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Why You’re Probably Not Eating Enough Protein (How to Know for Sure)

Feb. 21, 2020

At NBT, one of the first things our clients do is complete a food diary. This helps us quickly identify any problems with macronutrients, micronutrients, and meal timing. What we’ve seen over the years is that few people - even those eating a Paleo-type diet - are consuming enough protein. This can have immense consequences on longevity, blood glucose management, and maintaining a healthy weight.

In this interview, NBT Scientific Director Megan Hall and I talk about the importance of getting adequate dietary protein. Megan discusses the current recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein compared to optimal levels needed to support muscle mass and strength as we age. We talk about protein myths and misconceptions and outline protein requirements for specific populations, including athletes and those following weight-loss diets.

Here’s the outline of this interview with Megan Hall:

[00:02:16] Why protein is so important.

[00:02:28] Muscle mass and strength as a powerful predictor of longevity; Studies: 1. Rantanen, Taina, et al. "Midlife muscle strength and human longevity up to age 100 years: a 44-year prospective study among a decedent cohort." Age 34.3 (2012): 563-570; 2. Srikanthan, Preethi, and Arun S. Karlamangla. "Muscle mass index as a predictor of longevity in older adults." The American journal of medicine 127.6 (2014): 547-55; 3. McLeod, Michael, et al. "Live strong and prosper: the importance of skeletal muscle strength for healthy ageing." Biogerontology 17.3 (2016): 497-510; 4. Burd, Nicholas A., et al. "Dietary protein quantity, quality, and exercise are key to healthy living: a muscle-centric perspective across the lifespan." Frontiers in nutrition 6 (2019): 83.

[00:05:30] Glucose disposal.

[00:06:22] Maintaining a healthy weight; Protein leverage hypothesis. Study: Simpson, Stephen J., and David Raubenheimer. "Obesity: the protein leverage hypothesis." obesity reviews 6.2 (2005): 133-142.

[00:07:38] Dr. Ted Naiman; Protein dilution.

[00:08:18] Protein recommendations; Current RDA vs. optimal intake.

[00:11:02] How protein is prepared matters; Study: Pennings, Bart, et al. "Minced beef is more rapidly digested and absorbed than beef steak, resulting in greater postprandial protein retention in older men." The American journal of clinical nutrition 98.1 (2013): 121-128

[00:13:00] Fasting and protein restriction could be detrimental for older population.

[00:13:43] Protein needs for athletes.

[00:15:06] Protein needs for individuals following weight loss/calorie deficit diets.

[00:16:02] Ideal timing for protein intake.

[00:16:25] Protein spread evenly throughout the day is ideal; Study: Areta, José L., et al. "Timing and distribution of protein ingestion during prolonged recovery from resistance exercise alters myofibrillar protein synthesis." The Journal of physiology 591.9 (2013): 2319-2331

[00:16:46] Leucine threshold; 3 grams is required to stimulate mTOR.

[00:17:56] Myths about protein consumption.

[00:18:28] Effect of protein on kidneys; high BUN blood marker.

[00:19:42] Effects of high protein diets on bone health.

[00:20:31] Myth that mTOR stimulation is bad. Study by Valter Longo: Levine, Morgan E., et al. "Low protein intake is associated with a major reduction in IGF-1, cancer, and overall mortality in the 65 and younger but not older population." Cell metabolism 19.3 (2014): 407-417

[00:22:50] Book: The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health, by Justin Sonnenberg and Erica Sonnenberg.

[00:24:25] Myth: Animal protein is bad for the environment.

[00:24:36] Podcast: Kale vs Cow: The Case for Better Meat, with Diana Rodgers.

[00:24:59] Podcast: The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters, with James Estes, PhD.

[00:26:00] Myth: BCAAs are necessary.

[00:26:34] Myth: Too much protein will kick you out of ketosis; Video: Dr. Benjamin Bikman - 'Insulin vs. Glucagon: The relevance of dietary protein'.

[00:29:31] Myth: the body can only use 20-25g of protein at a time; Study: Schoenfeld, Brad Jon, and Alan Albert Aragon. "How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution." Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 15.1 (2018): 1-6.

[00:31:20] What we often see with our NBT clients.

[00:33:12] How Megan and Chris gets their protein throughout the day.

[00:36:05] Keeping quick protein around and ready to go.

[00:36:43] High vs. low quality protein; plant protein vs. animal protein.

[00:41:00] Arsenic in baby food made from rice; Report: What’s in my baby’s food?

[00:42:49] Resistance exercise as a critical part of healthy aging.

[00:44:29] Podcast: How to Get Motivated, with Simon Marshall, PhD.

[00:46:18] Eat the protein first for glucose regulation and appetite control; Study: Nesti, Lorenzo, Alessandro Mengozzi, and Domenico Tricò. "Impact of nutrient type and sequence on glucose tolerance: physiological insights and therapeutic implications." Frontiers in endocrinology 10 (2019): 144.

[00:47:26] NBT on Patreon.

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