Not just for muscle building! Protein plays a critical role in weight loss and weight maintenance. Don’t worry, your kidneys are going to be fine, I make sure to take my daily protein intake and my cut and bulking aid supplements, there’s no other way to reach my goals, I need to stick to a plan.
(My protein meatloaf, packed full of protein, in all it’s wonder. I typically eat a loaf in one sitting, ~1 lb cooked turkey. Kidneys seem to be in great shape and I have had no problems adding strength and muscle. Check out recipe here)
People talk about too much protein being bad. Typically, these are the same people who eat 4 fast food meals a day and don’t forget the diet coke! Allow me to debunk the myths now.
When an increase in protein is ingested, there is an increase in nitrogen excretion in the urine. Many years ago this spurred the speculation that too much protein was putting a strain on the kidneys.
This is similar to putting gas in your car, driving it to the store and then freakin’ out about increasing the mileage on the car. It’s ludicrous. Your kidneys are designed to do this.
Another good example is when you increase your water intake, you need to urinate more. That doesn’t mean you have something metabolically wrong with you.
Yes, those with kidneys problems are recommended to eat a diet lower in protein. But that doesn’t mean that high protein intake gives you kidney problems. Correlation does not equal causation. Plain and simple. Healthy individuals need not worry.
(That fateful day. This day I set my official record for most meat eaten in one sitting: 2.25 lbs.
Foreground: LaToof Loaf. Background: Super Sized Game Day Muscle Popper)
Now, to the topic at hand.
Anybody that knows me or has worked with me knows that I’m a fanatic about protein. I don’t recommend absurdly high protein goals. I do recommend sufficient protein goals that are typically higher than most are use to.
This leads to a couple of things.
1. Greater since of satiety
2. Greater muscle retention when in a caloric deficit.
If you have read my 3 Keys to a Successful Diet, you will know that being satisfied (or as satisfied as possible) on a calorically restricted diet is critical. While losing weight, there will be some discomfort involved. There is no way around that.
If you are unable to sustain a diet, the long-term results will suffer. Bottom line.
But, there is a way to minimize the pain and agony: increase satiety by higher protein intake.
Paddon Jones and colleagues claim that maintaining or manipulating body weight is a complex task.  I don’t necessary agree with that for the most part. There are many variables at play and must be considered. You can make it a difficult as you want really. I prefer simple.
The role that protein plays is vast but evidence has shown consistently that dietary protein intake is associate with the following:
A. retention of fat-free mass at the expense of fat mass  
B. reducing the energy efficiency with respect to body mass
C. increasing satiety
The first is critical. Weight loss should never be the goal. Fat loss should be! You will need to maintain muscle mass and decrease fat mass, assuming that you don’t want to lose 20 lbs and nobody even notice.
The last corresponds well with the most important key to a successful diet: adherence.
In case I haven’t been perfectly clear, protein keeps you full. When you’re full, you’re not hungry. When you’re not hungry, you don’t eat (in the absence of a eating disorder).
At the end of the day, weight loss is as simple as calories in versus calories out. Burn more than you eat and you’ll lose weight.
That’s a whole different rabbit hole, one I imagine I’ll venture down in the future. Until then, it’s protein time!
 Paddon-Jones, D., Westman, E., Mattes, R., Wolfe, R., Astrup, A., Plantenga, M.W. “Protein, weight management, and satiety.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2008; 87: 1558S-61S. Printed.
 Phillips, S.M & Luc J.C. Van Loon. “Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation.” Journal of Sports Sciences 29(S1): S29-S38, 2011. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2001.619204
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