Shake, rattle and roll

Shake,_Rattle_and_Roll_single_coverWe have all been told a good whey protein shake, within an hour of a hard workout, is good for rebuilding muscle damage.  But be careful too much can hurt you.  How much is too much?

Nutritionists use a standard method to estimate our minimum daily protein requirement, they multiply the body weight in kilograms by .8, or weight in pounds by .37.  Using this method, a sedentary person weighing 150 lbs. should eat 55 grams of protein per day.  Highly active adults and athletes, have increased protein needs.  Endurance athletes should consume about 0.6 to 0.7g of protein per 1 lb. of body weight each day.  So that 150 athlete needs a minimum of 105 grams.

Problem is, you cant get it all 105 grams at once.  First, you can’t expect that 30 gram post workout shake to make up the work-out deficit in 30 minutes, because the body can only absorb about 8-10 grams of the best whey per hour, so your consumption rate is going to need to slow down.  In the case of the whey protein shake, your body could absorb up to 15 grams of it, but the complete absorption process would take about 1.5 hours.  Second  problem is, a protein supplement is only effective if you already consume adequate dietary protein, remember it’s called a supplement for a reason.

The down side of too much, too fast:

If you consume protein in excess of your needs, the extra protein will not be stored as protein, it is converted to and stored as fat.

Excess protein may lead to dehydration, because protein metabolism requires extra water for utilization and excretion of its by-products. Since runners are already at an increased risk for dehydration, the additional strain of protein waste excretion may further promote dehydration.

In a past post I wrote about cramps and calcium deficiency, excess protein has also been shown to lead loss of urinary calcium.  A chronic calcium loss, due to excess protein intake, is of particular concern because of it’s use in muscle function, and the increased risk of osteoporosis, especially in women.

Excess protein consumption, over an extended period can cause kidney problems and other health problems as well.  Your salvation is in the math.  Calculate your needs, slow your consumption rate and rock on.