The Problem with Protein
An important new study from Massachusetts General Hospital suggests that overconsumption of protein may contribute to our country's alarming rates of osteoporosis and osteopenia. The results clearly demonstrate that a decrease in the amount of dietary protein could decrease bone loss.
Published in the August 2004 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the study examined the diets of 39 healthy premenopausal women.
Participants spent one week eating as much protein as they wanted (average was 67.3 g) and another week following recommended daily allowances (average was 46.4 g). Researchers discovered that the modest decrease in protein reduced acid loss by 67 percent, calcium excretion by 32 percent, and bone loss by 17 percent—good news for the women’s skeletal health.
The findings are important for public health, given that the typical North American diet includes 70-100 g of protein a day, even more than the study participants consumed. Followers of the high-protein, low-carb diets typically consume about 135 g of protein a day.
PCRM Online, October 2004