Protein Synthesis: How Much Protein You REALLY Need: Thomas DeLauer
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are you consuming too much protein let’s break it down all right because a lot of times people lead us to believe that we need to be consuming these massive amounts of protein especially if we’re dieting and especially if we’re training really hard and we’re trying to build muscle or we’re trying to stay lean okay I have to give some credit where credit’s do I did this video for six-pack ABS calm a few weeks ago and ended up being a huge hit and I wanted to articulate it in a different way for my subscriber base and for my channel but I’m going to go down the same tab is what I kind of explained there so what we have to look at when we are actually consuming protein what ends up happening within our body you see we increase something called our nitrogen balance you see all the nutrients that we consume proteins fats and carbs they all contain oxygen hydrogen and carbon but protein is the only one that contains nitrogen therefore that makes it very easy to monitor makes it very easy for us to know when we have too much or too little because it’s unique to all other nutrients so what we have to look at is if we have enough nitrogen in the body that means we have enough protein in our body to sustain muscle mass and potentially even grow if we have a negative nitrogen balance it ends up meaning that we have too little protein and we’re going to start breaking down tissues that our body can survive if we have equal levels it means that our body is a nice balance where we’re not going to gain or we’re not going to lose and we’re just going to maintain now there’s ways that you can measure that with nitrogen test strips and all this stuff but we really don’t even need to go down that path so one of the bunks on the common fitness myths particularly the one that says we need to be consuming at least one gram per pound of body weight when it comes to protein well couldn’t be further from the truth let’s break it down with some research so the first study that I want to reference is one that was a four-week study this study took regular people and had them consume 0.61 grams of protein per pound of body weight and another group consumed 1.19 grams per pound of body weight they had them start working out they had them take care of their health and they have them start living that overall lifestyle to try to put on some muscle and burn some fat but what they found is that there was actually no difference in body composition or strength between the two groups absolutely no difference for those that barely consume protein over half a gram per pound of bodyweight versus those that were consuming exorbitant amount at 1.19 right there that’s enough to lead me to believe that that might be the way that we should go back even the author was being a little bit conservative when you look at it said let’s just err on the side of caution say between 0.75 and 0.8 grams per pound of body weight but some of you are probably thinking well that’s only a month what about longer term is eventually doesn’t it take time for the body to start breaking down tissue well kind of reference another study so this study took a look at a little bit different this study looked at a slightly different number they looked at 0.7 7 grams per pound of body weight versus one gram per pound of body weight in more conditioned athletes over a three month period of time well guess what no change in body composition no change in strength and guess what not even a hint of a change in hormonal state meaning they didn’t change out their hormones things didn’t start to shift they weren’t even going down the trajectory of losing muscle only burning some fat later on down the line so now let’s take a look at it ok you may be thinking but what if I train really really hard I’m not a normal fitness person I’m someone that’s really working hard it’s been in an hour and a half in the gym six seven days a week well there’s a study for that one too so let me throw it at you this study took a look at high performance athletes that were training looking like a bodybuilder style or strength training style just that 90 minutes per day 6 days per week they still found that there was a minimal return of anything over 0.82 grams per pound of body weight and that’s people that are really working hard so what does this really mean though I mean ok now we know we can assume less protein but what about when it comes to ketosis so what about when it comes to some of these other things well the cool thing is if you have too much protein it kicks you out of ketosis anyway so let’s take a look at what you can do now by being able to reduce your protein it increases your fat to protein ratio meaning you’re actually better able to function in ketosis and feel better but what if you’re not in ketosis well then it’s just good to moderate your protein level just to take care of your health what ends up happening if we consume a lot of protein it’s actually really hard on the kidneys contrary to what the fitness community will tell you they want to believe what they want to believe but the studies don’t lie there was one British study that took a look at those that consumed an additional amount of protein over baseline what they did if they took people that were eating right at the cap of what you should eat in the way of protein and all they did it added five ounces of fish on top of that okay so they said we’re going to add five ounces of fish above what the baseline top level protein is well by consuming just that extra five ounces of protein increase their risk of kidney problems by two hundred and fifty percent alright that’s pretty straight up now I’m not saying that don’t eat a lot of protein but we’re looking at taking care of our kidneys there’s a big effect you see proteins a diuretic so it can actually cause us to drop some water weight which can be good but it also causes our blood volume to shrink down and when that happens it ends up making our blood more viscous which can increase our blood pressure and can end up causing a lot of other issues and be hard on the kidneys now when we look at how the kidneys actually function they look at something called blood urea nitrogen blood urea nitrogen is an indicator of dehydration in the kidneys but also an indicator of how you might develop kidney stones I know you might not be thinking about that right now maybe you’re young maybe you’re just interested in wondering how much protein you should consume but the reality is there if you want to be doing this for a long time you don’t want to be having the strain on your kidneys and let me drop another study on you simply because I’m Chuck full of it with this one it’s quite frankly when I really think about it I get kind of set up with the fitness industry forcing it down our throats that we need tons of protein just to feed the supplement company so that you can buy more protein and make all these people fat and happy okay rant over alright let’s look at this actual study what this one looked at was a group of athletes they took three different athletes all three 150 pounds very very athletic endurance based athletes and what they did is they gave them different groups of protein mats they gave one person 68 grams they gave another person 123 grams they gave another person 246 grams and then they measured their blood urea nitrogen levels what they found at the ANU study is no surprise the higher the protein the higher the levels of blood urea nitrogen indicating higher levels of dehydration and higher risk for kidney disease and higher risk for kidney stones there you have it point blank multiple studies that show the excess protein is not the way to go save some money eat smaller amounts of protein eat organic protein when you can because you don’t need to be buying that cheap Walmart chicken that is not even really chicken it’s alien stuff so as always keep it locked in here in my channel and if you like these kind of videos that are debunking fitness myths make sure you let me know but also go take a look at six-pack ABS calm and the six-pack ABS Channel because I’m having to be bringing a lot of other content in different directions over there I will see you in the next video
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Protein Synthesis: How Much Protein You REALLY Need: Thomas DeLauer
What is a nitrogen balance, and, how can it affect your body?
In order to gain muscle, all you need to do is have a positive nitrogen balance
Carbohydrates, protein and fats contain oxygen, carbon and hydrogen molecules. Protein, however, is the only macronutrient, which contains the nitrogen molecule.
Around 90% of nitrogen is lost through the urine, so, the most common and accurate way to assess nitrogen balance is to take a nitrogen test, then subtract the amount of nitrogen lost through the urine from the amount of nitrogen (protein) you take in through your diet in a 24-hour period.
As long as the level of nitrogen taken in exceeds the amount being lost, then the nitrogen balance is positive.
This means you have sufficient protein in your system to enable anabolism (muscle growth).
If you are losing more protein through urine than you are taking in, you are in a negative nitrogen balance, and only catabolism (muscle wastage) can result.
If all is equal, the best you can do is maintain muscle. (1)
Nitrogen balance compares the amount of nitrogen coming into the body (from dietary protein) to the amount being lost.
If you’re consuming more than you’re losing, you’re in positive nitrogen balance – gaining muscle
If you’re losing more than you’re consuming, you’re in negative nitrogen balance – losing muscle
If you’re consuming the same amount of nitrogen that you’re losing, you’re in equilibrium – maintaining muscle
Studies have shown that you actually don’t need to consume an exorbitant amount of protein in order to have a positive nitrogen balance
So, how much protein do you really need?
Many people believe that at least 1 g of protein/lb bodyweight is necessary to retain and put on muscle; however, studies have shown that much less than 1 gram/lb bodyweight is necessary
Many review papers have concluded 0.82g/lb is the upper limit at which protein intake benefits body composition
However, one study found no differences in muscle mass or strength gains in bodybuilders consuming either 0.61g/lb or 1.19g/lb over a 4-week period.
Based on nitrogen balance data, the authors recommended 0.75g/lb .
Another study found no differences in body composition, strength or resting hormonal concentrations in strength athletes consuming either 0.77g/lb or 0.91g/lb over a 3 month period.
If you train hard and/or are cutting
If you still think you need more than 0.82g/lb because you think you train harder than these test subjects, you don’t. Lemon (1992) studied bodybuilders training 1.5 hours per day, 6 days per week and still concluded 0.75g/lb is the highest intake at which body composition benefits could occur.
And lastly, one study looked at cutting weightlifters and they still found 0.73g/lb was sufficient to maintain lean body mass. (2)
Excess Protein Side Effects
When people eat too much protein, they take in more nitrogen than they need. This places a strain on the kidneys, which must expel the extra nitrogen through urine.
People with kidney disease are encouraged to eat low-protein diets. Such a diet reduces the excess levels of nitrogen and can also help prevent kidney disease.
Osteoporosis and Kidney Stones
Diets that are rich in animal protein cause people to excrete more calcium than normal through their kidneys and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Countries with lower-protein diets have lower rates of osteoporosis and hip fractures.
Increased calcium excretion increases risk for kidney stones. Researchers in England found that when people added about 5 ounces of fish (about 34 grams of protein) to a normal diet, the risk of forming urinary tract stones increased by as much as 250 percent (3)
1) Positive Nitrogen Balance – BM. (n.d.). Retrieved from
2) The Myth of 1 g/lb: Optimal Protein Intake for Bodybuilders. (n.d.). Retrieved from
3) The Protein Myth | The Physicians Committee. (n.d.). Retrieved from
4) High-Protein Diets Cause Dehydration. (n.d.). Retrieved from n