Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient. But what happens when you take more than your body needs?

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Bedroom bliss

  • How to fight off death

  • Are you eating too much protein?

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Bedroom Bliss

Some might like it hot in the bedroom…but if you want to prioritize your sleep, it might be the last thing your body wants. 

New research suggests that sleeping on a cool mattress can improve your sleep and recovery. 

In the study, participants compared sleeping in a regular bed to resting on a cooling mattress. 

Those using the sleep pod fell asleep faster, stayed asleep longer, and had higher-quality sleep. Specifically, they increased their deep and REM sleep, improved cardiovascular recovery, and reported feeling calmer and more comfortable

Your body wants to cool down when it’s time for sleep because it helps your brain transition into the rest phase. As we’ve shared before, your sleep-wake cycles are controlled by your circadian rhythm. Your brain wants a cooler temperature for rest, so it signals to your body to reduce temperature — and change your temperature throughout the night. If other factors keep your body too warm, it disrupts your rest. 

Prior research found that warm conditions can be a reason why you struggle to fall asleep. In another study, people who used a cooling mattress fell asleep 58 percent faster.

Other research also found that sleeping on a cooler mattress improves sleep quality (more time spent in restorative sleep) and lowers heart rate, similar to exercise. 

The most recent study tested the Eight Sleep pod, which adjusts the temperature for you to help improve your sleep. We were so impressed that we asked them for a discount for the positive corner of the Internet. As a member of the village, you can save $200 off the Eight Sleep pod. 

If you don’t have a temperature-controlled mattress, your goal is to make your bedroom as cool and dark as possible. Research suggests that anywhere from 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit can promote better rest. Other ways to help keep your room cool include lowering the thermostat, blackout curtains, using a lighter blanket, keeping a window open, or running fans at night.

How To Fight Off Death

For decades people have debated whether cardio or weights are better for your health. But in the game of life, the answer is to do both

Research suggests that the best way to prolong your life is to include both resistance training and aerobic exercise. 

Scientists analyzed data from nearly 100,000 people to determine behaviors that are associated with longer lifespans. Some of the most concerning data wasn’t about the benefits of exercise, but how few people consistently move. Only 16 percent of people said they regularly lifted weights, and 32 percent performed weekly cardiovascular exercise.

But those who did take action were rewarded. On average, those who lifted weights had up to a 22 percent lower mortality rate, and doing cardio had up to 34 percent lower mortality. But the winner was doing weights and cardio. The combined effort led to nearly a 50 percent reduction in mortality risk. 

And this isn’t the first time an observational study found that weight training — above and beyond aerobic exercise — maximizes longevity. Another study on more than 115,000 people found that no matter how much cardio people perform, people who add strength training at least twice per week have a lower risk of dying regardless of cause compared to those who don’t lift weights. 

The current recommendation is to get 150 to 300 min of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. So any movement is better than no movement, but the more you’re able to push the intensity a few times per week, the more your body will thank you in the long run. 

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

It’s easy to believe that if some is good then more is better. But that’s not always the case. 

Recent research suggests that once you give your body enough protein, there isn’t much additional benefit to giving it more. 

The study was beautiful in its simplicity: it took people who worked out four times per week and had them consume either 1.6 grams per kilogram (.7 grams per pound) per day of protein or 3.2 grams per kilogram (1.5 grams per pound).  

Despite eating more protein, there was no improvement in muscle gain, body fat loss, strength, or number of reps performed. While there were no added benefits, it’s important to note there weren’t downsides either.

Despite doubling the protein amount, liver and kidney functioning was normal, and there were no health issues. (There is no scientific evidence to suggest that higher-protein diets cause kidney issues.)

Why doesn’t the extra protein lead to extra muscle? As we discussed a few weeks ago, there appears to be a protein threshold that unlocks most of the benefits. If you don’t eat much protein, it can cause problems or limit results. But, if you eat enough total protein in a day, you provide your body with what it needs to build muscle and grow. The rest is up to your workouts and how hard you train. 

That doesn’t mean there aren’t other potential benefits to eating more protein. Sometimes, just eating protein can help you manage your appetite more effectively so you don’t overeat. But going crazy on protein isn’t what stands between you and your goals.

Instead, focus on giving your body what it needs. All protein options can work, regardless of your dietary preferences, whether poultry, red meat, fish, eggs, dairy, protein shakes (whey or plant-based), nutritional yeast, legumes (like lentils and beans), and soy (such as edamame). As a general rule of thumb, aim for .7 to 1 gram of protein per pound of your goal body weight. Or, aim for approximately 20 to 40 grams of protein per meal (research suggests your body can handle a good amount of protein, with a recent study suggesting you can digest and absorb more than 100 grams per serving). 

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell