I am a little confused after coming across apparent contradictions in the advice being given by 2 different 'Paleo-gurus' re: protein intake. Hoping that someone here who has considered this matter might offer their perspective on it.
(I imagine that this is not the first time someone has asked this question, and that searching this forum might yield answers. However I am really quite unwell at the moment and looking at a computer screen has started to mess with my eyes, so if you are able to help me out in this thread or direct me to some info, I would be most grateful.)
Nora Gedgaudas suggests that a daily protein intake of around 50g is sufficient for most people's needs, pointing out that the body will convert excess protein into sugar, which if we are trying to get the body to use ketones rather than glucose as its primary fuel source, is not something that one would want to encourage.
Meanwhile, Jack Kruse recommends as part of his Leptin Reset protocol to have a 'big ass breakfast' consisting of 50g of protein. Mr Kruse comes across as fairly confident that this is the way to cure leptin resistance, which I am fairly certain that I have. This is something which I would be willing to try, but have nagging doubts about it as a result of Ms Gedgaudas' opinion.
asked byormus (10)
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on July 03, 2012
at 07:45 PM
They are proposing ideas for two different situations, one is prescriptive and the other is a "cruising altitude" diet (just as a warning, both are pretty fast and loose with the science vs. speculation and I wouldn't bet the farm on either of their takes on things).
The Leptin Reset idea is to retrain the hypothalamus to have proper hunger and sleep/wake cues, and align hormonal signaling. I believe the reset lasts only 6-8 weeks in most cases, and then the diet changes a bit.
Nora's idea is a fine one if you are eating sufficient animal fat, have sufficient bulk and calories from other foods, and already have good hormonal signaling. I think her diet might be particularly well suited to those later in life who are considering doing slight calorie restriction in hopes of longevity.
Neither one knows what your specific body needs though, so the only way to find out is trial and error. I'm a big fan of the big breakfast myself, especially because I am someone prone to hunger late in the day if I don't get enough calories early, but that breakfast often gets skipped and becomes a big lunch instead with roughly the same result.
on July 03, 2012
at 08:20 PM
Nora, as well as a few other low carb advocates, are trying to get protein needs met without activating the mTOR pathway. Scientists have done fun little experiments where they turn this pathway off in worms and get worms that live a lot longer and appear a lot younger: Experiments that hint of longer lives. Nora's approach is a reasonable way of looking at it, but it isn't clear, especially from a paleo perspective, that staying away from activating this pathway is necessarily the key to health. We were subject to variability in diet, and from that variability we adapted and became robust. Nora's approach may help us live longer, or it may make us more brittle; nobody knows for sure and it takes years of somebody actually eating this way for us to even begin coming to conclusions.
Jack's advice is standard advice that you'd find in the paleo-world for people who want to lose weight, except since it's Jack, it's jacked up in his extremist three ring circus style. Getting some protein in in the morning seems to help regulate appetite, but you don't need 50g to achieve this. It doesn't really need to be breakfast, but simply your first meal of the day, since it seems more appropriate to eat when you are hungry, and in addition to a smaller, more reasonable amount of protein, one should not overlook the value of saturated fat at the meal for satiety.
on July 03, 2012
at 07:36 PM
It depends on what your other macros are like, as well as how much lean-body tissue you need to maintain and how much exercise you do.
50g might be enough if you're fuelling youself with carbohydrates. If you eat much less than 120g grams of glucose a day then all of the glucose you eat will be gobbled up by your "selfish" brain, which means that you have to rely on gluconeogenesis to keep muscle and liver glycogen supplies topped up.
Jaminet has some pretty compelling rat studies which show that rats eat enough food to meet their protein needs and no more. If the rats are not eating enough carbohydrate to meet the glucose needs of their central nervous system, they automatically increase their protein intake to fuel gluconeogenesis.
When their meals are high-carb low-protein they end up eating more total calories, than when eating a high-protein mix.
Jaminet also says that this explains why, across all cultures and diets, people end up eating about 15% of their energy intake as protein.
So the answer is, that you appetite is finely tuned to make sure that you get exactly the right amount of protein. Chicken breast is almost pure protein, which is why you stop feeling hungry after eating a little bit of it.
So less carbs and more exercise = more protein required.
on March 12, 2013
at 09:39 AM
50g is not even enough for the RDA as advocated by the FDA. and they are notorious for only setting limits to prevent real malnutrition. 50g is total crap and Nora is pretty silly in saying thats enough for most people. I'll bet she eats more than that and anyone who's ever struggled with obesity can attest you need a higher protein intake than average to keep healthy and slim. Kruse on the other hand has lost over 150lbs so I'd take the man for his word more than Nora
btw I have her book and read it, and I'm a long-time reader of Kruse's blog