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Is Eating Too Much Protein Bad For Your Heart?

Is Eating Too Much Protein Bad For Your Heart? A new study suggests it is. True or a bunch of malarkey? EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer cuts through the BS to bring you the truth.

Video Transcription:

Is it bad for runners, cyclists, OCR, and other endurance athletes to eat too much protein?

Bacon and steaks and ribs, oh my. Bacon, and steak, and ribs, oh my. We're off to bust some, some terribly, awfully, bull. Good morning family of fast. Matt Mosman, the Chief Endurance Officer over at EndurElite. And we're gonna do one of my favorite things today. We're gonna bust some bullshit. Today's topic, "Is too much protein bad for your heart?" And in celebration of this study and busting this bullshit, I wore my buffalo T-shirt because I love bison protein. It's delicious.

A New Study Shows Eating A High Protein Diet Can Cause Heart Failure

So a new study just came out the other day that the media is going crazy with. And this study is basically saying eating too much protein on a daily basis is bad for your heart and can lead to heart failure or higher recurrence of heart failure.


So here's what happened in this study, and I'm gonna read it off to you off my computer screen just so I get all the information to you clearly. So this study was done in Finland and the study researchers analyzed information from more than 2,400 men, ages 42 to 60, who kept track of the food they ate for four days. Then the men were divided into four groups based on how much protein they ate, with the lowest group consuming about 78 grams a day on average, and the highest group consuming 109 grams a day. The participants were then tracked for 22 years, during which about 330 of these men were diagnosed with heart failure. The researchers also found that men in the group who ate the most protein were 33% more likely to be diagnosed with heart failure during the follow up period, compared with those in the group who ate the least protein. 

So on the surface, it looks like eating higher amounts of protein is gonna lead to heart failure in individuals whose diet is composed of, you know, a lot of animal meats and a higher protein intake. And you can see why the media has run with this story. I mean, they just look at the surface of what's going on and see higher protein equals heart failure. But they're way too lazy to actually look at the study in detail and recognize that there are a ton of flaws with this study and that too much protein is not bad for your heart.

Flaws Of The Study And Why A High Protein Diet Doesn't Really Cause Heart Failure

So the number one major flaw with this study is what the researchers did as far as how they kept track of, you know, what people were eating. So I mentioned in the beginning, the researchers asked the participants to write down a four-day food log or what they ate over the course of four days. And what the researchers assumed is for the next 22 years, those people ate the exact same thing every single day. Which we probably know that's not the case, diets change from time-to-time. And over the course of 22 years with route re-evaluating the dietary food log, you can see where the major flaw of this study is. So I spotted that one right off the bat. And then I asked my partner at EndurElite, Jordan Joy, who is infinitely smarter than me when it comes to research study. The dude has a PhD, he's super bright, and this is what he texted me, and this is also very important to recognize, you know, what is flawed with study. He said, "No difference when controlling for basic age and energy intake. The researchers also purposely excluded fat and fiber from the analysis when looking at risk of heart failure. Not a good idea. The only reason to do this is because it is non-significant when it is included. Still the 33% only approach significance. So it wasn't way above and beyond significance and this is highly variable which suggests proteins are not explaining anything, and that there are other factors unaccounted for that were leading to the heart failure." And then he ends with, "And it should go without saying that this is not a good study by the dine [SP]." So you can see all these flaws.

So people are treating like this study as an association study saying, higher protein intake leads to heart failure. Where it should have been more of an exploratory study that led to other studies being conducted, quite possibly doing a study that looked at occurrences of heart failure in a very high protein group versus a lower protein group. I mean, because when you really look at the numbers, the 78 grams to 109 grams of protein daily that these men are eating, you know, that's really not a high protein diet especially as you go like to the 109 gram, that's still not a high protein diet. Maybe according to the RDA, but as an endurance athlete, you're probably gonna eat a little bit above and beyond that, you know. The best way to do this or you kinda calculate this is take your body weight in kilograms times 1.2 to 1.6. And this is gives you how much protein you should be eating on a daily basis to promote muscle recovery and repair. 

So the take home point with this video is, eating too much protein is not bad for your heart, it's not bad for your kidneys, is not bad for your bones. There's other studies that support this, one conducted by Jose Antonio had people eat four times the recommended amount of protein on a daily basis and they found no negative effects on liver and kidney function and body composition or anything else like that. So here's the take home point, again, too much protein is not bad for you, but you do wanna make sure you are getting enough to provoke muscle repair and recovery.

So that is all I have for today, my endurance friends. If you have a friend who believes eating too much protein is bad for them, please share this video with them. If you want other videos like this on endurance training, nutrition, and supplementation, subscribe to the EndurElite YouTube channel, or head on over to the EndurElite blog at www.endurelite.com on the internets. Get social with us on Instagram and the Facebook EndurElite training and nutrition club page. And until next time, my endurance friends, stay fueled, stay focused, stay fast, and stay informed.

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