10 Things You Need to Know About Diet & Protein

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(DGIwire) –Another recent study which cited increased health risks and mortality for middle age adults (50-65) who eat a high protein diet and older adults (over 65 years) who ate a low protein diet has resulted in much confusion.  Is there an amount of protein that is right for everybody?

Health experts Dian Griesel, Ph.D. & Tom Griesel, co-authors of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust, offer the following information for those who have questions about ideal protein intake.

1)    Ideal protein intake will vary based on a person’s age, body composition and activity levels. So, it is actually a very individual calculation.

2)    Your ideal protein intake is the minimum amount required to maintain or improve your existing muscle mass and, one size does not fit all.  For example if we look at two men both weighing 200 pounds but one has 10% body fat and the other has a more typical 25% body fat, the former has 180 pounds of lean body mass and the latter has only 150 pounds and therefore needs less protein.  Similarly, a 105 pound woman needs less protein than a 165 pound male even at the same body fat percentage and activity level.

3)    Your total protein intake is a combination of all sources consumed, both animal and plant based.  Many people ignore the fact that plant foods contain protein and therefore do not count them.

4)    Protein from animal sources should not be avoided because they contain nutrients not found in plants.  Vitamin B-12 and L-Carnosine are two examples.

5)    In the study, plant protein intake was not shown to have the same dose related mortality risks.  This is a good reason to include plenty of plant-based protein sources in your diet.  Plant-based foods contain many nutrients not found in animal-based foods.

6)    People who have been exercising regularly, particularly intense exercisers, are most likely close to their genetic potential muscle/lean body mass.  Eating protein in excess of the minimum amount required to maintain your existing lean body mass is not advisable.

7)    Regardless of age, everyone needs to know their current lean body mass.  Using your current body composition and activity level, you can calculate your protein requirement using the current guideline of .8 grams per kilogram of lean body mass.  By monitoring changes in your body composition, you can make individual and intelligent adjustments.  However, any adjustment will not change this guideline significantly.

8)    Too much protein at any age is as bad as too little.

9)    Many of the well-touted studies regarding protein consumption are not very helpful because most Americans are overweight and already eat too much protein (particularly animal based protein).  As people age, they may be less active and as a result, they start losing muscle and LBM which has a negative effect on their overall metabolism.  If you lose enough lean body mass, you die.  Regular exercise to maintain or even improve lean body mass is important for people of all ages.

10) There are no studies that that have compared the health effects of conventionally raised animal products to wild, grass-fed or free-range choices.  However, eating excess protein from wild, grass-fed or free-range sources will most likely still produce the negative health consequences observed in the study.

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