Protein in the Media: Sensationalism or Science?

Once again, the media has made some sensationalistic headlines regarding protein intake:

High-protein diet ‘bad as smoking’

When something like this pops up, I generally get a plethora of emails asking my opinion; more often than not, it just requires a deeper look at the actual study.  And, unfortunately, a bit of a background check into the study authors.  Some key points from the study at hand:

  • This was a combo of two studies.  The first part is an epidemiological observational study—NOT a randomized, controlled study in humans.  While epidemiology is important, the results can only be CORRELATIVE.  Not causative.  So it raises more questions than answers, and that’s is what they are designed to do.
  • The second part is a mouse intervention study; the mice were implanted w/ cancerous tumors, and growth was studied with measured protein intake, based on IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1).  While high protein DID raise IGF-1 and it DID cause the implanted tumors to grow, this DOES NOT mean high protein intake in humans will CAUSE cancer.  IGF-1 is a non-selective growth hormone.  It’ll cause everything to grow—muscle mass, tumors, and increase bone density.
  • The human epidemiological study used dietary analysis by self-reported recall, and did not control for quality.  A high intake of protein from grass fed beef, organic chicken coupled with whole fruits and vegetables is NOT the same as a high protein diet from pizza, fast food, and highly processed foods.   The key factor here?  Inflammation and sedentary lifestyle.
  • In an eerily similar T Colin Campbell and Ancell Keys fashion, the published “results” are highly skewed based on the data.  One very salient point:

The low protein cohort 9.8% died of cancer. In the moderate and high protein diet 10.1% and 9.0% died of cancer.

Jumping to conclusions about protein intake and cancer, based on this, is borderline negligent.

Another interesting point:  The authors state their was a “non-significant trend” in that soy based protein was better that casein”.  Luongo is quoted as saying “Some proteins are better for you than others, for example plant-based proteins like beans”.  No where in the data is this shown, and there was no difference in tumor growth.

Last point, but an important one:  Luongo, the lead researcher, is the founder of L-Nutra, a company that makes plant based meal replacement drinks.

Verdict?  Flawed biased science and media sensationalism.

Mike Kesthely


6 sets:

15 cal AD

15 pushups

12 walking lunges

6 tire flips

rest 2 min

– heavy tire is desired, if not available, sub ball slams


A. Close grip bench press 3-4×3; rest as needed

B. emom – 10mins

odd – 10 T2B

even – 5 PC + Jerk 135/95#


For time

Row 1k

100 DU

75 wall balls 20/14# 10/9′ target


– build per set on CGBP

– focus on breathing in emom TnG for PC+Jerk

– post times for workout




1 min AD

1 min Row

1 min jog

1 min FLR

1 min jump rope

1 min crawl

x 6

– all easy pace


A. 3 positions hang power clean – high hang, mid thigh, below the knee; 1.1.1 x 5; rest 2 min

B. 5 sets – every 2 min – Segmented clean DL x 2 (build from 255#)

C. For time:



Row Cals


3 rounds for time:

100m double KB front rack carry 100m

8 med ball 2 shoulder (150#)

20 TTB


Row 30 sec @80%

Rest walk 30 sec

Run 30 sec @80%

Rest walk 30 sec

X 8

(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Ken:

    A. Close grip bench press 3-4×3; rest as needed
    195 x4, 225 x 4, 245 x 3
    B. emom – 10mins
    odd – 10 T2B
    First two rounds UB, 3rd round 5/5, 4th and 5th (Crap Show) I really suck at these
    even – 5 PC + Jerk 135#
    First 3 Rounds UB, 4th Rd 3/2, 5th Rd UB

    For time
    Row 1k
    100 DU
    75 45#Barbell Thrusters (No place for WB) 11:05

    Couldn’t get it today. I think I’m physically spent due to not taking Sunday off and trying 14.2 a second time. Looking forward to resting on Thursday!

  2. Being:

    A. 85kg x4/87,5×4/90kg x 3
    B. T2B-UB/5 PC+ Jerk @60kg -UB

    CBGB felt good. T2B as well, PC + Jerk was better at last minutes, i felt tight in shoulders since yesterday.
    1k row was good, 1:49/500m tempo, DU wash´t good, it should and use to be UB but trapped 3-4 times. WB was awful, plan was to split in 2 but i had absolutely no power in my legs or in my shoulders, did 20/15/10/8/7/8/7.
    Ouch! It seems like yesterday was tough to me. 🙂

  3. Holy shit, I was waiting to hear who had a vested interest in that idiotic study but I can’t believe it was actually one of the researchers? It blows my mind the media, who came up with the comparison between meat and smoking, are so stupid they’d bother to print this stuff. Next up: New Research Shows Earth is Flat.

  4. Josh


    what would be a good weight % for cgbp and weight for the double kb front racks? Also what would be a good substitute for the heavy med balls?


  5. Question….

    Workout for “will” states:

    Row Cals
    3rds for time

    When the plus sign “+” is there, what does that mean? Is it that both portions are always on the same clock or that they’re two separate workouts with a rest period in between?

  6. Being:

    A. 60-70-72,5kg

    B. 10 TTB
    5 power clean and jerk 60kg
    /felt good, PC + jerk was heavy

    C. Time: 12.33
    / DU’s didn’t go so well, broke up Wallballs into 5’s

  7. being
    Ryan J Rodriguez

    A. Close grip bench press 3-4×3; rest as needed
    205, 225, 235
    B. emom – 10mins
    odd – 10 T2B
    even – 5 PC + Jerk 135#
    That one was more taxing than I thought
    For time
    Row 1k
    100 DU
    75 wall balls 20/14# 10/9′ target
    Took my time, didn’t have it in me to go hard

  8. Teva


    A. 185×4, 195×4, 295×4
    B. Complete T2B and PC + Jerks all ub

    Row in 3:45, DU broke ~6 times, WB broke at 26/38/50/60/65

  9. A: 75×4 + 80×4 + 85×1 (Just did not have it on that last set :P)

    B: 10/5 @60kg, 3 rnds ub then 7/3 on ttb and 3+1+1 and 1×5 on te PC&J (was pretty rough for me)
    10:42 (4:02 row, mostly sets of 20 on the du, pushed on the wb but many sets)

    Quite pleased with the wb today. I have a tendency to talk myself into pacing too much (“just do five or you won’t make it”) but today I tried to not listen to that voice and push through, even if it sometimes was just one rep or two.

  10. M/18/150#/5’5


    A. 145×4, 155×3, 165×3
    B. T2B broke in last couple rounds
    C+j UB until round 4
    -4:01 for row
    -forgot to look after du
    Total time- 12:06

  11. Being

    A) CGBP 3X3 = 165, 175, 185 got a nice hamstring cramp on the last rep

    B) Done, minimal breaks on TTB, UB on first and last round of C/J (broke the middle sets, not sure why, it was all mental in that regard)


    10:55 — 3:48 Row, Broke the DU’s at 13, 50, 65, WBs were done 10/8/7/10/10/10/5/5/5/5

  12. Dave R


    AM – Done

    PM – A little rushed today but got it all in
    A) 3 Position HPC (hi, mid, below) @ 185, 205, 225, 245, 265 – Pumped
    B) Segment Cl DL 5×2 @ 255, 265, 285, 305, 325
    C) 10-8-6-4-2 for time: 5:28
    CGBP @ 225
    Cal Row
    D) 3 rounds for time: 9:51
    *subbed 225 PC for med ball

  13. JP


    A. CGBP 3 reps ea 185,205,225 (didn’t really test it, but 225 was heavier than I remember)
    B. subbed 10 ball slams @ 30# for T2b (trying to let my mitts heal)
    pc+j done as TnG (needed this, didn’t feel very fluid)
    row 1k, 100dubs, 75 wbs


    Felt sluggish on the row, think it was 3:40ish, one trip on dubs @ 20, wbs shoulders lit up, sets of 15-20 + a few no -reps.

  14. Rachel R: Being
    14.2 Attempt #1: 141 reps, Attempt #2: 142 reps

    A: CGBP 45k, 50k, 55k
    B: 10:00 EMOM Rx’ed all but one set unbroken ttb, all unbroken pc+jrk
    C: 1k row, 100 DU, 75 wbs 14#/9′ in 9:59

  15. M/26/99kg

    A) CGBP 3x80kg, 2x85kg, 1x90kg
    B) EMOM – went unbroken till the last two rounds of T2B (5-5, 5-4-1)
    C) 9:15 (rowed @ ~1:42 tempo, had some troubles on the DUs, 10kg wallball 10-10-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-10)


  16. M/30/187

    A. CGBP: 185(4), 205(4), 225(2) moved my hands in to the beginning of the knurling and it made a huge difference. Gotta stop cheating!
    B. EMOM: done
    C. 8:55 – Row 3:27, DUs were shitty, WBs worse. My shoulders were really fatigued.

  17. “Being”
    A.) 155, 165, 175, 175
    B.) EMOM: Completed. All T2B unbroken and all PC&J touch and go.

    DU’s were not good and WB’s were exhausting and were tough. Really felt like my conditioning was not up to where my work capacity wanted to be.

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