Protein Confusion

Whenever I look up weight lifting exercises for women on the internet, I always stumble on protein powder ads. I do use a scoop of protein powder (only 11g/serving) in my morning oatmeal, but that’s it. It’s a good thickener for my thin oats and has a nice serving of protein to start off the day.

A few weeks ago I had a general practitioner talk to me about my protein intake. I have found this to be common in the clinical setting (MDs giving nutrition advice when they lack the proper training that R.D.s have) but was not prepared for my personal doctor to talk to me about it. Guess she thought that, since I am a vegetarian, I must be starved for quality protein. We talked about the sources of protein, where it comes from, and why I should be careful. Despite my insistence that I got an undergraduate degree in nutrition and am currently studying/doing my internship to become a Registered Dietitian, this meant nothing to her. Unfortunately, I handled the situation poorly and was rather, er, sarcastic with the doctor. It’s all in the delivery, must work on it. I’ll do better next time, promise  🙂

Anyways, I did a little research tonight about the different types of proteins, why body builders use them, etc. As you are probably aware, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts swear by protein

powder. They want that “ripped” look and put protein in everything. Some sites recommend up to 2 g of powder per pound of body weight. That would be 300 g of powder for a 150 lb person. Wow. (P.S., That’s a lot!!)  See the below links for more information. Or just keep scrolling and read my thoughts…

Comparison table

Bodybuilding.com protein type explanation

Contrary to the body builders, Askthedietitian.com says that people fall for the myth because they listen to individual testimonials and not science. She suggests that informed consumers read “The Homocysteine Revolution” by Dr Kilmer McCaulley. “Thirty years ago, he compiled the research on homocysteine (an amino acid) that is an intermediary in the breakdown of methionine (an amino acid). Homocysteine appears cause and advance arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) as a result of high protein diets. Weight lifters or body builders take protein or amino acid supplements, thinking that it will make them ripped. These supplements do not build muscle and combined with an already high protein intake, often stress kidney function. The RDA for protein is 63 g (males) and 50 g (females), based on kg of body weight, not pounds (as mentioned at the beginning). Keep in mind it’s not just body builders that observe a high protein diet. Remember the low-carb craze? Well, if ya ain’t gettin’ calories from carbs, ya probably gettin’ it from protein in the prescribed diet.

Even scarier, once protein is absorbed, the kidneys filter out the remainder and if it’s not used to build/repair muscle tissue, is converted to energy or stored as fat. Thus, if you eat excessexcessexcess X 10 protein (like the 2 g/lb of body weight example), you are making expensive fat.

The infamous fat block

Ew. Cue the picture of the fat block (dun dun DUNNN).

What does this mean for you, the average consumer? No more than 20% of your calories from protein, unless you have some sort of muscle wasting (i.e. a life-threatening illness like cancer). And don’t be giving out nutrition information unless you are licensed to do so. And please let the vegetarians go and don’t harass them. They are probably starved anyways and salivating over your hamburger.

People’s lives are at stake, for cryin’ out loud!

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One thought on “Protein Confusion

  1. I totally feel you Christine! I’m getting my Master’s for cyring out loud in Speech Pathology. Doctor’s are my worst nightmare! The other day we referred a patient to an ENT for an evaluation of his vocal folds (he has a very strange voice and there is definitely something wrong). The doctor sent back a letter to us along with a very frightened parent telling us she thought the child had bad social awareness and needed to be evaluated for autism! WHAT! We just asked her to look at his VOCAL FOLDS! Good grief… the poor parent was in total and complete shock. Good thing this poor first grader is normally functioning despite the doctors dumb comments. And on top of all that she didn’t even mention his voice in her report!
    And don’t even get me started on pediatrician’s… I see kids every week that aren’t talking at the age of 2.5 (soooo late) and they are just now being evaluated because their doctor told them they would grow out of it!
    I’m pretty sure every other field has classes on how to deal with doctor’s… maybe doctor’s need a class on how they aren’t the only experts in this world!

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