T Nation

The Dangers of Too Much Protein

I’m studying for a nutrition test tomorrow and I thought I’d procrastinate by showing you guys this. This is straight out of the textbook Nutrition Now 5th Ed. by Judith Brown.

[quote]Textbook
Adults can consume a substantial amount of protein-approximately 35% of total calories-for months at a time without ill effects. This observation is based on studies of the diets of Eskimos, explorers, trappers, and hunters in northern America. The very high-protein diets would generally contain a good deal of fat in the form of whale blubber, lard, or fat added to dried meat. Consumption of 45% of calories from protein is considered too high. Consumption of this level of protein is related to nausea, weakness, and diarrhea. Diets very high in protein result in death after several weeks. (eh?) The disease resulting from excess protein intake was termed “rabbit fever” after it occurred in trappers attempting to exist on wild rabbit only.

High-protein diets have been implicated in the development of weak bones, kidney stones, cancer, heart disease, and obesity. The National Academy of Sciences has concluded that the risk of such disorders does not appear to be increased among individuals consuming 10 to 35% of total calories from protein, and on average adults consume 15%.

A Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for protein has not been established. Because information on the effects of high-protein intakes is limited, people are cautioned not to consume high levels of protein from foods or supplements.
[/quote]

Emphasis added by me.

Seems to me that “rabbit fever” would occur if you limited your diet to ANY one single food source.

This report is typical of the over-protective nature of the FDA and nutritionalists in general. I guess it make sense if they’re trying to cover their asses.

So, how do you plan on answering these types of questions on your test?

You’ve got to be kidding me. I have gotten used to the too much protein is bad mantra, but to claim it causes rabbit fever? That’s ridiculous. Rabbit fever comes from…get this…rabbits! (only rabbits infected with the bacteria, of course, most rabbits are still pretty tasty.)

BTW, kruiser, there are plenty of foods that one can live for years on. Is it optimal? No, but it won’t cause “rabbit fever”, as the textbook says.

Well, that explains the craving for carrots that I’ve had for the past 4 years, as well as my uncontrollable urge to drop pellets all through the house as I search for electrical cords to chew on.

I’ve heard of the “rabbit fever” thing before, although I’ve never heard of it referred to as such. It isn’t caused by bacteria, but rather not getting a variety of different nutrients that the body needs.

Correct me if Im wrong, but werent all of the studies talking about the ill effects of protein done on patients who were in end stage renal failure?

Ask for a refund.

[quote]Rykker wrote:
Well, that explains the craving for carrots that I’ve had for the past 4 years, as well as my uncontrollable urge to drop pellets all through the house as I search for electrical cords to chew on.[/quote]

This was absolutely priceless.

[quote]Kruiser wrote:
So, how do you plan on answering these types of questions on your test?[/quote]

It’s actually really difficult for me to sit through the class because of things like that. The prof also talks as though there’s no difference between complex and simple carbs beyond the chemistry.

The thing that gets me about the rabbit fever and the supposed negative effects of high protein is that they’re really all just side effects of diets that are probably just extremely high fats.

And seriously, the part about dying after several weeks is just wow.

[quote]Stronghold wrote:
Correct me if Im wrong, but werent all of the studies talking about the ill effects of protein done on patients who were in end stage renal failure?[/quote]

I have no idea. What I quoted is all that the book has to say on the subject.

[quote]FlavaDave wrote:
Kruiser wrote:
So, how do you plan on answering these types of questions on your test?

It’s actually really difficult for me to sit through the class because of things like that. The prof also talks as though there’s no difference between complex and simple carbs beyond the chemistry.

The thing that gets me about the rabbit fever and the supposed negative effects of high protein is that they’re really all just side effects of diets that are probably just extremely high fats.

And seriously, the part about dying after several weeks is just wow.[/quote]

How do you make it through class without pissing your pants laughing?

Rabbit fever is basically a high protein diet low in fats and carbs. Since rabbits are quite lean, it can cause a starvation of energy, since protein is not a very good energy source by itself.

This is if you only eat rabbits and nothing else. The same would happen if you ate protein and nothing too I’d imagine.

[quote]FlavaDave wrote:

I have no idea. What I quoted is all that the book has to say on the subject.[/quote]

Does the book at least cite references?

Rabbit fever comes from not having any fat, and just eating straight protein.

Ask any guy that knows bushcraft or has had to survive. He’ll tell you the same thing.

[quote]Fulmen wrote:
Rabbit fever comes from not having any fat, and just eating straight protein.

Ask any guy that knows bushcraft or has had to survive. He’ll tell you the same thing.[/quote]

What kind of rabbit fever are you guys talking about? Tularemia is the only rabbit fever I know of, which is caused by a bacterium.

The 5th edition was published in May 2007.

‘Wow’ is right.

Have you informed your prof that you’ll be dead before the end of the semester?

If a person who was eating 3000 calories a day was to get 45% of that from protein, they’d need to be eating 337g of protein a day. How many 170lb people could physically do that?

[quote]Jason van Wyk wrote:
If a person who was eating 3000 calories a day was to get 45% of that from protein, they’d need to be eating 337g of protein a day. How many 170lb people could physically eat that 300g of protein a day? [/quote]

The dedicated ones? 50 grams of protein spread out over 6 meals is not too hard for anyone who wants to put on size.

That’s 10 oz raw weight of ground beef, 2 scoops of whey isolate, it’s even easier if the person can tolerate milk well.

[quote]Jason van Wyk wrote:
If a person who was eating 3000 calories a day was to get 45% of that from protein, they’d need to be eating 337g of protein a day. How many 170lb people could physically do that?[/quote]

That is only 2g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Drink some milk, eat some chicken, tuna, and a steak, and throw in a protein shake or two and it really is not that difficult. I have done it before and if I decide to bulk some more I will do it again. There are many people on this site that believe in bulking much more that I do, i.e. even more calories than the 4500-5000 that I would take in. I am willing to bet some of them eat 2.5-3g per pound of bodyweight.