A quote from Dr. Ellington Darden on the subject of protein:
" In 1970, I had a story to tell. After being a competitive athlete and bodybuilder for 20 years, and after consuming tons of expensive nutrient pills, I clearly saw that most of the money I spent on food supplements was wasted. I realized this as a result of being challenged in my nutritional practices by Dr. Harold Schendel Professor in the Food and Nutrition Department at Florida State University. Here′s what happened.
For two months, I kept precise records of my dietary intake, of my energy expenditure, and of my general well-being. All my urine was collected and analyzed by a graduate research team in nutrition science.
Believe me, it was a real inconvenience to have to pee in a large brown bottle, which I carried around with me all day long in a paper sack. It was even more tedious to test my urine scientifically for various vitamins, minerals, and protein content.
But I figured it would be worth it. Once and for all I′d be able to prove to the doubting scientists of nutrition that most athletes require massive amounts of essential nutrients.
Boy, was I wrong!
The results of the study showed that my body was sloughing off, or excreting, large amounts of water soluble vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients. Worse than that, it was also determined that since I had been consuming massive doses for many years, I had forced my liver and kidneys to grow excessively large to handle the influx of all these nutrients. You may desire your muscles to grow excessively large, but you don′t want this to happen to your liver and kidneys. Physicians say that doing so can lead to several medical complications and eventually shorten your life span.
Anyway, after studying and understanding the implications of what I was doing to the insides of my body, I made a complete turnaround. I wanted to tell my story to other athletes like me. I wanted to get the word out especially to bodybuilders and weightlifters-who read the muscle magazines and flashy advertisements-and purchased the recommended food supplements and gobbled them down.
The biggest misconception 20 years ago, and still the biggest misconception today, is the belief that heavy weight training requires massive dietary protein intake.
When my urine was analyzed at Flordia State University in 1970, I was consuming 380 grams of protein per day. Approximately half of the protein came from a 90 percent protein powder.
Why did I consume so much protein? Because I had read repeatedly in muscle magazines that that′s what all the champions ate: from 300-400 grams of protein a day.
Yet, Dr. Schendel kept tellin me that the RDA for protein is .36 grams per pund of bodyweight. Thus, at that time at a body weight of 215lbs., my protein requirement was 77 grams per day.
The results of the study proved that Dr. Schendel was right, and that RDA was accurate. Most of the protein I was eating was being broken down and excreted through my kidneys.
Even though a few recent studies have shown that a slight increase in the RDA for protein may benefit some athletes, the extra calories that most athletes normally consume more than compensate for those additions."