Boom Generation Fitness

Mind - body fitness and health strategies for powering thru later years

The blog is aimed at the generation that was born between 1946 and 1964 - the so-called Baby Boomers.

We are now into our middle-age and very interested in staying fit and healthy until well into our senior years.

This blog provides some of the tools to do just that. You can find posts here and lots more by clicking on the links to THINK FIT and THE FITNESS PAPERS (see left side column).

These pages are about any and all matters concerning wellness, mind, body and spirit and, of course, physical exercise of all sorts. A special feature is an emphasis on individuals who can provide examples for us all of a healthy, energetic and positive life.


Geoff Quartermaine Bastin

More about who I am on:

Monday, December 28, 2009


Should we be packing down the protein? We all know that there are three main building blocks of nutrition: carbohydrate, protein and fat. But one of the most difficult things to get right in any diet is balance between the three. There are a huge number of diets that suggest a balance towards carbs, while others (Atkins for example) say you have to hit the protein hard. Another point of view is that human nutrition is so complex that so-called “nutrient splitting” will never provide the right answer; in this case the way to go is to adopt successful diets from places where more common “industrialized” diseases (such as Type 2 diabetes) are not found. These are the diets from the ‘cold zones’ where modern diseases are less.

Because the subject of “too many carbs” or “not enough protein” comes up all the time, it may be helpful to try and discover and discuss some of the arguments.

I’ve taken two authorities whom I respect but who say diametrically opposite things about protein. Ellington Darden PhD. (author of various books on bodybuilding and a PhD nutritionist) says, “…we know from long-term animal studies that high protein diets will shorten life spans.” Darden says that consuming any food will not build muscle; what builds muscle is exercise that stimulates the growth of muscle fibers that then draw on the available nutrients to grow.

Now for the other side of the picture: Dr Scott Connelly is a medical doctor, the author of a best selling book, ‘Body Rx’ and the inventor of a (protein) dietary supplement ‘Met-Rx’, According to Connelly’s ‘6-Pack Prescription Daily Rrequirements’ a 200 pound man needs 200 grams of protein per day. In terms of an easy to use measure, a 20 gram serving of any kind of protein looks about the size of a deck of cards. This is a LOT more than the standard Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of between 60 and 80 grams/day.

I’ve taken a look at the science, and the results of my study are available by clicking on The Fitness Papers in the left hand column of this blog. Follow through and find the paper, ‘Protein – Just How Much?’ Or just click on this link:

I found no evidence whatsoever that large amounts of extra protein do anything but pass directly through the body causing needless physical stress to vital organs. Your body gets about half of the amino acids needed to keep the body working and to build cells from ingesting protein, the rest it manufactures itself. The key point is you need to maintain a balance of these chemicals by consuming a normal balanced diet that includes protein from a variety of sources. The body cannot store excess protein. It must process it into the required amounts of amino acids and the rest gets changed into fat or excreted. Large amounts of protein work the kidneys and liver far too hard. Protein leaches the calcium out of the bones and is believed to be a prime cause of osteoporosis in the USA. Furthermore, there is evidence that excess protein makes the body more acidic with the acids accumulating in the joints making for gout or arthritis.

Bottom line: I’ll eat a normal diet with not more than 20% protein - just as recommended by almost all the dieticians and nutritionists and found in most traditional diets – remember our ancestors for most of human history had very limited access to large amounts of protein. But one point in fairness to Dr. Connelly and the Atkins Diet folks: if you are overweight and eat mostly carbs, then you probably do need to consider more protein and re-balancing your diet. However, if you do suffer from a disease and are not normally fit and healthy do please make sure you consult your doctor before making any drastic dietary changes. The key word in all this is “balance” – a balanced diet and a balance of effort between diet and exercise.

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