The MSM broke a story on Sunday that has seriously elevated the level of stupidity, dishonesty, and hysteria in reporting — even more than it already has over the past few months of the attempted overthrow of the Trump administration.
It seems that an Australian fitness competitor died from complications occurring from an undiagnosed case of Urea Cycle Disorder, an extremely rare derangement of protein metabolism that results in toxic levels of ammonia in the blood. Being a rare genetic disorder, she had not been tested for it.
How do you think the vast majority of the world’s media created a clickbait story out of this tragic death? They lied about it.
You’ve read the headlines and listened to the newsreaders the past couple of days. With very few exceptions, the headlines and the first paragraphs said that Meegan Hefford, a “mum” of two, died from eating too much protein. In predictable lockstep, they dutifully recited the narrative: too much protein can kill you, she ate too much protein because she was a bodybuilder, and now she’s dead. Poor kids.
If her UCD was mentioned, it was way down at the bottom. But most people don’t read down that far, and most people are thus left with a reinforced impression that protein is a deadly poison. Even Rush Limbaugh — usually a thoughtful critic of such propaganda when it’s about politics — swallowed the bait.
The newsreader happytalk after the story was of the “So why doesn’t the Government Do Something About This?” type. “Did you know that protein is still allowed as an ingredient in food?” We all know somebody who died after eating a large steak, right?
Meegan did not die from protein poisoning. She died from a rare genetic disorder she didn’t know she had. And to imply that excessively protein intake killed her is not merely wrong, it is a bald-faced lie intended to sell advertising at her expense. The headline reads “Bodybuilder’s Death Blamed on Protein Shakes”, yet at the bottom of the article we read:
It wasn’t until her autopsy that it was discovered she had a rare genetic condition which meant too much protein wouldn’t break down properly in her body.
Sheer stupidity is an inadequate explanation: this is deceptive and intentionally misleading.
Elevated protein intake has been studied extensively, and an elevated protein intake is extremely important for hard-training athletes who are in a constant cycle of muscle damage/repair. I don’t care about the Doctors who say that 46 to 56 grams a day is sufficient for everybody. They don’t study such things; they study medicine. You personally know a doctor who has been wrong — we all do.
The actual data speak for themselves: elevated protein intakes are not dangerous for anybody who does not already have established kidney disease or a rare metabolic disorder like Meegan. Look it up, and by that I mean look up the research, not the MSM articles like these — they are not the same thing.
The biggest problem with the promulgation of such nonsense is that the wrong people will believe it. Research has shown that dietary protein acts as a signal to the muscles to grow. Younger people — with younger digestive systems and a younger response to the muscle-tissue-synthesis effects of ingested protein — can get away with lower-protein diets. They’re going to build and maintain muscle tissue anyway, and really, who cares if they do? They’re kids. They’re not trying to stave off the effects of being 70.
But older people cannot afford to exacerbate the effects of sarcopenia, the inevitable loss of muscle mass that is the normal consequence of not dying young. As we age, the normal process of muscle tissue synthesis facilitated by protein intake becomes far less efficient. Older people need more and better-quality protein to help them hold on to their muscle mass — a profound acute loss in muscle mass can kill you, and the slower gradual loss of muscle mass contributes to your death.
And these idiots are telling you to eat less protein.
Older people spooked by headlines like “Bodybuilder Mom Dies From Too Much Protein Before Competition” place themselves in a position that is harder than it has to be. You’re going to lose muscle mass anyway, but you don’t have to make things worse by believing what you read in the media.