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Protein: 7 facts you need to know before eating protein

Protein: 7 facts you need to know before eating protein

This article has been automatically translated from German. While our little team is working hard to provide you the best quality and resources, our multilingual capacity is still limited. Don't judge us by the Google translation please and head over to the original version in German instead.   

With a healthy carb diet (which means you eat low-processed carbs and relatively high-fat --> LCHF) you focus on unprocessed healthy plants. But what about the protein?

Eggs for breakfast, protein shake after exercise, fish or steak with salad for dinner. In between a couple of protein bars, right? And of course the yummy protein pancakes for weekend brunch! If you want to build muscle, you have to consume at least 1.5g protein per kilogram of body weight. But is that true at all?

Everyone has their own preferences, which is why we don't recommend a standard recipe. But there are some “best practices”, concepts and recipes that you can try and adapt for yourself. Just like with carbohydrates: some are best with 30g carbs a day, others with 150g. That depends on genetics and lifestyle.

1 "Dosage” of protein

According to the German Society for Nutrition, a protein intake of 0.8g per kilogram of body weight per day is recommended. Specifically speaking: A person with a body weight of 75kg can absorb 60g protein per day. For reference: 3 boiled eggs contain approx. 18-20g protein. Athletes and those who are exposed to higher stress levels need a little more protein a day.

With a healthy carb diet that is relatively high in fats, the amount of protein required is around 1g per kg of body weight and day. Since less carbohydrates are consumed at with such a diet, one is often tempted by the idea of ​​consuming the “saved” calories in the form of large portions of meat, fish or cheese. However, this means that the protein intake is much higher than recommended. With a low carb diet the upper limit should be 2g protein per kilogram body weight, so with a body weight of 75kg you would consume 150g protein, which corresponds to about 600 kcal per day. With an omelet for breakfast, a steak for lunch, and some cheese for dinner, you can reach this limit pretty quickly.

The amount of protein per day can and must vary depending on the goal. What is your goal?

Until you have figured out what the optimal amount is, you can use the following “formula”:

[Protein in grams] x [Your weight] = your daily “protein dose”, ie 0.8gx kg =?

  • Goal: keep weight and shape
    ~ 0.8 - 1.0g protein per body weight (kg) per day
    With this amount of protein you are in the safe area for your well-being, but run the risk that you have something too little if you train hard regularly
  • Goal: build muscle
    ~ 1.5g protein per body weight (kg) per day
    The reconstruction of the micro fractures in the muscles (as after every intensive training) requires a large amount of amino acids. So you definitely want to give your body enough to grow.
  • Goal: lose weight
    ~ 2g protein per body weight (kg) per day
    If you want to lose weight, then it makes sense to eat more protein, because protein provides the feeling of satiety and increases the process of thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is the generation of heat and the burning of fat cells.
  • Goal: recover fast
    ~ 2g protein per body weight (kg), this should contain the insider tip 30g of hydrolyzed collagen. When the body is injured, it uses additional protein to rebuild damaged tissue. The amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline accelerate wound healing and support joint, bone and tissue healing.
NOT THE CALORIES, BUT THE QUALITY OF THOSE CALORIES IS WHAT REALLY MATTERS. --> Count fibers not calories 😉

2 Protein and kidney strain

Excessive protein intake can strain our kidneys.

Protein consists of amino acids. Out of a total of 20, our body cannot produce 8 essential amino acids - we get them from food. That is why we want to eat complete proteins, i.e. proteins with reasonable amounts of all 8 essential amino acids. Meat, fish and eggs are among the complete sources of protein.

We need amino acids on the one hand as fuel and on the other hand as building material e.g. for our muscles but also for messenger substances - neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, etc. Amino acids contain certain chemical elements, especially nitrogen and sulfur, which we have to excrete through the kidneys because we do not can convert all parts into the body's own protein.

EATING ONLY PROTEIN WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE IN THE LONG TERM BECAUSE THE KIDNEYS' ABILITY TO ELIMINATE NITROGEN IS LIMITED.

The sulfur contained in the protein poses additional problems: sulfur can only be removed from the body via the kidneys in the form of sulfuric acid. An excess of this contributes significantly to harmful acidification of the body. The kidney's ability to excrete is restricted from the age of approx. 30 years, then we lose about 1% of kidney capacity per year of life.

3 Protein and acidification  

All of our body fluids (e.g. blood, stomach acid, tear fluid) have a characteristic pH value, which ranges from strongly acidic to basic. Whether a substance has an acidic or basic effect in the metabolism has to do with the chemical properties. This property is expressed in the form of the pH:

Too much Protein and acidification
Protein and acidification  


A large part of the acids is neutralized by the buffer systems or excreted via breathing air, via the kidneys and via sweat. If there is an excess of acids, a latent acidosis - such as an acid load in the tissue - can arise , which can be a factor that should not be underestimated for health problems. Protein (especially animal protein) is an acid-forming food: meat, sausage products, fish, seafood, cheese, but also cereals and pasta contribute to the formation of acid in the body.

4 Protein, Acidification and Osteoporosis

Because of this steadily decreasing kidney performance, older people in particular are affected by an excess of acid and its negative consequences if these acids can no longer be removed from the body to a sufficient extent. Acidification is then increasingly compensated for by the release of bases from the skeleton. Unfortunately, the important calcium is lost from the bones. Calcium, magnesium, zinc and manganese have a base-forming effect. When this happens, the bones lose some of their stability and the risk of osteoporosis increases. Acid stress can also cause changes in the connective tissue, which can be associated with pain.

The desired production of ketones, which are also chemically acids, increases acid pollution. So the goal must be to keep the amount of acid produced low.

5 Protein and glucose

Even the healthiest diet with low processed food and high fiber carbs is also unfavorable with a very high protein intake for another reason: Some amino acids that make up proteins can be converted into glucose. Unfortunately, the body has no way of storing protein as such. Excess protein is converted to sugar in the liver and then used in one of three or all three of the following ways:

  1. Use for energy generation
  2. Storage in the form of glycogen
  3. Conversion to fatty acids and storage in fat cells.

How carbohydrates such a too large amount of proteins then trigger a reaction of the insulin. For this reason, the low-carb meals, which contain a lot of protein but little fat, often only saturate for a short time and lead to the undesirable fluctuations in blood sugar. An effect that we just want to avoid.

6 Protein and uric acid

A high protein intake is very often synonymous with high meat consumption. In addition to animal protein, a larger amount of nucleic acids is then also absorbed, which, when broken down, produces uric acid . This can lead to difficulties when switching to a diet with very loc carb intake (such as LCHF diet) because ketones and uric acid compete in the kidney for the same excretion systems. This can lead to bottlenecks and inhibit excretion. At the start of such a LCHF diet, the concentration of uric acid in the blood can increase. If a lot of meat is then eaten, this effect is further intensified.

Uric acid is an important antioxidant in the blood and therefore an increase is usually even beneficial - but not if you already suffer from gout, because gout is the result of an excessively high uric acid level. With normal protein intake, kidney function adapts after 4 to 6 weeks and uric acid levels normalize.

Consultation with a doctor before starting the change in diet is recommended. As data freaks with experience in biohacking (i.e. hacking our own biology and psychology), we would actually advise everyone to test their health first.

"YOU CAN GUESS IT, OR YOU CAN TEST IT" - PREFER TO MAKE KNOWLEDGE AND MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS THAN TO EXPERIMENT AND RISK YOUR OWN HEALTH.

7 Proteins for vegetarians and vegans

Coconut and olive oil, nuts, eggs and and fermented milk products guarantee vegetarians a healthy diet. The choice increases when fish and seafood are allowed on the table. If all animal products are eliminated like in a vegan diet, it becomes more difficult but not impossible: legumes for example are a good source of protein as are fermented soy products. With soy you should note the following: https://blog.bulletproof.com/soy-the-good-the-bad-and-the-fermented/

Other top sources on the topic

Low Carb High Fat von Nico Stanizok, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Vormann

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung
https://www.dge.de/wissenschaft/referenzwerte/protein/

How to find your ideal protein intake, Bulletproof Blog
https://www.bulletproof.com/diet/healthy-eating/how-to-find-your-ideal-protein-intake/

Effect of overfeeding macronutrients on day-to-day food intake in man, Rowett Research Institute
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8862477

The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review, Dept. of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15466943

Pressure ulcer healing with a concentrated, fortified, collagen protein hydrolysate supplement: a randomized controlled trial, Northeast Surgical Associates of Ohio Ltd, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16557055

24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain, Department of Nutrition and Sports Nutrition for Athletics, Penn State University, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885

Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders: a review of the literature, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17076983

Burgerstein
https://www.burgerstein.ch/sites/default/files/products/flyer/basen4_d3.pdf

Holt, S. H., J. C. Miller, and Peter Petocz. „An insulin index of foods: the insulin demand generated by 1000-kJ portions of common foods.“ The American journal of clinical nutrition 66.5 (1997): 1264-1276.

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