Protein -- not so useful?


Here’s an interesting snippet from a recent ScienceDaily:

Eating more protein may not benefit older men

Posted: 02 Apr 2018 09:32 AM PDT

A randomized, clinical trial has found that higher protein intake did not increase lean body mass, muscle performance, physical function or other well-being measures among older men.


Not by itself obviously. Did the experiment involve exercise? Also, what are we defining as “more”?


We are quoting a scientific publication. Feel free to hunt down further details.

#4 is a news / press release aggregation site, but sure.


Ok, but “The results of their study are published in the April issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.”


I asked my dietologist about this study and they said that the amount of protein a person needs is defined by lifestyle, current state of health (especcially kidney fundtion) and individual taste preferences. There’s no normal amount of protein everyone should consume. Also they said that eating too much protein (speaking of 60%+ daily ration) can lead to coronary vessels issues in 1/1000 cases.


Very dependent on your lean body mass and if your regularly breaking down muscle tissue.


Humans don’t need much protein to be healthy. 40-60 grams is plenty for a day. Human breast milk has tiny amounts of protein in comparison to other animals. We can get all the protein we need naturally through plants such as beans, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, wheat, and other starches. Excess of protein is hard on the kidneys, because the kidneys must work to flush the excess out. It’s best to stay within a whole food plant based diet.


40-60 is usually the bare minimum without adverse effects. And too much protein is well beyond what most people would even attempt to consume, and barring preexisting conditions you’re not going to see problems. Most people won’t see health benefits for consuming more than 1.6 grams of protein per kg of body weight and to account for individual variation, that might go as high as 2.2 g per kg (1g per lb). Yet, you could still go much higher without negative effects, you just won’t see much benefit from doing so. Your kidneys will be fine.

As for a whole food plant based diet? It’s certainly not unhealthy, but it’s not the pinnacle of nutrition either.


0.8 g/kg/day for nearly everyone (97.5%) who doesn’t exercise. 1.4-2.0 g/kg/day for those who exercise, depending on the type of workout:

In summary, it is the position of the International Society of Sport Nutrition that exercising individuals ingest protein ranging from 1.4 to 2.0 g/kg/day. Individuals engaging in endurance exercise should ingest levels at the lower end of this range, individuals engaging in intermittent activities should ingest levels in the middle of this range, and those engaging in strength/power exercise should ingest levels at the upper end of this range.

0.8 g/kg/day works out to 0.36 g/lb/day. 1.4-2.0 g/kg/day works out to 0.64-0.91 g/lb/day.


Sure, but there really isn’t any benefit in consuming less protein. It’s not expensive, it’s not unhealthy, and it’s not like protein sources taste bad. For the sake of being a minimalist, you could consume that much and be fine, but why would you want to?


I thought the purpose of the discussion was finding the optimal amount of protein to consume, which we already have a good idea of. I don’t see the harm in pointing out that the optimal range is actually lower than what you claimed (with no source).

0.8-2.0 g/kg/day is quite different from 1.6-2.2 g/kg/day. Many people reading this thread may not exercise regularly or at all, and it is self-evident that accurate information is more valuable than inaccurate information.


My point was simply that AngelKitten’s suggestion of 40-60 grams being plenty wasn’t actually the case (unless you are extra small and inactive). Likewise, you aren’t going to damage your kidneys with protein consumption, you would either need a preexisting condition or an intentional massive overconsumption of protein for this to occur. The kidney thing is just an old rumor.

You pointed out the optimal range for different groups (which is useful), while I pointed out the maximum range for basically anyone. I brought that up to establish a frame of reference on one end, I suppose that I should have likewise established the other end of the frame I was building, but you covered that quite nicely.

This is my perspective; I’ve been working on getting in shape for the past three years. I’ve learned a lot during that time. I’ve also been following a fitness plan for the first time in my life for the past six months. A couple months into my fitness plan I realized that I wasn’t consuming nearly enough protein to make the most of my efforts in the gym. Fast forward to now, with all the nutrition knowledge that I’ve accrued, and I just don’t see any benefit to doing the bare minimum when it comes to protein (regardless of activity level). Does that mean everyone should eat as much protein as possible? Of course not. Then does that mean that everyone should eat around the maximum amount? Not necessarily, but there is no harm in doing so. Ideally, people should consume an optimal amount (as pointed out by you) given the importantance of protein for the body as a whole, but as I’ve said before there is no downside to doing more. It’s up to the dietary preferences of the individual more than anything, but even the maximum amount leaves plenty of room in a nutrition plan for other stuff.

All that to say that I’m not disagreeing with you. :stuck_out_tongue:

Honestly though, I was just pointing a few things out. Nothing heretical, nothing that I figured needed a scientific article for verification, just a few things worth mentioning. Your post actually helped to clarify some things that I didn’t say though, so I’m actually glad you made it. Plus it’s a chance for conversation which can be fun too. If you’re curious, I’ll link my progress pictures thus far down below. (Six Months of Training)


Doesn’t the evidence indicate that “optimal” is in fact a very broad range? It’s not like 0.8g/kg/day is perfect for sedentary and anything more is bad. As long as you stay below the kidney damage levels, sedentary people will be fine. Those who exercise should be between 1.4g/kg/day or so and the kidney damaging levels.


Perhaps some people would consider 0.8-2.0 a broad range and others would consider it a narrow range. I don’t think it matters what we call it as long as we are aware of what the range is.


40-6o is plenty if you’re active and whole food plant based nutrition is very superior :slight_smile: I have done much studying on this topic. Some of my favorite researchers, doctors are Dr. John McDougall, Rip Esselstyn. and Dr. Michael Greger. I’ve done a lot of studying on the Forks Over Knives approach and “The Starch Solution.” Another good source on plant based nutrition and what ne need is “The China Study.” In rural Asia people don’t get nearly as much protein as industrialized areas. They don’t eat many animal products either and have much better health! A lot of disease are of “affluence.” Definitely recommend looking up some of those sources to read! It’s really fun and interesting.


In the same way some can thrive on less than a half gallon of water a day, others like myself need at least a gallon, and during the summer months I’m often closer to two gallons of water a day. Please realize 40-60g/day of protein is fine for some, but for others it is insufficient. It would work well for someone on the smaller side, but for someone like me who is far from the smaller side it would be quite inadequate. The responses above provide good guidelines.

I’m glad a plant based diet is working so well for you, most of my family eats as you do, they also are quite happy with their way of eating. I myself am at the opposite end, and I absolutely love it, I feel best with fewer plants, and my health is drastically improved when I eat low carb. Either way of eating is valid, what works for some doesn’t for others.

We’re a miraculous lot, we can thrive in a variety of situations, and can survive conditions that would send some of the animal kingdom to extinction. We’ve gotten into trouble with the standard American diet though, and unfortunately it’s been exacerbated by poor science and government guidelines for far too long. Fortunately you and I have both found our way out of the SAD rut and have found a way to live well, to live healthy, and to be better than before.


So your saying a sedentary lean 120 lb person has the same protein requirements as a lean and active 225 lb person. You need to do some more research on protein requirements.


As an average 40-60 grams is plenty :slight_smile: we aren’t all that different. Some people may eat a few hundred calories more than others, but they will also be getting more nutrition as well. But as a base 40-60 grams is a safe and good amount. We can get all the protein and nutrients we need from a whole food plant based diet without adding protein supplements <3


I’m pretty sure that think 40-60 is well under what I need. I exercise regularly, and in the past I’ve noticed my strength declining when I’m not careful to get a lot of protein in my diet. When I switch to a high protein, moderate carb diet (by which I mean soylent+whey or protein bars), things turn around very quickly. It could be all psychological, but the differences are so strong that for somebody with a lifestyle like mine (and about my weight) I would strongly recommend getting at least 100g per day.