Up to this point, I’ve provided some basic terminology definitions and talked about the overall concepts when constructing your first successful diet. In this post, I will be moving onto determining if your calculated TDEE values match with real world food intake. I’d highly urge you to read parts one, two, three, and four if you haven’t already done so.
As a quick recap from earlier in the series, my calculated TDEE is 2454kCals based upon the output from the Katch McArdle formula. I will use my first week to get as close to 2454kCals as possible over the first seven days. This can be made much simpler by online tools such as MyFitnessPal and FitDay; I normally use the latter so examples from here on out will be stolen from that app.
My first phase of the diet will be constructed of predominantly whole, minimally processed food sources while simultaneously being sure to hit both my micro and macro-nutrient goals. My diet will consist of essentially 200 grams of PRO, 200 grams of CHO, and 100 grams of FAT for a total of 2500kCals (remember, these are averages and if you go slightly over or under from day to day that is not a problem). The breakdown of macro-nutrients is as follows:
Protein – 200g x 4kCals/gram = 800kCals
Carbohydrates – 200g x 4kCals/gram = 800kCals
Fat – 100g x 9kCals/gram = 900kCals
Over the course of the week, I try my best to weigh all food selections on a nice digital food scale and log everything in within FitDay. FitDay makes tracking caloric and macro/micro-nutrient goals much easier. I will elaborate on the specifics at a later time if there is interest.
In parallel to this effort, I’ve started a detailed spreadsheet and have made sure to weigh myself first thing in the AM once I get out of bed. I ensure that I control variables such as bathroom usage and weigh-in times so that consistent readings can be had each day. Obviously weighing myself in the morning and evening could differ by multiple pounds so this is an important step to remain consistent. After the first week, I average my weight measurements over the course of those seven days and see see that my weight has only changed by -0.2 pounds versus the prior week which tells me that the calculated TDEE was pretty much dead accurate. So, what do we now do with this newly acquired data?
We simply adjust our dietary intake and continue the weekly process of measuring actual weight loss. It is not recommended to go on crash diets nor use hard numbers for your deficits. I like to stick to a 5-15% caloric reduction strategy, typically starting on the low side and adjusting as necessary. The reduction of calories should primarily come from the CHO macro-nutrient group as opposed to either the PRO or FAT group. If you recall from earlier in this series, CHO is an optional macro-nutrient whereas the others are not. I also recommend trying to keep PRO high when combining a caloric deficit and lower CHO intake. In my specific example, this would reduce my daily caloric intake somewhere between 125-375 kCals/day. Just as before, maintain your food and weight log consistency so you can adjust intake as necessary; strive for no more than a 1-2 pound weight loss per week goal.
I think we’ll stop there as this should give you, the Educated Reader, a high level primer on what it takes to start designing your own diet strategies. It can take some trial and error so don’t be discouraged…good luck!
NBA.com has a great article discussing Kobe Bryant’s game-day preparation and how he ensures his body is ready to handle the rigors of the grueling 82 game NBA schedule. It is truly astonishing to watch Bryant put up career best numbers after logging seventeen years and over fifty thousand minutes on the court.
Kobe calls his daily ice baths his “tub of youth”. Interestingly, there have also been significant dietary changes for Kobe at this stage of his career (note: Gary Vitti is the LA Lakers head athletic trainer)…
Part of that changed diet and those healthy eating tips come from Dr. Cate Shanahan, a team consultant who has her own practice in Napa Valley. Pasture-fed foods – pasture-grazed beef from a pasture-fed cow, eggs from a free-range chicken (not a cage chicken) – are just some of the main staples of Bryant’s diet. Sugars, specifically anything with corn syrup, should be avoided, and the intake of carbohydrates has been scaled down, consumed in moderation.
“What happens is the athlete consumes one of these products high in carbohydrates and sugar, they get a spike of energy and feel really good,” Vitti said. “Your body knows that, sends insulin and then they crash. As soon as they crash, they need another sugar fix, and they’re yo-yoing up and down. If we get them off that stuff and get them into more of protein and the right kind of fats, then they’ll have a higher level of energy without the lows or the dips.
More findings examine the ratio of high-density lipoproteins (HDL’s) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL’s), better known as “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol, which can be monitored. The common thought was the ratio for of HDL’s to be high and LDL’s to be low. But according to Vitti, new findings are changing that perception. “We’re finding out now that a higher level of LDL’s, which we thought was bad, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad,” he continued, “because within that category, there are good LDL’s and bad LDL’s. Even though you might have an elevated level of LDL’s, it might be the right kind of LDL’s.”
For example, eating fats, when they’re the right kind of fats, can be packed with nutrients.
“All this fat free stuff and all these things we’ve been doing has been the biggest proponent of it,” Vitti said. “When they strip the fat, they strip all the nutrients with it. We don’t necessarily want to stay away from fats, but it has to be the right kind of fat.”
In the first parts of this series, we went over definitions and the basics on how to find your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) using the Katch-McArdle formula. Please read the first three parts of this series if you have not done so already.
Let’s start off talking about what type of foods make the most sense when designing your first diet. Most likely, if you’ve spent any time researching this topic online, or watching television, you’re already well aware that a new fad diet is invented, seemingly, every few minutes – eat this, don’t eat this, don’t eat at all, cleanse this, detox that, etc. They all range in their level of absurdity but the fact remains that dieting is not a complex endeavor, no matter how hard these celebrities and Internet marketers want you to believe that it is. Want to skip the rest and go right to the punch-line? Eat less than you require (TDEE) and you will lose weight. Conversely, if you eat more than you require then you will gain weight. Quite an astonishing concept, isn’t it? Now let’s expand upon that principle so that you, Educated Reader, will not be miserable when you start.
My, admittedly oversimplified, mantra has always been that your goal with food intake should be that the majority of your calories come from whole, minimally processed foods while limiting potentially harmful agents such as trans fats. So what does this mean exactly? I’ve explained it to folks in numerous, comparative ways such as asking yourself “would my great grandparents recognize this food item I’m about to ingest”. Does this mean that you can never have that slice of pizza, cake, or other treat which you thoroughly enjoy? Absolutely not, and we’ll talk more about this after a brief recap from a topic discussed in part three of this series.
As you recall, there are generally three recognized macro-nutrient groups and they are PRO, CHO, and FAT. Two of these (PRO and FAT) are required and the third is a non-essential macronutrient (CHO). The first goal is to ensure that your essential (required) macro requirements are fulfilled and then we can continue filling the rest of our caloric budget largely with whole, minimally processed choices.
To continue using myself as an example, I’ve already determined that my TDEE is 2454kCals and in order to hit my minimum recommended PRO intake levels, I will need at least 95 grams (~380kCals). To hit my minimum recommended FAT intake levels for the day, I will need at least 57 grams (~513kCals). This leaves me with around 1561kCals to do with what I please. At this point, let me take a step back and say that the person who knows you, Educated Reader, the best – is you. If you have been largely subsisting on a diet of Cracker Jack and root beer then it may shock the system to eat chicken, broccoli, and rice all day, every day. In addition, if you currently have a diet that consists of primarily processed carbs then going full-blown Ketogenic might not be the best idea for you either. The reason is that the key to any diet is long term compliance, success, and yes – even enjoyability. I often see folks who dive into a new diet headfirst only to begin hating life within a week or two. I’m writing this shortly after New Year’s and continue to see this every day with folks who have resolutions related to new and healthy lifestyle choices. Remember, results does not equal sustainability
I used the word “budget” a few paragraphs back for good reason. I see caloric intake very analogous to financial budgeting. Although there are arguably right and wrong decisions, these are largely subjective. For example, even though you may be craving that Quadruple Bypass Burger doing so may be about as intelligent of a choice as buying that gold plated iPhone 5 when you don’t have enough extra cash left over to pay the rent/mortgage…
The best budget choices in the dietary context are those that allow you to hit macro, micro, and caloric goals while leaving you satisfied, happy, and healthy. In the next part of this seemingly never-ending series, we’ll finally setup my example diet and determine if my calculated TDEE is too high, low, or just right…
In parts one and two, we laid out the foundation for the concepts we’ll be covering in part three. If you haven’t done so I would urge you to read them now.
As you recall, we’ve calculated our TDEE at 2454kCals/day. In theory, this would be the amount of calories we would need to consume to stay at our same body composition where no other variables change (also sometimes referred to as maintenance calories). You will also likely recall that this figure was derived from the Katch-McArdle formula, which is simply that – a formula. Although it is my preferred formula for initial baseline testing, I’ve also found that it can be upwards of 200-300kCals off depending on the individual.
To find the individual’s TDEE we need to design a diet that works out to ~2454kCals/day and begin carefully monitoring both weight and body composition for changes (either positively or negatively). Many folks simply measure weight but I feel that can paint an incomplete picture of what is going on (for instance, simple changes in water weight can cause spikes and drops of pounds per day and give false hope and/or anxiety). For completeness, I would highly urge the individual to grab a tape measure and log measurements in addition to weight. The more data points, the better – but, at a minimum, measure the waist, chest (around nipples), and glutes (at widest point). It would be even better to also measure arms, quads, calves, and shoulders but that isn’t an absolute requirement. Just remember, the more data the more complete the progress picture you can paint.
I don’t intend to dive deeply into macro and micro-nutrition since that would, in itself, be an entire article series however a brief overview will be required at this time. Generally, there are three major recognized macro-nutrient groups and they are Protein (PRO), Carbohydrate (CHO), and Fat (FAT). One could argue that there are more (think water, alcohol, fiber, etc) but that is beyond the scope of this article. Micro-nutrients are generally vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and other essentials required to maintain healthy being. Further reading on the topic can be found here for those inquiring minds.
As we design our 2454kCal diet, we must focus on macro/micro nutrition and then fill the rest of our intake with intelligent food choices which we’ll take about in more depth later. Of the macro-nutrients listed above, there are two essentials (PRO and FAT) and one non-essential (CHO). To quote Lyle McDonald, to be considered an essential nutrient, it must meet these two criteria:
- Nutrient is required for survival
- Nutrient cannot be made in sufficient quantities (or at all) by the body
CHOs are actually not required in the dietary sense as the body can convert other nutrients to glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis, but I really don’t want eyes to start glazing over at this time so we won’t get further in depth than this. Just realize that two of the macro-nutrient families are required via dietary intake and one is not (again, this isn’t entirely true in certain cases but for the rest of this series it will be referred to as such).
The first thing we’re going to do is take care of the essential macros (PRO and FAT). In general, when designing a diet where calorie intake will be restricted (assuming if you are reading this then that is the case) then higher PRO intake generally becomes more important. Besides PRO being a very satiating macro, it also has been shown to help retain lean mass during long-term dieting as well as many other benefits. General recommendations would be 0.5-1.0g of PRO per pound of body weight. In my case, continuing to use 190 pounds as our example, this would equate to 95-190g/day of PRO.
FAT is our other essential macro and maintaining FAT intake is crucial as it relates to hormonal processes, protecting against inflammation, etc. General guidelines would indicate that it is optimal to shoot for 0.3-0.8g of FAT per pound of body weight. Again, using the example of 190 pounds, this would equate to 57-152g/day of FAT.
Assuming we hit our bare minimum requirements of 95g PRO and 57g FAT, this puts us at 893kCals for the day; well short of our 2454kCal target. One gram of PRO = 4kCal and one gram of FAT = 9kCal. This leaves us with well over 1500kCals to play with. This 1561kCal bucket can be filled with either more PRO, more FAT, or you can introduce CHOs (which also have a relative value of 1g = 4kCals).
That concludes this post, in part four we will talk more about the types of foods we’ll want to include in the diet and get further into how to measure the data for progress.
In part one, we laid the groundwork and defined some terminology that will be used throughout these posts. If you have not done so already, I’d urge you to read through it to make sure you are up to speed before reading on.
This post is going to focus on the first steps associated with finding your TEE, using a lit bit of trial and error. To get the process started, I’ll be using myself as an example. If you are following along, you can use the same steps however some of the numbers will likely differ according to your own figures. The Katch-McArdle formula is as follows: BMR = 370 + (21.6 x LBM) – where LBM = [total weight (kg) x (100 - bodyfat %)]/100. Seems pretty easy to calculate free-hand, right? Okay, okay – maybe not. Fortunately, there is another shortcut available to us so you don’t have to do much arithmetic. I frequently will share this site with folks I’m working with; it just requires that you have a pretty good initial grasp on your current body fat percentage. As we’ve already mentioned in part one, calipers are an easy way for beginners to get a rough estimate for our purposes here.
The first choice you will be presented with is asking how active you are. This is also known as the “activity factor” but I will leave it at “little or no exercise” for this example to keep it somewhat simple. Hopefully this will accomplish our goal of simplifying things for first time diet designers without adding the extra complexity of exercise. We will likely talk about exercise’s effects on required intake in a later post within this series. Next, I will enter my current weight of 190 pounds and my current body fat percentage as 10 percent (I fluctuate between 7-12 depending on whether I’m eating in excess to gain size or in a deficit to reduce body fat but we’ll take the middle ground here to again keep the example simple). You can also enter your desired body fat level but we will be doing this calculation ourselves so the output would simply be for the sake of seeing how close the calculator tool comes to being accurate, nothing more.
The Katch-McArdle calculator came up with the following output based on the numbers I used:
Estimated Base BMR: 2045 Calories.
Estimated TDEE: 2454 Calories.
From the first post, you now know that BMR is simply the amount of energy the body requires in basically a comatose state but it’s the TDEE we’re especially interested in here. This will be our baseline number we’ll use for designing phase one of our diet plan; 2454 calories.
Now that we have our TDEE number, we know how many calories we would be required to consume in order to keep weight at a steady figure. I will likely say this many times so I may as well start now – the human body does not necessarily work on a 24 hour clock in the sense that missing your target one day will ruin your diet. That is a great oversimplification of how things work so try not to become focused simply on day-to-day intake goals. In fact, I often design plans that call for weekly caloric intake goals specifically for more advanced folks as many prefer to do calorie cycling (eating more on days in which they need it – think intense training). We won’t jump ahead though as this is a more advanced topic that we’ll talk about later.
The next tool we’ll need in our toolbox is a way to track our calorie intake so it doesn’t become overly cumbersome to a first time dieter. I would urge you to read up on the many free calorie counting applications that exist in the market. Many folks have their own favorites; some of the more popular versions that I’ve used include myfitnesspal, FitDay, Livestrong, and others. At this point, familiarize yourself with the various apps and choose one that feels the best to you as logging your dietary intake will be one of the most important tasks we’ll be doing and these apps do most of the heavy lifting for you. It’s also a good time to mention food scales. Although advanced folks can usually “eyeball” their food, I’d highly recommend the use of a food scale at this point so that you learn the difference between various weights of foods. For example, there can be a pretty big caloric difference ounce per ounce of certain foods. As we dial in our caloric needs, it’s good to be as accurate as possible. There are many great digital scales that can be had for under $25.
That’s it for now, in the next post we’ll be taking our initial 2454 calorie figure and go over the steps to determine how accurate this figure is.
Two of the questions I get asked most often are “what should I eat” and “how much should I eat if my goal is (insert goal here)”. This is a very complex topic and one that I have a tough time answering in casual conversation due to the depth in which I want to take it. I’m going to try and address this topic in greater depth here, realizing that I will likely only scratch the surface.
When designing any diet, it always helps to understand how much energy intake is required to maintain a stable body composition (note: I did not use the term weight on purpose and we may or may not delve into why I didn’t later). Most folks do not have access to use the more scientific methods such as doubly labeled water and respiration chambers so we are left to other methods that are accessible to everyone. Luckily, finding a fairly accurate energy expenditure rate isn’t too difficult at all.
For those that are gadget geeks, there are products on the market that are advertised to do most of the work for you. Some of the more popular and complete gadgets include BodyBugg and BodyMedia. These products are worn on the skin, often via armbands, and measure various data points related to the body to calculate caloric expenditure – such as skin temperature, movement via accelerometer, and heat flux (the rate at which heat leaves the body). Although they have been proven to be pretty accurate, most cost a fair amount of money up-front and also require a subscription fee to take full advantage of all their features. Because this post will be geared towards those not wanting to pay this high cost for something you probably will only need a few times, I will not refer to these products beyond this point.
Fortunately for frugal individuals such as myself, there is no need to plunk down money on a gadget if the individual is up for a little legwork. Before we get too far into this, there are some terms I might be using throughout these posts that are important to understand.
BMR (basal metabolic rate) – this is the amount of energy intake required if you were in a coma
NEAT (non-exercise associated thermogenesis) – fancy way of saying all the energy you use living life (think walking, tapping your foot, talking, watching TV, etc)
EAT (exercise associated thermogenesis) – this is the amount of energy used during planned exercise such as resistance training and aerobic activities
TEF (thermic effect of feeding) – relates to the amount of energy required during the feeding and digestive process
TEE (total energy expenditure) – the combined sum of the previous items
It is also worth mentioning at this point that no two individuals will be exactly the same and the intended audience of this article is adults; pubescent teens are out of scope. Teenagers should largely not focus on minute details such as caloric allowance anyway in most cases.
So, now that we understand some of the basic terminology, we’ll want to put it to use. In other words, how would an individual calculate their total energy expenditure so that they have a good baseline figure which will allow them to design their diet to match those requirements (also sometimes called maintenance calories)? There are many schools of thought but I always recommend creating a baseline intake figure and then potentially adjusting that intake figure as required after a few weeks of careful monitoring. So how do we derive the initial baseline intake figure?
Fortunately for us, some smart science-types have already created formulas that allow us to take our first swag at it. Some of the more popular formulas you’ll run into include the Harris-Benedict, the Mifflin-St. Jeor, and the Katch-McArdle. I’m going to focus on the Katch-McArdle formula as it is the most accurate of the three and what I personally use when helping individuals. To get an accurate Katch-McArdle figure, you’re going to need a reasonable guess as to your current body fat percentage. For anyone not familiar with calipers, become familiar before reading on.
That’s it for this time, in the next post we will put Katch-McArdle to real-world use and talk, in detail, what we do once we have our first, baseline caloric figure.
A video has been circulating today regarding a letter received by WKBT newscaster Jennifer Livingston.
The letter was actually an email from a viewer asking her to consider the effect that her appearance may have on young, impressionable viewers. Livingston then goes on a four minute rant about how this was bullying and it was wrong.
First off, she is incredibly overweight. Secondly, the author of the email was spot on (watch the video to get the full letter details). Lastly, this was a private email and never would have seen the light of day if she didn’t go on-air to give her statement of the union address.
If she put the same effort into developing a healthy diet and exercise plan that she put into her response then perhaps she wouldn’t receive any further letters or be subject to scrutiny about her appearance. Seems to me like a fat person playing the victim role…
What I wore today as I hit a new deadlift PR…
It really is sad to see another young actor go, well ahead of his time.; by all accounts a great guy too. What makes me just as sad is to watch the vegetarian/vegan propaganda machine convince another individual that their way is the only way. Duncan switched to this way of eating later in life and proudly proclaimed that it can prevent things such as heart disease; which ultimately led to his demise.
I see nothing wrong with feeling guilty about harming animals however claiming that it has absolute health benefits is largely irresponsible when nothing substantial has ever been proven. Unfortunately, for Duncan, he found out too late…
Recently, I was told by a co-worker that taking large amounts of protein in the morning like I do will cause me to have “severe kidney and liver problems”. Much of this information seems to be perpetuated by a Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., who seems to adhere to the “Amino Acid Issue” argument. Please see this link where he explains that protein supplements are just plain unhealthy:
Note that my current regimen is simple. I have a 72Gram protein shake every morning – and I am very specific about what brand/type of protein I take. I only use Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein. Yes, I do use it as a “meal replacement”, and the gains that I’ve realized from it have been tremendous, as my main goal is weight loss and overall health. I have severe physical limitations so improving health by way of my daily diet is essential. I’ve also been told that this much protein is pointless because your body can only handle 30Grams at once, is any of what I’m being told true?
Ah, there are some real classics involved here so let’s start going over them one at a time…
Does Protein Cause Kidney Problems?
This is an often cited concern issued to folks when warning others against large protein (PRO) consumption, and the majority of time I hear this it is coming from folks with anti-PRO agendas (think vegans, animal activists, diet authors, et al). It just so happens that the website you mentioned is run by Dr. Joel Fuhrman who actually fits nicely into that niche as he sells a system and literature designed around hardcore vegetarian style beliefs. This very same doctor cautions against eating fish, is still stuck in the anti-cholesterol dogma way of thinking, and generally appears to be pushing his agenda more than worrying about the science behind his claims. We’ll get back to appreciating his article in a moment.
How PRO got such a bad rap is a bit of a mystery and most all of the studies cited by these anti-PRO groups have based their theories off of assumptions, poor study designs, subjects with prior renal conditions, and epidemiological data. To date, I’m unaware of a single study that shows causal relationship between PRO consumption and kidney or liver problems. There are even studies which have actually indicated correlation between higher PRO diets and benefits to the kidneys (1). It’s worth noting that the Department of Health actually came up with their daily upper limit PRO guidelines “with insufficient information to enable a safe upper limit to be defined we feel it is probably prudent for adults to avoid PRO intakes or more than 1.5g PRO/kg”. To me, this feels like nothing more than closing the eyes, aiming the weapon, and hoping they hit something. It’s shameful that many still use these dietary guidelines verbatim as some authoritative document. In your case, 72 grams of PRO would still fall well under the conservative guidelines illustrated here and, unless you are consuming multiple shakes in a day, you will likely still fall under these levels even taking the rest of your daily diet into consideration.
Let’s take it a step further though and look at a study done on bodybuilders who were exceeding the daily recommendations by a factor of four (2)! In this study, it was revealed that subjects consuming upwards of 2.8g/kg PRO/day did not have health markers exceeding normal, healthy limits. Bodybuilders, and athletes alike, have been consuming large quantities of PRO for decades so if there was a causative link between excess PRO consumption and organ health then I’m very surprised we haven’t detected it within this substantial candidate pool. Although I realize the last statement isn’t exactly based on scientific principles, sometimes comparing the data we have with real-world results paints the most colorful picture.
Another famous study (3) specifically set out to test the effects of a prolonged, semi-carnivorous diet on the human body. Although there were some limitations to the study design such as it only lasting around one year with a small subject pool of two, there were absolutely no negative markers noticed with a diet that included over two pounds of PRO per day.
Empirically, we could talk about societies such as the North American Inuits, the Maasai in Africa, and others that have thrived for generations on diets that regularly exceeded daily modern PRO recommendations. These are all things that anti-PRO agendas regularly ignore or spin to make it seem as if these folks are not as healthy as the evidence shows.
Can the Human Body Only Utilize Certain Amount of Protein At Once?
This has always been one of my favorite myths because I believed in this growing up myself. It has perpetuated for generations and we were regularly preached about this by our coaches as young athletes. I must say how liberating it was when I discovered later in life that science doesn’t actually support this belief and that I didn’t have to pack half a dozen meals with me everywhere I went!
It is tough to say where this belief started but it could likely be explained by a combination of study interpretation and supplement company marketing. It should also be noted that there is a distinct difference between the overall amounts of PRO which the body can handle/digest versus something more specific, say the amount of PRO required to maximize muscle protein synthesis (MPS).
The problem with such a matter of fact stance like this is that we just don’t give our bodies the credit they deserve. For example, it has long been said that healthy and active individuals should have ample PRO of up to 2.0g/kg/day and may in fact thrive because if it. Research has shown that athletes are not only safe doing so, but may actually see performance gains because if it (4). By my quick math, that would be approximately 180-190g of PRO for a 200 pound male athlete. If that athlete were only able to digest 30g at a time, that would be a minimum of six meals per day give or take. Not only does that seem burdensome to meal-plan, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Essentially the human body acts in a reactive manner in which PRO is absorbed at a rate where larger PRO meals simply take longer to digest than smaller PRO meals.
There have been studies which indicate that as little as 10g of essential amino acids (EAAs) maximized MPS (5). Most whole food meat sources have approximately 35-60% EAA by volume so this roughly equates to around that 30g magical number however there are a couple things to keep in mind. First, this particular study was done on subjects not necessarily indicative of the general public as they were not training, many were elderly, and it was specific to MPS and not overall PRO digestion capabilities. It should be stated in context that dietary PRO does an awful lot more for us than just MPS such as organ repair, cell functionality, and proper immune system health.
Protein Supplements vs. Whole Foods
When deciding whether or not to use meal replacement strategies in the form of PRO supplements you should first understand that supplements, by definition, are not regulated by the FDA. This becomes more important when talking about things like quality control.
There have historically been published reports, albeit somewhat sensationalized, of arsenic and lead being found in leading brand PRO supplements. It should be noted that the levels found in the brand you mention are close to negligible.
My stance on PRO supplementation is that it’s generally not a big deal if you are doing it in a structured way, such as you are doing, with a strong reason to do so. Sometimes convenience may be a factor as it can be tough to stop and cook a meal if you are on the go. Be sure to account for the micronutrients missed by not eating whole foods throughout the rest of your day and you should be fine. The most important thing I saw in your message is that it is working for you. This is reason enough to keep you going strong!
Now let’s get back to Joel Fuhrman’s link. I’m not going to spend too much time on it because anyone with half a marble should be able to spot the insanity and agenda-based details within the post. A reader comment left below the article sums up my feelings.
What do they call the doctor that graduated at the bottom of his class? They call him doctor…
Fuhrman’s theme of the article is that PRO should not be consumed at the high levels which Americans are currently consuming it, and the PRO that we do eat should be from vegetable sources. There is actually some good information until he starts trying to promote vegetables as being easier for the body to digest than their animal product counterparts. Ironically, as you can see in the following chart, vegetable sources fall far behind when it comes to PRO content digestibility.
He concludes his article with real gems like “When you artificially stimulate growth through overfeeding and excessive animal product consumption, you may achieve a heightened body mass index unobtainable by other means, but you will add fat to your body as well” and “Let me remind you that higher body mass index, even if that additional body mass is a mixture of extra muscle and fat, is a strong indicator of premature death.”
This is absolute sensationalism combined with oversimplification used in a manner to invoke an emotional from the reader, nothing of which is based on fact. By his assertion, simply eating “excessive” animal products will cause us to get huge muscles and subsequently fat? He also makes it sound as if becoming muscular will also cause us to die early?
He then goes on to cite an example of East German athletes from the 1964 Olympic team to support his thesis that physical size has a causal link to premature death. I was going to elaborate on why this was not a good comparison but my bulky arms, very likely caused by excess animal product consumption, are really making it hard to type…and if eating like Dr. Fuhrman prescribes causes me to have his physique…then I think I’ll choose the die early option.
- D. Joe Millward (1999). Optimal intakes of protein in the human diet. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 58 , pp 403-413 doi:10.1017/S0029665199000531
- Poortmans JR and Dellalieux (2000). Do regular high protein diets have potential health risks on kidney function in athletes? Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 10(1):28-38
- Walter S. McClellan and Eugene F. Du Bois (1930). Prolonged Meat Diets – Study of Kidney Function and Ketosis (http://www.jbc.org/content/87/3/651.full.pdf)
- Campbell et al (2007). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr., 4-8
- Cuthbertson D et al (2007). Anabolic signaling deficits underline amino acid resistance of wasting, aging muscle. FASEB J. 19(3):422-4 (http://www.fasebj.org/content/19/3/422.short)