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Dietary Protein, Resistance Training and Health: A Call for Evidence

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BioMed Central
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Journal of the International Society
of Sports Nutrition
Open Access
Poster presentation
Dietary protein, resistance training and health: a call for evidence
Lorena Devia, Josh Huffman, James Mihevic, Anna Huszti and
Lonnie Lowery*
Address: Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Akron, Akron, OH, 44325, USA
Email: Lonnie Lowery* - Lonman7@hotmail.com
* Corresponding author
Background
Purposeful intake of ample dietary protein remains con-
troversial, as illustrated by uncertain and/or dissuasive
material in introductory dietetics texts and statements by
professional organizations (Lowery L and Huffman J, Die-
tary Protein in Sport: Still Controversial, ASEP National
Meeting, 2008). Common health concerns include undue
"stress" on renal function, bone loss, and deleterious
effects on other dietary components such as fiber and sat-
urated fat. Particularly dissuasive language has been tar-
geted toward strength athletes.
Methods
In preparation for a series of studies, this investigation
sought to ascertain the amount of readily accessible pub-
lished research on these nutritional-physiological topics,
specific to the resistance trained population. Pub Med
(Library of Medicine abstracts) searches were performed
using combinations of search terms including exercise,
resistance trainer (-ed, -ing), athlete, (dietary) protein,
safety, renal, kidney, bone, fiber, fat and saturated fat.
Results
Results indicate a dearth of population-specific safety
data, with zero to 30 exercise-related abstracts found,
depending upon the combination of search terms. Nearly
all abstracts (75 of 77) were focused upon anabolic effi-
cacy or issues other than safety or chronic diseases. No
abstracts specifically compared renal function, bone den-
sity or dietary parameters of resistance trainers with a
multi-year history of ample/surplus protein consumption
with their non-protein-seeking counterparts.
Conclusion
Results are in agreement with earlier safety assessments
that "few studies have included considerations of energy
intake or physical activity" (Institute of Medicine, The Role
of Protein and Amino Acids in Sustaining and Enhancing Per-
formance, National Academy Press, 1999). We conclude
that existing safety and health concerns and the dissuasive
education of resistance trainers who seek ample dietary
protein appear to be based on populations who differ in
renal function, bone health and potentially dietary pat-
terns. Evidence-based practice requires valid, reproduci-
ble, population-specific evidence. Preliminary research
investigating each of these concerns is currently underway
at the University of Akron.
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank three collaborators that are playing a role
in the preliminary studies addressing the dearth of data presented here:
Drs. Troy Smurawa and Joseph Congeni of Children's Hospital Medical
Center of Akron (select renal variables) and Dr. Ellen Glickman (bone
health variables via dual x-ray absorptiometry). The authors have no com-
peting interests.
from 2008 International Society of Sports Nutrition Conference and Expo
Las Vegas, NV, USA. 9–10 June 2008
Published: 17 September 2008
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2008, 5(Suppl 1):P23 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-5-S1-P23
<supplement> <title> <p>Proceedings of the Fifth International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Conference and Expo</p> </title> <editor>Paul LaBounty and Jose Antonio</ed itor> <note>Meeting abstracts – A single PDF containing all abstracts in this Supplement is available <a href=" http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/files/pdf/1550-2783-5-S1-full.pdf">here</a>.</note> </supplement>
This abstract is available from: http://www.jissn.com/content/5/S1/P23
© 2008 Devia et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
... Examples of athlete-specific research, although rare, do exist and are included in this review. Three safety issues are commonly mentioned in popular media and nutrition and dietetic textbooks, while sports governing bodies may focus upon the risk of dietary supplements per se [2,3]. One issue is renal "stress", [2,4] a second issue is calcium loss and bone catabolism [2,5,6] and a third is an assumption that higher protein intakes are higher in saturated fat and lower in fiber [2]. ...
... Three safety issues are commonly mentioned in popular media and nutrition and dietetic textbooks, while sports governing bodies may focus upon the risk of dietary supplements per se [2,3]. One issue is renal "stress", [2,4] a second issue is calcium loss and bone catabolism [2,5,6] and a third is an assumption that higher protein intakes are higher in saturated fat and lower in fiber [2]. Language surrounding these topics can be dissuasive and/or uncertain regarding purposeful consumption of protein for weight control or athletic reasons . ...
... Three safety issues are commonly mentioned in popular media and nutrition and dietetic textbooks, while sports governing bodies may focus upon the risk of dietary supplements per se [2,3]. One issue is renal "stress", [2,4] a second issue is calcium loss and bone catabolism [2,5,6] and a third is an assumption that higher protein intakes are higher in saturated fat and lower in fiber [2]. Language surrounding these topics can be dissuasive and/or uncertain regarding purposeful consumption of protein for weight control or athletic reasons . ...
Article
Full-text available
Resistance trainers continue to receive mixed messages about the safety of purposely seeking ample dietary protein in their quest for stimulating protein synthesis, improving performance, or maintaining health. Despite protein's lay popularity and the routinely high intakes exhibited by strength athletes, liberal and purposeful protein consumption is often maligned by "experts". University textbooks, instructors, and various forms of literature from personal training groups and athletic organizations continue to use dissuasive language surrounding dietary protein. Due to the widely known health benefits of dietary protein and a growing body of evidence on its safety profile, this is unfortunate. In response, researchers have critiqued unfounded educational messages. As a recent summarizing example, the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Position Stand: Protein and Exercise reviewed general literature on renal and bone health. The concluding remark that "Concerns that protein intake within this range [1.4 - 2.0 g/kg body weight per day] is unhealthy are unfounded in healthy, exercising individuals." was based largely upon data from non-athletes due to "a lack of scientific evidence". Future studies were deemed necessary. This assessment is not unique in the scientific literature. Investigators continue to cite controversy, debate, and the lack of direct evidence that allows it. This review discusses the few existing safety studies done specific to athletes and calls for protein research specific to resistance trainers. Population-specific, long term data will be necessary for effective education in dietetics textbooks and from sports governing bodies.
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