Exposing the Myth: 30g Limit on Protein Per Meal
We all know the dogma. “Bro, your body can only handle 30 grams of protein in one sitting. Anything else is just a waste. You gotta eat like 8 times a day to get it all in.” Bullshit. If the body can only assimilate 30g of protein in one sitting, then how on earth did our ancestors survive before the advent of agriculture? While I could write at length on this topic alone, I’ll stick to some of the more common arguments for the sake of brevity.
The human body is an amazingly resilient structure. Push it and it grows. Break it and it heals. Feed it 31 grams of protein, and it apparently explodes. You’re saying to yourself, “Well no one is saying that 31g is a waste, that’s just silly.” Where do you draw the line? 35g? 40? 50? Well how about 100g? I gave it a try today and here’s what happened.
Nothing. Not a single adverse thing. Consuming 100g of protein in one 15 minute or less feeding is not a rare thing for me. Protein was in the 100-110g range, come from tuna and pork rinds. Fat was in the 30g range, from Paleo Mayo and the pork rinds. 700ish calories, fairly normal for my post workout meal.
I measured two different areas to take on the challenge from a couple different angles. First, blood glucose was measured every 30 minutes for two hours, as well as measuring protein in the urine. I found no significant rise in blood glucose and normal kidney function. This is even more significant because I am a diet controlled Type II diabetic who has scarring damage in the kidneys from a rather unpleasant auto-immune disease in my childhood. Here are the numbers.
Blood Glucose (mg/dl) Urinary Protein
Pre Meal 121 negative
30 min Post 87 negative
1 hr 91 negative
90 min 88 negative
2 hr 86 negative
What do these numbers mean? Well, first it means that my body was assimilating the protein. Protein that goes unused will be converted to glucose in the liver via gluconeogenesis. If my body were unable to handle the protein, my blood sugar would have shot up noticeably. Second, there was no stress on the kidneys; 100g did not cause any protein to spill over into the urine.
I’ve been eating this way for the past four years. It has helped me overcome diabetes, remove all blood sugar meds, bring my cholesterol down to optimal levels, get me off of blood pressure medication, improve kidney function, liver health, the list goes on and on. So stop worrying about overdoing it on protein. Go squat, eat a big steak, and grow.