How Safe Are Protein Drinks And Powders?

From the May 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Q. I went to the gym and started working with a personal trainer. He advocated I eat more protein and advised I consume about 150 grams of protein a day, including the use of protein drinks with whey protein. Is this advisable?

A. Unfortunately, most trainers and bodybuilders are influenced by what they read in exercise and bodybuilding magazines. This is worse than getting nutritional information from comic books. Look through any current bodybuilding magazine; what are the vast majority of advertisements selling? Supplements! Most of the pages in these magazines are devoted to pushing worthless powders and pills. Supplement companies slant the opinions of the magazine article writers. The articles in the magazines are geared to support their advertisers.

Our entire society is on a protein binge, brainwashed with misinformation that we have been hearing since childhood. The educational materials used in most schools have been provided free by the meat, dairy, and egg industries for more than seventy years. These industries have successfully lobbied the government, resulting in favorable laws, subsidies, and advertising propaganda that promote corporate profits at the expense of national health. As a result, Americans have been programmed with dangerous information.

Proteins are made up of amino acids, and help build muscles, blood, skin, hair, nails, and internal organs. There are twenty amino acids required for growth by the human body, and all but eight can be produced in an adult body.


These eight amino acids are called essential amino acids and must be supplied by the foods we eat. The twelve “non-essential” amino acids are manufactured within the body, but both essential and non-essential amino acids are necessary for the synthesis of tissue proteins. Almost all Americans get more than enough protein each day.

Protein myths at work

The average American consumes about fifty percent more protein than the recommended daily amount. Yet we often see—in addition to misinformed athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and bodybuilders—businessmen and women, homemakers, and those seeking to lose weight turning to protein powders, drinks, and nutritional bars in their quest for even more protein.

It is true that resistance training and endurance workouts can break down muscle protein and increase our need for protein to fuel repair and growth. But the increased need of protein is proportional to the increased need for calories burned with the exercise. As your appetite increases, you increase your caloric intake accordingly, and your protein intake increases proportionally. If you meet those increased caloric demands from heavy exercise with an ordinary assortment of natural plant foods—vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts, which contain more than 50 grams of protein per 1000 calories—you will get the precise amount of extra protein you need.

Plant proteins
A typical assortment of vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains supplies about 50 grams of protein per 1000 calories. Keep in mind, green vegetables are almost fifty percent protein, and when you eat more vegetables it does not promote cancer or heart disease, like it does when you increase consumption of animal products. Plus, the additional calories from plant food will give you much more than just protein; they will supply you with the antioxidants that can protect against the increased free radicals generated by the exercise.

Whey too much protein
Consider that the maximum muscle mass the human body can typically add in one week is about one pound. That is the upper limit of the muscle fiber’s capacity to make protein into muscle; any protein beyond that is simply converted to fat. It also is not necessarily advisable to gain a pound of muscle per week. Although athletes have a greater protein requirement than sedentary individuals, this is easily obtained through the diet. The use of protein supplements is not merely a waste of money, it is unhealthy.

Studies on supplemental amino acid consumption have not supported claims that such supplementation increases growth hormone or provides other touted benefits. In fact, increased whey protein added to the diet of rats increased tumors and cancers.

Little safety assurance
Nutritional supplements can be marketed without FDA approval of safety or effectiveness. Athletes who choose to ingest these supplements should be concerned with the safety of long-term use. They are low-nutrient, low-fiber, highly-processed, high-calorie “foods,” whose consumption reduces the phytochemical density of your diet.

Ingesting more protein than your body needs is not a small matter. It ages you prematurely and can cause significant harm. The excess protein you do not use is not stored by your body as protein; it is converted to fat or eliminated via the kidneys. Eliminating excess nitrogen via your urine leaches calcium and other minerals from your bones and breeds kidney stones.

Bad amino acid trips
Vegetable foods are alkaline. Animal products are acidic foods that require a huge output of hydrochloric acid from the stomach for digestion. This acid tide in the blood after a high-protein meal requires an equally strong basic response by the body to neutralize the acid. The dietary-derived acid load from high-protein animal foods must be buffered, and to do that your bones dissolve and release phosphates and calcium. The alkaline phosphate then buffers the acid. This is a primary step in bone loss that leads to osteoporosis. High salt intake also contributes to flushing your bone mass down the toilet bowl. Excessive stimulation of bone turnover also causes an increase in bone breakdown and remodeling, which can lead to osteoarthritis and calcium deposits in other tissues. The presence of this bone material in the urinary tract also lays the foundation for calcium-based kidney stones.

Exercise—not extra protein—builds strength, denser bones, and bigger muscles. When you artificially stimulate growth through overfeeding and excessive animal product consumption, you may achieve a heightened body mass index unobtainable by other means, but you will add fat to your body as well. Let me remind you that higher body mass index, even if that additional body mass is a mixture of extra muscle and fat, is a strong indicator of premature death.

Racing to the grave
Out of more than 600 Olympic athletes on the East German 1964 Olympic team, fewer than 10 are still alive today. Promoting muscular growth with supplements and steroids doesn’t seem too wise in that context. Excessive body mass, and even excessive muscular development, gained by gorging on high-protein animal products is a risk factor for heart attacks and other diseases later in life.

Measuring relative physical size is not a good way to measure health. Health must be judged by measuring strength per body weight, resistance to serious illnesses, longevity potential, and maintenance of useful vigor into your later years.
Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (64) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
row - October 9, 2006 9:31 PM

this was a excellent post

Jeremy - January 16, 2007 9:42 PM

So what about soy based protein powders sweetened with sucralose? They're low calories and plant-based.

Bob - May 10, 2007 4:19 PM

I'm not buying what you're selling, literally. Check out the link at the top of the article on where it is being published. Once you go there you cannot read anything until you pay the $35 joining fee.Not to mention i'm sure this website gets commission for re-directing us readers to that site. How can you prove science wrong that has been taught for years at the university level? I am a personal trainer so I take offense to the fact that you state that "we" look to bodybuilding magazines for answer to help our clients with. Most perosnal trainers do not make money\commsion on selling supplements but yet we make a career on helping people achieve their goals. So have PT's been wrong over that last 40 yrs or so? That is like me calssifying Doctor Furhman as if he got his degree "online". Most of the information you have written is correct, on the amino acids you are RIGHT ON!. Supplements are exactly what they are called, "supplements", a supplement is defined as to make up for a deficiency. Generally personal trainers recommend 1g of protein per pound of body weight, this is due to your'e body cannot digest every single gram of protein, and like you stated earlier it goes into the toilet, so you must have enough protein in ur system to help "supplement" the loss of undigested protein that goes into the toilet. So you do not need 1G of Protein per lb of body weight, but you are trying to get a excess of protein to help offset the amount that goes undigested. Yes magazines and companies do over hype supplements, but please do not state that we get our information from bodybilding magazines.

Rob - June 24, 2007 3:44 PM

I have to agree with Bob here. I have a doctorate in nutrition and I am a supervisor over other Nutritionists and I have to tell you, you lost me at the Protein lobbyists in Washington DC part.

Protein is good for you when taken along with a healthy work out regiment to promote muscle gain and weight loss.

Sounds like the person who wrote this article is misinformed indeed. Also, about the 600 olympic athletes in the 64 Olympics...all I am saying is do a little more research to see what a majority of them died from; Steroids are different than Protein.

Willie - October 29, 2007 7:54 PM

Plain and simple, u r what u eat...

Michelle - November 8, 2007 6:36 PM

What about whey protein drinks. Have you discussed much on the soy alert.

yayo - December 11, 2007 4:13 AM

yeah all of us cannot tolerate eating half a dozen eggs and large bowls of rice, wheat and a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. Have to spend all day eating and preparing it and worse cleaning all the dishes.
Better to maintain a standard diet and take supplements until you reached your potential.
anyway wat consider food like burgers sandwiches, beer, alcohol, red meat n wat not is not healthy anyway. Wats the big diff wid supplements then.

Bob - December 11, 2007 5:03 AM

I don't know why you people would use such a pathetic argument against what this person wrote.
That was full of plenty of logical information; your argument however was vauge and not descptive.

Einstein said "If you can't explain it simply, than you don't understand it well enough."

Lee Davis - December 13, 2007 1:46 PM

Try 1 gram protein per Kilogram per day. Ex Army Airborne, Combat arms field artillery medic, professional and volunteer firefighter/EMT 25 years.What do you do with your big muscles and mighty strength? Navy Seals .6-.8 grams protein per pound!

CONNIE LANKHEET - February 1, 2008 10:14 AM

I THINK THOSE DRINKS AND ALL SUPPLEMENTS SOULD BE CONTROLLED BY THE FDA. TOO MUCH OF THIS IS BEING PUSHED AND IT DRIVES UP HEALTH COST FOR EVERY ONE. THESE DRINKS AND SUPPLEMENTS ARE A REAL DANGER. AND NEED TO BE WATCHED CLOSEY.

Sahel Uddin - February 13, 2008 10:30 AM

protein from supplements contain the amino acids u don't get or loose. Who is this guy anyway?

mike - March 22, 2008 12:00 AM

drink protien shakes if you can't get enough from regular foods or u dont have time to prepare or aquire the food. If Thats not a problem then just have a normal protein filled diet. Simple as that. The author is not you and cannot tell you what you need and don't need. If you still want to take the protein shakes but are skeptical about the effects then consult your physician.

Dan B. - March 24, 2008 10:15 AM

plant food will give you much more than just protein; they will supply you with the antioxidants that can protect against the increased free radicals generated by the exercise....YES THIS IS A TRUE STATEMENT, however, (regular physical exercise enhances the antioxidant defense system and protects against exercise induced free radical damage)Unlike this so called MD, this author provides resources. http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/antiox.html

Jim - May 20, 2008 6:40 PM

Found this article and I believe this is relevant.

People are increasingly concerned about adopting healthier diets. However, many are prevented from necessary changes because of myths about certain nutrients. For example, it is the common wisdom that one should eat ample amounts of meat in order to get adequate protein and large amounts of dairy products in order to get adequate calcium to avoid osteoporosis.

But, please consider the following: Countries with the highest consumption of dairy products, such as the United States, Sweden, and Finland, also have the greatest incidence of female osteoporosis. Eskimos, who consume the highest amounts of calcium of any of the world's people, have the highest number of cases of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis occurs relatively infrequently in China, even though they consume very little milk or other dairy products.

The reason is that people on meat- and dairy- based diets are getting far too much protein, generally 2 to 3 times the amount required, and when the excess protein is excreted, calcium and other minerals are drained from the body. A recent study showed that people getting 1400 milligrams per day of calcium along with about 150 grams of protein had a negative calcium balance of 65 units while people getting only 400 milligrams of calcium per day with only 50 grams of protein had a positive calcium balance of 31 units.

The main problem is the consumption of animal protein; studies have shown that protein from non-animal sources has health benefits. So the answer to preventing osteoporosis is not to consume a lot of dairy products, but to reduce animal protein consumption through a balanced, nutritious diet centered on the "New Four Food Groups": fruits, vegetables (especially broccoli, a very calcium-rich food, without the negatives of animal products), grains, and legumes.

Researchers have found that the consumption of high-fat dairy products is a leading cause of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
• 2% Milk
• Cheese
• Cottage Cheese
• Sour Cream
• Mayo?



While lower-fat dairy products represent an improvement, they are higher in protein, and this contributes to osteoporosis, kidney problems, and some forms of cancer. Dairy products are also the leading culprits in food allergies. Actually, milk is a wonderful product, but it was designed for rapid weight gain in calves. One might wonder if drinking milk is natural to human beings when we recognize that no other mammal on earth consumes the milk of another species or consumes it after a weaning period.

Many plant foods are good sources of calcium. Especially good sources are

• dark leafy greens (such as kale and mustard, collard, and turnip greens)
• broccoli
• beans
• dried figs
• sunflower seeds
• calcium-fortified cereals and juices.

Dairy products are good sources of calcium, but they also contain large amounts of fat and protein.
According to an American Dietary Association paper, vegans (who consume no animal products at all) can obtain the calcium they need from plant foods alone, and studies have shown that vegetarians can absorb and retain more calcium from foods and have lower rates of osteoporosis than non-vegetarians.
The question most frequently asked of vegetarians is "How do you get enough protein?" However, the amount of protein that a person needs (as a percent of total calories) is actually relatively low: 4.5%, according to the World Health Organization of the United Nations, 6%, according to the Food and Nutrition Board of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, and 8%, according to the U. S. National Research Council. It is extremely significant that during infancy, the period when humans have the most rapid growth, mother's breast milk provides only 5% of its calories as protein.
Adequate protein can easily be obtained from vegetarian, even vegan (no animal products at all) diets. Protein is found in most plant foods as well as in animal foods. Potatoes, for example have 11% of their calories from protein, and spinach has 49%.
While an average working man needs about 37 grams of protein per day. 3,000 calories of rice alone would provide 60 grams of highly usable protein (for 3,000 calories of potatoes, 80 grams of protein would be provided). It is almost impossible not to get adequate protein, even on a plant-based diet, providing that one is getting enough calories and consumes a reasonable variety of foods. If this is true, how is it that we have gone so far wrong and so many people think that getting sufficient protein is a major dietary concern. The reason is that much of our nutrition information has come from experiments on rats, and rats require far more protein than humans do, as seen from the fact that a rat mother's milk has almost 50% of its calories from protein.
Consuming excessive amounts of protein can seriously damage human health. As indicated, it can result in a negative calcium balance and osteoporosis, because calcium and other minerals are lost in the urine, along with the excess protein.
Calcium lost due to high protein diets must be handled by the kidneys, which contributes to the formation of painful kidney stones. Excess protein causes destruction of kidney tissue and progressive deterioration of kidney function. Many people in affluent societies have lost 75 percent of their kidney function by the eighth decade of their lives. Extra kidney capacity enables the kidney to carry out its function in otherwise healthy people, but for people who suffer from additional diseases related to the kidney, such as diabetes, surgical loss, or injury from toxic substances, damage due to the excess protein may be fatal. When people with partial loss or damage to their kidneys are placed on low-protein diets, they are able to maintain much of their remaining kidney function.
People on meat-based diets not only get excessive protein, but also large amounts of
® Hormones
® fat
® Cholesterol
® Pesticides
® Antibiotics
® and other harmful ingredients that place major burdens on the consumer's kidneys, liver, and digestive system.
Do vegetarians have to "complement" proteins, that is, get a combination of different foods containing proteins, to make sure that they get complete protein? This was a theory first advocated by Frances Moore Lappe, who mistakenly argued in the first edition of her very influential book, Diet for a Small Planet , that vegetarians should combine proteins in order to get the same "protein value" as meat. However, nutritionists no longer agree with that theory. The American Dietary Association stated in its 1992 paper, "Eating Well - The Vegetarian Way", "Vegetarians do not need to combine specific foods within a meal as the old 'complementary protein' theory advised. The paper states: "The body makes its own complete proteins if a variety of plant foods - fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds - and enough calories are eaten during the day." Even Frances Moore Lappe agreed with this assessment in later editions of her book.
In summary, more and more scientific studies are finding that the best health results are obtained by shifting to completely plant diets, rather than shifting from red meat to poultry, dairy, and other animal products.

James Blackburn - May 20, 2008 6:52 PM

Another very relevant article.

Protein Overview
There are nine amino acids that must be supplied by our food intake. Out of more than 20 identified, our bodies cannot manufacture these and thus protein restriction will have its consequences

The body will only use the precise amount of protein it needs. The rest will be excreted in the urine and excess amount may even cause liver and kidney strain. It can also cause an increase in calcium loss in the urine as well as dehydration.


Protein

It's estimated that over 50 % of the dry weight of your body is protein. Proteins are everywhere in the body - in muscle, bone, brain cells, blood cells, genetic matter, skin, hair, fingernails, etc.

Constant processes of repair and renewal takes place inside our bodies with the aid of protein. Maintenance, repair and growth of body tissue is accomplished by the digestion of protein into subunits called amino acids. In this form these amino acids can enter cells where, following instruction from DNA, they can be synthesized into new proteins as is needed. Protein is therefore essential for healthy living.

There are nine amino acids that must be supplied by our food intake. Out of more than 20 identified, our bodies cannot manufacture these and thus protein restriction will have its consequences. Some specific proteins require these amino acids to synthesize and failure to provide them results in muscle breakdown and other protein functions named earlier. Muscle breakdown is detrimental to weight loss.

Protein cannot be stored and needs to be replenished daily. Muscle wasting can occur if protein intake is inadequate as it may be needed for more important body functions. However, most people eat more than they need in terms of protein. The train of though that strength athletes followed is that the more material you supply the body the more it will build. That is not true. The body will only use the precise amount of protein it needs. The rest will be excreted in the urine and excess amount may even cause liver and kidney strain. It can also cause an increase in calcium loss in the urine as well as dehydration.

Studies done with strength trainers and aerobic trainers alike have concluded that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 0.8g per kilogram of body weight is too low for serious exercisers. Higher dosages have produced more strength gains than control groups and less muscle wasting in endurance exercise or rigorous strength training. But these are people who strength train 4 times per week and/or participate in aerobic exercise sessions lasting 60 to 90 minutes three times a week.

Beginners and even intermediate exercisers generally should not follow increased protein intake, being brainwashed by protein advertisements. The only way to build muscle is to stimulate it through exercise. Research shows that even on RDA of protein strength trainers built muscle as well as those on twice the amount (1). This is because the protein utilization increased in efficiency and exemplifies on how the body adapts to what is available.

The most concentrated sources of protein come from flesh sources like beef, chicken, turkey and fish. High protein diets should be avoided, especially from animal sources as they are usually high in fat, cholesterol and linked to early disease and death. Protein in animal and dairy foods should be avoided as they are high is saturated fats and cholesterol. Better sources are egg whites, legumes like beans, soy products, and grains. Poultry, fish and low fat dairy products should be used as optional protein sources.

Protein along with fats, are the building materials of the body. Therefore you must authorize construction by stimulating the body through physical activity like exercise. If you don't, minimal amounts of these foods should be eaten. Too much building material and not enough work inevitably cause a deposit which will inevitably contribute to weight gain. But perhaps the worst part is that these foods, (proteins and fats) are not the ideal storage foods as excess can contribute to heart disease, cancers and early death.

Richard Mullen - June 3, 2008 7:01 AM

I agree with author. Excess protien taxes the liver and kidneys. High meat diets increase acid in blood. Our blood is meant to be slightly alkaline.

That said, Bhuddha has a great piece of advice: "Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense".

There is a protien lobby in the American Dairy Association and several meat producing lobbies. Many magazine articles in print and electronic are supported by such interests. Not everything they present is wrong but it should be considered and some research done before jumping on the bandwagon.

From reading the posts, we all have one thing in common. We are searching for optimum health. Good luck and keep seeking!

Tony - July 20, 2008 3:46 AM

All you protein haters get a life. I am 190lbs SOLID, lift heavy weights 5 days a week, and swim and run hard and fast the other two days. I got 6th place in a recent 5k run at my college, competing with the school runners. I have a PERFECT blood test, physical, great sex life. I consume at least 220 grams of whey protein isolate everday (my main daily protein source), along with complex carbs (mostly oatmeal). I blend the oatmeal up into a powder in a blender, and put in about 30 grams of protein with about 60 grams of the oatmeal powder into sandwich bags to take on the go-just add water. I consume this every 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours everyday. I am 29 but look 18, and have been eating like this for about 4 years. I will live to my 100's with my diet. I speak from experience, not from what I think I know. And to the army guy who wants to talk crap up there, I bet I will outperform you in any physical tests you want to try; pushups, pullups, running, swimming, benchpress, deadlift, squats, etc., etc. Thank you for serving my country and fellow citizens, but try to put me down for eating more protein and being stronger than you are.

chris sullivan - July 31, 2008 11:04 AM

you are a fraud! What builds muscle and what are do most american neglect to put in their system due to hectic lifestyles? It would be nice to get all your protein sources from whole foods but for most its not realiticly possible. If this person was getting 150 strictly from supplements it would be one thing. THINK REAL WORLD DOC!

isaiah miller - September 10, 2008 3:06 PM

What do they call the doctor that graduated bottom of his class? They call him doctor. Just because a doctor writes something doesnt mean it is truth. A doctor of family medicine can write an article about brain surgery and would still read by So and So MD. And the fact that olympians are dead means that protein and building muscle is to blame? Yeah way to jump wildly to conclusions doc. WAY TO GO

Dan Reese - September 23, 2008 3:26 PM

I terms of normal use, WHEY is safe to consume. although, I would be against eating too much of anything.

Here's a good source - DR. Andrew Weil on Whey ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Q
Whey Better Protein?
Why does your eight-week program advocate soy vs. whey protein? From my experience, whey protein is easier to digest and promotes energy before and/or after my daily workouts.
A
Answer (Published 3/19/2003)

Updated 3/30/2005

My eight-week program (My Optimum Health Plan) encourages the use of soy foods as an excellent source of protein and as substitutes for animal foods, many of which are loaded with unhealthy saturated fats. In addition to the protein they provide, soy foods also contain healthy fat and isoflavones - unusual compounds that may offer significant protection against cancer (particularly hormonally driven malignancies such as breast and prostate cancers).
Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Healthy Eating - Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Nutrition - Want to change your diet? The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide is your anti-inflammatory diet headquarters. Start your free trial and get access to an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, hundreds of recipes, eating guides, and more.

Whey is one of two dairy proteins. The other is casein, which can irritate the immune system and stimulate mucus production, worsening allergy symptoms. This reaction to casein is why milk consumption is associated with recurrent childhood ear infections, eczema, chronic bronchitis, asthma and sinus conditions. People who have autoimmune diseases or digestive problems may find that their symptoms improve when they eliminate milk and milk products.
advertisement

Whey protein constitutes about 20 percent of total milk protein (the rest being casein) and is separated out from casein and increasingly isolated to make the various whey protein products now on the market (everything from powders to various drinks and protein bars). If you're lactose intolerant - that is, if you develop digestive symptoms after eating dairy products - you may or may not have problems with whey protein products depending on the amount of lactose they contain. And if you're allergic to milk protein, it is important to know whether the troublemaker is casein or whey before using whey protein products.

My feeling is that if you have an individual preference for whey protein and suffer no ill effects from its use, there's no reason why you shouldn't continue with it. You don't say whether you're using whey as a protein supplement or substitute. As a rule, I discourage use of protein supplements of any kind (including soy) because most of us eat too much protein anyway, even if we work out with weights. Incorporating soy protein into the diet as a substitute for animal protein remains a healthy change I would like to see more people make.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Ben - October 4, 2008 11:08 PM

This article kind of reminds of of what naysayers used to say about weight based on BMI charts. They used to freak people out by showing them to be in the "obese" range until they realized that BMI does not really apply to athletes and esp people who do heavy weight lifting.

And in all fairness this author does seem to allude to the fact that athletes and weight lifters do grade their protein intake by a different standard. However, he seems to say that for these people, that they can get their protein through natural foods. I somewhat agree that if you can get your nutrition through natural foods, more power to you. However, if you take a look at this little Protein Sources chart and try to realize how much food you are actually consuming for those 59g of protein (e.g. try imagining 2 cups of beans and another cup of rice - do you realize how much that is right there??), I would much rather down a quick shake and get all of that in a tall glass.

The other things that sort of disturb me are some of the generalizations and other statements he makes where he can paint an entire industry as being less than credible and even downright nefarious in their agenda:

"Unfortunately, most trainers and bodybuilders are influenced by what they read in exercise and bodybuilding magazines. This is worse than getting nutritional information from comic books."

- Hmmm, painting some broad strokes there, aren't you Joel? Maybe getting a tad bit on the arrogant side perhaps...

"Out of more than 600 Olympic athletes on the East German 1964 Olympic team, fewer than 10 are still alive today. "

- I like this one the best. If you take any 600 people that was around 25 yrs old back in 1964, that would make them, hmmm ... 80 yrs old today. Gee, I wonder why they would be dying off like that in such alarming, inordinate rates?

mike - October 20, 2008 12:44 AM

politics tell you whats right in their opinion exactly their way."who cares" as long as you eat healthy in general even natural animal fats you should be in great shape. and adding that post of olympic swimers dying because of "steriods" and not natural foods is just adding more confusion and scaring health consious people of how they should run their diet is wrong. get more facts!

Ray - November 6, 2008 12:07 PM

What a hack! Really? Proof that protein drinks / powders are not safe can be linked to the East German athletes use of protein supplements and steroids. This piece can count as one of the most irresponsible pieces about protein supplements regardless of the other truths and facts it offers. Dear sir, what do you think happens if you take your healthy multivitamin supplement with a glass of Drano?

Steve - November 26, 2008 4:32 PM

Hey BEN:Olympic Athletes

1964-2008. 44 years + 25 years= 69 Years old today.
Pretty young for only 1.7% still being alive.

Moron.

Shawn - December 20, 2008 1:01 AM

Based on the author's viewpoints, I have to agree that he is reliable. For instance, he was able to point out that exercise generates free radicles and that anti oxidants are required to counter balance this effect.
But regarding the use of protein supplements in the form of shakes and powders, it is imperative to understand that results can be seen in the short term - they do work very well. However, because of the fact the body gained so much protein in the form of muscles, it also means it loses it very quickly when there is a lack of exercise. Thats when you see incredibly buff men in their twneties and thirties become unimaginably fat in their forties and so forth.
That becomes a source for age related health diseases.

Cindy B - January 20, 2009 2:59 PM

thank you to everyone who commented on this article. I love seeing all the differences and similarities. I have been on the protein band wagon for years. I have even split up my protein drinks from the Whey during pre workout and the casein protein for evening and quick fill up drink times. Although I must tell you since reading a complete different article about plant protein I quit all whey/casein protein and no beef at all in my food intake. I eat tuna (only canned in water with NOthing else added in the can) ya hafta read the can watch out...alot of tuna makers put a broth into the mix...(why?!)- chicken but only real chicken not canned or stuff that has been frzn with 15% added broth...real chicken I have to prepare. Even pre packaged chicken breasts if you are not careful are loaded with 15% added crap you don't ask for...so I am sure to buy real, 100% chicken, usually from a farmer cause I live in the back land of kansas I can.
I am here to tell you who care, since I am not loading with the proteins I feel so much lighter, stronger and cleaner thinking! I am like mentioned above having to eat a lot more to get my protein in my beans, green veggies, egg whites, etc but I have never ran so much faster and longer since I have cleaned out! I run 2 to 3 miles each morning just for a warm up to the day. I attend karate 3 nights a week and hit the gym and do HEAVY weight lifting 4 nights a week. I am 47 years old. My job is a desk job so that is a no calorie just brains.
I am telling you. If you load protein like I did, stop and just try the other for a couple weeks. Then YOU decide what is RIGHT for YOU. I love all the angles we have and choices we are able to attain ...but takes some brains to choose or not to choose.......that is the question.
happy health workouts to all of you-and kick ass!

Ryan - January 30, 2009 11:01 PM

So, after reading all this I have a couple questions. So if I am going to be a pro bodybuilder and I am lifting weights 6 days a week for an hour a day, then how much protein is exactly safe for me?, I get about 150grams per day which is not that much compared to some other guys, but I am carrying alot of muscle mass, is it still not safe? I get my protein from mostly fish and chicken and I have steak once a week. Any knowlegable advice for my situation?, I dont want to sacrifice my health to make a living bodybuilding.

Richard - February 13, 2009 8:38 AM

Looks like Dr. Fuhrman is a pretty credible source. For all of you Dr. haters.

matt - March 8, 2009 5:45 PM

Its very simple -

Too much of anything is bad: protein, water, vitamins, oxygen, etc

As is too little of something of course.

You need to eat more to gain weight, eat less to lose weight, eat as much as you burn to maintain weight. Of course you need to eat the right foods, the more natural the better.

But don't get sucked in to the arguements. The reason why nothing is conclusive is because of the data used to formulate opinion. You will always find evidence for and evidence against. Protein supplements ARE just that - supplements.

Rus - March 18, 2009 10:22 PM

Usually the industry that says you need to do something to get something means there's a profit involved. Do you think industry really gives a damn about the people? The companys make the money and if saying you need it helps the sales then why not? There's a reason America suffers from high death rates and over obese people. Ever wonder why America has the most cancer cases? Hmm think about it

Rachel - July 10, 2009 6:03 PM

Looks like there a lot of ignorant people on here and who refuse to listen to Doctors advice.. go ahead then if you think you know better and see what it will do to you eventually. You may feel great now, but it slowly creeps on you and then its too late, suffer the ill effects of too much protein, supplements.. especially the powder shakes are unhealthy..they cause plaque in the arteries as it gets built up in the joints as well, and you get arthritis, and other health problems that are irreversable.
My brother was really into fitness and training for years and he supplemented his diet with the powder whey shakes and now at only 28 years old has developed GOUT, RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS and sometimes hes in so much pain he cant walk. He thought he was on top of the world and was a know it all and now look...hes suffering. I also know others who have ruined there health from supplementing too much.
So eating a diet high in protein is not the answer, its eat everything in moderation and exercise. Perhaps getting certain vitamins and minerals is a better choice. Get your protein from food instead! or beware!

Becky - July 13, 2009 11:29 AM

Joel,

Thank you so much for taking the time to post this article. I found it a very astute commentary that was consistent with what the top geneticists and nutritionist are finding in the most modern studies. It was very helpful in answering one of my questions.

I'm sorry to see there were so many uninformed individuals who responded emotionally.

Bryan - December 10, 2009 9:39 PM

Lets use some God given logic! In the animal kingdom the largest, strongest, longest living animals, are guess what? Vegetarians! IE elephants, Giraffes, Hippopotamus, Rhino etc.. How do they get there PROTEIN???? Go tell an elephant "If you want bigger muscles you have to buy protein shakes!!" I don't even have to ask a Doctor about this one!! Eat what they eat: Dark green Leafy Vegetables! Your body will know what to do with it!!

James - December 13, 2009 3:16 AM

Well Bryan, there are problems with trying to gain weight by copying herbivores such as the elephant. It is that we simply can't maintain our weight by eating nothing but vegetables. There is just not enough calories. We don't eat like elephants. So we can either get our calories from grains, starches, or meats.

I'll try and sum up the issue. People like Dr. Fuhrman suggest that a plant based diet is the best option for health. This comes in sharp contrast with what people, particularly in the "strength" sports have come to believe over the decades. Which is that since muscle is made of protein, it follows that one must eat lots of it if they wish to increase muscle mass. But causation is not the same as correlation. It could be that the strength athletes who have succeeded, have succeeded in spite of their dietary preferences. Or it could not. Can tens of thousands of athletes be wrong? Yes. And they also can be right. The burden of proof is always on the one making the claim. Strength athletes claim that protein is essential to their success as athletes. But the proof is mostly anecdotal. Such as our friend Tony up a few posts. As for non anecdotal proof, Peter lemon suggests strength athletes increase protein intake beyond the RDA. He recommends around ~1.7g/kg. But not all agree with him. Such as Stuart Phillips.

Here is a debate between John Berardi Ph.D. and Stuart Phillips Ph.D.

http://www.johnberardi.com/articles/nutrition/protein_debate.htm

John Berardi offers popular advice to weight lifters and athletes. I think he is a good example of athletic mainstream nutrition information. I don't know very much about Stuart Phillips. But he makes some good arguments against high protein that are worth taking note of.

http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/?page=bio_avi

This here is the only profile on veganbodybuilding.com that I find has any useful information. The man has been a vegan for a long time and eats a very simple diet and trains for strength using the "basics" as they are called. Squats, deadlifts, bench presses etc.

So, does anyone want to continue this discussion further?

Lou - January 7, 2010 10:08 PM

James made the comment that Dr. Fuhrman suggested a "plant based diet is the best option for health". But then James went on to say that this contradicts what athletes have come to believe (the need for increased protein). With all due respect James, I disagree with that point. The doctor clearly stated "It is true that resistance training and endurance workouts can break down muscle protein and increase our need for protein to fuel repair and growth".

In my opinion, you are making an incorrect comparison that a lot of the other posts have made. Dr. Furhman's intention was not to outline a diet designed to provide optimal athletic performance or optimal exercise recovery. So comparing his claim to what works for athletes is comparing two issues, optimal health and optimal performance. As you said, he's giving the "healthiest" option for increased protein intake not the most beneficial method for athletes.

The doctor states that increased exercise requires increased protein intake. He then gives us the "healthiest" way to increase protein intake without taxing the liver and kidneys. The doctor's claim that excess protein intake can damage the kidneys and drain the body of calcium is not his opinion, it's a fact. That doesn't mean that taking protein supplements is not beneficial from a performance perspective. It simply means that the excess protein, protein not utilized for building muscle, will damage the kidneys, liver, etc...because the body has to get rid of it.

Tony's points are just silly and since he didn't mind being blunt I'll do the same. To state that excessive protein intake isn't harmful because a 29 year old takes protein supplements and is a good athlete is ridiculous. Tony, the doctor didn't say that excessive protein intake would cause your kidneys to stop working immediately and you would fall over dead. I would not expect the blood work of a 29 year old to show kidney problems regardless of the protein intake. In addition, just because you take a protein supplement that doesn't mean there is a lot of excess protein in your diet. The doctors statements that removing "excess" protein from the diet is harmful on your body isn't proven to be incorrect because someone takes a protein supplement and runs a fast 5k and does a lot of pushups. I hope you didn't finish college yet.
BTW, I too take protein supplements so I'm not a "protein hater" as you put it...I just hate silly comments.

James - January 10, 2010 4:04 PM

Lou

I didn't say that Dr Fuhrman said athletes don't need extra protein. I said "...one must eat lots of it if they wish to increase muscle mass." "it" being protein.

When you said "The doctor clearly stated "It is true that resistance training and endurance workouts can break down muscle protein and increase our need for protein to fuel repair and growth"."

The next sentence reads

"But the increased need of protein is proportional to the increased need for calories burned with the exercise."

So you see there is still a divide. On the one hand you have people who think that they need to have at least 1 gram per pound of bodyweight in protein and have it of "high" quality in the form of meats in order to build muscle or be athletic. On the other hand you have people like Dr. Fuhrman who oppose such a view.

Secondly this statement

"...Dr. Furhman's intention was not to outline a diet designed to provide optimal athletic performance or optimal exercise recovery."

According to what he wrote his diet can provide optimal athletic preformance. So long as the caloric needs of the athlete are being met. Do you see any problems with this? I think I may be missing something here.

Aaron - January 27, 2010 3:55 PM

this is BULL the doctor obviously does not know about exercising or building muscle just what he chooses to believe. protein builds muscle after exercise no protein no muscle. also one thing nobody ever mentions water lots of water to flush out toxins from food,air, or from where ever toxins get in your system.

Pete - February 5, 2010 3:11 PM

An interesting array of comments..I must say. I got a chuckle out of Tony's remarks above. If you study the early physical culturist,bodybuilders,weightlifters etc. you'll find the majority of them never made it beyond the age of 75. They exercised, had relatively healthy diets and yet they didn't live extraodinarily longer. There's not many of them that made it into their 90's and beyond. Was it really worth spending alot of their time exercising and being fanatical about one's diet? It seems there is point of diminishing return. "Tony" above is only 29 so he hasn't seen the changes yet that's in store for him in the future when he gets into his 40's and fifties. So he thinks he is invincible and will stay that way if he exercises fanatically and takes his protein. But others have been there and done that already and they still got old,had joint,osteoarthritis problems etc. etc. from overdoing it.

Mike - February 17, 2010 4:26 PM

Wow. We know one thing. Bodybuilders and personal trainers have no regard for education. Put the protein shakes down and read a book...

Jason - April 29, 2010 3:37 PM

All I know is that I started drinking Whey Protein shakes with my diet and exercise and developed my first kidney stones. Once I cut out the Protein Shakes the kidney stones have not occurred again. That's my story, take it or leave it, believe it or not. The article for me was obviously very real and true.

Barbara Coulter - June 7, 2010 9:34 AM

I'm hypoglycemia and if I don't keep protein in my diet my blood sugar drops very low. I started to drinking a Whey Protein drink every day, I been hearing things on the news that too much of these protein drinks aren't good for you. I'm a 72 yr. old female. Should I be concerned about drinking protein every day, my blood sugar so far hasn't dropped since drinking protein.

Thank you
Barbara Coulter

Laura - June 18, 2010 11:32 PM

My argument is I don't think my teenage son needs to take this stuff if it is not regulated by the FDA. If I give him a well balanced diet, I feel he does not need this stuff. I know some of his school mates try to tell him it is good for him, I will not allow it. Unfortunately teenagers beleive what they read, because that is how they are taught. I try to teach my son from experience of his own and others. Seeing is beleiving.

Andrew - June 24, 2010 2:29 PM

A good post for the most part but I have one major issue with it.

Protein CANNOT be converted to fat in any way shape or form. Proteins are made up of amino acids and the body has no way of storing them and they are strictly use or lose when it comes energy.

bill - July 29, 2010 8:10 PM

My argument is I don't think my teenage son needs to take this stuff if it is not regulated by the FDA.

Wow sad. If you think the FDA can make you healthy then you are a complete idiot. The FDA approves drugs that kill 100,000 people a year. Time to wake up.

Kenny - October 7, 2010 3:14 PM

What's up

Joe - October 23, 2010 6:43 PM

Trusting the FDA I have some koolaid if you want some. I,m not a DR. but I am in pretty good shape very active and I have taken protein fro 20 years. I do agree there are some crap supps. out there just do some research before you put it in your mouth. Every one has ideas of what's good for you my dads Dr told him to eat butter that is better for you than smart balance my Dr told me to use smart balance. You can always find someone who agrees with you and some one who thinks your an idiot. But trusting the FDA thts stupid.

Iris - October 28, 2010 8:41 AM

Personally I think, whether you're supplementing or eating foods that contains proteins, the amount consumed is critical. There are examples of people who never used protein supplements that has renal disfunctions due to large amounts protein coming from foods. The same scenario exist for people who has overly used protein powders, they also suffer from kidney disfunction and bone loss. Its important that people consults with nutrionists and do their research. Becoming more educated in your nutrition is vital, as it can help prevent future complications. In general, our bodies are meant to be properly nourished according to our respective physical structures.

Marco - November 26, 2010 8:28 PM

Everybody dies
We have seen smokers and drinkers live into their 90s
We have seen health nuts die young
There are just so many heartbeats in a human life
It's not about how long we live but the quality of that life as defined by the individual
Personaly I'll keep lifting and running until I can't anymore
At least I will have exceeded the norm, looked great for a while, out performed the couch potatoes and turned more than a few of there girls heads when it's time to cut the lawn.
Feels good to take off my shirt and not be as self conscious as so many other men who always want to know what is my secret, like anything in life it's wisdom, love and hard work.
To many Americans have forgotten these basic principles in a quest for more material wealth with less effort.
I may go early but we all go sometime, so I choose for my life I'll stay superman as long as I can
My kids and grandchildren will remember with the grace of God that this warrior chose life until death came and did not fade away into the shadows and run from what cannot be outran, because we all die, how will you be remembered.
Marco


I am 50 years old and still have a six pack and have maintained general muscle size and tone

matt - December 30, 2010 12:18 AM

^^^ best post of all. made the rest of the arguments not even matter. :)

Ahmed - December 30, 2010 9:34 AM

But, Dr. Andrew, Soy tastes awful!!

Josh - February 2, 2011 9:36 PM

I drink a milk and whey shake after runs, and a gainer and milk shake after workouts. I've always been skeptical as to their effectiveness and health benefits, but I don't how I would survive without them in terms of recovery. What real foods would YOU recommend after runs and workouts, if these products are not beneficial?

anon - February 16, 2011 5:31 AM

As a health freak and as a young adult going in to the military. Most of the Navy seals I have spoken to recommend organic foods. For example, when I need carbs for a swim or workout, oatmeal with skim milk for carbs and salmon and chicken or turkey for protien.

I also worked at the Los Angeles Fitnees Convention and most of the juiced up muscle heads couldn't get passed 12-13 pull ups. The only people to get passed 20 pulls ups were moderately healthy people who did not use supplements. Even though they do work, the dependency Americans have with drinking a chocolate malt shake after a workout can't have good results later in life.

In the future, when people are suffering from heart attacks and strokes, those who eat their veggies will prevail.

Ignorance is bliss I guess. I'm more concerned with health and I'm in damn good shape for eating like a paranoid hippie.

But I guess ignorance is bliss eh?

The Real Deal - April 5, 2011 8:03 PM

"People only want to believe studies that confirm or support what they ALREADY BELIEVE."

the truth is before processed food, supplementation products, artificial sweetners,protein powders, etc.. cancer was an unknown and or rare.

Remember that most of these supplements and protein powders are produce by PHARM companies (theyre in business to make money at any cost) They make money creating supplements and drugs that youll be hooked to or dependant on and wont IMMEDIATELY kill you.. but that doesnt mean it wont eventually. Pharm companies would rather have a person die (due to theyre wreckless claims of improving your health or fitness) at 60 and be a customer for 40 years of that time then have a person live to be 80 and never try their products. Scary because thats the exact stance "Big Tobacco" takes on their consumers.. remember that next time you'd rather spend your money on a quick fix protein shake then simply cook your own protein rich foods that your body has been programmed and evolved over half a million years to breakdown naturally for your health.

Cam - April 13, 2011 2:17 PM

I don't see why people are even arguing here. Thinking you can equate natural food protein and health benefits to synthetic whey protein is ludicrous. Natural foods will always be the healthier and safer alternative. It's like the vitamin craze going on now. People seem to think they can supplement their way to good health while still eating whatever they want.

ishan - April 16, 2011 3:59 PM

Please anyone suggest me what should i do to improve my weight...My age is 20 years and i m little underweight and want to gain about 5 kg more weight..please suggest me some vegitarian stuff and diet tips...so that i can improve my weight.plz. help.

Chelsea - May 3, 2011 3:44 PM

I'm a 22 year old girl, and about 25 pounds underweight. I'm a gym finatic, and am actually very strong for my size and for a girl. I love lifting, and want to put on weight (in muscle form). I've done tons of research and just got some protein powders.

I really would appreciate advice on protein powders, healthy weight gain, and muscle building. I know it's different for girls, but I really do train hard, and want to put on muscle mass!

Michal - May 15, 2011 6:59 AM

Thanks a lot!
A lot of my friends and colleagues are overloaded with the "take our protein supplements and you'll be happy" info from every magazine. They just go crazy about that and constantly looking for a better supplement instead of training and eating healthy.

Dave - May 18, 2011 9:22 PM

The debate is great, but from personal experience I have to disagree with the post. I am 22 yo male, am a competitive athlete paddling outrigger canoes trainning twice a day up to six times a week, as well as hold a 9 to 5 day job. Depending on the season we do several 500 - 2000 meter sprints or up to 30 km marathons per training session or a mixture of. I have no argument with the science behind the post as I have also gone through a phase where I followed a very low meat diet and I can say the stated benefits that come from it are true. I also grew up with the other extreme mostly meat and very little veg ect and can say the stated drawbacks are true also. However, this low protein diet in my humble opinion would be suitable to those who participate in zero to medium exercise, and also depends on the type of exercise, ie marathon runner vs bodybuilder. Trying to consume enough protein from a mainly vegetarian diet with the kind of routine I have is not only impractical (try getting up at 5 every morning, train for two hours and come home to cook a full meal before work) but would also reduce my ability to recover quickly enough and make gains in terms of fitness and strength. It also leaves me more vulnerable to getting sick. The point I'm trying to make is different people have different needs. To try and generalise and say that protein supplements are bad period is wrong. Different body types respond different ways to food. My body is extremely sensitive to protein intake. I have found I crave it during periods of intense training, but on holidays or off season, my protein needs reduces dramatically. Also I have noticed that once I reach a certain level of fitness and strength, the amount of protein I need is reduced, but in order to bust through new plateus it is a lot easier with protein supplementation. I pack on a lot of muscle with exercise quite easily so I guess that might be one reason why I need so much, and no I don't take steroids btw. I am concerned about taking too much protein as well because I have found that too much hinders my gains, however I use the amount my body craves as an indicator of how much I need. If I feel the intense craving for food in the morning at work I know I'm not taking enough, if I feel normal not overly sore/tired/no cravings I know I'm taking enough. Some team mates of mine however don't need as much protein in their diet. They get through just fine on a regular diet, however they adapt to training a lot slower than I do and don't pack on muscle like I do, most due to genetics I think (they're tall and lanky). To those people who haven't tried protein shakes or don't need to try it, (ie: don't exercise) don't discount what you haven't tried. Science is not at a stage where it can answer all the questions we have about the human body and how it works. To those that want to try it, go ahead. A month or two of taking it won't hurt. If you feel a difference then keep taking it by all means, if not don't waste your money. I think that people nowadays are eating too much in general and not exercising enough. The debate over whether too much of it is protein in my opinion should be secondary. Adopting a bit of common sense and moderation in relation to our diets should do most people just fine. I think with the "if you don't need it don't take it" approach that I am taking with regards to protein supplementation, detrimental effects to my health further down the track are at a minimal.


Oh as an aside, I also read a lot of magazines and really don't pay any mind to the ads for this and that supp. However you can't totally discount the supplement/diet info in there. Most are from scientific studies and or personal experience and I find it useful at best and interesting at the least. Once again common sense should be used to distiguish how to interepret. An awesome read this post btw, thanks for sparking such an interesting debate.

Floe - June 29, 2011 11:02 AM

Excess protein can result in calcium loss, which can lead to Osteoporosis. You ever thought about how we (Americans) consume a TON of milk, for example, yet Osteoporosis REMAINS a serious problem in our society. It's because of the crazy amounts of proteins we consume, primarily animal proteins, from meats.

Calcium is secreted through the urine...And if you try to compensate by taking calcium supplements, for example, your body still won't retain that calcium, again, because of all of the protein you consume!

A good rule of thumb is to consume 10% to 15% of your total calories as protein...and even that should be as much VEGETABLE protein as possible!

You don't have to take my word for it...Google "excess protein calcium deficiency"...I've even see some youtube videos about it.

Common sense...Most "processed foods" aren't the best for you anyway...protein shakes included :)

hadenough - November 23, 2011 3:48 AM

Floe, americans may be consuming a ton of milk, but ill bet, it is not RAW MILK. Also what is the majority of protein supplements made up off.

Mario - December 28, 2011 4:39 PM

Everything is good in moderation.

Yea, u can get ur protein from vegetable sources, it just takes a lot more vegetables to get the same amount of protein as meat does.

Lots of ppl reference elephants as only eating vegetable protein and they're very strong. Yeah, I'd be strong too if i ate 600 lbs of vegetables every day

Protein supplements r supplements. If u can get ur protein from natural foods that's great. But if u cant, getting an easy scoop works well too. That's why they're there

Also, the strictly vegetable diet isn't exactly good either. Our ancestors, and most animals, live on meat. Meat and dairy provide necessary nutrients also. You just can't eat a huge rib eye steak every day and be healthy

I'm 18 and the one thing i've learned is that everything's different. Everyone's body reacts differently. Genetics plays a huge role.

i have a body type that bulks up easily, but gains fat easily also, wheras my brother has the body type where he can eat all he wants and never gain a pound of chub.

and all this stuff about osteoporosis is giving me a headache. Can't we just eat in moderation and enjoy our food?

Florence - March 7, 2012 2:58 PM

After reading all the above comments, I still don't understand why the need to put yet again artificial protein powder in our body for a healthy fit diet? What you put in your body is your choice so wouldn't anything organic foods that do contain protein healthier than artificial powder? And what about the over building up of tissues inside your body if you take protein powder on a long term basis? Shouldn't that scare people?

Aaron - April 21, 2012 1:40 PM

I find this by Joel lacking. There are many reasons studies which seemingly indicate the benefits of whey protein, specifically denatured. One particular area that is the subject of ongoing research is the ability of whey protein to enhance glutathione levels. For those that are unaware, glutathione is one of the most universal antioxidants in the body with a impressive correlations with various diseases. Check out some of these impressive studies on the positive effects of why protein in-general.
http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag96/96jan2.htm

And yes I know this article was written by a "muscle magazine writer;" however such a response to this data would simply be an ad hominem fallacy. One must look into these studies and give a sound rebuttal to them if one wishes to maintain the ill effects of whey protein. The author doesn't matter; it is the content that is deserving of a response.

Here is just one study mentioned in the article:
In the 1980s, Diane F. Birt and associates at the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, compared the effect on the lifespan of Syrian hamsters (starting at 4 weeks of age) of three dietary levels of whey protein (10, 20, or 40% of the diet). They looked at lifespan in groups of 40 male and female hamsters (F0 generation) as well as the offspring of these hamsters (F1 generation).

The results of the study showed that the whey protein-fed hamsters lived significantly longer than animals fed a standard commercial diet to one degree or another in both the parents and offspring, depending upon the percentage of whey protein in the diet. There were no significant differences in growth and weight (compared to controls) in the hamsters given large amounts of whey protein.

The greatest increase in lifespan was seen in the male hamsters on the 20% whey protein diet. The last surviving control animal died at 88 weeks of age compared to 140 weeks of age in the whey protein-fed hamsters -- an extension in maximum lifespan of about 60%! The fact that the longest surviving whey protein-fed hamster lived almost three years (about the upper lifespan limit for Syrian hamsters), while none of the hamsters fed the commercial diet reached two years of age, suggests that supplementation with whey protein may have an anti-aging effect.

In another study of lifespan in Syrian hamsters by the same group, a significant survival advantage (over a 20 week period) was shown in animals receiving three levels of whey protein supplementation, with the hamsters receiving the 20% whey diet surviving the longest.

James Freeman - May 21, 2012 9:02 AM

"Our entire society is on a protein binge, brainwashed with misinformation that we have been hearing since childhood."

I think this statement was false in 2006, and is still false in 2012. The only people consciously monitoring and eating extra proteins are Ketosis dieters and bodybuilders. Everyone else is gorging themselves on fat and carbs at caloric intake levels far exceeding their needs in daily caloric expenditures.

Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.







Remember personal info?