Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss

Quick Wits: Can You Have Too Much Protein?

November 20, 2023 Philip Pape
Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss
Quick Wits: Can You Have Too Much Protein?
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Show Notes Transcript

Can you have too much protein?

We answer that question in today's episode!

We're exploring the optimal protein range for muscle growth, shedding light on the balance between protein, fats, and carbs, and debunking the myth of protein-induced kidney damage.

This episode is all about achieving dietary balance, ensuring you're nailing your minimums without neglecting other vital nutrients in the pursuit of protein.

So, if you're looking to strike the right dietary balance, support your training, and boost your overall health, this is an episode you won't want to miss!

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“Quick Wits” are short, 3-5 minute episodes between full episodes to give you an actionable strategy or hit of motivation.

These mini-episodes give you practical advice on fitness, training, and mindset based on my everyday experience with clients that you can implement right away.

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Philip Pape:

Today we're answering the age-old question can you have too much protein? Tune in to the episode to find out. Welcome to the Whits and Weights podcast. I'm your host, philip Pape, and this twice a week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self-mastery by getting stronger, optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition. We'll uncover science-backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset, with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry, so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in. The other day, one of my newer clients. She had been routinely going over on her protein and she was worried about it. She said is it okay that I'm doing that? Can I have too much? And I actually love that, because sometimes it's a struggle with newer clients to get enough protein, and it's one of the things that we work on together. But the short answer is no. You can't have too much protein from a health perspective in and of itself. In a vacuum, too much protein. The myth of kidney damage has been debunked, unless you already have an issue with your kidneys, and so that is not an issue. We also definitely want to have a certain minimum, and with my clients, I tend to focus more on adding things in. How do we get a minimum amount of protein, a minimum fat and a minimum of carbs? Not so much trying to hit targets exactly, not worrying about going over on certain things, just trying to get those minimums and then we'll worry about the balance in context. But there is a point at which protein is quote unquote optimal and then it becomes diminishing returns. A point of diminishing returns. Optimal is going to be between 0.7 and 1.2 grams per pound when your focus is on building and preserving muscle. We're just going to go with that recommendation. It's been demonstrated in the evidence time and again. If you go above that, the question is are you now sacrificing other things to do that? Are you sacrificing nutrients? Because now you're crowding out other nutrient dense foods, not to say that foods containing protein don't have a lot of nutrients, because they do. People underestimate the value of lean meat in the amount of nutrients and bioavailable iron and zinc and all these other things in the food matrix from meat, which you do. You don't get in plans, for example, but a well-balanced, diverse diet is going to give you more nutrients and so focusing too much on protein that crowds out other things can be a challenge and it also will crowd out fats and carbs. The more I look at this and the more I work on this with clients, the more I appreciate the balanced approach. Let's stay around that 1 gram, 1.2 grams per pound of protein. Above that, you can go for it if that's sustainable for you, if that's the way you like to eat. So let's not diminish the value of fats for hormone, health and energy, but especially carbs. We want to keep those carbs sufficiently high to support muscle building and the anti-catabolic effects and all that. We have to think about the broader spectrum, the broader balance of our plate, of our day, of our week, and how they support our training, our physique, our overall health. No, the short answer is no. You can't have too much protein, but in context, always consider what is an appropriate level for you.

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