October 24, 2013 Damon Hayhow

The True Risk of High Protein Diets

The literal meaning of words is very important when doctors speak. ‘Risk’ is solely concerned with ANY possibility of negative outcome. It ignores any benefit derived. Risk is not about balancing positive with negative. It is concerned solely with the negative.

EVERYTHING is a risk! Walking is a risk to injury. Eating is a risk to choking. Breathing is a risk to oxidative damage. This is the context by which doctors can correctly say a high protein diet is a ‘risk’ to kidneys.

Is a high protein diet likely to CAUSE kidney disease or failure? Of course not!!!! But that is not what doctors are saying when they say it is a RISK.

Doctors measure plasma Urea as a measure of kidney health. Urea is a bi-product of protein metabolism. If your kidneys cannot process protein then urea levels build up. Or if you eat lots of protein then you produce more urea.

The “normal” range for urea is based on the urea levels of 95% of people. 95% of people don’t follow high protein diets. If you eat more protein than “normal” then you will have higher urea levels than “normal”. Doctors do not care. To them, any reading that is not “normal” – ie the same as 95% of people – is a disease. Urea equals kidney disease therefore high protein diets equal kidney disease; even though they don’t!

Is a high protein diet likely to CAUSE kidney disease or failure? Of course not!!!!

Doctors and dieticians will say nobody should ever follow a high protein diet! Its not necessary (for mediocrity) and it has ‘risk’ (of abnormal urea). They do not care that the high sugar diet most people follow is an almost certainty o of leading to some degree of insulin resistance and heart disease. The sick irony is that because it is so predictable and so many people suffer this degradation it is ‘normal’, it is no longer a ‘risk’ and the progression is the standard against which ‘health’ is measured!

Personally, as somebody who has eaten between 400g and 600g of protein per day for most of the past 20 years and has no sign of kidney stress whatsoever, I absolutely do not believe high protein diets CAUSE any problem whatsoever. And after putting hundreds of athletes on similar protein intakes and watching the dramatic improvements to their strength and body composition with not a single negative outcome (other than predictably elevated urea), I believe the benefits far outweigh the risk that a person might have undiagnosed, borderline renal failure which could be tipped over the edge by a diet of natural foods that happen to be high in protein!

A high protein diet is also considerably less of a risk to the kidneys and other organs than the diet and alcohol practices of most Australians!

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Damon Hayhow

Damon Hayhow has been in the body recomposition (Recomp) and bodybuilding industry for 30 years as a coach, competitor, gym owner, teacher, sponsor, show promoter, judge and MC. He has won National competitions in both powerlifting and bodybuilding, set world records, and coached others to the same success in strength sport and physique competition.

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Body recomposition diet and training concepts based on logic and reason; not scientism