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Excess Protein - still confused!

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  • Excess Protein - still confused!

    I want to start by saying I have a complete mental block here.

    I realise this has been partially covered in several threads, but the different responses are what confuses me.

    It seems that the two pathways for excess protein are...

    1. Gluconeogenesis (which I "get" on the whole), regardless of metabolic need, leading to raised insulin, weight gain/stalling

    2. Gluconeogenesis IF NEEDED (so no raised insulin, no stalling); and/or futile cycling to "dispose" of the energy.

    Both seem possible, I get the ideas behind each process, so what am I missing?

    Is there another factor that decides between the two pathways?

    Is this where glycogen stores in muscle have an effect (I'm not sure why they would....but most of the protein-related threads have touched on body building so it's relevant there)?

    It's relevant to me because I tend to be eating more than my "recommended" levels of protein, and am unsure if this will hinder weight loss.

    Thanks guys!!

  • #2

    Better a little too much protein than not enough.

    I have been really obsessed with protein amounts for a long time so don't mind me if this seems too elaborate.

    You need about 30-40 g(safe side) glucose per day and it can come from either protein or carbs. If it's carbs, count grams. If it's protein, take off 30% that goes to digesting the protein (carbs takes 4 or so % I believe so it's negligent), that way you need to eat that much more protein than carbs IF you are doing low carb. You don't want to not get enough bodily protein because it is being used as glucose for the brain.

    Then calculate the amount of protein your body needs for repairs and such, again take off 30% to digesting it (better safe than sorry?). Add this to the previous number, and try to go a little higher just to be safe. Fill the rest with fat. If you want to fill it with some carbs, your protein requirements will go down as per part 1 of this formula, of course there is a minimum and you want to stay well above that :-)


    • #3

      Gluconeogenesis (GNG) from now on haha!

      GNG will not cause weight gain.

      GNG usually only happens when your blood sugar is too low (ie. it keeps you from dying in your sleep) and after intense exercise.

      GNG will not cause a spike in insulin or all the nasty effects because GNG happens inside the cell (endoplasmic reticulum specifcally).

      Amino Acids are converted to glucose and used directly on site no insulin required.

      GNG does not occur with the digestion of "too much" protein.

      Protein might spike insulin but GNG is not the metabolic pathway that causes it.

      (I am trying to find out proteins effect on insulin. It would seem that there are certain amino acids that have a high insulinotropic effect after digestion)

      Don't be a paleotard...


      • #4

        Halloweenbing(e?) - I didn't know about the 30% for digestion, interesting. I cheated and used a website, just plugged in height and weight and it came up with a rough guess of about 77g if I recall correctly.

        Actually, I looked back over fitday and I've not been going as high as I thought - usually between 70 and 100g, once was 30, once was nearly 200!

        Thank you chima_p!

        That's pretty much the clarification I was after!

        I'm resisting the temptation to ask whether it's at the rough or smooth e.r.


        • #5

          *thinking out loud*


          The standard start point is carb -> insulin -> fat storage.

          If you take away the carbs, GNG from protein occurs to supply the brain. (as Chima_p listed)

          Dietary protein -> tiny amount insulin -> fat storage IF there is enough protein and enough of an insulin effect to do so.

          Am I keeping up so far?

          So do we know what determines the insulin response to dietary protein?

          (I've kinda decided it's not critical in my own case as I'm not eating as much as I thought. The concept is just bugging my nerdy brain now!)


          • #6

            @ klcarbaugh

            I have done alot of research lately on this as well.

            You most certainly do have a better biochem backround than me haha!

            Which is why I don't understand why you don't understand haha!

            From what I understand you can only convert Protein to Glucose when you need Glucose. GNG will not happen if you have glycogen in your liver.

            Excess protein nitrogen is deaminated:

            ammonia->uric acid->urine->toilet.

            There are other byproducts that that enter into the citric acid cycle that, depending on your glycogen stores, can get converted to fat through lipogenosis or glycogen through glycolysis. On any type of paleo diet this is not likely to happen. If you are in a calorie deficient state this will certainly not happen.

            I would like to debate this with you so I look forward to your reply! (let's not turn this into an deamination excretion match haha!)

            Don't be a paleotard...






            • #7


              "The standard start point is carb -> insulin -> fat storage."

              No... well yes.

              carb->insulin->glycogen storage(about 300g for the average person)->if glycogen storage is full(chronic full storage leads to insulin resistance)->fat storage.


              "Dietary protein -> tiny amount insulin -> fat storage IF there is enough protein and enough of an insulin effect to do so."

              You would have to eat a lot of protein, a lot of carbs, and be sedentary. like 66% of the population.

              For paleo eaters it really is not an issue.

              The link klcarbaugh sent is a good one and I think #4 in the protein one explains what I am saying.

              Now for you "nerdy brain" (join the club but you will have to give klcarbaugh the password)

              Check this out


              Then Wiki all the terms you don't understand.

              See you next week haha!

              Don't be a paleotard...






              • #8

                chima_p, klcarbaugh is stating that it is indeed possible to overdo protein enough to gain fat. Which is true. Yes you would need more than an equal amount of carbs because of the smaller insulin effect among other factors. I don't see how klcarbaugh said anything false?


                • #9


                  (Can't get it to display as picture!)


                  • #10

                    I'm wondering what you all think of Nora Gedgaudas, author of _Primal Body--Primal Mind_'s thoughts on protein?

                    Here is a link to her blogpost on the subject:

                    From the link:

                    "I’ve also realized that 1) it’s not at all necessary to eat that big a portion of protein to truly have “enough” 2) it’s entirely possible to be fully satisfied with less, using sufficient accompanying dietary fat (this is KEY) 3) Past a certain amount in a meal protein ceases to be purely beneficial and really can place considerable demand on energy and digestive, etc. systems that can also lead to undesirable consequences (i.e., impaired digestion, excess ammonia burden, and potential weight gain). Former “carbovores” who try to switch to eating “high protein diets” may be just that much more efficient, too, at turning that excess protein into sugar and storing it the same way 4) it’s unnecessarily expensive to eat this much…and by restricting protein consumption in this way one can literally save thousands of dollars on grocery bills."

                    According to Nora, Mark's daily meal plan (the morning omellette, big salad w/ meat, and big slab of meat for dinner w/ veggies) would probably be too much--for some. What are your thoughts on this? I'm still a newbie to all this stuff and just looking to learn more!!!!

                    My Before/After Pics
                    Are you new here? Be sure to check these links FIRST, before reading anything on the forum! Succeed & PB 101

                    "I am a work in progress." -Ani DiFranco


                    • #11


                      I am trying to set straight that GNG is not the process that you can gain weight from excess protein.

                      I am also trying to explain that:

                      if mainenance calories is 2200 and p = 200 g

                      ex 1

                      p = 200 g = 800 cal

                      c = 100 g = 400 cal

                      f = 133 g = 1200 cal

                      In this example if you consume 2400 cal and 2200 is maint then you will gain weight. Some will be muscle and some fat. You could lower c = 30 g and f = 50 and increase p = 460 the result would be the same.

                      ex 2

                      p = 200 g = 800

                      c = 100 g = 400

                      f = 66 g = 600

                      In this example if you consume 1800 cal and 2200 is maint then you will lose weight. At this level the amino acid pool will be full and you will maintain muscle and lose fat. Any excess protein will be used as fuel.

                      ex 3

                      p = 80 g = 320 cal

                      c = 100 g = 400 cal

                      f = 120 g = 1080 cal

                      In this example if you consume 1800 cal and maint is 2200 then it is in my opinion that the amino acid pool would not be large enough to maintain muscle if there is any sort of activity and any weight loss would be both fat and lean tissue(not good).

                      As you can see 200 g is excess in ex 1 but weight gain is more a funtion of excess calories from all macros. In ex 2 there are still 200 g, however, there will be no fat gained.

                      I realize it is not as clear cut as these examples there is NEAT, TEF, insuline resistance, diabetes, etc. For discussion sake...

                      Don't be a paleotard...






                      • #12

                        @ klcarbaugh

                        I try not to take anything in forum post personaly unless there is name calling. I have often read my own post and thought that it reads like I am an arrogant prick haha!

                        I would suggest to you though that in addition to blood sugar monitor you get some calipers and somebody you don't mind piching you butt.

                        If your body is raising blood sugar but gaining LBM and losing fat then insulin is doing exactly what it is meant to do.

                        Don't be a paleotard...






                        • #13

                          @ FairyRae

                          She can "realize" all she wants. If you are going to Lift Heavy Things you will need a full amino acid pool to repair and build your muscle.

                          Then again those are my own goals yours may be different.

                          I think she may underestimate the protein requirements of intense exercise.

                          I don't know her exercise regiment (brisk walk around the park?) but I doubt she has done a Dead Lift.

                          Don't be a paleotard...






                          • #14

                            @ chima_p

                            I believe she's talking about more sedentary folks--not folks participating in intense exercise.

                            Thanks for replying!

                            My Before/After Pics
                            Are you new here? Be sure to check these links FIRST, before reading anything on the forum! Succeed & PB 101

                            "I am a work in progress." -Ani DiFranco


                            • #15

                              Ahh I see.

                              I have not read the book. Although I think it may have some interesting insights and worth the read.

                              Don't be a paleotard...