Glutamine and Creatine are Steroids

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According to Google…

.. as they have recently banned advertising of substances they classify as “Anabolic Steroids.”  Thus things like Glutamine and Cellmass are now banned using Adwords.

Natural Products Expo West 2011

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Once again I’ll be headed down to Southern California for the Natural Products Expo West tradeshow.  Now most bodybuilders head off to the Olympia or the Arnold Classic.  But you see, just hanging with your current circle doesn’t get you insight into what’s coming next or thinking outside the box.  You’ll get some free supplements for sure but the neat thing about these vendor type shows is… you see what’s coming to the consumer.

Description:

Natural Products Expo West brings together the natural, organic and healthy-lifestyle industry.

Twitter:

I’ll be tweeting my way thru the show.  If there’s something interesting, I’ll share.  Please follow me on Twitter.  I’ll be using the hashtag of #expowest.

- marc david

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Hefty Heart Attack Grill Spokesman: Dead at 29

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Blair River: Dies Age 29

No jokes here folks.  I don’t make a living off other people’s misery and I’m certainly not blogging about this to say “I told you so.” I don’t know if Blair River was married or not but I’m sympathetic to his family and friends.   My point is that obesity is an epidemic in the United States.  You know that right?

Unfortunately, Blair River, the spokesman for the notorious Hefty Heart Attack Grill has died at age 29 from complications from the flu.

Blair River, the 575-pound spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill, an Arizona restaurant that serves shamelessly high-calorie burgers and fries, died Tuesday at the age of 29, following a bout of the flu.

Did he die from being a customer?  Did obesity kill him?  It certainly didn’t help let’s just say that.  The official cause of death is still unknown.

It’s a rather sad story really from a place that makes a mockery of being obese.  In fact, if you are 350 lbs at the time of your weight-in at the door, you get to eat free!  Oh boy.  What a deal.  I think you’ll get a lot from the video and link to the ABC story.  It’s a bit more than a care to report as I just don’t feel making a mockery from a situation is somehow helpful.

I’m sure about 10,000 other blogs will pick up on this story with links to buy the latest weight loss books or preach how obesity kills.

 

If you have comments, leave them below.

Resources:

ABC News Story on Blair Rivers

Heart Attack Grill Menu

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GNC Close to a Buyout?

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Bright Foods closing on bid for GNC

Shanghai’s biggest food and dairy company, the Bright Food Group, is said to be close to an agreement to buy U.S. vitamin retailer GNC, for around $3 billion dollars.

The purchase would give the company control of over 7,000 retail outlets around world selling vitamins, nutrition supplements and sports drinks.
Private equity firm Blackstone Group are also reported to be in talks to join the bid by for GNC. However, despite talks it is unclear whether Blackstone’s participation in the deal is likely to happen.

News of Bright Food’s bid for GNC first emerged earlier in the week, with sources saying talks were at an advanced stage and a deal could be announced within days.

The potential acquisition of Pittsburgh-based GNC, would follow a failed attempt by Bright Food to buy Britain’s United Buscuits for about $3.2 billion.

As an American citizen, living in the United States, I’m old school.

Call me old fashioned but we’ve sold out debt, we’re selling our resources and now we’re selling our business.

Feel free to comment, pass the story along or Tweet it.

-marc david

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Holiday Challenge Press Release

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Fitness Challenge Debunks Holiday Weight Gain Myth – To disprove the myth that weight gain is inevitable during the holiday season, hundreds of Americans are signing up for a fitness challenge that tests their ability to become lean and fit between the end of November and the beginning of January.

** Press Release by Tom Venuto **

For the Holiday Challenge, a fitness contest that begins on Thanksgiving Day (November 24), participants can sign up at the Burn The Fat website where they can also track their exercise and nutrition regimens for 49 days. Those who slim down the most could win a Hawaiin vacation or other prizes.

The Holiday Challenge is the brainchild of fat loss expert Tom Venuto, author of the best-selling e-book Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle, and The Body Fat Solution (Avery/Penguin).

“Too many people buy into the news stories that say Americans will gain 5 to 10 pounds of body fat in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Venuto says. In reality, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average amount gained over the holidays is much more modest, just over one pound.

“So the idea that everyone is going to pack on several pounds is clearly a myth,” Venuto says. “But people believe that myth and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

To turn the conventional wisdom on its head, Venuto is challenging the thousands who follow his Burn The Fat blog to not just maintain their weight but to actually lose body fat during the holiday season.

“No one consciously sets a ‘goal’ to get in worse shape over the holidays,” Venuto says, “They do it by default. Mentally, people accept the idea that it’s impossible to stay in shape because of all the parties, the family get-togethers and the tempting food, so they say ‘Why bother?’”

Once people resign themselves to thinking that gaining fat is unavoidable they are actually setting a “negative goal,” Venuto says. And, he contends, the only way to counteract that unconscious negative decision is to create a conscious goal to do the opposite: to get in better shape over the holidays.

As an incentive to those who take part in the Holiday Challenge, Venuto will award two grand prizes of a five-day vacation in Maui to the overall winners in the men’s division and the women’s.

Because the Holiday Challenge is a body transformation contest — and not simply a weight-loss competition — participants will be judged on how much they improve their body composition (the amount of lean body mass and body fat percentage). Contestants will also be judged on the visual improvement in their bodies (as illustrated by their “before” and “after” pictures), and the inspirational essay they must submit during the contest. In addition to the overall winners, additional prizes, (including Ipads, IPods, Kindles, and gift certificates) will be awarded to winners in other categories such as “Most Ripped,” “Most Muscular” and “Most Inspirational.”

During the Holiday Challenge, contestants must enter their body fat measurements, workout details and food intake (even on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) using a daily journal at the Burn The Fat website

But participants will need to do more than simply follow contest rules. They will also have to challenge the excuses and rationalizations that cause many people to fall off the fitness wagon during December.

“One of the most common excuses is ‘I’m too busy to work out over the holidays,’” Venuto says. “But no one is too busy for their highest priorities. Your health and your body have to become your highest priority — because without your health, you can’t enjoy anything else in life, including your family or the holidays.”

And those who want to be successful in the Holiday Challenge must also break out of the “either/or” thinking that keeps many people from reaching their fitness goals. “People believe they can either get in shape or they can enjoy themselves — but not both,” Venuto says. “But the truth is you really can enjoy the holidays and get in better shape at the same time.”

“Life is not an “either/or” proposition,” he adds. “It’s a matter of balance. And challenging yourself to achieve that balance is a great way to start the New Year!”

For complete details and contest requirements for the Holiday Challenge click the link below

www.burnthefatholidychallenge.com

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Free Reports: Holy Grail Reports

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This could be your last chance to pick up some awesome FREE special reports from the fat loss guru Tom Venuto.

You may have heard about some or all of these but just in case you missed any – here’s one more chance to pick up all four new reports at no cost (100% gratis!).

Tom is currently offering four free fat loss and muscle building products at no cost here:

1) The Holy Grail of Building Muscle and Losing Fat REVEALED (a one hour mp3 and written transcript)

==>  Download This Report
2) Secrets of Gaining Muscle without Gaining Fat

==>  Download This Report

3) Never Lose Muscle (100% Pure Fat Loss) (don’t lose precious muscle when dieting)

==>  Download This Report
4) 50 Body Transformation Mistakes

==> Download This Report

Grab them while you can… You’ll be happy that you did!

-marc

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An Alcoholic Drink Bodybuiders Can Appreciate

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Bodybuilders Dream?

I have no doubts this will be picked up by the likes of Tom Venuto, Will Brink or Alan Aragon.  Maybe it has already and I just don’t read enough to know.

Finally, an alcohol drink we bodybuilders can appreciate!

Devotion Vodka Infused with Casein is the world’s first and only 80 proof, triple-distilled casein infused vodka made in the USA.

What I like about it so far is it’s made the USA. I was worried we didn’t make anything anymore except Ford cars.  At least we might make some good vodka and have stepped up the innovation by adding protein.

My opinions on the Effects of Alcohol on Muscle Building doesn’t change but it sure makes for some good conversation.

It’s being promoted by Mike “The Situation” from Jersey Shores.  No comment really as I’ve truthfully never watched the show.  I have no doubt whatsoever this venture will be a hit with the younger people and those who follow said Situation.

I’m not sure but I would venture to guess that somebody reading this right now is about to make this their night-time protein drink of choice.

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
www.nobullbodybuilding.com

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IFT 10: Tweeting My Way Thru the Show

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Follow Me as I Tweet the IFT

At this very moment I’m in Chicago, IL.  But not just to see the beautiful downtown area, or catch a baseball game.  I’m here on business.  I’m here for the Chicago IFT 10, annual meeting and food expo!  I plan on being at the expo July 18th and 19th 2010 and will be Tweeting my way thru the show.  Not too much mind you!  I’ll try and keep it interesting and informative.  You can find the simple instructions below on how to keep updated on this event.

I might even use Twitvid to toss up a live but short video.  Assuming there’s something that you need to see to believe.

What is the IFT Food Expo:

The IFT is an annual meeting and food expo.  It’s main focus is to bring the professionals involved in both the science and business aspect of the industry under one roof.  At the IFT, you have the opportunity to learn about cutting edge trends, new products and bleeding edge scientific innovations.

This isn’t a show for competitors.  It’s not littered with supplement companies.  Before protein water or adding fiber to every food became mainstream, you saw this kind of innovation and ideas at these shows.  Many times the vendors are improving on existing ideas.  But once in a while, you see a trend that hasn’t hit the shelves yet and it’s the kind that might make a difference. (Beta-Alanine comes to mind when I learned about this one in Vegas 2 years before it was even bottled by a supplement company).

It’s how I keep up to date on what coming in the industry.  It’s my insight into what goes into products, from what country and all the finer details.  It’s much more than a supplement show where all you see are fitness models and packaged goods with LOUD music and outrageous claims.

How You Can Follow Me at the IFT 10 Expo:

I will be using the hashtag #IFT10 for Twitter posts (aka “Tweets”) concerning this year’s Expo.  If you are a Twitter user, please make sure to add “#IFT10” to all your tweets about the IFT 10 annual meeting or to just ask questions about something.

If you are new to using hashtags, note that you can follow hashtags via our page on Twubs (http://www.twubs.com/ift10). This makes it easy for you to keep track of all posts about the show, regardless of whether you are following me or the various tweets.  I’m even aggregating anybody who tweets about the show on this page.  It’s your chance to see what’s coming and ask questions.

Who knows, I might even be able to stop by a booth or two if you Tweet me your info using the hashtag above.

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
www.nobullbodybuilding.com

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Heavy Metals Found In Protein Shakes: Should You Stop Drinking Them?

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What's in Your Protein Shake?

A recent investigation on protein drinks has been causing waves of concern or even alarm to ripple through the fitness and bodybuilding world. Supplement companies are up in arms and people are wondering whether they should stop drinking protein shakes after the magazine said they tested 15 protein drinks for heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury) and 3 of them came up above the proposed safe limits…

“We purchased 15 protein powders and drinks mainly in the New York metro area or online and tested multiple samples of each for arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury” said Consumer Reports.

“Concentrations in most products were relatively low,” continued the article, “but when taking into account the large serving size suggested, the number of micrograms per day for a few of the products was high compared with most others tested.”

Out of the 15 products tested, the following exceeded the U.S. Pharmocopeia (USP) suggested limits for safety:

EAS Myoplex Original Rich Dark Chocolate (ready to drink liquid): 16.9 arsenic, 5.1 cadmium

Muscle Milk chocolate powder: 12.2 arsenic, 5.6 cadmium, 13.5 lead, 0.7 mercury

Muscle Milk Vanilla Cream: 12.2 lead

* Amounts in micrograms

So, if you use protein drinks should you be worried? Should you stop drinking them? Well, it appears disconcerting that certain brands are high in these metals, but keep in mind that:

(1) Some people and organizations are questioning the choice of 3rd party lab used by Consumer reports, as well as the definitions for acceptable safe levels.

(2) These test results showed that that 12 out of 15 products were within safe limits even at high doses (or had zero heavy metals present), and

(3) Products which tested high were tested based on very large doses. Therefore, this might be a red flag only for very heavy users (three shakes a day or up to 8 scoops) of specific products (not protein powder in general)

Heavy metal contamination is a particular health concern for certain populations including infants, young growing children, women of childbearing age who plan to have kids soon, pregnant women, and nursing women.

However, I don’t believe this report is a reason for panic or giving up moderate use of protein supplements.

Due to all the publicity, I imagine that the few companies named will write rebuttals or responses, and if necessary, simply tighten up their quality control. Probably, the industry in general will start posting more information on their testing, safety and quality standards. Some companies have reassuringly already done so on their websites (which has probably boosted their sales, not hurt them).

I think this is mostly a non-issue.

Consumer Reports is a favorite publication for many people researching purchases of cars, electronics and appliances. They were probably well-intentioned in their protein article (although who knows what underlying biases might be there).

In the future, however, I’d like to see these types of tests performed under scientific scrutiny and get the results published in a peer reviewed journal. This way, we can review the test results, read about the experimental methods and get the evidence-based facts about protein requirements and contaminant safety standards, rather than depend on journalists whose usual job is comparing brands of toasters.

On a related note, the NSF has questioned the lab/testing methods used in this story:

NSF International cannot comment on the test results reported in the July 2010, Consumer Reports article on protein drinks. It omits critical information about the laboratory that performed the test and its accreditation qualifications. ISO 17025 accreditation is critical for any laboratory testing for heavy metals in dietary supplements and nutritional products. The article also omits the test methods used, analytical preparation, sample size, the basis of their risk assessment, detection limits, quality control data and instrumentation used for this report.

While it’s fine and good that this info was published, what really bothers me about the write up is that it seems their journalists are using these test results as ammo to attack the entire idea of taking protein supplements and eating a high protein diet.

“You don’t need extra protein” and “high protein diets damage your kidneys,” claim Consumer Reports. They also quote a dietitian who said the body can only utilize 5 to 9 grams of protein per hour. I’d like to see a research citation on that one!

They are clearly perpetuating some of the same stupid myths about protein that bodybuilders and strength athletes have had to debunk for years.

When mentioning how cadmium is toxic to the kidney, they added, “the way that high protein is bad for your kidneys.” That is false. A high protein diet (on par with what a strength athlete would reasonably consume), is not damaging to a healthy kidney.

High protein diets are contraindicated for patients who already have kidney disease and caution is warranted in certain populations where risk of sub-clinical kidney conditions may be present or where there is kidney disease predisposition. That’s not the same as saying eating a high protein diet causes kidney disease.

It’s quite true that there’s a “more is better” mentality among many muscle-seekers and protein supplement marketing often feeds right into that. The consumer may be told – via advertisement or editorial – to take protein drinks multiple times every day (better for sales than recommending occasional or light use only when needed, right?)

Protein marketing can sometimes border on the outrageous today – with all kinds of claims made for muscle gain, fat loss, enhanced performance and even anti-aging. The truth is, protein supplements are just food – powdered or liquid food – they’re NOT magic! A lot of muscle and fitness fanatics today depend way too much on supplements and not enough on whole, natural foods.

How many people actually drink 3 protein shakes a day, every day (21 a week)? I don’t know. No one in my circle does, and it’s not something I recommend. In my Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle program, I recommend eating mostly whole food, eating a variety of foods and using protein shakes or powders as an occasional supplement for convenience or if you need a supplement to help you meet your optimum level of intake.

Personally, I use protein powder once a day in my oatmeal and I enjoy an occasional protein shake – you can make some pretty tasty smoothies if you add things like fruit, peanut butter, ice, etc. I don’t plan on stopping.

Some people are freaking out over this. I know the personality type: certain people will say, ‘No way, if there’s ANY heavy metal in any protein drinks I’m not taking them at all! Why take a chance?” Seems prudent, except that most of the protein drinks tested were well within safety limits and all were within limits with more moderate usage.

Besides, small exposure is inevitable anyway. What’s in the whole food you’re eating? If you pressed the issue, you could find some substance to gripe about – including heavy metals – in many of the foods you eat daily right now – yes, the so called “clean foods” – dairy products, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, shellfish, etc.

Advice:
(1) Too much of anything can be bad for you, so don’t go crazy with protein drinks or protein foods (or too much of any one type of food).
(2) Avoid diets that make you dependent on protein shakes or meal replacement supplements.
(3) Don’t believe everything you read in the mainstream media until you check out the real science for yourself.
(4) Use Consumer Reports when you want to know what car or camcorder to buy. Take their bodybuilding and sports nutrition info with a grain of salt.

Disclosure: I have no affiliations or associations of any kind with any protein or supplement companies.

About the Author: Tom Venuto is the author of the #1 best seller, Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle: Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models and Founder & CEO of Burn The Fat Inner Circle

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Here’s How Consumer Reports Screws You Blind

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Is Your Protein Shake Poison?!

In the July 2010 issue of Consumer Reports, there’s a 4 page spread and chart showing that those favorite protein drinks of yours can contain potentially unsafe levels of heavy metals.  Things like Arsenic, Lead and Cadmium!  With such a report, it’s almost a guarantee to rock the supplement world.  Or is it?

Maybe the better question:  Should it?

The full report will be in the July issue of Consumer Reports.  Or you can read the Consumer Report on Protein Drinks (opens in a new window)

QUESTION: I just read the Consumer Reports article about potentially unsafe levels of heavy metals.  Some of those protein drinks I consume.  I’m currently drinking Muscle Milk chocolate.  Not three times a day but I use it frequently.  Do you think I should stop drinking protein shakes entirely?  What is your thought on this report?

ANSWER: Could this be true?  The same magazine I used to buy my last washer and dryer is now the expert on supplement research?   Can the same evaluation methods to test how dry my socks are be used to tell me if I’m in-taking too much dangerous levels of heavy metals?  Or even better, how much protein I need a day?

In a nutshell, Consumer Reports used USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) an independent research facility to test 15 protein drinks which included ready to drinks, meal replacement power and just whey powders.

Consumer Reports testing was based on consumption of three shakes per day and the testing applied proposed U.S. Pharmacopeia standards - not current, accepted or approved standards or guidelines.  It’s important to note this was not published in a peer reviewed scientific journal.

They tested for:

  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Mercury

USP found most of the products to be in the low or moderate range for the 3 servings except for the following three products.

What Consumer Reports Found:

  • EAS Myoplex Original Rich Dark Chocolate Shake has an average of 16.9 micrograms of arsenic in three servings — more than the 15 micrograms a day that is the proposed USP limit. It has an average of 5.1 micrograms of cadmium for three servings — above the USP limit of 5 micrograms a day.
  • Muscle Milk chocolate powder, at three servings, contained all four of the metals, and three metals were found at a level that was among the highest of all 15 products tested. Cadmium levels were 5.6 micrograms — above the 5-microgram limit. Lead was 13.5 micrograms — above the USP limit of 10 micrograms. The arsenic averaged 12.2 micrograms — near the 15-microgram daily USP limit.
  • Muscle Milk vanilla crème had 12.2 micrograms of lead per three servings — above the 10-microgram daily limit. It has 11.2 micrograms of arsenic — close to the 15-microgram daily limit.

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRgZuS_U9TQ[/video]

Here’s What They Aren’t Telling You … They Didn’t Compare Apples to Apples!

All of the products listed in the Consumer Reports article are not the same.  Muscle Milk and Myoplex ranked the highest partly because they are Meal Replacement Powders or MRPs.  MRP’s will have naturally higher trace amounts of these elements because they include a blend of all macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates), plus micronutrients in vitamins & minerals.  Whey protein powders OR low carb protein powders will contain lower levels of these elements because they provide mostly protein and not the full blend of macronutrients plus vitamins & minerals that MRP’s do.

In other words, the more nutrient sources (macronutrients & micronutrients) one consumes, the more trace amounts of these metal elements they are ingesting.  The report would have been more accurate if all like products were compared (MRP’s). Pure Whey protein powders will have lower amounts of these elements for the reasons just mentioned.

Do You Know What’s In Your Food?

Don’t forget the substances tested by Consumer Reports are naturally occurring in the environment, and it would be uncommon, if not impossible, not to detect the trace amounts reportedly found in any agricultural product, such as dairy products, fruits and vegetables.

FDA’s publication Total Diet Study Statistics on Element Results (December 11, 2007), which analyzes 200 foods found in grocery stores four times per year, showed the following:

Lead Contamination in Everyday Foods

BUT KEEP READING…

First off … let me start by saying I’m not a scientist by nature.  But that doesn’t disqualify me from making comments on how a proper study should be conducted.  In fact, I wondered myself after reading this article.. how would one conduct such a study?

My guess is, at the very least they need to include the methods used in testing so that anybody else qualified could reproduce the results. Even friendly hackers do this.  They report their findings and methods used to reproduce the error in an effort to get the company in question to fix their product.

However, what’s the #1 thing missing from this Consumer Reports article Heavy Metals Found in Protein Shakes?  Care to take a guess?

The methods used!  For all I know, they took various expired supplements from a location in Area 51 and used a metal testing kit from ACE Hardware.  They don’t specifically say how it was conducted and the onus is on them.

Here’s How another 3rd Party, Independent Agency Responded to the  Consumer Reports Article on Protein Drinks

“NSF International cannot comment on the test results reported in the July 2010, Consumer Reports article on protein drinks. It omits critical information about the laboratory that performed the test and its accreditation qualifications. ISO 17025 accreditation is critical for any laboratory testing for heavy metals in dietary supplements and nutritional products.

The article also omits the test methods used, analytical preparation, sample size, the basis of their risk assessment, detection limits, quality control data and instrumentation used for this report.”

FACT: In order to report your finding you MUST report methods used so that results can be reproduced by others.  Sorry Consumer Reports but your study is invalid without such.  Not to mention your testing apples to oranges.

But don’t take my word for it… I asked Daniel Whittaker, a personal trainer for decades, a Wellness Consultant, an Expert Moderator on DiscussBodybuilding.com and researcher.  He’s currently attending California State University, Los Angeles, where he is studying Exercise Science and Bioscience and assisting with research in the University Human Performance Laboratory.

He is the recipient one of two Certificates of Honor awarded by his College in recognition of exceptional academic achievements, and he has been inducted into both Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Golden Key International Honor Society.

“Marc, your comments about the validity of the research methods are spot on.  Without a methods section, the report is really of no value if I can not repeat it consistently in a proper lab with the same methods…” -Daniel Whittaker

What’s even more shocking is that nobody including the fitness expert you probably follow seems to pay attention to the 4 pages that precede the pretty colored chart.  Things I’ve tried in my newsletter, program, blog, podcasts and forum to battle.  What things?

MYTH:

“The body can only break down 5 to 9 grams of protein per hour” -Kathleen Laquale, licensed nutritionist and certified athletic trainer

FACT:

“Regarding the quote from Kathleen Laquale about the body only being able to break down 5 to 9 grams of protein an hour. I defy her to find research to support this. I cringed when I saw the original quote in Consumer Reports, and I’m cringing again to see that the NPR site has adopted it as fact. - TCLoma (of T-Nation?)

“There is no such thing as consuming too much protein.as long you’re getting other nutrients in your diet as well.”Dr. Andrew Shao, Ph.D, in Nutritional Biochemistry from Tufts University in Boston, M.S. in Human Nutrition Science.  His B.A. in Biology is from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.

A reoccurring theme throughout the entire article is:

Too Much Protein Can Cause Health Problems!

Of course, there’s no links to current studies just “experts” who drop the statement like a hot stock tip at a bus station.

Let’s see what a few of the real experts in the field of bodybuilding have to say about the never ending myth that a high protein diet is deadly ….

“If you tell them you are on a high protein diet because you are an athlete they will tell you, “oh you don’t want to do that, you don’t need it and it will lead to kidney disease” without a single decent study to back up their claim!” - Will Brink, columnist, contributing consultant, and writer for various health/fitness, medical, and bodybuilding publications article,  author of the “Nutritional Myths that Just Won’t Die: Protein.”

“A number of health risks have been attributed to the consumption of high protein intakes, this includes potential problems with the kidneys, bone health, metabolic acidosis and certain types of cancers. For the most part, these risks tend to be extremely overstated.” -Lyle McDonald, “Protein Controversies.” Chapter 8 from The Protein Book: A Complete Guide for the Coach and Athlete.

Moving on …

So I asked my friend and mentor, Tom Venuto, a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS) and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book,  “Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle” about this “High Protein” is bad for you that Consumer Reports wants you to believe.

Marc: Tom, can you explain why some licensed professional STILL tell their clients that a diet high in protein leads to health problems?  Including kidney failure, dehydration and osteoporosis?

Tom Venuto: I knew this question would pop up. This “high protein is bad for you” myth never seems to go away, so let me squash this ugly bug right now once and for all.

At one time or another, you’ve probably heard the myth that high protein diets are:

  • bad for your kidneys,
  • they dehydrate you
  • and give you osteoporosis.

Well, here’s the truth: It’s a medical and scientific fact that except in the case of pre-existing kidney disease, there is no documented evidence that a high protein intake will cause kidney damage in a healthy kidney. In fact, there is not a single study that has been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal using adult human subjects with healthy kidneys that has shown any kidney dysfunction whatsoever as a result of consuming a high protein diet.

In the textbook, “Total Nutrition: the Only Guide You’ll Ever Need,” from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, the authors, Victor Herbert and Genell Shubak-Sharpe, had this to say about protein and kidney disease:

“High-protein diets have never proven to be a serious hazard for healthy people, although processing excess protein can overburden a liver or kidney’s that are damaged by disease. That’s why individuals with kidney or liver disease are often put on protein-restricted diets. Likewise, very high protein formulas can also be detrimental to very young or premature infants whose kidney function is not fully developed. Some nephrologists have also speculated the eating a high-protein diet throughout life may be the reason for the ‘slight’ decline in kidney function that usually occurs with age, but this connection is still under investigation.”

What about the claim that high protein diets cause osteoporosis? In inactive people, some studies have shown that increased protein intakes lead to elevated calcium excretion. This is because high protein intakes increase the acidity of the blood, and the body must “leach” calcium from the bones to buffer the acidity. The researchers theorized that this calcium loss could lead to accelerated osteoporosis, especially in women.

While this phenomenon has been observed in sedentary individuals, there is no clearly established link between high protein intake and osteoporosis. Women with risk factors for osteoporosis should be more cautious, but if you are athletically inclined and participate in aerobic and resistance exercise, you will probably have few risk factors. Here’s what Herbert and Shubak-Sharpe had to say on the subject:

“Our typical high-protein, high-meat diets have also been implicated as a factor in the development of osteoporosis, but these claims may be the results of misinterpreting scientific research. Studies have shown that adding purified protein supplements and amino-acid mixtures that have had their phosphate removed do increase excretion of calcium by the kidney in both animals and humans. However, several long-term controlled human studies carried out by Herta Spencer, M.D., at the Hines VA Medical Center in Illinois have shown that high intakes of protein from natural protein sources such as meat, which have their phosphate intact, do not significantly increase calcium loss.”

A post-menopausal sedentary woman would not be well advised to go on a high protein diet, but if you’re a bodybuilder, or even if you just train with weights recreationally, then you will have denser bones than someone who doesn’t work out. Therefore, extra protein should not be a cause for concern.

Probably the only legitimate problem created by a high protein intake is dehydration. Metabolizing protein requires more water than fats or carbohydrates, so it is very important to consume extra water if you increase your protein intake. The standard recommendation is 8-10 8 oz glasses per day (64 – 80 oz). However, the higher your protein intake, the more water you should drink beyond the standard guideline. For bodybuilders on high protein diets, a gallon a day (124 oz) is more like it.

The one gram per pound of bodyweight guideline is good as a general rule of thumb for bodybuilders.  The amount of protein you need depends on how hard you are training and on whether you want to gain, maintain, or lose bodyweight.

Marc: Thanks once again Tom.

I can appreciate the overall good intentions of Consumer Reports to bring public awareness to the foods were consuming.  However, it does not negate the fact that the study itself was flawed and that most of the article seemed to have a bodybuilding type bashing theme to it.

In my 6 years online and 2 decades of bodybuilding, I’ve run across these myths countless times.   I can understand how the average consumer might not know protein intake requirements or how to conduct a proper research study, I fail to understand how a company as large as and well funded as Consumer Reports can write such a loosely documented and misleading prose on the world of fitness.

Even IF the report were true, they give NO information to the companies listed on how to reproduce the results to correct their products.

When David Barr wrote on the potential ill effects of Glycocyamine in some products, specifically Muscle Milk, I recall passing that report off to Cytosport.

Guess what they did?

They took the research, they looked over the facts and the consumer concerns and Cytosport REMOVED it from the product.

See folks.. that’s how it works.

Step 1:  You Find Something Questionable

Step 2:  You Document Your Research and Share with Company

Step 3:  You See if Company Responds

What we have here is a clear case of myth perpetuation and classic biased reporting.

Here’s What They Should Do Next:

Instead of freaking out of high protein diets, or all protein powder, the products that have been named should get tested by a research group that will publish the findings in a peer reviewed journal, where we know the methods of testing meet certain scientific standards or at least can be scrutinized by the rest of the scientific community to be sure that they do.

If the results come up positive for heavy metals, these supplement companies have some explaining to do and some actions to take for damage control.

The Bottom Line: Overall, the Consumer Reports article on Heavy Metals Found in Protein Drinks is of no real usable value. I won’t change my habits at this time when it comes to using protein supplements on that list or not.  Regarding Cytosport’s Muscle Milk, which I am a consumer of at times, it has NSF Certification which does not support the findings of Consumer Reports.

In my NoBull Bodybuilding program, I recommend whole foods thru Ph.D. approved meal plans, andd using protein shakes or powders as an supplement getting no more than 20% of your daily protein from such sources.  While I use proteins like this myself, I don’t drink 3 shakes a day.

Disclosure: I have a close family member works for Cytosport.  However, I am a consumer of the product.   You should realize however, that this isn’t an research report; it is a blog, and unbiased blogs are kind of boring.  If you don’t take a position what do you write about, really?

Industry Response:

Cytosport: Testing Confirms Muscle Milk Safety
Optimum Nutrition
NSF Statement on Consumer Reports Findings

For Further Research:

Protein Drinks Are Dangerous??!! Yeah, right.
CBS Morning Show: Could Protein Drinks Be Harmful to Your Health?
Heavy Metals Found In Protein Shakes: Should You Stop Drinking Them?
UltimateFatBurner Blog: Skeptical about Consumer Reports
How to Evalute Any Supplement

Dangerous protein drinks?
Bodybuilders & Protein, Part 1, 2 and 3
How Much Protein Can I Eat at Any One Time?
Consumer Reports Magazine Takes Aim at Protein Drinks

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
www.nobullbodybuilding.com

P.S. – My biggest pet peeve is a few fitness experts trying to make money off the report and linking you to a brand of protein thru their affilite link!  Of course they make a commissions off the purchases.  Talk about bias.  If you don’t trust supplement companies WHY on earth would you trust and expert that passed this report to you, offering up no professional insight and then tries to milk you for a few cents off a link to purchase protein.

I believe buyers should be made aware of the incentives individuals may have to give particular advice.  They should be more cynical.

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