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View Full Version : Where did the 1g/lb protein rule come from?



Davidelmo
08-09-2006, 01:55 PM
Seriously, I can't find ANY scientific evidence that states this much protein is necessary.

I still follow this rule, but every journal I have found says that 1.5g/kg (or 0.7g/lb) is MORE than enough for a bodybuilder. Recommended intake for those undergoing resistance training is around 0.5g/lb.

A lot of journals also use the ratio approach and suggest that anything above 30% is too high. Of course we all know the flaws in this approach of governing macro amounts to total calories.

The reccommended MAXIMUM daily intake is 265g. Of course, bodybuilders usually break all the rules but I wondered if there are actually ANY long term studies to show that:
1) Protein as high as 1g/lb is actually necessary
2) Eating too much protein isn't dangerous

I'm starting to think that this HUGE emphasis on protein isn't simply a result of lots of marketing by supplement companies.

Most people advocate the 1g/lb rule.. I've even done it myself, but have any of you actually read first hand evidence to support this?

(Scientific stuff, not just "I eat 300g a day and i'm still alive" please.)

TheGimp
08-09-2006, 02:00 PM
It has its origins in Dr. Lemon's work such as this (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=96018075&dopt=Citation). His actual recommendations end up at about 0.8g / lb but this has always been rounded up to 1g / lb for convenience.

Jordanbcool
08-09-2006, 02:04 PM
It has its origins in Dr. Lemon's work such as this (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=96018075&dopt=Citation). His actual recommendations end up at about 0.8g / lb but this has always been rounded up to 1g / lb for convenience.

^ Yup, pretty much the reason right there. Some people like to get even more like 2g per pound.

As long as the end result is growth im happy...

Davidelmo
08-09-2006, 02:06 PM
That study is 11 years old though. More recent studies seem to be reducing the amount of protein required even further.

I'm not trying to discredit it - i'm just saying that there is a lot of conflicting evidence. Most of it seems to weight on the side of less protein though.

Davidelmo
08-09-2006, 02:08 PM
Some people like to get even more like 2g per pound.

But most evidence would suggest that those levels are going so far as being .unsafe, let alone suggesting there is any benefit in eating more than 1g/lb!

TheGimp
08-09-2006, 02:11 PM
I'm not saying either way whether the 1g / lb rule is sound, just letting you know where it came from.

Built
08-09-2006, 02:11 PM
Most evidence is based on studies of endurance athletes, not physique/strength athletes. And there is recent evidence to support additional protein my actually be protective of bone density, the opposite of which has long been touted among medical circles.

Davidelmo
08-09-2006, 02:38 PM
I'm not saying either way whether the 1g / lb rule is sound, just letting you know where it came from.

Thanks - I hadn't seen that article anywhere before actually.


Most evidence is based on studies of endurance athletes, not physique/strength athletes. And there is recent evidence to support additional protein my actually be protective of bone density, the opposite of which has long been touted among medical circles.

The ones I looked at suggested 1.2g/kg for endurance athletes and 1.5g/kg for strength athletes. There are a lot more studies for endurance athletes though.

Eszekial
08-09-2006, 02:39 PM
I've actually been wondering this myself...

I've been chronically under 1/1lbm and i haven't noticed any effect on my physique, other than the fact that I can add in other more delicious foods other then protein powder into my diet.

I am cutting and not bulking, so i obviously can't comment on how it's effected my ability to gain muscle.

Davidelmo
08-09-2006, 02:39 PM
Also, Built, you're one of the biggest advocates of 1g/lb (in fact, I think I first heard it from you).. so where did you first hear this rule?

Built
08-09-2006, 02:40 PM
There are a LOT more studies done on endurance athletes. And physique athletes are a subset of strength athletes - and the area where the least research seems to have been conducted.

Built
08-09-2006, 02:43 PM
Eszekial, you may wish to put it up just a bit for your cut - it might be protective of LBM under the conditions of a deficit.

David, sadly, I have to admit the 1g/lb LBM minimum is largely anectodal. And I don't feel good AT ALL unless my protein is near 200g a day - for all my MASSIVE 115 lbs of LBM. :rolleyes:

Jorge Sanchez
08-09-2006, 03:59 PM
I have recently been questioning the need for such an abundant amount of protein myself. From what I've read I've come to the conclusion that that much protein is not really necessary.

Anecdotally, I've been consuming about 120-130g of protein/day at 170-175lbs LBM while cutting. I've lost about 10lbs but no noticeable muscle mass -- according to the tape measurer I've lost nearly no size. My strength has plummeted but that usually happens when I cut.

Built
08-09-2006, 04:15 PM
That's interesting Jorge - I rarely lose strength on a cut - in fact, I often make strength gains on the heavy compounds because I revert to very short rep ranges. I notice the drop for the higher rep (8-12) concentration work though.

RedSpikeyThing
08-09-2006, 04:16 PM
I think people consume more protein to make sure they have enough. The effects of consuming too much protein are practically nil, so why not eat more than you need just to be sure?

Built
08-09-2006, 04:25 PM
:withstupi

Exactly. Add to this the relatively higher TEF of protein (to carb and fat) and its effect on satiety, and you have a winner!

Steele
08-09-2006, 04:57 PM
Read an article, haven't got the link :bang:

Lowdown was three groups studied over the course of 6-18 months, can't remember exact figure. First group ate 0.8g/lb of LBM, second 1.4g/lb of body weight and third 2.4g/lb of body weight. All used the same exercise routine with same coaches. Not sure about the results for the first group, but second and third group's gains were pretty much identical. Scientists carrying out the studies concluded that there was no discernable benefit to eating more than 1.4g/lb if packing on muscle was your aim.

-Steele

Jorge Sanchez
08-09-2006, 05:10 PM
That's interesting Jorge - I rarely lose strength on a cut - in fact, I often make strength gains on the heavy compounds because I revert to very short rep ranges. I notice the drop for the higher rep (8-12) concentration work though.

I was actually maintaining my strength using a 5x5 routine but I found I was getting burned out and unmotivated so I switched back to 6-8x3. Since then I have found my endurance, not so much my strength, decrease significantly.

ShockBoxer
08-09-2006, 05:15 PM
Well, the little fact remains that you need calories to gain weight. What are they going to be if you reduce protein further? Carbs, with their potentially blood sugar changing and bloat causing ways, which may or may not have an effect on body composition? Saturated fats which may or may not be a contributor to heart disease and other ailments?

I'm not sure when the first studies on the effects of carbs, fat, and even protein were done... but I do know there were guys in the 30s and 40s with nice physiques who probably didn't know what a carbohydrate was (maybe something that goes in a car?). What did they eat?

Davidelmo
08-09-2006, 05:42 PM
I think people consume more protein to make sure they have enough. The effects of consuming too much protein are practically nil, so why not eat more than you need just to be sure?

Yeah, kinda. Unfortunately there haven't been any long term studies (as far as I know) about big protein intake. Also most people who would do this for an extended period of time would be professional bodybuilders and they have exceptional genetics and often use steroids which dont make them the best candidates for studies about "normal" physiology.

Davidelmo
08-09-2006, 05:43 PM
Read an article, haven't got the link :bang:

Lowdown was three groups studied over the course of 6-18 months, can't remember exact figure. First group ate 0.8g/lb of LBM, second 1.4g/lb of body weight and third 2.4g/lb of body weight. All used the same exercise routine with same coaches. Not sure about the results for the first group, but second and third group's gains were pretty much identical. Scientists carrying out the studies concluded that there was no discernable benefit to eating more than 1.4g/lb if packing on muscle was your aim.

-Steele

If you could find that study it would be AMAZING. I spent ages looking for a study just like that. Please can you try to find it for me! :D

Davidelmo
08-09-2006, 05:45 PM
Well, the little fact remains that you need calories to gain weight. What are they going to be if you reduce protein further? Carbs, with their potentially blood sugar changing and bloat causing ways, which may or may not have an effect on body composition? Saturated fats which may or may not be a contributor to heart disease and other ailments?

I'm not sure when the first studies on the effects of carbs, fat, and even protein were done... but I do know there were guys in the 30s and 40s with nice physiques who probably didn't know what a carbohydrate was (maybe something that goes in a car?). What did they eat?

Yep, that's a fair point. Most studies suggest something along the lines of a 50% carb, 30% protein, 20% fat diet for strength athletes. I dont agree with the ratio approach, but either way they're suggesting that carbs should be higher.

To be honest when I look at my %age values, I tend to be eating almost 30/30/30 of each.

Steele
08-09-2006, 05:59 PM
Nps mate, give me 15 =)

-Steele


If you could find that study it would be AMAZING. I spent ages looking for a study just like that. Please can you try to find it for me! :D

Steele
08-09-2006, 06:49 PM
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/maki1.htm

There ya go mate, pretty sure that's it.

Enjoy =)

-Steele

Paladyr
08-09-2006, 07:44 PM
Yes I would say most people exaggerate how much protein you actually need when bulking. Too much of anything is a bad thing, so I tend to be conservative in my protein intake. I try to keep it slightly under 1g/lb of LBM, but it's common for me to eat more than that. I'm very happy with how I progress in my workouts and build so I would say it's sufficient protein intake.

MagnaSephiroth
08-09-2006, 08:33 PM
I sure hope there isnt harmful side effects to high protein diets.

At 160 lbs, I'm eating about 300g of protein a day.

ShockBoxer
08-09-2006, 08:54 PM
I'm eating 150-200 a day and have been since I started last July. I deadlifted 355 yesterday (up from 110 when I started) so I don't think I'm protein deficient.

Paladyr
08-10-2006, 08:41 AM
I sure hope there isnt harmful side effects to high protein diets.

At 160 lbs, I'm eating about 300g of protein a day.

I would say that is excessive, but to each his own.

Davidelmo
08-10-2006, 07:07 PM
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/maki1.htm

There ya go mate, pretty sure that's it.

Enjoy =)

-Steele

Cheers, an interesting read

Steele
08-10-2006, 07:08 PM
No worries, hope it helped =)

-Steele

Davidelmo
08-10-2006, 07:08 PM
I'm eating 150-200 a day and have been since I started last July. I deadlifted 355 yesterday (up from 110 when I started) so I don't think I'm protein deficient.

Nice! I remember you saying to me once that you wished you could dead 300... well, you KILLED that benchmark!

Davidelmo
08-10-2006, 07:14 PM
Well, I guess I'll stick with 1g/lb but I probably won't bother to take it higher. I think 150-200g a day for myself weighing almost 180 is more than enough.

Honestly, I think that the supplement companies are exaggerating how much protein is actually needed in order to help sell their products. Call my cynical but we've seen how they have done this with glutamine, BCAAs, NO2 etc etc etc.

Anyone else - smalls, slim, holto - or anyone else with good biochem/nutrition knowledge have any opinions on this? I know smalls told me once that he eats 400g+ of protein a day - what is your reason behind this? Is it scientific based or just your personal preference?

Thanks

ddegroff
08-10-2006, 10:14 PM
Most of the studies i've read says for strength athletes 1.4-1.7g/kg of lbm. Works out to be about .8g/lb of lbm. I usually take in about 170g of protein a day (i'm 176lbs).

I feel people are scared of excess protein. Protein intake is where I really disagree with most R.D.'s and other nutrition experts. I feel most preech too much CHO's and not enough fat and protein. Really you can have too much CHO's and too much fat (IMO).

If you have a good liver and good kidneys i don't see any reason to worry about protein intake.

manowar669
08-11-2006, 10:39 AM
You could probably get by with less protein than 0.8-1.0g/lb if your proteins had perfect amino acid profiles for you body's exact needs at exact times. Since there's no way to know exactly which cells need which amino acids at which times, consuming "extra" protein should provide adequate essential amino acids are available for the cells when needed. For example, say you love beans, beans are deficient in the essential amino acid methionine. If you get 100g/day of protein from beans, first, you'd be one stinky MFer, but second, your cells might be starving for methionine. You'd have to eat extra protein from other sources to make up the deficit of that amino acid. The total protein might be very high, just to get adequate aminos. This is why it's important to vary your proteins instead of just living on 1 or 2 protein sources. Your body can make some aminos from others, but the essential ones have to be consumed in adequate quantity.

Davidelmo
08-11-2006, 03:29 PM
You could probably get by with less protein than 0.8-1.0g/lb if your proteins had perfect amino acid profiles for you body's exact needs at exact times. Since there's no way to know exactly which cells need which amino acids at which times, consuming "extra" protein should provide adequate essential amino acids are available for the cells when needed. For example, say you love beans, beans are deficient in the essential amino acid methionine. If you get 100g/day of protein from beans, first, you'd be one stinky MFer, but second, your cells might be starving for methionine. You'd have to eat extra protein from other sources to make up the deficit of that amino acid. The total protein might be very high, just to get adequate aminos. This is why it's important to vary your proteins instead of just living on 1 or 2 protein sources. Your body can make some aminos from others, but the essential ones have to be consumed in adequate quantity.

Yup, thats true. However, I'd imagine most bodybuilders main sources of protein would be milk, meat and whey... all of which are complete.

Jorge Sanchez
08-11-2006, 04:10 PM
If you have a good liver and good kidneys i don't see any reason to worry about protein intake.

Protein inhibits the digestion and absorption of calcium. I've seen some evidence that suggests that prolonged consumption of high protein diets may lead to osteoporosis.

Although, in the context of weightlifting I'm not sure if that is such a big concern since the stress placed on the bones will serve to strengthen them and prevent osteoporosis.

manowar669
08-11-2006, 04:19 PM
Yup, thats true. However, I'd imagine most bodybuilders main sources of protein would be milk, meat and whey... all of which are complete.

Complete proteins, yes, which just means that they contain all essential amino acids, but the amounts vary quite a bit. For example, turkey is high in tryptophan (an essential amino), egg whites do not have as much tryptophan. If you ate mostly egg whites, and your cells needed that peptide in a higher amount than .8g/lb lbm of egg whites was providing, your growth may suffer, whereas 1.5g/lb of lbm of egg whites might provided sufficient tryptophan.

RedSpikeyThing
08-11-2006, 04:27 PM
Protein inhibits the digestion and absorption of calcium. I've seen some evidence that suggests that prolonged consumption of high protein diets may lead to osteoporosis.


And kidney stones.

sCaRz*Of*PaiN
08-11-2006, 04:33 PM
Protein inhibits the digestion and absorption of calcium. I've seen some evidence that suggests that prolonged consumption of high protein diets may lead to osteoporosis.You pretty much minsintrepted that information greatly.

Built
08-11-2006, 06:54 PM
Recent evidence is refuting the "high protein leaches calcium from your bones" hypothesis:

For example, this study (http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/abstract/24/suppl_6/526S)

and from this one: (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=15995267&query_hl=3&itool=pubmed_docsum)

"Although concerns have been raised about the consequences of high protein intake, protein intake above the RDA in older adults is associated with increased bone-mineral density when calcium intake is adequate and does not appear to compromise renal health in older individuals with normal renal function."

sCaRz*Of*PaiN
08-11-2006, 08:06 PM
"Although concerns have been raised about the consequences of high protein intake, protein intake above the RDA in older adults is associated with increased bone-mineral density when calcium intake is adequate and does not appear to compromise renal health in older individuals with normal renal function."The part in bold is what people seem to overlook. No matter what you're eating, if you're not getting enough calcium, your body will have to leech it from your bones anyway in order to supply itself with adequate amounts of calcium. As long as you keep your calcium intake up, there isn't a problem.

Davidelmo
08-13-2006, 11:01 AM
^^ Exactly. You have around 1kg of calcium in your body. Only about 1% (10g) is actually free and useable for processes (such as initiating muscle contraction, enzyme activation, pathway signalling etc).

If you don't eat enough of it, your body will start to resorb bone and release the calcium from it anyway. With adequate intake, there is no problem.