T Nation

Protein Turns to Fat Article

Okay here is an article that has me scratching my head because I thought this was another PETA propaganda after seeing on the news about PETA telling people to stop eating fish. This was posted at some other forum.

How much of what the author writes is true as far as the process of digestion. I am not sure if digestion is really that basic and simple as it states in the article. In other words I thought this type of stuff was already deleted out of society- then again I could just an ignorant metal-head who’s a member of the T-Nation. j/k j/k


Does Excess Protein Turn to Fat? An Anatomy Lesson
by Maia Appleby, http://www.shapeupshop.com

Everyone knows that overeating leads to excess weight. This concept comes in many flavors these days, though. Some people think that carbohydrates are the culprit. Others think it’s sugar. Some people think that eating lots of protein couldn’t possibly make them gain weight. Hmmm…

The only way to determine the answer to this enigma is to go inside the human body and take a look at how fat gets there in the first place. Let’s follow a bite of pepperoni pizza and see what happens to its sugar, fat and protein. Open wide!

The food enters your mouth:
Saliva contains enzymes that break any starch in the food down to sugar.

This, along with any fat and water in the food, travel to the stomach, which churns them up.

Pepsin (an enzyme that digests protein) and hydrochloric acid further break down the food, turning it into a substance called chyme.

The mixture enters the duodenum, (the place where the gall bladder secretes its bile).

This bile dissolves the fat in water, thinning it out and making it easier to absorb.

Enzymes from the pancreas enter the duodenum and further break down the sugar, fat and protein.

Now everything is dissolved and is in fluid form, so it is absorbed through the lining of the small bowel. Fat, sugar and protein wave good-bye to each other and go their separate ways.

What happens to the sugar:
It also goes directly into the blood stream, and several different organs take the sugar they need as it passes by.

Some is stored in the liver as glycogen.

Whatever is left is converted to fat and stored in fat cells with the excess fat above.

What happens to the fat:
First, it goes into the blood stream and travels to the liver.

The liver burns some of the fat, converts some to other substances (one is cholesterol) and sends the rest to fat cells, where they wait until they are needed.

What happens to the protein:
It is broken down into building blocks known as peptides.

Then, it is further broken down and it becomes amino acids.

The amino acids are absorbed through the small intestine’s lining and enter the blood stream.

From here, some of the amino acids build the body’s protein stores.
Excess amino acids are converted to fats and sugars and follow the paths described above.

This is such a simple concept, but many people still believe that consuming lots and lots of protein will put muscle on their bones. Don’t be fooled by this notion! Even excess protein turns to fat.

Here is a picturesque illustration of the real cause of weight gain. Eating too much food! Dietary fat is obviously the substance most often stored as fat in the ends, but no matter what you eat, your body takes whatever it can’t use and sends it to fat cells. If you don’t burn it off or expel it, it hangs around in your fat cells, no matter what it consists of.


That must explain everything! I was fatty because of the excess protein I consumed rather than the plush amounts of breads and sugars. Must have been a fluke when I cut out the sugars and breads.

Seriously I am looking for science’s input, and this is THE site of science meets bodybuilding and athletic nutrition.

Thank you.

Sure. Fat is the way we store energy, and excess anything converts to it.

But it takes a hell of a lot more protein to contribute than outright fat. Protein is more likely to be used before it reaches that stage (particularly by bodybuilders), and foods that contain a high percentage of protein tend to be filling and slow to digest, and thus more difficult to eat excessively.

The science appears to be accurate (as far as my 7th grade digestive biology will take me), but the author doesn’t cite specific values or testing methods. Pepperoni pizza appears to be the premier source of post-workout sustenance at that website.

DI

Yes! I wanted to make a topic about this subject one of these days.
A friend of mine from the gym (farmacy student) told me about this a couple of days ago and I found it very suprising. He explained it very scientifically so I didn’t quite know what to think about it.

This is true. For some reason, I guess people believe that as long as they eat protein, they can’t gain fat. ANY excess calories, regardless of the source, that your body does not use can be turned to body fat. Protein simply takes more calories to be broken down and digested than simple carbs and fat.

Protein antagaonizes the effects of lipogenesis via glucagon(opposing insulin) thus limiting protein to fat conversion.

[quote]fedorov91 wrote:
Protein antagaonizes the effects of lipogenesis via glucagon(opposing insulin) thus limiting protein to fat conversion.[/quote]

Glucagon is released in opposition to a decrease in insulin but protein does not instigate glucagon release for the purposes of decreasing lipogenesis.

I can’t respond with anything scientific, but I think it is nothing for most people in this community to worry about. I consume more protein than my “recommended” daily allowance, and I have lost 43 pounds since January.

I am in awe of the profound scientific knowledge presented in this article.

[quote]monkey_space wrote:
I can’t respond with anything scientific, but I think it is nothing for most people in this community to worry about. I consume more protein than my “recommended” daily allowance, and I have lost 43 pounds since January. [/quote]

You’re right, none of it is anything to worry about. However, your loss in weight is due to you eating LESS overall calories than your body needs to maintain your body weight. If someone was to eat more overall calories than they needed to maintain their weight and more than what is needed to add more weight in terms of anabolic growth, they would gain fat regardless of whether the calories came from protein, carbs or fat. Protein isn’t magic.

‘’‘OVER’’’ consumption of any macro-nutrient leads to fat deposition.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
fedorov91 wrote:
Protein antagaonizes the effects of lipogenesis via glucagon (opposing insulin) thus limiting protein to fat conversion.

Glucagon is released in opposition to a decrease in insulin but protein does not instigate glucagon release for the purposes of decreasing lipogenesis. [/quote]

Here is some evidence to support me.

http://insulin-pumpers.org/howto/pfandbs-3.html

[quote]fedorov91 wrote:
Professor X wrote:
fedorov91 wrote:
Protein antagaonizes the effects of lipogenesis via glucagon (opposing insulin) thus limiting protein to fat conversion.

Glucagon is released in opposition to a decrease in insulin but protein does not instigate glucagon release for the purposes of decreasing lipogenesis.

Here is some evidence to support me.

http://insulin-pumpers.org/howto/pfandbs-3.html[/quote]

Unless the muscles and liver are depleted of glycogen or blood sugar is low, gluconeogenesis is not the fate of amino acids. This is the action of glucagon. The article you listed states an activity that would be seen in someone who is on an extremely low carb diet or someone who had not eaten for a long time.

I know it’s easy to talk about total calories and ignore anything else, but at the same time… keeping blood sugar levels lower makes it a hell of a lot easier to coax FFA’s out of fat cells.

A calorie isn’t just a calorie unless it is an excess calorie… :wink:

Thank you for the responses and further reading links.

Well, in a nutrition class that I took in college, that addressed all of this. Carbohydrates burn at 100%. Protein burns at something like 83% or 87%. Fat burns at like 73% or something near that amount, and alcohol burns at like 67%. So I suppose what this tells you is that no matter what, some excess protein will convert to fat no matter how small the quantity.