Protein--Is it a magical substrate?

Let me first start off by saying that imo, carbs, prot, and fat all need to be included in an athletes diet and are all essential. But, an interesting observation to me is this…

Overweight people eat protein to lose weight (and swear that you have to eat a high percentage of protein to lose weight).

and bodybuilders, athletes, etc. eat protein to gain muscle ( and swear that you have to eat a high percentage of protein to gain).

I find this an interesting paradox. How can protein do both, it must be magic or is it?

There’s actually nothing magical with protein at all, It is all calorie dependent upon which of the two above scenerios takes place.

If the overweight person loses weight because of the high protein diet, one of reasons is because of the decrease in total calories in their diet.

When someone gains a lot of muscle because of a high protein diet, one of the reasons is once the body’s protein needs have been met, the extra calories from protein are used as energy or stored as fat. (carbs. are a better source of energy)

And then protein gets all the credit for each groups success, when the Total Calories actually have more to do with it.

It would seem obvious, but judging by the number of people subscribing to these opposing theories, it isn’t.:slight_smile:

“And then protein gets all the credit for each groups success, when the Total Calories actually have more to do with it…”

A certain John Berardi might disagree. Check out:

Start reading from ‘A Calorie is not a Calorie’

Yeah, I guess CALORIES are the only thing that matter…so instead of eating 1000 calories of greens, 1000 calories of beef, fish, fowl, or protein supps, 1000 calories of rice, potatoes, pasta, etc. and 1000 calories of fruits, plus a couple hundred cals of essential fatty acids, I’ll just eat 4200 calories of Crisco and get the same results. WRONG!

protein has a thermogenic effect on the body and that helps people lose wieght while on a high protein diet. i think its anywhere between 15-20% of the total protein calories are burned off just processing the protein, the calories burned off dont come from the protein, they commonly come from body fat.

the eating patterns of most people who are over weight, and im going to generalize here, are similiar to the non athletic public in having too little protein in their diet. meaning not only their total protein intake is too low, but rarely do they divide their protein intake over 5 or 6 meals throughout the day. programs like body for life, the zone etc educate people on why this is important and give them a easy plan to follow.

any other thoughts…?

…not to mention the role of diet in regulating insulin levels.

I read a book called ‘Potatoes not Prozac’ a while back. While not hugely relevant to athletes, it focuses on sugar sensitive people, it gave me an appreciation of how powerful a drug sugar (read high GI carbs) is and the huge impact it can off not only on physical appearance but energy levels & emotional state also.

My only problem is getting away from cheap carbs, they are EVERYWHERE :mad:


good points. and we are gettig off topic here (but who cares really), but speaking of mood and emotional state, thanks to cool’s link to the CP site , i read his efas article:


  1. Fish oils, rich in the Omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent depression, stabilize the moods of maniac-depressives, and alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia.

University of California’s Johnsson Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA

  1. Fish oils is one of the few substances known to lower concentrations of triglycerides (fatty substances) that pose a cardiovascular risk, in the blood.

J Raloff Science News

  1. Increasing the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids has direct effects on serotonin levels.

Andrew Stoll M.D.1999 Archives of General Psychiatry

  1. Fish oils, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) help prevent heart disease, depression, and cancer.

Hans R. Larsen, Msc chE “Fish Oils: The Essential Nutrients” International Health News

  1. Research has shown that supplementation with fish oils can markedly reduce interlukin-1beta production and results in a significant reduction in morning stiffness and the number of painful joints in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Darlington, L Gail and Stone, Trevor W. Antioxidants and fatty acids in the amelioration of rheumatoid arthritis and related disorders. British Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 85, March 2001, pp.251-69.

  1. Several clinical trials have concluded that eating fish regularly or supplementing with fish oils can reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death by as much as 50%.

Bigger,J. Thomas and El-Sherif, Tarek. Polyunsaturated fatty acids and cardiovascular events: a fish tale. Circulation, Vol.103, February 6, 2001, pp623-25 (editorial).

  1. Researchers at Mayo Clinic report that supplementation with fish oils, EPA and DHA is highly effective in slowing down the progression of IgA nephropathy, a common kidney disease.

Donadio, James V.,et al. A controlled trial of fish oil in IgA nephropathy. New England Journal of Medicine, Vol 331 November 3, 1994, pp1194-99

Van Ypersele de Strihou, Charles. Fish oil for IgA nephropathy? New England Journal of Medicine, Vol 331, November 3, 1994, pp 1227-29 (editorial).

  1. Epidemiological studies have shown that populations with a high intake of fish oils have a lower incidence of inflammatory diseases such as asthma.

Dry J. and Vincent D. Effect of a Fish oil diet on asthma: results of a 1-year double bind study. Int Arch Allerguy Appl Immurol, Vol.95, 1991,pp.156-57.

  1. Researchers at The University of Tromso now report that fish oil supplementation lowers blood pressure significantly in people with hypertension and has no effect on glucose control even in people with mid diabetes.

Toft, Ingrid, et al. Effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on glucose homeostasis and blood pressure in essential hypertension. Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol 123, No 12, December 15, 1995, pp 911-18. Connor, William E. Diabetes, fish oil, and vascular disease. Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol 123, No 12, December 15, 1995, pp950-52.

  1. Medical researchers in New Zealand provide convincing evidence that an increased consumption of fish oils helps reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Norrish, A,E, et al. Prostate cancer risk and consumption of fish oils: A dietary biomaker-based case-control study. British Journal of Cancer, Vol. 81, No.7, December 1999, pp.1238-42

since ive added udos to my diet again (read that pulled head out of butt) i have noticed my mood has greatly improved. im running 3 tbsp per day and it seems to be helping with my regular seasonal depression syndrome.

Nightmare what are your thoughts on protein crystals?


they havent made their way yp to the great white north yet. but, ive seen the ads, looks like (and doesnt mean they are but) at first glance, another high priced scam, like night time proteins and topical fat burners.

how much protein should i take if I weigh 180lbs.

it all depends on your energy expenditure. the old standby is to first get your weight in kilograms. A sedentary person is suggested to take in around 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight, and then the scale slides for athlete type. For sprinters, you can expect to take in anywhere from 1.0-1.4 grams per kilogram of body weight.