Is eating a high protein diet safe for your kidneys, liver and heart? Here’s what the latest research has to say on the topic.
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Research on high protein diets and safety:
Latest one from Jose Antonio: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jnme/2016/9104792/
Protein and amino acid requirements in human nutrition – World Health Organization Report http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/nutrientrequirements/WHO_TRS_935/en/
There’s been a decent amount of research on high protein intakes and so far what we can say is that: In the context that you have healthy kidneys, liver and heart there’s no negative health effects from a higher protein intake in your diet.
Moreover, high protein diets don’t cause damage to kidneys, liver or heart in healthy individuals.
Latest research from Jose Antonio and his team has shown that over a year long period even going up to 3.3 grams per kg in daily protein intake is completely fine.
It’s great to have such a long study looking at active individuals and athletes as these are the populations that will most likely aim for a higher protein intake.
Sadly, there’s still a lot of myths out there and a lot of sources claiming that high protein diets are harmful for health. Individuals claiming that high protein diets are harmful for health often quote observational research and fall into the trap of a confirmation bias through weak correlations present in this research.
Claims that high protein diets cause damaging health effects are not supported by the current body of evidence looking at the randomized controlled trials we have available.
If you’re someone who has health issues related to kidneys and impaired renal function it’s a good idea to consult with a registered dietitian about your protein intake.
However, in the context that you’re a healthy individual following a healthy diet plan there’s no evidence suggesting that you should worry about increasing your protein intake.
As a general recommendation, anywhere in the range of 2-3 grams per kg of Fat Free Mass or about 1 – 1.2 grams per lbs of FFM in protein per day is a good target to aim at if you’re interested in maximizing muscle growth and lean muscle retention.
If you’re looking to get getting shredded one of the best sources for protein intake is the review by Eric Helms over at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24092765
Final note: If your goal is to build muscle it’s a good idea to base the majority of your protein intake on high quality sources rich in the amino acid leucine.
A good target to aim at is a minimum of 25-30 grams of high quality protein per serving which would yield about 2-3 grams of leucine.
For those on a plant-based diet a great source of leucine is powdered pea protein.
As always, post your questions in the comments below.
Talk soon, Mario
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