Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
September 27, 2022

Can You Get Fat By Eating Too Much Protein?
By Charles Staley

Can You Get Fat By Eating Too Much Protein?

A few weeks ago I was having dinner at our local Outback, when I overheard the following in the booth behind me:

"My trainer says that if you eat too much protein, it'll turn to fat."

Did you catch that? And if someone posed that suggestion to you, how would you respond? This is a great exercise in logic, so let's look at it for a second:

First, is it possible to get fat by eating too much protein?

Sure, in much the same way it's possible to die by getting hit by lightning while you're being eaten alive by a shark.

Second, is it likely that you'll get too fat from eating too much protein? Well again, it's about as likely as getting hit by lightning while you're being eaten alive by a shark.

To be slightly more serious, let's do a bit of thermodynamic mathematics:

If your caloric needs are say, 2500 calories per day, and you eat a high-protein diet consisting of 7500 calories per day, you'll definitely get fat- that's my educated guess. However, let's examine the improbable mechanics of eating this much protein for a moment. If we say that your 7500-calorie diet is 80 percent protein, this means that you're getting 6000 calories from protein per day, which equates to 1500 grams of protein. Further, if a 6-ounce chicken breast contains 40 grams of protein, you'll need to eat 37 chicken breasts a day to hit that number. Or to use another food source, you'd need to consume about 37 protein shakes per day (assuming each shake contained 40 grams of protein)

Can You Get Fat By Eating Too Much Protein?

OK that's obviously absurd so let's modify the original example to a somewhat more likely scenario:

Using strict thermodynamics, you'd have to consume about 3600 calories per week (or about 500 per day) above and beyond your normal caloric requirements, to gain a pound of excess bodyfat in that same period of time. So if your caloric requirements are 2500 per day, we're now assuming you're eating 3000 calories per day, where 80 per cent of those calories come from protein. Now you're eating 600 grams of protein per day, or 15 chicken breasts or shakes per day.

Unlikely? Well OK, not as unlikely as getting hit by lightning while you're being eaten alive by a shark, but have you ever eaten 15 chicken breasts in one day (or the equivalent of it)? I never have, not even once.

Now I have eaten the same caloric equivalent in fats and/or carbs - in fact many times. And I bet you have too. In fact, 3000 calories in non-protein form is amazingly easy to consume. Here are a few possible options you might consider:

  • 2 & pints of Haagen Daz ice cream (this would be my first choice!)

  • A 14-inch All Natural Pepperoni Pan Pizza

  • (6) Starbucks Venti Caramel Frappuccino's with whole milk

  • Or you could mix & match. For example:

  • (1) Pint of Haagen Daz, (2) slices of pizza, and (2) Starbucks

In any event, it should be clear that it's FAR more likely to get fat eating fats and/or carbs than it is to get from eating too much protein. So with that in mind, what's the rationale for statements like the one I overheard at Outback? What motivates people to say things like this, given how preposterously unlikely they are? Is it simple ignorance? Or perhaps many people have some type of PETA-inspired hatred of protein? I'd love your thoughts on this, so please click the comments link below and share your experiences and insights!

Get info on Whey Protein HERE

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