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Other/Mixed Calorie counting, why include protein as a calorie?

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)

svencandy

Level 5 Valued Member
I had a shower thought the other day, probably in close proximity to reading some babble about nutrition.

I know that diet is not really a talking point of strongfirst, but this seems like a nice corner of the internet where this matter could reveal some interesting discussions.

I have a question, of which I have searched the internet heavily for, and the only result I could find was some ramblings by Mike Mentzer about the fact that carbs and fat are what our bodies burn for fuel.

And the rest of the internet seems to agree that protein gets converted to glucose if it is in a surplus.

Why do you include protein in your calorie count? I thought the point of protein was building blocks for muscles, skin, hair, fingernails, organs, semen etc etc. If that is the case, which I believe it to be, why are we advised to include protein in your TDEE?

Many questions, maybe I should have just left this at 1 paragraph, but the more I think about it the more I am confused.
 
Because it does get converted into glucose when in surplus, as you mention. Furthermore a detailed accounting of what gets used for hair, skin, muscle, etc. is impossible. All of this goes into a "metabolic ledger" i.e. if you don't have the protein laying around, your body might make it, which costs energy. The average "profit" of a gram of protein is, as the previous post said, about 4 calories, though I believe even this number doesn't account for the thermic effect of food (TEF), which accounts for how much of that energy "gets converted into heat," whatever that means. Even this is a ridiculous oversimplification, and I'm not a physiologist so I may have bungled some things. It's all horribly complicated in detail, so you're right to ask questions.

tl;dr -- some of it gets used in a straight-forward way as energy, and for processes where it is used as structure, it is costly not to have around.
 
Because one gram of protein equals four calories. If you try to loose weight the intake of protein still counts towards your limit for the day.
True, and
@svencandy I can tell why you are confused. Been there before myself.

1 gram Proteïne (P) = 4 kcal / 17 kJ
1 gram Carbs (C) = 4 kcal / 17 kJ
1 gram fat (F) = 9 kcal / 38 kJ
1 gram alcohol (Alc) = 7 kcal / 29 kJ
1 gram fibers = 2 kcal / 8 kJ

All of these sources count towards your total daily income.
There are a lot of theories on best foods, best ways to eat, best diets et cetera.
In most cases it all comes down to personal preference and what works best for your body (depending on your goals of course).

Even if you calculate and count all your macro's there is no telling how your body would react so it's basically trial and error until you know what works best for you. A simple macro calculator could be helpful for you to keep track of your daily total (again, based on your goals).
 
True, and
@svencandy I can tell why you are confused. Been there before myself.

1 gram Proteïne (P) = 4 kcal / 17 kJ
1 gram Carbs (C) = 4 kcal / 17 kJ
1 gram fat (F) = 9 kcal / 38 kJ
1 gram alcohol (Alc) = 7 kcal / 29 kJ
1 gram fibers = 2 kcal / 8 kJ
I guess I rambled a little.
I do understand that theoretically protein = 4 Cal's, minus TEF, which I understand to be the energy expensed to digest the protein.

My question is, if we are not using protein as energy, as it seems to be an inneficient source of fuel, why do we calculate it in a TDEE?
 
@svencandy you can't just ignore a potentially large but perhaps inefficient source of energy when you are calculating total energy intake. You will just get the wrong answer.
 
In other words approximating

1g = 4 cal

is better than approximating

1g = 0 cal

because even if you use it for the things that are "not using it for energy," you are still not spending energy by having that protein around. See? It's like if you had to pay your electricity bill but had no money in the bank, then you'd have to go make some, but if you have money in the bank, you can just pay out of your bank account. Just because it isn't being used for cellular respiration doesn't mean there isn't a cost.
 
Here's a potentially better analogy:

Building a house takes some raw materials. Let's say you're concerned with the amount of wood it takes. If you don't have any wood, but want to make a house, you have to spend energy chopping wood. This is like having to spend energy to make the protein for your hair, nails, skin, etc. But if your buddy gathers the wood for you and gives it to you, you basically saved yourself the energy of chopping wood. You can just stick it in your house. This is your friend, the cow, "donating" its protein to your blood stream (the cow had to have its house taken down to "gether the wood").

You might also burn some of that wood to keep warm, if you have extra. That's you turning extra protein into glucose.

Hope this helps!
 
Thanks for the replies, it is really helping to organize my thinking on the matter. Much appreciated.

In saying that, my next question is, with the above being true, are we consuming too much protein, and some of that is being converted to glucose when we replace it with a spicy herb rice and some seasonal fruits?
 
I guess I would say if some of the protein is being converted into glucose, it would probably be cheaper to eat spicy herb rice and seasonal fruits in place of it, unless you love loads of saffron and out-of-season fruits ;)

For me, that's better, because I don't have loads of money. But if I were rich, I would be happy to eat extra protein because protein sources are tasty.

That said, calculating whether a that steak you eat at 7:00 PM is turning into muscle or glucose is impossible in practice, except when you know you're going way over the cap (like 40g or so is what I've heard). I just try to hit my protein target each meal, and if I go over, it's fine as long as it's not egregious for my checkbook.
 
Out of interest @Ap0c , what is your protein target?

Personally I don't have one. But generally I eat around 1kg of red meat per day, mostly lamb (cheapest red meat where I am) and fish (my uncle is a fisherman and I dabble, always have a freezer full)

By the way, I'm not trying to start any arguments with this thread, just looking to float an idea posited by the late Mike Mentzer that we are possibly over consuming protein. Currently I eat plenty of the stuff, and there is a societal push right now to get us eating less, but the only sound reasoning I have found is from Mike Mentzer, and his reasoning (or ramblings) is the point to which is like to discuss.

This forum, with it's diverse reach and great minds, seems the only place on the internet where such could occur.

Peace and love to you all
 
I shoot for about 150g, which for me is about 15g less than 1 lb per bodyweight. If I get 120, I consider that fine as well. I maybe eat about a half pound of meat, so not much, the rest is in milk, whey, beans, and trace amounts from other sources. A big day of meat for me is about 1 pound.

1kg of meat is a lot -- probably 200g+ of protein. That would be more than my entire target for the day, but I am kind of a small dude and consume other sources. It sounds like you could stand to eat less if you wanted to, unless you are Ronnie Coleman and that is all you're eating for protein.

Of course, whenever a scientist reports some target they found worked in some range of studies, this usually refers to some average over a population. Maybe you, personally, can do more with more, but the general consensus nowadays seems to be that even 1g/lb might be overkill for most people. So, some people might be overconsuming protein, but the question is "at what cost?" There is an environmental cost, a potential ethical cost depending on the source/one's personal ethics, money, etc. All of that is personal though.
 
In saying that, my next question is, with the above being true, are we consuming too much protein, and some of that is being converted to glucose when we replace it with a spicy herb rice and some seasonal fruits?
Herman Pontzer says something like "if you overdo it on the protein supplements, that makes for some very expensive pee"...

You might enjoy his book "Burn". It is well written and a good way to sort out bro-science from the current science on the topic. I am still getting through it and like it so far. At times it can be a bit irritating, but mostly because we all have so much accumulated half-knowledge about nutrition and calories.
 
I had a shower thought the other day, probably in close proximity to reading some babble about nutrition.

I know that diet is not really a talking point of strongfirst, but this seems like a nice corner of the internet where this matter could reveal some interesting discussions.

I have a question, of which I have searched the internet heavily for, and the only result I could find was some ramblings by Mike Mentzer about the fact that carbs and fat are what our bodies burn for fuel.

And the rest of the internet seems to agree that protein gets converted to glucose if it is in a surplus.

Why do you include protein in your calorie count? I thought the point of protein was building blocks for muscles, skin, hair, fingernails, organs, semen etc etc. If that is the case, which I believe it to be, why are we advised to include protein in your TDEE?

Many questions, maybe I should have just left this at 1 paragraph, but the more I think about it the more I am confused.
Because try as we may… we can’t out-fox thermal dynamics…
 
By the way, I'm not trying to start any arguments with this thread, just looking to float an idea posited by the late Mike Mentzer that we are possibly over consuming protein. Currently I eat plenty of the stuff, and there is a societal push right now to get us eating less, but the only sound reasoning I have found is from Mike Mentzer, and his reasoning (or ramblings) is the point to which is like to discuss.

In no particular order, and not saying you should do what I do, but ...

Who is the "we" in "we are possibly over-consuming protein." I don't count anything about what I eat, protein or otherwise.

But generally I eat around 1kg of red meat per day
I shoot for about 150g,

A pound of ground beef, ~440 grams, will make hamburgers for dinner me, my wife, and our 26-year-old. A kilogram of ground beef would feed my wife and I for most of a week.

If I were to take a guess, and it's only just that, perhaps I get 50 grams of protein a day, not 150. Counting protein seems to be a big thing among people who are trying to add muscle, but I add muscle just fine when, e.g., I start a new exercise and it demands more muscle in one place or another.

OTOH, I eat differently than I used to before I began lifting. I was hungry the other night and my snack was a pound of ricotta cheese with a generous amount of honey stirred in. Not sure if that counts as a meal or dessert - we were on the road, having left the house at 5 pm and only having had some leftovers for dinner #1, so I guess my snack was dinner #2. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. If we perhaps overeat protein, then my theory would be that we also under-eat fat. I'll have a pound of sour cream at a sitting, sometimes, too.

NB: We have a Nutrition section of our forum. I'm OK with leaving this thread here, though, as it seems of a more general nature.

-S-
 
I've heard a compelling argument recently (struggling to remember where.. maybe Layne Norton? or a guest on Peter Attia's podcast?) suggesting that protein should be accounted for differently than the other macronutrients. In other words, determine appropriate protein intake range for the person, get that filled and met as a primary consideration, THEN determine appropriate "other calories" and fill that with fat and carbs that support your lifestyle and activities.

My own approach is pretty simple - to get 30-50 grams of protein at 2-3 meals per day; mostly from eggs, meat, and dairy, for an average estimated daily total of 80-120 g/day. With only one kidney, I don't want to go overboard with the protein intake, as excess protein tends to make the kidneys work harder (hyperfiltration). The long term effects of that aren't really known, though it's not generally suspected to be a problem for people that otherwise don't have compromised kidney function.
 
I've heard a compelling argument recently (struggling to remember where.. maybe Layne Norton? or a guest on Peter Attia's podcast?) suggesting that protein should be accounted for differently than the other macronutrients. In other words, determine appropriate protein intake range for the person, get that filled and met as a primary consideration, THEN determine appropriate "other calories" and fill that with fat and carbs that support your lifestyle and activities.

My own approach is pretty simple - to get 30-50 grams of protein at 2-3 meals per day; mostly from eggs, meat, and dairy, for an average estimated daily total of 80-120 g/day. With only one kidney, I don't want to go overboard with the protein intake, as excess protein tends to make the kidneys work harder (hyperfiltration). The long term effects of that aren't really known, though it's not generally suspected to be a problem for people that otherwise don't have compromised kidney function.
Sounds great.

This has been my approach for the past six months. Keeping protein somewhat constant, eating as much veggies as possible and then mainly adjust carb intake for either gaining or losing weight, not worrying much about fats. This works pretty well with whole foods - too many industrial foods and snacks would probably undermine this approach. Lately I have started adjusting carb intake every two weeks up and down, based on the idea from the Matador study/diet, that Kenny Croxdale has sometimes posted
 
Protein consumption by the body is never-ending repair and replace. Is not like you just stay at a given level if you stop eating protein. Not all energy use is consumed by muscle movement.

I agree it should be viewed differently from fats and carbs, but not so differently it falls off the chart.
 
I've heard a compelling argument recently (struggling to remember where.. maybe Layne Norton? or a guest on Peter Attia's podcast?) suggesting that protein should be accounted for differently than the other macronutrients
Maybe it was Dr. Ted Naiman


His book is the P:E diet .
Using protein:energy ratio to measure your diet.
I personally think he's on to something.
 
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