Can TOO MUCH Protein Make You FAT?

Can TOO MUCH Protein Make You FAT?


Can eating too much protein actually be a
bad thing? Some of you might already know how much I
love preaching protein, both in my videos and all across social media. Side note, you should totally follow me on
Instagram for more protein goodness at picturefit. Normally, I prescribe that, for healthy individuals,
1.6 grams to 2.3 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight is ideal for virtually all fitness
goals. My reasoning for more than the usual 0.8 grams
you might see elsewhere is quite heavily outlined in my previous work, so check that out if
you’re interested to learn more. But, what about eating even more than what
I recommend? Would more actually have more benefits or
do things turn for the worse? Today, let’s jump into the research to find
out. Now, when we think about goals like weight
and fat loss, general recommendation is to adjust the amount of carbs and fats we are
eating. Protein rarely is ever the primary focus and
it’s often simply assumed that eating too much protein like carbs and fats, would also
lead to weight and fat gain. However, this isn’t always be the case,
at least not for both weight AND fat. A 2014 study in the Journal of International
Society of Sports Nutrition found that, for 8 weeks, eating a very high protein diet while
eating the same amount of carbs and fats as a control group, did increase weight but no
changes to fat while adding more fat-free mass. But the juicy part is in the details:
The high protein group ate LOTS of protein, a staggering 4.4 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. For an average 80-kilogram individual, that‘s
352 grams of protein per day. This study involved slightly lighter folks
with an average of 307 grams of protein per day. Still quite a huge lotta protein. But perhaps the most eye-opening statistic,
however, is not the protein, but the total calories. On average, the high protein diet group ate
roughly 800 more calories than they normally do. And yet, they only gained 1.7 kilograms of
weight on average within 8 weeks and most of it was fat-free mass, not fat. So what does this tell us? For one, this goes right against the proverbial
“all calories are equal.” Frankly, though, if we’ve been following
the research, this was always kind of the case when considering the different uses we
have for each macronutrient. Carbs and fats are primarily used for energy;
thus, the body will prioritize them for energy systems. And any excess carbs and fats will be stored
energy in ways of fat. Protein, is kind of magical, in the sense
that it’s rarely used as energy since our body has many uses for it, like building muscle. Also, it takes lots of energy to actually
metabolize protein, so it would be best if it wasn’t used for it. Another point I’ve been emphasizing, especially
with infographics on my Instagram, @picturefit, is the thermic effect of food. In short, protein requires a great deal of
energy to digest and absorb, with some estimates of 35% of its energy provision used for digestion
versus carbs and fat’s 5 to 15% percent. In essence, if you eat more protein, you naturally
burn more calories. And it’s been show to be even higher the
more fit you are. Now, the researchers of this study believe
that there could potentially be greater body composition changes. Especially when previous studies, like a 2012
study by Bray et al, found a very clear and distinct positive relationship between lean
body mass and protein intake with no difference in fat mass. This led to the researchers to run another
experiment. They believed the lack of body composition
changes in their study wasn’t due to a potential limit to protein intake, but likely because
the subjects were not given a proper periodized training program. So, in 2015, for another 8 weeks, the researchers
compared a protein diet of 2.3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight versus a high protein diet of
3.4 grams while deploying the subjects into a periodized resistance training program 5
times a week. This time, while eating much more calories
again, the high protein subjects DID NOT gain any weight but the lower protein group did. Fat-free mass increased in both groups again,
with no statistically significant differences. But the major difference is in fat mass. Fat mass decreased, on average, by only 0.3
kilograms in lower-protein subjects, which is not statistically meaningful. With higher protein intake, fat mass dropped
by a significantly higher 1.6 kilograms. This is a 20.2 to 19.6% bodyfat percentage
change in the low protein subjects, and an 18.3 to 15.9% bodyfat change in the high protein
group. Bear in mind again, both groups were eating
MUCH more calories than usual and still dropped fat while not gaining weight with higher levels
of protein. In essence, and the answer to this video,
having a decent training program paired with eating LOTS of protein isn’t all that much
a bad thing, but instead can potentially help you build muscle while losing fat given you
are training sufficiently. Now, some of you might be thinking, and for
good reason, is eating this much protein actually SAFE? In the 2015 study, the researchers did measure
certain protein-related health variables, such as glomerular filtration rate and creatinine,
and found no changes when eating the high protein diet. But, this was only an 8-week study. Long-term effects are still unknown, and if
you have related pre-existing issues, then please take these findings with a huge grain
of salt and consult your healthcare professional first. Even then, I personally wouldn’t recommend
more than my usual 1.6 grams to 2.3 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be much of
a long-term risk in this range as long as you’re healthy. I’ve talked about this in other videos as
well as my infographics on my INSTAGRAM, @picturefit, so please come check that out if you like. Other than that, please let me know what you
think about eating super high amounts of protein. If you enjoyed this video, please give it
a super thumbs up share it with your protein-loving friends. Oh, and following me on Instagram. My tag is @picturefit
As always, thank you for watching and, fittingly, GET YOUR PROTEIN!