Is a High Protein Diet Bad For You? Part 3

Current nutritional guidelines recommend we eat 0.8g of protein per kilogram bodyweight. I weigh 64.5kg (142lbs), meaning that I should be eating about 52g of protein per day. To put into perspective how easy this is, the Walmart chicken breast I ate for lunch contains close to 50g of protein!

See where I’m going with this?

The truth is that even without supplementation, the majority of us will have no trouble meeting our daily “recommended” protein requirements with our normal 3+ meals. This begs the question, what happens if I exceed my recommended daily intake? Is too much protein bad for you?

I recently debunked 2 of the biggest myths associated with high protein diets; increased risk of developing kidney disease (click here) and deterioration of our bones (click here). A third major concern is the development of cardiovascular disease.

Where does this concern originate?

  1. Diets rich in protein are usually accompanied by high saturated fat and cholesterol intakes.
  2. Also, countries with low rates of ischemic heart disease tend to have low protein intakes.

Is there any merit to this claim?

High Protein Diet Myths Part 3: High Protein Diets Increase Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Once again, there does not seem to be any actual strong human evidence that links increased protein intake with CVD (trials in rabbits and rats have found negative impact of high animal versus plant protein consumption). In fact, replacing carbohydrates with protein in human diets has been found to lower LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride concentrations and actually increase HDL (good) cholesterol.

In a prospective study of over 80,000 women, a higher protein intake was actually associated with a slight decreased risk of ischemic heart disease after a 14 year follow-up period. This data is in accordance with other research showing improved blood lipid profiles after replacing high carbohydrate diets with high protein, assuming calories are kept the same of course. In addition, studies have reported either neutral or positive effects of high protein diets on cholesterol in humans.

In summary, it does not appear that eating large amounts of protein every day in an attempt to build muscle or lose weight negatively impacts any of the following:

  1. Kidney Health
  2. Bone Health
  3. Risk of CVD

Continue on including lots of protein from a variety of sources, both animal and plant, in your diet worry-free!

If you have any inquires stop into SST today and talk with a very knowledgeable coach about healthy ways to start eating more protein without gaining weight. Also, try our amazing RESULTS ORIENTED Butts & Guts boot camp and email me directly for a complimentary nutrition assessment.

Chris Anderi

Head Strength Performance Coach SST Burlington

MSc candidate, Physiology & Nutrition