to find bodybuilders of the same level of development, on the same supplement regimen, eating approximately the same amount of calories, training with the same kind of program at the same intensity level. A controlled study such as this accounting for these variables and more would be very difficult.

well the prof. in the original post said that anything over 2g/kg is too much for your kidneys to handle… so despite whether or not excess protein will help you attain the goal of gaining muscle mass, it may still be bad for your kidneys.

[quote]IRoNStaLLion wrote:
well the prof. in the original post said that anything over 2g/kg is too much for your kidneys to handle… so despite whether or not excess protein will help you attain the goal of gaining muscle mass, it may still be bad for your kidneys.[/quote]

I’d like to see any research that proves this with even double the protein intake.

“excess” protein will attain you nothing.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
The top reason for why the question is flawed:

Athletes, while quite active, usually do not have the primary goal of building as much muscle as humanly possible.

That is what makes bodybuilding a little different and why you won’t find studies done specifically for that reason (at least I have never seen one and I look). I don’t just lift weights, I lift weights with the main goal of building more muscle mass.

2gr per kg of body weight may be just fine for most athletes. All we have to go on for bodybuilding is what works for many trainers when it comes to maintaining the maximum amount of muscle mass when dieting or when working on building as much as possible.

[/quote]

I’d be quite interested in what you feel the body needs to have to attain the most muscle mass. Can it be done on 1g/lb? 1.5? 2? I’ve yet to see any evidence that would show what protein intake is maximal for this and at whgat point it is merely a calorie.

In other words when maximally it is not performing synthesis or needed for this and simply is a better way to fulfill your caloric needs.

My guess is a lot closer to 1 than 2.

[quote]sasquatch wrote:
Professor X wrote:
The top reason for why the question is flawed:

Athletes, while quite active, usually do not have the primary goal of building as much muscle as humanly possible.

That is what makes bodybuilding a little different and why you won’t find studies done specifically for that reason (at least I have never seen one and I look). I don’t just lift weights, I lift weights with the main goal of building more muscle mass.

2gr per kg of body weight may be just fine for most athletes. All we have to go on for bodybuilding is what works for many trainers when it comes to maintaining the maximum amount of muscle mass when dieting or when working on building as much as possible.

I’d be quite interested in what you feel the body needs to have to attain the most muscle mass. Can it be done on 1g/lb? 1.5? 2? I’ve yet to see any evidence that would show what protein intake is maximal for this and at whgat point it is merely a calorie.

In other words when maximally it is not performing synthesis or needed for this and simply is a better way to fulfill your caloric needs.

My guess is a lot closer to 1 than 2.[/quote]

I’ve gained muscle just fine on no more than about 1gr per pound of body weight. Once you start taking in over 5,000cals a day, that isn’t hard to do at all with no supplementation. The ONLY time I personally feel more protein than that may be necessary is when dieting and that is to preserve muscle tissue from being used as energy.

I think way too many newbies are running after supplements when they would make better progress just NOT being afraid of food for fear of gaining any body fat at all.

[quote]IRoNStaLLion wrote:
well the prof. in the original post said that anything over 2g/kg is too much for your kidneys to handle… so despite whether or not excess protein will help you attain the goal of gaining muscle mass, it may still be bad for your kidneys.[/quote]

I am confused at why you think no one else is educated enough to know whether that was a load of bullshit or not. There is nothing showing this to damage kidneys. While ANYTHING can be taken to an insane extreme, 2gr/kg of body weight is NOT it.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
sasquatch wrote:
Professor X wrote:
The top reason for why the question is flawed:

Athletes, while quite active, usually do not have the primary goal of building as much muscle as humanly possible.

That is what makes bodybuilding a little different and why you won’t find studies done specifically for that reason (at least I have never seen one and I look). I don’t just lift weights, I lift weights with the main goal of building more muscle mass.

2gr per kg of body weight may be just fine for most athletes. All we have to go on for bodybuilding is what works for many trainers when it comes to maintaining the maximum amount of muscle mass when dieting or when working on building as much as possible.

I’d be quite interested in what you feel the body needs to have to attain the most muscle mass. Can it be done on 1g/lb? 1.5? 2? I’ve yet to see any evidence that would show what protein intake is maximal for this and at whgat point it is merely a calorie.

In other words when maximally it is not performing synthesis or needed for this and simply is a better way to fulfill your caloric needs.

My guess is a lot closer to 1 than 2.

I’ve gained muscle just fine on no more than about 1gr per pound of body weight. Once you start taking in over 5,000cals a day, that isn’t hard to do at all with no supplementation. The ONLY time I personally feel more protein than that may be necessary is when dieting and that is to preserve muscle tissue from being used as energy.

I think way too many newbies are running after supplements when they would make better progress just NOT being afraid of food for fear of gaining any body fat at all.[/quote]

I agree completely with the dieting example. But for clarification-at 5,000 cals I would assume your protein grams are very high, but again moreso for caloric needs than synthesis purposes.

Thanks. And oh yah, agree completely with the less experienced lifter going for supps before food. If they would just look at the physiques built in earlier days, I think that would help them see what food and consistancy can do even without the ‘super supps’ now available.

[quote]sasquatch wrote:

Thanks. And oh yah, agree completely with the less experienced lifter going for supps before food. If they would just look at the physiques built in earlier days, I think that would help them see what food and consistancy can do even without the ‘super supps’ now available.[/quote]

They aren’t even looking though. Enough personal trainers have convinced these newbies that bodybuilders are “nonfunctional” as if they should be avoided that they actually run away from the very sources of information they should be running TOWARDS. They aren’t concerned with who Zane or Nubret are. They’ve read an internet article and think they are more knowledgeable than people in the gym outweighing them by 60lbs.

Interesting side note… I’ve been consistant with my diet for the past month which is anywhere from 200-250 g of protein a day. If any of you have seen the debated topic I gained 20 lbs in 6 wks from this diet along with my workout. So, half way through wk 7 I noticed a plateau, absolutely no gains stuck at 205 some days 204.

So I kill my diet up the carbs and lessen the protein to about 60 g a day. What happens? I boost back up 2 lbs in 2 days. 207 Yesterday. My question is; when should I get back on my diet? And was this a strange plateau break?

[quote]meangenes wrote:
Interesting side note… I’ve been consistant with my diet for the past month which is anywhere from 200-250 g of protein a day. If any of you have seen the debated topic I gained 20 lbs in 6 wks from this diet along with my workout. So, half way through wk 7 I noticed a plateau, absolutely no gains stuck at 205 some days 204.

So I kill my diet up the carbs and lessen the protein to about 60 g a day. What happens? I boost back up 2 lbs in 2 days. 207 Yesterday. My question is; when should I get back on my diet? And was this a strange plateau break?[/quote]

If you had been low carb for a while, this could be a water gain. I don’t think it’s ever good to stay on a ‘restrictive’ type diet for any length of time. 4-6 weeks TOPS> And by resrtictive, I mean cutting out or severely lowering of any of the macros as well as caloric. If you are gonna run that tight, I feel it is important to throw a cheat day in there at least every week, maybe even every 4 days or so.

And especially if you’ve plateaued. Time to shake it up. Doesn’t mean anarchy, just throw a wrench in there somewhere.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
IRoNStaLLion wrote:
well the prof. in the original post said that anything over 2g/kg is too much for your kidneys to handle… so despite whether or not excess protein will help you attain the goal of gaining muscle mass, it may still be bad for your kidneys.

I am confused at why you think no one else is educated enough to know whether that was a load of bullshit or not. There is nothing showing this to damage kidneys. While ANYTHING can be taken to an insane extreme, 2gr/kg of body weight is NOT it.[/quote]

well have there been any studies into the effects of excess long term protein consumption?? no that i;ve found. So either way, you can’t say that it’s “safe”

[quote]IRoNStaLLion wrote:
Professor X wrote:
IRoNStaLLion wrote:
well the prof. in the original post said that anything over 2g/kg is too much for your kidneys to handle… so despite whether or not excess protein will help you attain the goal of gaining muscle mass, it may still be bad for your kidneys.

I am confused at why you think no one else is educated enough to know whether that was a load of bullshit or not. There is nothing showing this to damage kidneys. While ANYTHING can be taken to an insane extreme, 2gr/kg of body weight is NOT it.

well have there been any studies into the effects of excess long term protein consumption?? no that i;ve found. So either way, you can’t say that it’s “safe”[/quote]

Most studies are done on people with diseases. It would be very hard to get a grant to conduct a long term study on healthy weight lifters who train regularly who happen to also take in 500gr of protein a day. The variables that introduces would make it almost pointless to begin with.

No, no long term studies have been done on healthy weight training people who get bigger muscles and also take in large amounts of protein to that degree.

There have also been no studies on long term daily gallon of water drinking in healthy individuals so I suggest you stop drinking water as well.

There have been no long term studies on people who do calf raises everyday related to mortality so I suggest you don’t do that either.

There have been no specific studies on people who go to Gold’s gym for 10 years related to mortality so I suggest you give up your membership.

Bottom line, we don’t need a study to guide our every move in life. If protein was so dangerous, everyone taking in more than their weight in grams of it everyday would be showing some signs of it. Learn to observe the world around you instead of waiting to be told what to do.

When muscle is broken down in training, the amino acids of the damaged muscle cells don’t get destroyed, they are all available for recycling. 1 pound of muscle only contains about 80 grams of protein, so in theory 8 grams a day above maintenance could allow you to build a pound every 10 days-if your body was 100% efficient which it is not.

Now personally, I have gone for periods with low protein intake and periods with higher intake, probably ranging from 100 to 200 grams/day, and sometimes I grew on 100 and didn’t grow on 200.

I also think that proteins are a mild metabolic stress. I am not talking about protein poisoning or anything, just that proteins place demands on enzyme reserves, digestive energy, and excretory energy, so at a point they may have a catabolic effect which matches their anabolic effect.

Also, I really believe that with a high protein intake, your body gets progressively more and more efficient at getting rid of protein, or breaking it down for fuel more readily. This could mean that large amounts of protein put you into a state where you need more protein. There have been studies that suggested that more protein can be utilized for growth immediatly following a period of lower protein intake.

Anyway, I don’t see a need or use for more than a gram per pound of lean body weight.

[quote]bateager wrote:
My professor challenged our class to find any research that showed
that taking more than 2.0 grams of protein/kg/day. is more beneficial
than taking the 1.2-1.7 grams/kg that is recommended by the ACSM (this
is for any athlete, including weightlifters, bodybuilders,strongmen,
ultramarathoners…ect.). My professor is a guy that is overweight, not fit, and has never stepped under a bar in his life.

He states that taking anymore than 2.0 grams/kg. is just going to give
you expensive urine and the kidneys can’t handle any more than that.

So, I would appreciate it if anyone could share any peer reviewed
research articles either stating that he is correct or that taking
more than 2.0 grams/kg/day can be beneficial. I am looking mostly for
articles that show a significant increase in some performance marker,
increased recovery and/or greater anabolic environment, but any
article will be appreciated. Thanks for your time.

Bryce Teager, CSCS, USAW
UNO G.A. Strength and Conditioning Coach
Omaha, NE [/quote]

Do some fucking research you idle bastard.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
IRoNStaLLion wrote:
Professor X wrote:
IRoNStaLLion wrote:
well the prof. in the original post said that anything over 2g/kg is too much for your kidneys to handle… so despite whether or not excess protein will help you attain the goal of gaining muscle mass, it may still be bad for your kidneys.

I am confused at why you think no one else is educated enough to know whether that was a load of bullshit or not. There is nothing showing this to damage kidneys. While ANYTHING can be taken to an insane extreme, 2gr/kg of body weight is NOT it.

well have there been any studies into the effects of excess long term protein consumption?? no that i;ve found. So either way, you can’t say that it’s “safe”

Most studies are done on people with diseases. It would be very hard to get a grant to conduct a long term study on healthy weight lifters who train regularly who happen to also take in 500gr of protein a day. The variables that introduces would make it almost pointless to begin with.

No, no long term studies have been done on healthy weight training people who get bigger muscles and also take in large amounts of protein to that degree.

There have also been no studies on long term daily gallon of water drinking in healthy individuals so I suggest you stop drinking water as well.

There have been no long term studies on people who do calf raises everyday related to mortality so I suggest you don’t do that either.

There have been no specific studies on people who go to Gold’s gym for 10 years related to mortality so I suggest you give up your membership.

Bottom line, we don’t need a study to guide our every move in life. If protein was so dangerous, everyone taking in more than their weight in grams of it everyday would be showing some signs of it. Learn to observe the world around you instead of waiting to be told what to do.[/quote]

Prof, where do you find your reputable scientific studies information? The only one I know about is pubmed.com and then I also get my NSCA sports and conditioning journals. There must be more good databases around besides those . . . .

[quote]Professor X wrote:
sasquatch wrote:
Professor X wrote:
The top reason for why the question is flawed:

Athletes, while quite active, usually do not have the primary goal of building as much muscle as humanly possible.

That is what makes bodybuilding a little different and why you won’t find studies done specifically for that reason (at least I have never seen one and I look). I don’t just lift weights, I lift weights with the main goal of building more muscle mass.

2gr per kg of body weight may be just fine for most athletes. All we have to go on for bodybuilding is what works for many trainers when it comes to maintaining the maximum amount of muscle mass when dieting or when working on building as much as possible.

I’d be quite interested in what you feel the body needs to have to attain the most muscle mass. Can it be done on 1g/lb? 1.5? 2? I’ve yet to see any evidence that would show what protein intake is maximal for this and at whgat point it is merely a calorie.

In other words when maximally it is not performing synthesis or needed for this and simply is a better way to fulfill your caloric needs.

My guess is a lot closer to 1 than 2.

I’ve gained muscle just fine on no more than about 1gr per pound of body weight. Once you start taking in over 5,000cals a day, that isn’t hard to do at all with no supplementation. The ONLY time I personally feel more protein than that may be necessary is when dieting and that is to preserve muscle tissue from being used as energy.

I think way too many newbies are running after supplements when they would make better progress just NOT being afraid of food for fear of gaining any body fat at all.[/quote]

This is key here.
Ive seen many a newbi buying protein shakes when if they actually invested in quality food and consumed some bloody calories they would be far better off.