Response To Farcical Fox News Report : 'Protein Has A Lot Of Fat In It'

Overdosing on Protein...what are peoples opinions on this? Well, before that it might be prudent to start with the facts! Protein, like any other nutritional component, has its toxic levels and recommendations, you might see these recommended levels written as Recommended Daily Intakes (RDI), Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), Dietary Reference Values (DRV), Estimated Average Requirement (EAR), Lower Reference Nutrient Intake (LRNI), Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI), and a Safe intake. The 'Safe intake' as its known is indicative of an intake, or range of intakes of a nutrient for which there is not enough info to come up with an RNI (amount of a nutrient such as protein that is enough, or more than enough for at least 97% of the population), EAR (Average requirement for the population) and LRNI (the amount of a nutrient that is enough for only a small amount of people with low needs). So you see, there are a number of terms used to describe the recommended intakes for a nutrient, and consequently the subject of 'protein requirements' is NOT a straightforward one. Protein requirements depend on a plethora of factors including gender, height and weight, age and a persons overall medical state, so a title that reads 'It is possible to overdose on protein' is somewhat of a sweeping one.

Current Governmental Protein Requirements

This might come as a bit of a shock to most, but current governmental recommendations for protein is in fact 44- 55g protein per day for an average 75kg male aged between 19-50 years. These figures are of course very low, and far too low to meet the requirements of many (especially gym goers), but the Doctor does only state current recommendations. However he seems to lose some credibility from the outset when he says that 'protein has a lot of fat in it'....errrmm, benefit of the doubt here, i'm hoping he means some protein sources can have a lot of fat in (such as the fried breakfasts Fox were adamant on showing), which would be true, but his answer to the question on protein shakes was side stepped and not answered at all!

In his defense...

Regarding the low protein recommendations he gives, he does follow it up at the end by saying people performing aerobic exercise, resistance work, and some elderly people may need more than these low recommendations to sustain their requirements. The problem that this guy had was that he starts off with a clanger (the protein is high fat comment), and so from there on people are on the defense. However, he also alludes to protein increasing the risk of osteoarthritis etc because of increased calcium output, this has been hypothesised in a few research projects but the findings have been largely inconclusive, so without a valid met-analysis of some sort the Doctor has no business making such an assertion.

In conclusion

All in all, the Doctor raises a valid point...too much of anything can be toxic, but he gives no figure for what this level of protein may be, or indeed how you could go about structuring your protein intake. Scaremongering is a shame, raising awareness of a possible health risk is applaudable, but if you're going to do it, then at least do it right!

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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