Dietary protein safety and resistance exercise: what do we really know?
Lonnie M Lowery, Lorena Devia
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2009, 6:3 (12 January 2009)
Resistance trainers continue to receive mixed messages about the safety of purposely seeking ample dietary protein in their quest for stimulating protein synthesis, improving performance, or maintaining health. Despite protein's lay popularity and the routinely high intakes exhibited by strength athletes, liberal and purposeful protein consumption is often maligned by "experts". University textbooks, instructors, and various forms of literature from personal training groups and athletic organizations continue to use dissuasive language surrounding dietary protein. Due to the widely known health benefits of dietary protein and a growing body of evidence on its safety profile, this is unfortunate. In response, researchers have critiqued unfounded educational messages. As a recent summarizing example, the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Position Stand: Protein and Exercise reviewed general literature on renal and bone health. The concluding remark that "Concerns that protein intake within this range [1.4 – 2.0 g/kg body weight per day] is unhealthy are unfounded in healthy, exercising individuals." was based largely upon data from non-athletes due to "a lack of scientific evidence". Future studies were deemed necessary. This assessment is not unique in the scientific literature. Investigators continue to cite controversy, debate, and the lack of direct evidence that allows it. This review discusses the few existing safety studies done specific to athletes and calls for protein research specific to resistance trainers. Population-specific, long term data will be necessary for effective education in dietetics textbooks and from sports governing bodies.
The Berrones Analysis:
Disputing data is what science is all about. However, when the lay person and/or the scientist fabricate lies concerning the efficacy of supplements, methodologies, etc., well then we have a problem. This article focuses on protein intake, renal function, and how all that relates to the athlete. The problem with this article, and it points it out poignantly, is that John Q. Public is often times misinformed. Thus, criticism increases ad nauseam, and it becomes the responsibility of the scientist to rectify what is true and confound what is invalid. Sadly, the concept of "guilty until proven innocent" holds true with respect to protein intake and the healthfulness of the athlete. I suppose if the sedentary population carried more of their weight--no pun intended--then the rest of us would be able to live our lives without hearing criticism from the diseased denizens of the United States. Just my .02.