T Nation

Too Much Protein, Revisited

I just read on a website and it talked about how eating too much protein can be dangerous:

“In the off-season, bodybuilders typically eat 1.25 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day. Before competitions, many increase their protein intake to 1.75 to 2.0 g per pound. However, eating too much protein can have many negative effects. First, it may lead to higher levels of homocysteine, a by-product of protein metabolism and an independent risk factor for heart disease. Moreover, having too much protein in your body can cause irreversible kidney damage and increase your risk of osteoporosis.”

So while we’ve rehashed plenty of times that there are no proof that too much protein leads to kidney damage, but what about osteoporosis? I remember in the “Roundtable” people were talking about this subject of “eating too much protein” but I can’t find the Roundtable anymore!!! Where’d it go?


[Mod Note: http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=462192 ]

I did find this while doing some searches…

Osteoporosis can occur if your system becomes acidotic, but it’s not due to eating too much protein. Sugar and starch cause more acidosis than protein, according to an article in the American Journal of Physiology. ( Am J Physiol 1986;250(2 Pt 1):E156-63). By consuming foods high in potassium bone regrowth actually occurs

I’ve never heard that high protein diets can lead to osteoporosis. Drs. JB and LL could answer better.

Consider that lifting weights is weight bearing, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

I had read that too much protein can cause a loss of calcium. Maybe that is where they extrapulate to osteoporosis. I had read that the calcium loss is about the amount of calcium in one table spoon of milk.

The theory that high protein intake can cause osteoporosis comes from the fact that proteins contain amino acids, which are acidic. But there isn’t conclusive evidence that this is the case, and as mentioned in this thread, weight-bearing exercise reduces the risk of osteoporosis significantly, which could negate the effects of protein anyway.

And regarding homocysteine, as JB mentioned in “The Protein Debate”, folic acid supplementation can take care of that.


And regarding kidney function, many articles on this web site (including the roundtable) have stated that most of the studies on this have been done with subjects that have pre-existing kidney conditions.

Where was the web site you quoted? A lot of the “low-protein” advocates tend to have biases of their own (for example, they may be members of PETA).