Dietary protein increases lean mass

bmi-comparison

There is an old joke that goes something like this:

Question: What is Mozart doing in his grave right now?
Answer: De-composing.

The same question could be asked of the living right now who are working hard on their diets and seeming to go nowhere body weight-wise.

Question: What’s happening right now? Why am I not losing weight?
Answer: You’re Re-composing.

As you can see from the picture above, body composition matters a lot.  It’s not the particularly the weight you carry as much as how it is distributed that counts.  As I’m forever asking my female patients, What difference does it make if you weigh 200 pounds if you’re wearing a size 4?  Although that situation is unlikely, they get the point.

A soon-to-be-published study by Donald Layman and his team at the University of Illinois demonstrates this phenomenon nicely.  And shows that by increasing protein intake – even while keeping carb intake much higher than I would recommend – increases fat loss while increasing muscle and lean tissue mass.

Here is how the study was set up.

One-hundred thirty overweight men (58) and women (72) between the ages of 40 and 56 were recruited into the study.  None of the subjects smoked, took cholesterol-lowering drugs or had any medical condition that might affect the outcome of the study.  In other words, the study subjects were relatively healthy overweight middle aged people.

These subjects were randomized into two groups.  One group was started on a diet (PRO) containing 1.6 gm protein per kg body weight per day and under 170 g carbohydrate per day.  The other group went on a diet (CHO) composed of 0.8 g protein per kg per day (the minimum Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein) and over 220 g carbohydrate per day.

The diets for both groups were formulated to be equal in energy with  1900 kcal/day provided for males and 1700 kcal/day for females.  Total fat content was the same in both the PRO and CHO diets.

Diet differences between groups were designed to reflect direct substitution of foods in the protein groups (meat, dairy, eggs, and nuts) for foods with high-carbohydrate content (breads, rice, cereals, pasta, and potatoes).  The education guidelines for the CHO group followed the USDA Food Guide Pyramid and emphasized restricting dietary fat and cholesterol with use of whole-grain breads, rice, cereals, and pasta.  For the PRO group, the education guidelines emphasized use of high-quality, low-fat proteins including lean meats, reduced-fat dairly, and eggs or egg substitutes.  Both diets included 5 vegetable servings/d and 2-3 fruit servings/d.

This study is unusual in that it provided a comprehensive nutritional education program along with an intense degree of nutritional monitoring throughout the 12 months of the study.  Most nutritional studies give the subjects a lead in lecture or series of lectures, then pretty much leave them alone.  To help ensure compliance, these researchers met with the subjects weekly throughout the study.

Subjects were evaluated at the start, after a 4 month period of active weight loss and finally after an 8 month maintenance period.  The entire length of the study was 12 months.

At the end of the 4 month weight-loss period, subjects on the PRO diet fared substantially better than those on the CHO diet.  Fewer people in the PRO group had dropped out of the study, and those who remained experienced an increase in HDL-cholesterol and a substantial reduction in triglycerides as compared to those on the CHO diet.  Those subjects on the CHO diet had greater reduction in LDL-cholesterol than did those following the PRO diet, but those changes didn’t old over the full 12 months.

Most interesting was the finding that although both groups lost equivalent amounts of weight over the first 4 months (actually, the PRO group lost a little more, but not a statistically significant amount), those in the PRO group lost 22 percent more fat than the subjects in the CHO group.  Since weight was essentially the same in both groups, those in the PRO group maintained or lost less lean mass while losing fat.  Which means that, despite the weight being the same, those in the PRO group ended up smaller than those in the CHO group.

As I’m sure everyone knows, fat is lighter than muscle.  If you trade a pound of muscle for a pound of fat, the scales don’t change.  But size does change because a given weight of fat occupies much more volume than the same weight of muscle.  You can see from the photo to the right how much less space 5 pounds of muscle take up than does 5 pounds of fat.  Plus, muscle is more metabolically active in that it burns more calories, and it actually does something for you.  Muscle makes you stronger; fat just weighs you down.

I know that many female readers will not want to gain extra muscle.  They shouldn’t worry, however, because in the absence of exogenous anabolic steroids women won’t become ‘muscle bound’ or non-feminine appearing.  What generally happens is that the muscle replaces fat within the muscle.  We’ve all seen marbling in beef, which is fat within the muscle tissue.  With the extra protein, new muscle replaces this fat, and the muscle may even become a little smaller in females while at the same time becoming more dense and stronger.

Let’s take a look at a couple of graphs that demonstrate nicely the difference in fat loss with greater protein intake, even in the face of what I consider way too many carbs.

The graph on the top shows the difference in fat loss between those PRO and CHO subjects who completed the entire 12 months of the study irrespective of how much weight they lost.

The bottom graph shows the difference in fat loss in those who were able to maintain a weight loss of at least 10 percent of their starting weights.

As you can see, the fat loss in those in the PRO group were substantially greater than those in the CHO group even though both groups were on an equivalent number of calories.

layman-figure-1

The series of graphs to the right show what happened to lipid values in the subjects in both groups.  HDL-cholesterol went up more and stayed up in the PRO subjects.  Triglycerides went down more and stayed down in the PRO subjects.  Subjects following the CHO protocol tended to have a reduction in LDL-cholesterol as compared to those in the PRO group, but as the study continued, the LDL-cholesterol began to return to pre-study levels.  This finding has been replicated in many other studies.  A high-carb, low-fat diet reduces LDL in the short term, but the changes don’t last.

The authors of this study made some interesting points in the discussion part of the paper.

Across all 3 analyses [the data was analyzed in three different ways], the PRO group averaged ~21% greater weight loss and 27% greater fat loss than the CHO group.  Further, irrespective of the amount of weight lost, participants in the PRO group obtained greater improvements in body composition as reflected by greater FM [fat mass] loss and attenuated relative lean mass loss.

In addition to the beneficial effects of the PRO diet for changes in body composition, more participants in the PRO group completed the study (64%) than in the CHO group (45%) and attained ≥ 10% weight loss (31 vs 21%, respectively).  These findings demonstrate greater compliance with a moderate PRO diet designed within the DRI [Daily Recommended Intake] guidelines for macronutrients for long-term weight management than the CHO diets often advocated for weight loss.

This is information you can use with friends and family who are, for whatever reason, adverse to going on a real low-carb diet.  The beauty of this particular study is that all the protein, carb and fat recommendations are within the government-approved RDAs.  The PRO group had a protein intake that was at the upper end of the RDA for protein and carb at an amount that was far from the lower end of the RDA for carbs.  (Of course those of us in the know realize that there is no lower end requirement for carbs  – many people get by with zero or close to zero carbs.  But we’re talking the government here. So, nuff said.)  What this means is that you can encourage friends and family to go ahead and eat a government-approved diet yet still get some of the benefits of a semi-sort-of low-carb diet.  A real win win.

Multiple mechanisms have been reported to explain increased loss of body weight and body fat with higher protein diets.  Higher protein diets appear to increase satiety, increase energy expenditure, and/or maintain lean tissue with higher metabolic activity.

Improvements in body composition, including reducing body fat and maintenance of lean tissue, are critical for prevention of weight regain and long-term health status.  Evidence is accumulating that the RDA for protein is inadequate to maintain muscle mass in adults during aging, with a physically inactive lifestyle, or during energy restriction for weight loss.  The current RDA for protein represents the minimum protein needs for healthy young adults with adequate energy intakes.  During weight loss, energy restriction increases the protein needed to maintain muscle mass and protein needs expressed as percentage of the reduced energy intake nearly double.

Just to give you an idea of the amount of protein we’re talking about here, let’s take the so-called average person who weighs 70 kg (154 lbs) and calculate daily protein requirements based on the protocol of this study.  70 kg  X 1.6 g/kg/day = 112 gm protein per day.

If you want to use pounds instead of kilograms, use 0.73 gm protein per pound per day.  If you weigh 200 lbs, then the calculation would be 200 lbs X 0.73 gm/lb/day = 146 gm protein per day.  Since meat contains about 7 gm protein per ounce, this 146 gm could be gotten in about 21 ounces of meat per day.  So we’re not talking about a small amount.

I’ll leave you with the conclusions of the authors of this study, with which I mostly concur.

The findings of the current study demonstrate that although energy deficit is the major factor for body weight loss, the macronutrient composition affects body composition, blood lipids, and long term compliance.  Specifically, a PRO diet with protein at the upper end and carbohydrates at the lower end of the AMDR [Acceptable Macronutrient Intake Range] is more effective for reducing % Fat and improving dyslipidemia.

I can only add that were the protein kept high (along with the fat) and the carbs slashed to around 30-50 gm per day, the results would have been even more impressive.

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63 thoughts on “Dietary protein increases lean mass

  1. It drives me crazy when colleagues hammer incessantly on thermodynamics as the only important factor in body recomposition! If we are only talking about weight loss, maybe… But I don’t think anyone trying to lose weight is actually all that concerned about “weight” – they want to lose fat. It’s nice to see another piece of research that supports what we see every day training clients for fat loss. Thanks for sharing this and for adding your always valuable insight.

    Cheers,
    Adam

  2. I’m not sure I believe that eating protein increases muscle mass. Certainly a low protein intake suppresses anabolic factors like IGF1, but I don’t believe increasing protein will increase anabolic hormones above what they would be in a protein adequate diet. Ultimately hormones control muscle mass, and if the protein is adequate, muscle mass is optimal (assuming there isn’t another deficiency or hormone imbalance which would provide sub-optimal muscle mass).

    Higher protein intakes help preserve muscle mass on diets for two reasons. Reason one is that during a negative energy balance condition protein turnover increases and the minimum protein requirement therefore increases in order to preserve anabolic hormone levels (so, if one is dieting, the RDA protein is insufficient). Therefore, during a weight loss diet, supposed “high protein” intakes are actually “adequate protein” intakes, which prevent the decrease in anabolic hormones and subsequent lean mass loss that is common during dieting (it will HELP but not completely prevent lean mass loss, as decreased insulin and leptin will also decrease IGF and sex steroids, and these are unavoidable complications of weight loss so some loss of lean mass is going to occur during body fat loss… weight training can help preserve lean tissue however if one is particularly interested in lean mass, that is).

    Reason two is that eating protein tends to decrease carb intake, and most of the benefits of higher protein are actually related to lower carbing. While lower carbing body fat is lost without resulting in the global temp-down of anabolic hormones that are part and parcel of a high carb starvation diet (as only a starvation diet will reduce insulin sufficiently for body fat loss to occur when carbs are high).

    For example, in the study you cite here, the subjects on the high protein diet didn’t simply increase protein, they also decreased carbs by 50 g per day. That is a substantial decrease. The question is this: if the 50 g of carbs in the lower protein group was replaced with an equal energy amount of monosaturated fat, would the high protein diet still enjoy such an advantage? I doubt it. In fact, I would expect that the high mono fat group to lose weight even better than the high protein group. Knowing what I know in research and first hand experience, protein is more insulinogenic than fat, but it is less insulinogenic than carb. Assuming the low protein group was not deficient in protein, replacing carb with fat is always a better bet than replacing it with protein.

    I’ve noticed a trend online that carb addicts love the heck out of protein when on low carb diets. People who find it difficult to stick with a LC diet find it easier if they are allowed to eat lots of proteins. I think the protein helps glucose cravings and perhaps an addiction to the emotional effects of higher insulin levels because it is a midway “compromise” between the two worlds of metabolizing fat for energy VS metabolizing carbohydrate and glucose.
    Just as I’ve noticed that carb addicts seem to obsessively defend/embrace protein, I’ve noticed that high fat moderate protein eating is rarely embraced by carb addicts. I think this is because the high fat diet is the most effective way to suppress insulin/glucose and it is ultimately the insulin/glucose addiction which mediates carb addiction. The diet makes them feel depleted and depressed.

    Summary of my opinion: a recommendation to increase protein helps people on diets by preventing protein deficiency (due to higher need during negative energy balance) and also by preventing carb eating (as eating protein helps decrease need / craving for carb by raising insulin and glucose more than fat).
    But, fat will always provide the best weight loss because it is the most effective at suppressing insulin.

    Lean mass is not entirely composed of muscle. In fact, lean mass is everything other than fat and, as a consequence, is sometimes called non-fat mass. Organs, bones, skin, and other structures make up the non-fat mass, and it has been shown that an increased protein intake can increase the size and/or density of some of these structures.

  3. Very interesting indeed, Dr. Eades. I don’t count protein anymore, but according to what I remember from PP, these values for a 150 lb person seem about 20-30 grams higher than what you recommend for weight loss. How do you feel about that?

    Info changes. Layman’s work in this and other papers has persuaded me that a little more protein is probably better, especially during weight loss. The extra protein helps maintain lean mass while fat is being shed.

  4. What else is amazing to me is that there is only a 10% difference in calories from carbohydrate from both groups. 40% in the PRO group and 50% in the CHO group. Another difference, of course, would be that limiting calories from protein in the CHO group would increase their fat calories, too, with respect to the PRO group. It seems that CHO would get 13% cals as protein, 50% as carb, and 47% as fat. PRO would get 27% as protein, 40% as carb, and only 33% as fat. Hm.

    I think the CHO group is too limited in protein with too many carbs, obviously. And that the PRO group is perhaps a bit high in protein and with not enough fat. 🙂 In fact, it reminds me a bit of weight watchers. When you are of low weight to begin with, weight watchers is painful because in order to feel any satisfaction you have to eat high protein foods but the program penalizes you for fat content, making it a rather unnatural relatively high protein, moderate carb, lowfat diet… The emphasis on lean meats and lowfat dairy above thus makes sense. It is do-able but not ideal. I basically agree that slashing carbs and upping the fat would only result in better weight loss it would make the subjects so much more satisfied, too.

  5. “One group was started on a diet (PRO) containing 1.6 gm protein per kg body weight per day and under 170 g carbohydrate per day. The other group went on a diet (CHO) composed of 0.8 g protein per kg per day (the minimum Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein) and over 220 g carbohydrate per day.”

    Curious to know what kind of ECCs they had. I take it that you when you say 30-50 gms/day of carbs, it is ECC only.

    Don’t know what their ECCs were – the study data didn’t indicate. I do mean 30-50 gm/day of ECC.

  6. Totally forgot to ask you a question I was itching to ask for the longest time. Actually few questions. Dr Mike any updates on the revolution front? Ok, thats first question.

    Some people are made for radio, some people are made for TV. Some people are made for newspapers. Some are nice to look at, others are to listen to, and yet others should just not bother. I loved to see and hear you on PBS. I know you are not crazy about video editing and staff, but any plans on at least youtube video blogging. Not only you are smart, educated and charismatic, you are also are very beleivable. Not my word, I am not a very good character about guys being charismatic, but my female friends all sa that you are all those. So my second question is since you are such a big hit among female audience and male alike, when will we see you on TV? I think sooooooooooo many people would follow you! I know it, no doubt! No offence to Dr Ornish, but he is not very carismatic or TV material. And DR Oz is, many female friends of mine find Dr Oz sexy and i am sure thats why his message gets audience. Dr Mike not onkly can you be a Dr Oz of low carb community, you cant lead the way for many many people to the truth!

    Thanks for the compliment. I am planning on doing some video blogging – or at least giving it a try.

    I think I accidentally deleted your last comment. I intended to hit the edit button and hit ‘delete’ instead. Stupidly, the two are right next to one another.

  7. I first went on to a low carb regime in early 2001. Have been there since. In the first year I noticed some interesting changes. My arthritic symptoms decreased (mercifully). My weight eventually reached a low of 78 kg and then inexorably started to climb. I was’nt worried, I had changed jobs, from fairly sedentary to physically demanding. I actually hit a high of 90kg (3kg less than my start out weight). I was’nt worried because my belt told me all was well with abdominal circumfrence. Muscles I had forgotten I had owned returned, increased muscularity also means increased bone density. I figure the increased weight was due to more meat and bone being piled on.

    I am now in a rural situation and I have noticed that a couple of my neighbours (who have never heard of lo carb diets), are big meat and fat eaters. We regularly help each other out with farm work dealing with cattle, sheep and hay stacking. It is nothing for the three of us to pick, load, unload and then stack 3-500 bales of hay. No prob and a lot of sweat.

    Andy is in his mid seventies, I am 66, Buzz is 53. Not one of us is could be described as overweight ( although BMI in the case of two of us would probably say so).

    I have noticed that advancing years appears to bring on increased frailty. Could it be that chronic underconsumption of protein and fat takes it toll? A chronic shortfall in protein is goin to result in a chronic shortfall of amino acids necessary for cell regeneration/rejuvenation. Could it be that the body robs protein from under utilized muscles to repair other parts of the body? This is analagous to kwashikor where , in famine conditions the body starts feeding off its muscle tissue, there ain;t no fat or glucose around?

    Interstingly my weight is now 85kg, my belt has not shifted. BMI would have me obese. I reckon that I am carrying 3kg fat (max).

    Every gridiron player (and probably most baseball players, female professional tennis players are obese according to BMI). Their weight and height do not add up to “healthy and safe”.

    I do think that under consumption of protein takes a toll on the lean body mass of the elderly. Most foods that are protein rich are fat rich as well, and the elderly, more than any other demographic, tend to buy into the nutritional mainstream hogwash about fat being bad. So they cut the fat from their diet, and the protein goes with it. It’s a sad state of affairs because one of the groups that really needs the most protein (the other group is growing children) is getting the least. And paying for it in increased frailty.

  8. Dr Mike, did they do any analysis of the differences between men and women? The abstract does not say. If so, would you mind sharing?

    Thanks.

    No, they didn’t break it out by sex. All the data was presented as PRO vs CHO.

  9. Thanks for another great post, Doc. I’ve recently had it brought to my attention that I do not consume enough protein, which is a pretty good explanation for why I’m not making the progress that I want to make. I guess I’ll have to go back to weighing and measuring and journaling. (sigh) It seems to be the only way I can keep myself honest!

  10. You made a statement about how keeping the protein and fat high and slashing the carbohydrates would have been better. My question, Dr. Eades, is how much fat do we actually need to have? I get confused on this one. There is so much conflicting information out there, even among the low-carb community, about the fat content of an optimal low-carb diet. Some say high-protein, low-fat, others say high-protein, high fat, and yet others say moderate protein, high-fat is the best. There are people who eat so much fat in their low-carb regimen that it sounds over-the-top to me. Does it actually harm your metabolism if you don’t get a lot of fat in your diet? I’m not a big fan of fatty cuts of meat or of fat in particular. I try to add extra-virgin olive oil when I can to my eggs, but I still only seem to get in about 30 grams per day of fat. Is that too low? Protein I can handle, but is fat really where it’s at?

    Thank you for yet another great article and for taking the time to share your expertise with us. Yep, I’m a big fan!

    ~Carol Ann

    When you eat, you’ve got to have a source of calories to burn for energy. On a low-carb diet, much of the protein goes to make glucose so the body doesn’t have to rob the lean tissue for amino acids to convert to glucose. If you are consuming some fat, this fat, along with your stored body fat, supplies the calories while the protein supplies the raw materials for glucose and the maintenance of the body’s protein structures. If you eat too little fat, then the body not only uses the protein for glucose, but uses it to burn for energy as well. My preference is for a diet structured prot/fat wise as about the same as a piece of grass-fed beefsteak with the fat left on.

  11. I keep telling people if they just want to loose weight they can cut off a limb. I find it helps them understand the difference between healthy weight loss of fat and unhealthy loss of “weight.”

  12. Hey Atomic, don’t forget Dr. Skeletor, er, I mean, Dr. Fuhrman. I’m sure he’d have some sort of poppycock jibber jabber response to this.

    Great stuff, I’m tempted to send this to my weight watching sisters. They’ve seen my success on low carb over the past 7 years, yet they still go on about avoiding fat, limiting protein, “I don’t eat hamburgers!” blah blah blah.

    I doubt that they’ll read it tho.

    He/she who won’t read is no better of than he/she who can’t read.

  13. Adam, I’m sorry to say, but a lot of women are obsessed with the number on the scale. I know I can ruin a perfectly good day by stepping on the scales and seeing a number that’s higher than I expect. It’s stupid, I know, because it’s not like you walk around all day with that number pasted on your forehead, but still. And I know what matters is how you look rather than a number on a scale.

    That’s why I weigh myself rarely, relying instead on a couple items of clothing to gauge my progress (or lack thereof).

    It’s great to see this new study. Unfortunately, it will likely not be reported by the mass media, and anyone I show it to will likely believe it’s an aberration and not indicative of the “truth.” Besides, everyone knows that much protein will kill you. 😉

  14. I may have got it wrong, but in PP wasn’t the recommended intake based on lean body mass as oppossed to total body weight?

    Yep, but that’s just another way of doing it. If I were rewriting PP today, I would increase the protein requirements a bit based on Layman’s work on protein, all of which has been published since PP. It’s sometimes difficult for me to believe that PP is almost 15 years old.

  15. Very interesting study Dr Eades.

    If you’ve lost weight while eating inadequate protein and are at ideal weight but “flabby”, is it possible to “build” some muscle merely by increasing protein or is exercise necessary to regain muscle once it’s gone?

    According to this study and to my experience with a lot of patients, increasing protein intake while keeping carbs low tends to decrease flabbiness over time. Exercise certainly hastens the process, though.

  16. Sir,

    Regrets if you get more than one of these, but I get a spam warning when I used my Firefox browser, so I am repeating this in Windows IE.

    My question addresses whether the protein requirement should be calculated from target weight, or current weight?

    Thanks

    In this study, it was calculated from current weight. I’ve usually calculated it from target weight, but then used that number as a minimum. I’ve increased my recommendations to the higher number now, however.

    And this is the only one I’ve gotten so far.

  17. Wow, a 12-month study, complete with real monitoring, and no extra tweaks like calorie restriction in one group to confuse the issue. Awesome. This will be a good one to show people who just can’t let go of the belief that reducing calories is the way to lose weight. (Sometimes I just want to tell them to write it on the chalkboard 100 times or until they get it: Calories don’t matter. Calories don’t matter…) Now we just need a solid study like this that also reduces carbs to <50, like you said, and we’d have some really impressive results to show off.

  18. Great post. Did you mean to write: “But size does change because a given weight of fat occupies much more volume than the same weight of fat”? Shouldn’t the last bit be “more volume than the same weight of muscle”?

    Yes, I did mean to write that. And I’ve changed it. Thanks for the heads up.

  19. Slightly off topic: A few days ago I was reading The Who Docs (Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz) column in the Seattle Times, and they were talking about high blood glucose increasing the risk of Alzheimers and other kinds of dementia. So far, no big deal, but then, they concluded the piece with:

    “New research found that whereas a low glycemic index diet is good at improving blood sugar control, a low carb diet (less than 20 grams of carbs a day) is even better. Ninety-five percent of diabetics on the low carb diet were able to reduce or eliminate their meds, whereas 62 percent of those on the low GI did…”

    Considering the source, I feel hopeful that this is a sign that the other side is starting to face facts.

    Hmmm. I wonder if they realized what they were writing or if they were merely quoting from the article or the press release that came with it? And I wonder if they even write their own stuff or have assistants do it under their names?

  20. You might find my Ketogenic Diet Nutrient calculator useful;

    Calculate Your Nutrient Balance on a Ketogenic Diet

    Many of us who eat low carb long term to control diabetic blood sugars stop losing weight, in fact, most do. Dr. Bernstein suggests cutting protein in that situation. Eating too much protein, rather too little seems to be a common problem among long-term low carb dieters and one that takes on more importance as they near goal.

    Past a certain point–which unfortunately I have not figured out how to calculate–the amount of excess protein converting to glucose via gluconeogenesis may raise the demand for insulin and this may be why it contributes stalls.

    Thanks for the link to the calculator. I’m not much of a believer in the idea that excess protein drives gluconeogenesis. I am a believer that the need for blood sugar is the driver for gluconeogenesis. Diabetics are a different story, however. If there is no insulin or not enough insulin to shut down gluconeogenesis, it will definitely proceed in the face of excess protein. Why? Because dietary protein stimulates the release of both insulin AND glucagon. Insulin shuts down gluconeogenesis – glucagon cranks if up. If one is unable to produce insulin, then protein basically stimulates glucagon, which drives gluconeogenesis. Which is why diabetics have to watch their protein. But not non diabetics.

  21. one of their findings:

    “Higher protein diets appear to increase satiety, increase energy expenditure, and/or maintain lean tissue with higher metabolic activity.”

    The problem with this study is they tested with two variables: higher protein and lower carbs….So which one caused the body composition changes??? We don’t know.

    In my opinion it was the higher fat content of the PRO group that precipitated the change….not just simply the higher protein/lower carb.

    Also you have the hypothalamic satiety centers that only sense blood lipids, not glucose, that affect hunger.

    I wouldn’t put too much credence in this study….
    Dr. John

    The sentence you quote comes directly from the study, and as it appeared in the study, it had multiple references for each statement. There were a number of references – all of which I have read – to the statement “Higher protein diets appear to increase satiety,” showing that increased protein intake does indeed lead to greater satiety. The same goes for the rest of the sentence. I agree with you about this particular study, but in the discussion section the authors speculated on why they had the findings they had. The quoted sentence above – including the references I left out – was a part of that discussion.

  22. Scales are idiotic; they encourage all sorts of self-destructive behaviors. Who cares what you weigh?

    Body fat meters make sense to me.

  23. Dr. Eades–on this subject, it would be great if you could interview Met-Rx founder Dr. A. Scott Connelly for your blog. He’s forgotten more about dietary protein than perhaps anyone alive, has long advocated high protein diets as ideal for body recomposition, is very low-carb friendly, and is extremely interested/well-versed in weight training. You, on the other hand, have infinitely more experience dealing with overweight non-athletes (the “average person”) and probably know more about the the real world harmlessness of dietary fat, esp. saturated fats, which ASC seems a bit leary of. And you’re both super-bright and willing to be convinced by the *evidence*, as opposed to some of the high-carb vegan zealots out there…

    Maybe I’ll track him down and do that. Thanks for the tip.

  24. Lol, no problem about deleting my comment. I always have more questions than answers. If you knew me perosanally, you would know. I think you have got the idea already.

    I simply stated how obsessive people, me included, are with numbers and scales. And after looking at your post picture I realized why. i once read in a book a question that stopped me cold in my tracks ( BTW can you say it relative to what I am about to say? English is my fifth language. It asked ” If your body were all muscles and nothing juggled( unless it was supposed to off course) would you care about a number on a scale?”. Off course I wouldnt, so it is only logical that I care about what the stupid digital robot of a scale sais! Because I look like that guy on the right! May be not exactly like that guy, but at 5 ” 9 I weight 240 pounds now. Ok, I might have a bit of muscle, I must, after all I can bench press 270 pounds.

    I know that you dont mind substituting few protein shakes a day for a meal. Lets say for argument’s sake that I need to lose about 80 pounds. So I decide to go on a low carb relatively low calorie high proterin, moderate fat diet. I decide to drink 4 high quality protein shakes made from pure whey protein. Then I add few other wholesome meals with few nuts here and there. Given the fact that I get adequate amount of protein in my shakes, would I still see the same amount of benenfits as someone who eats their protein from meat sources. I know that only meat, fowl and fish have complete protein, that is all 12 essential amino acids. Whey protein isnt, or is it? So does it matter a lot where the protein comes from as far as fat loss benefits?

    It’s a function of more than simply protein intake. If you get the same amount of protein in a few shakes as you do in a couple of steaks, you may lose more on the shakes if the calorie content is significantly less than that of the steaks.

  25. BTW there is always a theory or a myth in a Body Builder’s community about being to convert fat into muscle tissue. Some body builders believe that if you have a lot of fat to lose and start weight lifting intensively you can shift fatty deposits into muscle. i alwas thought it was physilogically impossible task. But at one point I thought building muscle and losing fat at the same time was impossible too. Until an icon of mine in the fitness workd proved that it was indeed possible, very hard to do, but possible. And now as I derived from one of your comment it is partially true that soem fatty deposit within muscle tissue can indeed be built into muscle? Did I get that correctly? Can you elloborate on it a bit more! That would be yet another reason for many fatsos like me to comply with low carb higher protein diets!

    Having muscle replace fat is different than having fat convert to muscle. The first implies that you lose the fat and build some muscle to take its place. The latter implies that the fat itself converts to muscle, which doesn’t happen. Fat is stored and it is burned for energy. When it burned for energy the 3-carbon backbone of the triglyceride is released and can be converted to glucose, but not to protein. Protein can be converted to glucose, but the conversion doesn’t go the other way. And since muscle is made from protein, glucose can’t build muscle and neither can fat.

  26. Dr Mike, a buddy of mine just sent me a link of his recipe for high protein ice cream recipe. Leo’s recipe was quite good. I fiddled with a bit and instead of vanilla he used in his recipe I used chcolate whey protein and caco powder and ice too. Came too darn good. If is one weakness for me it is ice cream. If God descended on earth and only allowed me to eat one food for the rest of my life, I would chose ice cream. It does the trick for me every time! Check out his recipe, what you think?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q9ayJ7zotE

    I dont remember seing you make ice cream on your PBS or lowcarbcoox website , but I know you like protein shake, so may be you can ask your wife to come up with her own version of Heavenly delicious chocolate ice cream , low carb way off course. It would be a treat for boht men and women alike.. Women are crazy about chocolate, and men are crazy about women who just finished eating their chocolate, because they are always happier postprandial. I think its worth trying!

    MD has developed a phenomenal recipe for ice cream. We have it once in a Blue Moon, though. She makes it sometimes when we have dinner parties, and the guests invariably rave about it. They think it is store bought. And can’t believe it is low-carb when we tell them. But we don’t eat it often because, although it is low in carbs, it isn’t low in calories. And just because something is low-carb doesn’t mean it can’t sabotage your weight loss. Read this post and this one to see what I mean.

    The recipe on the link you sent looks wretched to me. I would rather not eat ice cream at all than to eat it the way he makes it.

  27. The PRO diet actually looks a good deal like my current diet. I’m 6’0 -210lbs with 38in waist and take in about 2200 Cal a day with rough 33/33/33 distribution — I’ve lost about 50lbs with this approach and I figure have about 25 lbs to go. I’m an avid weight-lifter and have found that I have a real lack of energy when I take on a low carb diet. That and I get severely depressed — so much much so that I’ve been avoiding low carb for awhile now. Any thoughts on this? I know there is a transition period when you first gear into ketolysis — but I haven’t been able to get over that hump. Would intense workouts increase the transition time? And are there any ways to minimize the negatives of that period? Cheers.

    You might want to add some potassium when you start low-carb. Low-carb diets have a diuretic effect, and when you lose excess fluid that you’ve been retaining, you also lose some potassium. Low potessium levels bring about extreme fatigue and sometimes even cramping. I always start my own patients on a prescription dose of potassium when they start their low-carb diet under my supervision. If I have a patient who becomes a little depressed on a low-carb diet (unusual, but it has happened), I give 100 mg of 5-HTP late in the afternoon. That usually does the trick.

  28. I just got through watching this

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00hbsk2

    I suspect you won’t actually be able to download it your side of the Herring Pond, but basically they took a small bunch of people who had always been thin and gave them double the calories they were “supposed” to eat for a few weeks (no breakdown but it looked pretty high fat and fairly high carb)

    All of them put on some weight, but less than might have been expected. One (Chinese) put on weight but hardly any extra fat, he seemed to convert the excess calories into muscle instead which was a good trick.

    I need to re-watch it to get more detail out, but the momentum of looking at the quality rather than purely the quantity of calories and the metabolic pathways involved is even getting on mainstream TV. Which is good. Also being on the BBC it was uninterrupted by adverts for breakfast cereal, if it gets exported you may not be so lucky.

    I was unable to watch it. It said it was viewable only in the UK. It matches up pretty well with the data from the old Vermont prison studies done by EA Simms years ago. He did the same thing. He overfed normal weight prisoners by a pretty huge amount, and they gained a little weight, but much less than he had calculated they would. And once they went back to their normal diets, all the excess weight dropped off quickly.

  29. Good News! While waiting in line at the supermarket I was leafing through Oprah’s magazine because the cover proclaimed an article comparing the various diets. I read it expecting to read more low fat rubbish. Instead found a brief article that clearly declared low carb the winner. The tide may be turning.

    Hmmm. Wonder how that slipped in?

  30. Hi Michael,

    First… thanks for the facinating Coke Zero advice in the last blog post comment section. It works!

    Second… I’ve heard it said that Adipose tissue is storage for fatty acids, Glycogen is the storage site for glucose, and muscle is the storage for protein. I’ve been wondering what happens to excess protein? It can’t simply be stored as muscle as then the more protein a person would eat the bigger muslces they would get, which would mean eating protein to be more important than weight training!

    You said above in a comment that ” I am a believer that the need for blood sugar is the driver for gluconeogenesis.” So if blood sugar is not low and there is excess protein intake… does it go to fat? What happens in a low carb diet where blood sugar is stable from a certain amount of gluconeogenisis… what happens to the any excess protein?

    Thanks again,

    Michael

    Excess protein – that not used for gluconeogenesis or to replace and repair protein structures – can be converted to fat after the nitrogen is removed. Since low-carb diets use a lot of protein to convert to glucose, there isn’t a lot left to be converted to fat.

  31. Somehow I got on your blog and am receiving e-mails with your material. Maybe Divine Intervention? I like what I read need help in with what you are discussing. One problem–where do I start? What do I read first? How do I get started? I am one of those soon to be 55 years old men with a BMI of 28.5. Can you give me some help? If I am in the wrong place asking such information, sorry. Just did not know where to go for correct info so I won’t waste time getting started.

    Thanks,
    Mark

    Sorry, you were another victim of my spam filter.

    I guess the best place to start would be to read one of our books. Either Protein Power, The Protein Power LifePlan or the 30-Day Low-Carb Diet Solution (the latter if you sort of want the Cliff Notes version). Short of that, you can go through the archives of this blog and get a pretty good idea. Or, you can go on the Protein Power forum and learn a lot. They will take you by the hand.

    Good luck.

  32. OT

    I’ve heard from various sources that low carbing seems to help reduce sleep apnea and snoring. Any idea what is the mechanism for this?

    I’m not sure of the mechanism, but I’m absolutely sure that it works. We’ve had patients who had been on CPAP machines for years be able to go of within a week or two. It works very quickly.

  33. Dr Mike, I just can’t wrap my head around this protein amount—1.6g per kg body weight means for me, at 340 pounds, to eat 247g protein (that’s 35 oz, or about 2.25 pounds of meat, if I calculated correctly)! For someone who weighs as much as I (a female, 5’4″, 37 yo), should I really try to eat this much? Will I really lose weight–body fat–eating this much?

    You probably don’t need to eat that much protein. But if you saw me as a patient, assuming everything was otherwise okay, I would encourage you to eat a fair amount, say, 150 g per day.

  34. Dr Mike, I know that ice cream link on youtube might not sound like much of an ice-cream, but for a single dude like me who lives with a big 110 pounds German Shephard might be worht a try. Unless offcourse you can spare your lovely wife’s recipe! I love my dog , but his cooking leaves room for more wishful thinking. So would you care to ask your wife for a smaple, I mean recipe! I might try lowcarbcoox webiste too to see if there is one, but I dont remember seing you guys do it on PBS series. My problem is not caloric overconsumption on low carb diets, it is getting ogg the low carb and eating high carb that caliric overconsumption becomes a problem.

  35. Thanks! it may be time for another go around with LC. I thought you were going to start putting less effort into answering comments… Not that I’m complaining…

    I am going to start putting less effort into it. I’ve got a bunch of comments stacked up that are not comments but questions. The time I spend answering these things could be better spent posting.

  36. Dr. Mike–this may be slightly OT, but what are your thoughts on ideal carb intake for those who are very active and have a lot of muscle tissue? Competitive bodybuilders almost universally consume more carbs than recommended by yourself, Atkins, Bernstein, etc. and dont seem any worse off because of it. I lift weights 3 times per week, study/teach martial arts 2-3 times per week. Have always felt fine on low carb (40-80 g per day) but at those levels my muscles seemed to flatten out and look “stringy.” Going up to around 120-150 g of carbs per day seems to give me a harder, fuller look without the problems of a high carb diet (indigestion, energy swings, etc). Something to do with glycogen storage, perhaps?

    It gives you a harder, fuller look because of the fluid storage effect of the carbs. If you are muscular and fit, your probably aren’t insulin resistant, and, as a consequence, will do okay on the extra carbs.

  37. All this talk of increased protein intake reminds me of a question.
    What do you think about the use of meat tenderizers? Are there any problems with them that you know of?

    None that I know of. All meat tenderizers do is break down the protein in meat so it isn’t as tough. Your stomach acid does the same thing. All the meat tenderizer does it beat it to the punch.

  38. Ok Doc, now I’m getting confused. I’ve been under-eating protein *sigh*, I thought I was doing OK at 3 eggs & some bacon, 4-5 ozs meat, 6-7 oz fish for meals with mostly part-skim Mozarella cheese sticks, some cheddar/jack, & those 1/2 cup full-fat cottage cheese cups for snacks with lots of low carb veggies and pine, pistachio, pecan, marcona & regular almond, & macadamia nuts. Then you say that, I, having NID T2, have to watch my protein…so what number should I use to calculate my protein meals & snacks if .73 is too much protein? I’m got liver cell insulin resistance, tho since I’m 90% recovered from bronchitis & the Januvia I stopped is finally cleared from my body, my 7-day BG average is back to 134 with fasting levels in the 130s-140s…good compared to where they were a few wks ago and vastly improved since diagnosis last Aug. Or is the protein calculation for an NID T2 dependent on how much insulin resistance exists in the liver cells and how much insulin can be produced…or are rising BGs a better indicator to cut protein (how the heck can that be isolated to protein intake as so many things affect BG)?

    Thanks for the links to the article on stalls (dietary fat in excess of daily caloric needs)…explains why I need to pay attention to how much cheese & nuts I eat over the course of each day — that ‘lose 2, gain one, lose it again, repeat’ pattern is so familiar and so very frustrating.

    You wrote:

    I’ve been under-eating protein *sigh*, I thought I was doing OK at 3 eggs & some bacon, 4-5 ozs meat, 6-7 oz fish for meals with mostly part-skim Mozarella cheese sticks, some cheddar/jack, & those 1/2 cup full-fat cottage cheese cups for snacks with lots of low carb veggies and pine, pistachio, pecan, marcona & regular almond, & macadamia nuts.

    Sounds to me like you getting plenty of protein and way too much fat. It’s no wonder you’re losing then regaining. See this post and this one to understand why.

  39. I was unable to watch it. It said it was viewable only in the UK. It matches up pretty well with the data from the old Vermont prison studies done by EA Simms years ago. He did the same thing. He overfed normal weight prisoners by a pretty huge amount, and they gained a little weight, but much less than he had calculated they would. And once they went back to their normal diets, all the excess weight dropped off quickly.

    Yes that’s the guy whose work they were emulating, but with Big Brother style TV cameras present and some more modern stuff added in. Including some references to the alleged fat-building viral infection.

    One would wish they’d read Taubes first though, and made the correlation between the “epidemics” of cardiovascular disease, including Type 2, obesity and the Heart Healthy Diet which everyone except The Authorities now seems to know isn’t. Horizon used to be cutting edge science but is probably dumbed down now for certain export markets.

  40. A bit off topic, but did you see the current LA Times piece on intermittent fasting?

    I did. And I plan on posting soon on one of the papers the article mentioned.

  41. Just wondering… does extra protein help people with muscle-wasting diseases–not as a cure or anything like that, but more like “couldn’t hurt”–or is the extra protein just not as helpful since the potential for muscle building has diminished?

    It probably falls into the ‘couldn’t hurt’ and ‘maybe helpful’ category.

  42. Hi,

    I’ve just bought and read PPLP. I’m only a week in (and part of that was before the book got here). It’s really hard for me to eat protein enough, especially early in the day — and now I’m supposed to eat more?! Oh, no!

    Anyway, the question I have is about D-vitamin. I live in Copenhagen and there is *no way* I am going winter sunbathing (besides the problem of where, the chances of the sun coming out on a day that isn’t windy are slim to none). On the other hand I do get some winter light every day, though only on my face, as my only transport is a bicycle. In the book you seem to be against D supplements but I searched the blog for more about it and it appears you may have changed your mind in the face of new evidence, but I can’t find a post that tells how much to take/not take. I bought some D3 supplements today, they are 10 mikrog./ea. and the bottle recommends one a day. Is that enough?

    Also another question. You seem to recommend against yoghurt in the beginning stages as it is high carb. We have a sort of weird Icelandic dairy product here called Skyr, per 100g it is 11g P, 3,5g C and 0,2gF. Is that okay if one doesn’t eat it all the time? Or is it too high in carb and low in fat?

    Thanks.

    I don’t know what a mikrog is and using Google translator doesn’t help me. I would recommend about 2000 – 5000 IU (international units) of vitamin D3 per day.

    The Skyr sounds fine as long as you don’t eat too much.

  43. Hello Dr Eades,

    Would you be able to give us the run down on Acylation Stimulating Protein (ASP) which I’ve just heard is an alternate fat storage pathway to insulin. What bearing if any does this have on low carbers?

    Ta,
    Craig

    This subject is worthy of a post, not a comment to a comment. I’ll try to post on it in due course.

  44. http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20090202/insulin-may-protect-mind-memory

    Check it out, Dr. They report insulin as a brain saver, noting that enhancing a brain cell’s sensitivity to the hormone improves its protection against damage seen in Alzheimer’s. But they suggest that increased insulin is the solution, rather than endorsing a dietary regimen that would improve insulin sensitivity without dangerous exogenous hormones and drugs.

    When will mainstream science and science writers catch on to what you and Mary Dan published over a decade ago?

    Who knows?

  45. Doc

    Can you explain that protein and glucogenesis and glucagon again…..I need to understand it and so far..I’m lost.

    I need to insulin dose for protein at certain times and other not at all….it’s confusing and hard to manage.

    I understand if you can’t do it in this type of forum

    tia

    Ressy
    Sweet Evil Fabric Queen

    There is a new paper out that deals with all this that I plan to post on soon. Maybe I can clear it up then.

  46. Dr Eades:
    Again I want to thank you for an excellent blog.

    I know you had a request to do video blogging. I would just like to comment that video blogging is nice, but doesn’t fit for every situation. Here are several ways that I use your blog that would probably not work well with video:
    o I print parts of them and keep them in my 3-ring binder for future reference. For instance, your blog on how to talk to your doctor about diet is reviewed while I’m waiting for the doctor before each appointment.
    o I sometimes send parts of our blog to others, and then give them the web site so they can read the whole thing (a teaser you might say).
    o I sometimes like to read your blog on my lunch hour, reading a blog is quiet, and does not bother others and does not take up lots of bandwidth.
    o I pull together pertinent parts of your blog for reference when I go to my doctor. That way when she tries to force drugs my way (e.g, statins and others) I have quick access to comments, studies, and research that you reference to explain why I’m not interested. I can’t get my doctor to read your blog, and I certainly won’t get her to watch a video but I can pull out a sheet of paper with a paragraph or two and it will get at least a glance.
    o Sometimes you use technical terms and I need to see them spelled out so I can further research and get a better understanding of the meaning (although you do an excellent job of writing for the layperson).

    Maybe what I’m asking is that you keep in mind what your users do with your blog so you don’t lose effectiveness. While I think you did an excellent job with O’Reilly, that doesn’t mean that is the best form for YOUR blog. Having said that, if it is easier and saves you time/you like it better, etc, then you need to do what is best for you and I won’t complain. I have learned SOOO much from your blog, I can’t begin to thank you enough.

    On the weight front, I have lost 5 lbs in the last month. This is not nearly as impressive as the first time – I’m one of those who lost 30 lbs easily in about 4 months and felt wonderful and then was attacked by menopause (could really save on our heat bill here in Iowa if my husband didn’t insist on temperatures above 60 in the house) and gained it all back. Thanks to many of your blogs and the conversations with your readers, I’ve pinpointed the problem areas and came up with solutions. I’m now at one of those tipping points (or stopping points) you wrote about and now that I understand what is happening, I’m not going to lose this fight.

    If I ever do do video blogging, it will not be as a substitute for the regular blog, and I’ll probably put up the transcript of the video anyway.

  47. Very timely article and speaks to my current situation. I went on the Phase I program from Protein Power a month ago. At 190 lbs lean mass I’m taking about 170 gr of protein and keeping my carbs strictly below 30 gr. if that, because 99% of my carbs are from sources such as broccoli, spinach, celery. I have an avocado every other day and 1/2 cup of blueberries every other day. I lost about 8 lbs right away, but am now stuck at 240. My pants seem a bit looser and I’ve gotten some comments about looking trimmer, however the weight stays the same. I lift weights 4 – 5 x per week along with 3 days of cardio. I feel great energy wise and I’ve been increasing weight on my lifts, so I’m wondering if it’s a case of intra-muscular fat being replaced with muscle tissue as discussed in the book?
    Trust me I’m not one of those guys who posts food choices on a blog, but is really downing ice cream at night. This has been my actual eating pattern for a month! My weight hasn’t changed in about a week! Maybe I’m replacing muscle with fat but maybe I’m not eating enough? I’m aiming for 14% body fat, but I don’t see putting on 10 lbs of muscle to get there. Plus the extra poundage isn’t good for my knees. Any ideas?

    I think some of it could be muscle tissue replacing intra-muscular fat, especially if your clothing is getting looser. You can always go the protein shake route for a few days (2-3 protein shakes and one protein meal) to get the weight loss moving. I don’t know what you’re doing in terms of fat intake, but you can add some omega-3 fats, which also help with fat burning.

  48. Dr. Eades,

    Interesting post. I’ve always been suspicious of the BMI stuff. If you just look at people with different skeletal frames, you realize that at the same height, they could be carrying vastly different proportions of muscle/fat and have the same BMI.

    In a semi-related area, I just recently read and thoroughly enjoyed your books (PP and PPLP). I’m wondering, though, is it possible for cholesterol to be too low? That is, in an otherwise healthy individual, what are the dangers of total cholesterol being quite low (TC in the 80s mg/dL, or really, anything below 140 mg/dL)) if the TC/HDL ratio is still good and the HDL is still 40-60 mg/dL and the LDL is below 100 mg/dL?

    Thanks again for your great work and enjoyable blog.

    I’ve read studies that talk about risk for depression, suicide, and possible increased cancer risk, but they haven’t definitively indicated causation so much as correlation (a foible that I have been wary of ever since reading Taubes’s great book). Thus, I am wondering what you might have to say about this.

    The studies correlating low cholesterol to increased risk for depression, increased cancer, etc., are, as you point out, observational studies. But cholesterol makes up a large portion of the mass of the brain and the nervous system, so it makes sense that decreased levels of it would have an impact. The closest we’ve come to a clinical trial on the issue is the grand national worldwide experiment we’ve all been a part of. It’s probably not a coincidence that since the entire world went low-fat that the bookshelves of bookstores everywhere have been sagging under the weight of the zillions of books on depression. And sales of anti-depressant medications have skyrocketed. It could be that there is more depression awareness now than before we fell into the pit of nutritional idiocy, but I don’t think so. When MD and I did a big clinical trial for orlistat (the fat blocker drug now sold as Alli) we found large numbers of patients had to be removed from the study because they had developed depression. Most were on the drug arm of the study, and had dropped their cholesterol levels.

  49. You’ve mentioned a couple times that your minimum protein recommendations have increased since you wrote PP, and I think you’ve also mentioned in comments that you don’t have any issues with people going on very low calorie diets, such as on the one study mentioned in GCBC. If a person were to cut calories to 700 C. a day while keeping their protein intake at a level recommended in the study you discussed in this post, that could leave as little 13g of fat for a 200 pound person.

    Do you think it’s alright for someone to eat that little fat? If so, how long can a person follow such a diet without ill effects? Would one be expected to experience side effects (ie. heart palpitations, hair loss, leg cramps, lethargy) that have been reported by former kimkins dieters? (Do you attibute those side effects from insufficient fat intake, from not taking proper Na/K/Ca/Mg supplementation, or from something else?) If you do not think it’s alright to eat that little fat, do you have a minimum fat recommendation?

    I thank you in advanced for even reading my questions; I know it’s a bit much. 🙂

    I don’t have a problem with people going on VLCDs, but only under medical supervision and only if the VLCD is the right macronutrient composition containing plenty of protein. I don’t recall ever writing that I was in favor of those diets because I’m not particularly. I think they reduce metabolic rate, a process called adaptive thermogenesis. They do speed up weight loss, but at what price. I much prefer a good-quality, whole-food, low-carbohydrate diet.

  50. Dr. Eades, regarding your comment: “My preference is for a diet structured prot/fat wise as about the same as a piece of grass-fed beefsteak with the fat left on.” Can you translate this into percentages (of calories)? – I track on fitday and strive for 48% fat, 6% carbs, 46% protein. (in grams, 70/20/150) Is that approximately the ideal ratio? I also limit my calories to about 90% of BMR to lose weight. I’m a 54 yr female with about 30 lbs to lose.

    My own diet is around 60-65% fat, 25-30% protein, and 5-10% carbs. I would think that ideal would be somewhere in this range. Were I you, I would probably up my fat a little.

  51. I did the ketogenic calculator listed on one of the earlier posts. Here is the recommendation for losing weight:
    To lose a pound a week safely decrease your daily intake to 2,600 calories.

    You have decided to eat 30 grams of carbohydrate a day. To avoid loss of lean muscle mass you must eat 162 grams of high quality protein each day. This can be found in 27.1 ounces of meat, eggs, or hard cheese.

    Round out your diet with 203 grams of fat.

    I can’t see consuming that much fat. I’d have to drink cups of olive oil! I’d rather increase the amount of protein.

    I think it would be difficult to consume 2,600 calories per day on a good quality low-carb diet. Most people settle in at around, or even below, 2000 calories per day.

  52. Sorry about the “mikrog”, I should have written it microg – it’s just microgram (mikrogram in Danish). I couldn’t find the loopy little m.

    No problem. I thought that’s what it was, but wasn’t sure.

  53. I was wondering what you say on the Bodyfat calculation with circumferences
    Method of the US Navy? it seems somewhat different then the one you present in PP?

    There are a bunch of different methods to calculate body fat. Most come up with figures that are reasonably accurate. The important thing is to use the same methods to determine improvement in body composition and not jump from method to method.

  54. Curious – any comments on the exercise component in this study? I couldn’t find a reference, sorry if I missed it!

    Not much exercise in either group. Wasn’t a big part of the study.

  55. I am also trying to abide by the recommendations of the calculator mentioned above. I am a 54 yo female, with about 40-50 lbs to lose. I am having trouble eating 120 gr of protein. I feel that I am pushing myself to eat even tho I feel averse to food. Is the protein calculation a “not to exceed” amount?

    If I am gaining instead of losing, isn’t reasonable to cut back on the amount of protein?

    I have been eating low carb (under 100 gr) for the last 5 years. Could I have adapted to a lower need for protein?

    Marilyn

    It’s difficult for me to tell what’s going on with you without knowing a whole lot more. The protein calculations are not ‘not to exceed amounts.’ If you are having difficulty in consuming 120 g of protein, back off a little until you find an amount that is satisfying and stick there. Make sure you take in plenty of good quality fat, too.

  56. I think you commented a while back about maybe posting the body fat percentage calculator you use in PP. I found an online calculator for the U.S. Navy Circumference Method, which I think might be the same (did the Army and Navy use the same method? I gave PP to my sister, so I can’t check!). In any case, I found it helpful.

    It’s not quite the same. The one in PP requires men to obtain a wrist measurement, which is a stand in for bone structure size.

  57. http://www.getrolling.com/orbit/zoneCalcMale.html gives the body fat percentage and protein requirements based on the PP charts. Unfortunately they are giving the credit for the zone, who got it from you.
    I’m still trying to figure out what is the formula behind the chart for “waist minus wrist” to determine the BF for men. I would appreciate if you can give me some references here.
    Thanks.

  58. Hi Doctor,

    For me, the ticket to muscle gain is not an increase in protein consumption, but fat, especially saturated fat. I am 75kg in body weight. I’ve gained quite a bit of muscle while eating only 60grams of protein, in addition to alot of saturated fat. I think the ticket is that a high fat diet provides energy so that my body doesn’t need to degrade my own muscle for fuel.

    In relation to another readers comment, yes it is true that a high carb diet can make one’s muscles look “fuller”, but it is only a facade. If one follows a low carb diet rich in fat, there body might look small for a few weeks as it loses retained fluid, but then suddenly the body will take on a much fuller look once it has fat-adapted.

    I recall a bodybuilder back in the day who gained alot of muscle (and loss body fat) eating a diet low in carbs, lowish in protein and extremely high in fat, so much so that he was eating in the neighbourhood of 8000 calories daily as he “dieted” for a contest. That is no misprint. I cant recall his name, but it is indeed true.

  59. I’m a female who wouldn’t mind weighing 200 pounds if I could have strong bones and muscle and not be flabby. The scale is only to measure current gain/loss (but the waist is as good). Custom-made clothes probably have no size label. (It’s like the saying if you didn’t know your age, how old would you be?)

    My question is: everyone supposedly loses muscle/bone over the years and gains x pounds fat per decade — so how much less should I weigh now than I did as an ordinary teenager?

    My doctor thought my menopausal/quit smoking/hypoglycemic weight gain was genetic and ok. When type 2 diabetes arrived, she changed her mind. I lost the weight quickly on Dr. Bernstein’s 30 gr carb diet — I had to laugh when she thought I might become anorexic especially without much more complex carbs — my cravings would easily enable to regain in a minute.