Friday’s Random Thoughts

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

I haven’t done a random thoughts post in a long time, and I have been attending many interesting seminar presentations the past few weeks in grad school, as well as doing my own presenting. In addition I read a rather interesting paper on moving beyond standard LDL-C numbers in assessing CVD risk (though it was written by people who consult/work for Big Pharma, so I am a little skeptical of their conclusions).

1. Many peopled still believe that increasing their protein intake will damage their kidneys or lead to bone loss or some other nonsensical statement that is not supported in the literature in healthy people. This is even what is stated in our nutrition textbooks! In the dietetic world, there is pervasive thought that high protein is unhealthy and dangerous, even though this has never been demonstrated. In short it is a complete and utter myth.

One of my classmates presented some research she did in her undergrad on this exact topic. She worked with Dr. Lonnie Lowery and compared weight lifters who habitually consumed high protein diets (250g/day), compared to matched weight lifters who consumed more normal protein intakes (109g/day).

They then looked at kidney function, bone mineral density and other markers. What they found, not surprisingly, was that the high protein group had perfectly functioning kidneys, regardless of length of time they had been eating this way, and actually had significantly greater bone density than the lower protein group!

I thought it was nice for many of my classmates to be exposed to that information up close and personal.

2.  I have been doing entrance interviews all day today with my Dietetic Internship rotation preceptors (I am currently at Panera as I write this, in between interviews), and one of them discussed with me this great new program they have in their hospital.

It is called Farm to Fork, and it is all about the hospital getting locally grown produce into its cafeteria and even patient trays. The program just started last year, in which time they purchased $12,000 worth of produce for the hospital, and that is simply the beginning.

I think this is a wonderful program, keeps money in the state, provides patients with fresher and therefore more nutritious food. I will actually be able to go on a few trips with my preceptor to observe some of the farms they procure the produce from, to ensure proper handling and other food-safety concerns. I am rather excited about this.

An interesting aside is that the hospital found that incorporating this fresh and local produce also greatly reduced food waste. The patients enjoyed the fresh food more, and therefore ate more of it, with waste being decreased from 25% down to 10%.

This isn't my hospital, but I thought it was appropriate

There are also some other great plans in the works that I hope to be a part of (though I will only be at this place for 6 weeks) such as bringing “mini” farmer’s markets to the hospital, improving vending machine options, and more.

3. I know my number of blogs per week has been markedly less lately, and I apologize for that, but I hope you all are still enjoying what content I am able to put out. Just bear with me for a little while longer as I wrap up the semester, and things should get somewhat back to normal, though I will be having a new baby girl to take of too!

4. With spring finally in full swing, start making outdoor activities a bigger part of your life. While formal exercise and going to the gym is obviously a great idea, it is also nice to get “exercise” from walking the dog, to going for a hike, riding your bike or any other activity you enjoy. It all adds up, burns calories, decreases stress, provides vitamin D, and makes life more enjoyable, so get after it.

5. Today is the last day for the introductory sale of Mark Young’s excellent How to Read Fitness Research, so get your copy today!

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Posted on April 22nd, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre


  1. Jacob Says:

    It’s totally cool. My girlfriend is doing her master in dietetics in Oslo, so I can see firsthand how much work there is for you grad students.

    Regarding this protein study, was there ever any paper published, and where can I find it?


  2. Clarissa Says:

    Responding as a dietitian myself, it would have been great if you had asked for permission to scan the project written by your classmate so that we could all read it for ourselves.

    Just because a fellow dietitian writes about it in his blog, sadly, does not convince me as I always want to read the evidence for myself. :) (Which I’m sure you understand.) Especially, when there are no references to back it up.

    I know that there are no long-term studies published on kidney function and protein intake in healthy subjects, so I would have been more than pleased to read it. :)

  3. David B. Says:

    The way creatinine clearance is calculated (at least by most pharmacists, physicians, and researchers) is from an imperfect equation based of of “ideal body-weight” where serum creatinine in in the denominator of the equation. A higher protein diet, creatine supplementation, or hell even a more muscular body in general, will all artificially decrease CrCl (albeit veryyyy slightly). Any sort of underpowered study that wasn’t properly randomized at baseline and you can get the conclusion that protein = kidney damage. Further combine that with nutso, vegan-advocate doctors, and you suddenly get the conclusion that animal protein destroys kidneys.

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