Protein intake is one of the more widely discussed topics around a fitness centre. It’s the other “How much do you?” question at the gym. ‘Bro’ Science, old wives tales, myths, misconceptions and a little bit of truth can all be overheard walking through the gym. A common misconception is higher protein intake can adversely affect renal (kidney) function. In the November issue of the Journal of Nutrition a systematic review and meta-analysis was published examining the changes in kidney function between healthy adults consuming a higher, compared with lower or normal protein diets.
Higher-protein (HP) intakes of >1.0–1.2 grams/kilogram/body weight have been shown to:
- Promote greater muscle hypertrophy (an increase in size of skeletal muscle through a growth in size of its component cells) during periods of resistance training.
- Increase the absolute amount of weight lost, but also preserve lean body mass during weight loss.
- Preserve skeletal muscle mass loss due to sarcopenia in older populations.
- HP intake during weight loss may also increase satiety, resulting in lower daily energy intake and protein ingestion has an increased thermic effect, resulting in greater daily energy expenditure.
Consuming a higher protein diet has its advantages, despite these advantages there is a common misconception that consuming a higher protein diet can have negative effects on kidney function, particularly glomerular filtration rate.