CICO Experiment: Week I of Phase II

Looking at the first week’s data, it wasn’t clear to me whether I was losing or staying the same. Given that the first few days on a new eating regimen with decreased calories is generally associated with phantom weight loss, it’s possible 1500 calories is my RDI. It’s also possible that I was a some sort of a plateau that I would have lost more on by continuing longer.

But I was impatient to lose some real weight. And I was also tired of eating so much. Even though I was getting about 1500 calories a day, it felt like I was eating an enormous amount of food.

I wanted to lose the weight. In fact I can also play with my maintenance calories and macros after I reach my goal weight.

So here is what I did: I decided to decrease my protein to ~80g a day, while cutting my calories to 750. All calories over the protein minimum would be equally distributed as fat and carbs (as best as possible). I’m getting a lot of vegetables and a couple of servings of fruit each day.

A PMSF (protein-sparing modified fast) is a crash diet where you attempt to eat your daily requirement of protein so as to keep your body from breaking down your muscles to rebuild itself. I was introduced to the concept in a book by Lyle MacDonald, where the diet was a very low fat one, with excess calories as carbs. That didn’t work for me at all. I couldn’t stick with it, and within a few days I binged.

However, I’m not really ever hungry, and have no particular desire to eat extra. That is weird and unexpected.

I had one day when I went to an Asian buffet and ate mostly seafood. Lots of seafood, plus some green beans and a plate of fruit. And I got glutened, bleh. I may have eaten up to 2000 calories that day.

I think the idea of eating up to a maximum target once a week has value. I will repeat this once a week, but I’m going to do it at home so I can keep tabs on my calories.

Result: Weight has dropped from 146.4 to 142.6 over a 7 day (Monday to Monday) period. That’s a 3.8 pound loss. I didn’t expect that, since a daily 750 calorie deficit over 6 days plus a surplus one day should result in ~1 pounds a week loss. So I was eating an average of 929 calories a day over the week.

Calculating the weight lost as 3500 calories per pound, adding to the average 929 calories I have been eating, would suggest a deficit of 1900 calories and an RDI of 2829 calories, not 1500. I will have to revisit that in the future after reaching my goal weight.

I feel great, no cravings, rarely even hungry. Coming up: Week II of Phase II. I will do this at least another week or two.

CICO Experiment: What am I looking for?

In the different phases of my n=1 experiment, what would I consider to be a significant finding?

I may find that:

  • I lose and gain weight exactly 1 pound for every 3500 calories deficit or surplus I maintain, or I may find that my loss or gain is directly proportional to some other number of calorie deficit or surplus.
  • I may find that the amount of weight gained or lost is the same or different when I follow different macro ratios. Low carb/high fat, high carb/low fat, and equally balanced energy calories may affect my rate of gain or loss, or may not.
  • My maintenance RDI may be same or different for the different macro ratios.
  • I may find it is much harder to maintain my intake with some macro ratios than others.

I can also test this at different levels of deficits, thus giving me 3 points to plot! I may have to go below my target weight to run all of these different test conditions, but gaining weight by overeating can also be a useful test condition for purpose of gathering data.

I may be eating more protein than I need. Protein intake is something I can test, too. My protein target was 100g a day, but it’s been a little higher than that. I’m going to be more careful now about keeping it to that target level. But that is arbitrary, too. Perhaps 60g or 80g a day is ideal. And what will happen if I keep my energy macro ratio constant while doubling my protein? There’s no reason to do this during the weight loss phase of this experiment, though.

My metabolism isn’t broken. I don’t have diabetes or metabolic syndrome, and I don’t think my hormones are screwed up. I think that if lots of people were to run this experiment, I predict there would be a range of normal responses, but also people who were off the chart in one way or another. Depending on what their health and hormonal issues were, these people could probably be grouped by the effect they show in this experiment.

Anyway, by the time I am done with this experiment, I also hope to test a few other interesting conditions I have read about in studies, where things you wouldn’t expect to have an effect on weight loss and maintenance actually did. I would be getting ahead of myself at this point. I’ll discuss that when the time comes.

The Great CICO Experiment: Phase I

So here’s the plan. I’m writing this on Day 1 of my exploratory phase, which is when I determine my effective RDI, so I can know how many calories I should be eating to maintain my weight. If my initial guess of 1500 calories results in either gain nor loss over a 1 week period, I will make an adjustment until my weight is stable for that week. At that point I may even go another week at that level.

Protein goal: 100g/day
Calorie goal: 1500cal
Energy ratio: 50% fat: 50% carbohydrates

I am active. I do some walking and a little bit of strength exercise. I plan on keeping it at that level for the duration of this experiment.

You can read what I ate and my targets here.

I will write new posts as often as necessary, though the diet data will be consolidated in weekly posts.

What I ate:

Week 1:

Date Day Weight What I ate
7/22/13 Monday 148.6 Lunch
8 oz raw shrimp
8 oz kimchi
½ tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic
4 oz cooked beets
1 oz raw unpeeled cacao beans
4 oz cooked chicken breast meat
6 oz broccoli
14oz raw potatoes, boiled
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup greek yogurt
1 pear
7/23/13 Tuesday 148 Lunch
8 oz daikon
8 oz kimchi
2 oz carrots
2 oz red peppers
6 oz crabmeat
1 oz mayonnaise
3 oz rice noodles
1 tablespoon butter
6 oz cooked chicken breast
4 oz frozen okra
1 oz cheddar cheese
4 oz broccoli
2 medjool dates
7/24/13 Wednesday 146.8 Lunch
8 oz kimchi
2 large eggs
2 slices Udi’s bread
1 tablespoon butter
4 oz broccoli
6 oz Canadian bacon
4 oz chicken breast
2 pears
2 small corn tortillas
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup lettuce
½ tomato
½ cup black beans
1 oz cheddar cheese
1 tsp butter
7/25/13 Thursday 146.6 Lunch
8 oz kimchi
½ FL avocado
4 oz crabmeat
2 oz smoked salmon
1 small pink grapefruit
4 oz brisket, lean only
11-1/2 oz steamed red potatoes
1 tbsp butter
1oz tomatoes
1/3 cup black beans
½ tsp olive oil
3 oz broccoli
2 oz FL avocados
1.75 oz strawberries
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 nectarine
¼ cup greek yogurt
7/26/13 Friday   Lunch
5 oz kimchi
2 eggs
4 oz smoked salmon
1 pink grapefruit
1 nectarine
½ tsp butter
8 oz strawberries
4 oz brisket, lean only
1 cup fresh cherries
½ cup cabot greek yogurt
5 oz red potatoes
1.3 oz carrots
1.3 oz daikon
1.3 oz red peppers
1 tsp xylitol
2 medjool dates
1-1/2 oz cream cheese
7/27/13 Saturday 146.6 Lunch
5 oz kimchi
6 oz lean brisket
1 nectarine
2 slices bacon
2 oz tomato
2 oz lettuce
blue cheese dressing
1 bottle cider
1 cup sweet cherries
6 oz strawberries
8 oz greek yogurt
2 oz cooked chicken breast
7/28/13 Sunday 146.4 Lunch
4 oz lean brisket
8 oz kimchi
1 small grapefruit
2 nectarines
1.5 cups cooked rice
2 oz smoked salmon
6 oz raw shrimp, cooked
6 oz cucumber
4 oz carrot
4 oz tomatoes
2 oz cheddar cheese
½ tablespoon butter

7/24/13: This was not intended to result in weight loss. I thought that at my present activity level I would probably be close to maintenance intake. But even though I feel like I am eating an enormous amount of food, I am losing weight steadily. So far. If this keeps up I could stay with it for a bit and save experimentation with macros at the maintenance level for the end, after having reached my goal weight. If I keep my calorie intake constant for 2 weeks, this would be week 1 of the moderate intake weight loss phase. I could then vary my energy macros to high carb and low carb for 2 weeks each before either deciding to determine my effective RDI or trying some other diet variant.

7/25/13: Still losing a bit of weight. Even if I lose .2 pounds a day 5 days a week, that is still a pound a week. Lunch seemed like an awful large amount of food. But these meals always seem huge.

7/26/2013: I got dizzy this afternoon about 4:00, which I attributed to the high sugar of my lunch. My blood sugar was 86, so I didn’t have true low blood sugar.

I put off shopping, and things happened until it was too late to fix exactly what I had planned. I threw together some leftovers, made fruit and yogurt, and was satisfied, except that I was 300 calories short for the day and didn’t feel like eating anything else at that point. I had to force myself to eat the cream cheese and dates to bring myself up to 1500 calories. Only 2 more days before I have to make a decision on whether to continue this or make changes to my calorie count. I am having trouble imagining eating more food than I am now, even if it turns out I am losing weight.

7/27/13: I had a similar breakfast today, but delayed eating the grapefruit until a couple of hours later, which helped with the “low blood sugar” feeling. Perhaps I should run a series of blood sugar tests to see what is going on. Maybe I experienced a sudden drop.

What is nutrition research, and how is it done?

I mentioned in the previous post that nutrition research is uniformly low in quality. What did I mean?

There are a number of different types of studies run.

  • The population study: A group of people fill out questionnaires about what they have been eating. Researchers follow them for a while, and then later attempt to correlate their health with what they put on the questionnaires.

    Advantages: Relatively easy and cheap to run.

    Disadvantages: Questionnaires can be confusing if researchers do not put thought into them. People do not eat the same things every day, and have trouble remembering what they were eating last month or last year. People’s diets can change over a period of time. And a big one, people lie on questionnaires and tell the researchers what they think the researchers think they should be eating. The more educated a person is on nutrition, the more they lie about not eating unhealthy foods. And experimenters may have difficulty categorizing the way people eat. Studies may lump together meat and processed meat products as “red meat”. One study announced concluded that vegetarians are healthier than Atkins dieters, even though there were neither vegetarians nor Atkins dieters (or even people eating any sort of low carb diet) in the study group.

  • The laboratory study: A group of people move into a residential setting for a period of time. Their food is provided for them. They may be made to do certain types of exercise.

    Advantages: Full control over the subjects is possible.

    Disadvantages: This type of experiment is extremely expensive to run. Small numbers of participants may mean subjects may be chosen based on health criteria that do not apply to the population at large. Result may not be applicable to people in a situation where they are free to make their own food and lifestyle choices.

  • What I call the “catch and release” study: participants are educated about the program they will be participating in. Methods are developed to determine the level of compliance. Counseling happens periodically. They attempt to follow the program on their own while living at home.

    Advantages: This type of study more closely replicates how people really behave.

    Disadvantages: People may be unable to keep with the plan, though this is also a finding. People may follow it incorrectly or lie to the researchers about how they are doing with it.

It’s also true that a badly designed experiment can produce data which cannot be meaningfully analyzed, though researchers may often try to pull success from the jaws of victory by releasing a press release that makes claims that are not supported by the data.

Most research nowadays is funded by food or drug companies which have a vested interest in certain results. Researchers are under pressure to publish studies that support the funding agency’s agenda. A researcher who runs a study and writes a paper that goes contrary to this may never get funded again.

In fact, the differences that researchers are looking for may be so tiny as to be smaller than the experimental biases that are built in. If a study shows that on the average, there is 25 calories a day difference in the average participant’s metabolic efficiency when comparing 2 different programs, is this meaningful when compared with individual differences? Probably not.

There’s lots more to this. It’s a fact that there is loads of money to be made by lots of companies that have no financial interest in their potential customers finding a permanent solution to their weight problems. People who realize there are ways to break their cycle of addiction to junk food won’t buy junk food, they won’t pay for weight loss programs that counsel them that they are victims to their “emotional eating”, and won’t end up getting metabolic syndrome and being treated for it, or having expensive weight loss surgery that isn’t particularly effective in the long term.

Anyway, I hope you’ve got an idea now of how much more complicated these things can be than they are often presented.

The Great CICO n=1 experiment

After yet another CICO flame thread on Mark’s Daily Apple, I finally got tired of reading people make up what they pretend to be data supporting their claims and decided to do something about it.

First, a little background. CICO stands for Calories In, Calories Out. It is often distilled to “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie”, meaning that all calories consumed by a person are metabolized identically by the body. Well, at least for the purpose of weight loss or gain, since protein is not utilized by the body as energy except as a last resort. And even though it makes logical sense that it ought to take consumption of an extra pound of fat to gain a pound of fat, the idea that it takes a pound of fat (3500 calories) to put on a pound of muscle (660 calories) besides being weird, has no theoretical basis.

For CICO proponents, there is one and only one solution to obesity: ELMM or Eat Less, Move More. For proponents of CICO, weight gain is a direct result solely of eating too much and not getting enough exercisee, while weight loss is always directly proportional to a theoretical calorie deficit.

Therefore, behind this hypothesis is the idea that people who are obese are obese because they are lazy gluttons, and if they’d stop eating and get off their butts, they’d lose weight, just like that. Exercise some willpower for a change, man! In the end, CICO makes obesity into a moral flaw or depravity.

Of course, there is lots of data supporting the theory that weight gain, loss, and management are a lot more complex than this. And lately there have been many articles written about this. But CICO proponents are unable to let go of their theory that if millions of Americans hadn’t suddenly decided to become lazy gluttons, obesity wouldn’t be an issue in this country, even as they have to constantly tweak their hypothesis to account for reality.

Here’s Part 1 of four parts of a series on this topic at You will find links to subsequent articles at the end of each article. Here’s another article on The Poor, Misunderstood Calorie, and an article on The Scribble Pad.

But the thing is, people who support this are practically cultic about it. Given the low quality of nutrition studies that are usually run and the expense of doing real, meaningful research, support for the idea that there is one way and only one way to lose weight (usually given as conventional wisdom, which means a low fat high carb diet with calorie restriction through calorie counting, with lots of cardio to “burn fat”) is very limited. So proponents of this theory usually make up data. They say that “millions of people” have lost weight doing [pet technique here], when the long-term success of weight loss dieting is actually so dismal as to be an unqualified failure. Would you have an operation done by a surgeon who could only promise a 2% chance of success? I don’t think so, and that’s the long-term success rate of dieting. If the goal is to reach your target weight and keep the weight off indefinitely, it happens so rarely as to be insignificant.

Concentrating on blaming dieters for being lazy gluttons rather than finding out why people have been gaining weight in the past few decades has delayed meaningful research that might lead to a real solution.

Of course, I don’t think “try harder next time” is any sort of solution at all.

But anyway, rant over for now, a troll posted that

Let’s say you have 2 twins who are the same weight and gender and are fed the same amount of calories and exercise the same exact amount. If you feed 1 a high carb diet and the other a low carb (primal) diet, they will both lose the same amount of weight.

This is what is called “making up data”. It’s not a fact, it’s not a finding. It’s a hypothesis. If an experiment were run based on this (provided you had such a pair of twins, or more meaningfully, multiple such sets of twins, and they were all willing to give up months of their lives to participate), we would get real data, which might or might not support the initial hypothesis.

But beyond that, each and every one of us is capable of producing real data. If you are careful in designing your experiment, you can generate data that can indeed support a hypothesis. Or it might not support that hypothesis.

And while such an experiment run on a single person (n=1, or “the number of experimental subjects is one”) is limited, if multiple people run such an experiment, enough data could be collected to be useful. If the majority of a large number of participants had very similar results, it could indeed suggest something that researchers should explore.

So here’s what I wrote:

The experiment is so easy to run that I am surprised no one seems to have run it on themselves.

The easiest way to do this is to keep exercise constant through the duration of any feeding phases of the experiment.

Record and track everything. Weight should be taken daily, measurements weekly, including body fat. All daily menus should be planned in advance to keep your intake of macros on target. All food should be accurately weighed or measured. Record all foods eaten for future reference. Record exercise, too. Other parameters may come in useful: sleep, FBS, ketones, etc.

Planning: Set a goal level of protein that you will maintain throughout the experiment. Set initial carb and fat targets. Also differentiate carbs between starches and sugars when collecting data.

Phase 1: Establish your RDI by estimating your probable required calorie intake. Maintain this level for a week, then adjust as needed. When your weight is stable (for a week, two is better) you are ready to move on to the next phase.

Phase 2: Now cut back your calories to a target below your calculated RDI which is calculated to result in 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week. Keep your protein intake constant while varying your carb vs fat ratio. Do two weeks each of moderate (50:50 carb and fat calories), VLC, and very low fat. Also, do two weeks each where you attempt to get all of the carb calories from starch, and another where all of them come from fruit.

A month would be better, if you have the patience and the weight to lose. Or you could just keep repeating the experiment until you have reached your weight loss goal.

Of course, by the time you finish Phase 2 of this experiment you will have the data necessary to test any sort of diet, macro, or exercise variation or hack that you see, or to reproduce any experiment you read about.

I’m looking forward to reading your data.

I was actually considering doing something like this already, and I was considering starting today, because it’s Monday. If anybody else wants to take part, let me know.

I’ll be posting updates here.

Does low fat help you lose weight?

For decades Americans have been told to eat a low fat diet to lose weight, and enough of them have made enough of an effort to make a difference in overall fat intake. So how is that working out for us? If low fat leads to weight loss, shouldn’t we be getting thinner and healthier?

But we’re not. We are getting fatter and sicker.

There was recently a discussion about diet in a low carb group I belong to on the site Fat Secret, and I thought I would expand on that here. I wrote:

There has never been any evidence that eating fat is the cause of obesity, nor that eliminating fat will lead to weight loss. Yet “authorities” whose trade is the status quo, many of whom make money off bogus low-fat diet programs and products, have repeated the lies so often that they have become “common sense” to many if not most people who have not done any research.

Among the “authorities” is the government, which has a major stake in the profitability of corporate mega-farms that produce wheat, corn, and soybeans. As they have told us to eat more carbs, less protein, and less fat, people have become fatter and sicker. What is now considered a “moderate” carbohydrate intake would have been considered “extremely high” a generation ago. Many people eat a diet that is 80% or even 90% carbs and wonder why they are not getting healthier. Even going back to the macronutrient ratios of the 50s and 60s without losing weight would result in positive lean body mass gains and fat loss for many people.

When I was in college about 10 years ago I saw a presentation about a study the students in the fitness trainer program had done, comparing fat intake and body composition. People who ate more fat were lighter and leaner. Not by a lot, but the connection between eating fat and being fat simply was not there.

I sometimes hang out on yahoo answers. A vegan woman was trying to “prove” that the vegan diet provides plenty of protein, and gave a link to the website of a vegan bodybuilder who (she said) was very muscular. The guy looked ill compared to any reasonably lean meat eater who even occasionally exercises.

The key is not to add fat to the diet. Rather stop restricting fat intake arbitrarily, eliminate low quality starches and sugars, then eat more of what is left. Vegetables, meat, poultry, and seafood, both lean and fatty, full-fat dairy, and occasionally nuts and fresh fruit.

And I could also add that a low fat diet will drive me nuts. Someone claiming to be a qualified medical professional just recommended to me on Twitter, not knowing what I eat, how much I weigh, or what my body composition is, that I should reduce fat and carbs and lose weight. That is medical malpractice, diagnosing and prescribing without any supporting information.

The fact is that my body fat is in the target range for my age. I could get leaner. I could lose more weight and build more muscle, and probably will. But it’s also a fact that a low fat diet will literally drive me nuts and make me binge. Whereas being low in protein makes me crave protein, being low in fat makes me want to eat everything.

We often hear it said that binges are a result of emotional issues and emotional eating. I think they are more often a result of macronutrient imbalances than the experts want us to consider.

Protein cycling to increase lean body mass?

I have never read anything about this anywhere, so I don’t know if it is something unique to me. But I have noticed that when I consume 80 grams to 100 grams of protein a day while maintaining a calorie deficit, I will continually lose weight.

Given my exercise program, this may actually be a low protein intake. If I increase my protein intake by 50 grams a day, the scale would show a net gain of a pound a day until such time as I cut back on the protein. (I haven’t actually gone a full week on this regimen, since rapid weight gain is for me a trigger for a strategy change.) Then I would return to losing weight as expected.

If I do this, I do not show any improved performance at the weight peak. Rather it seems to be accompanied by a decrease in performance.

When I do return to my previous weight, I am leaner.

Note that I do not use purchased protein powders or supplements. I eat meat and other animal products for my protein needs.

If this was a technique used by athletes for building muscle mass I would call it “protein cycling”.

Perhaps when I reach my goal weight I might try this for a week and see what happens with it. But until then I think I will try to avoid weight gain, even if it appears to be lean.

If I wasn’t keeping close tabs on my intake and weight, I wouldn’t have noticed this correlation.

Losing weight and dietary macronutrient composition

Gosh, it’s been a long time since I’ve recorded a journal entry.

Where I am now:

My diet is about 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass per day, plus fat and carbs in ideally equal caloric amounts. My target caloric intake is 750-1000 per day. I could survive on a low carb diet (Atkins induction level of 20g net carbs per day) if I was sedentary or only doing walking for exercise, but I need more carbs to do the weight lifting I have myself doing.

I couldn’t survive on a low fat diet. I tried this again, having tried it previously some years back, and I can’t stick to it because it drives me crazy, followed by a high energy binge.

Not eating enough protein results in poor performance and recovery on my weight training (I track everything) and eventually leads to high protein binges.

I may attempt to determine if there is a minimum number of grams of carbs a day I need to eat for maximum performance.

On a protein sparing modified fast with protein intake of about 130 grams per day (and less than 20 grams each of carbs and fat) my weight loss slowed to a halt.

At this point I am about 30 pounds from my initial goal, which is based on a theoretical ideal body weight from an online calculator. This is based on a theoretical sedentary individual of my height and age (at best). I am clearly putting on muscle, and my %bodyfat should be lower and thus my goal weight might be higher. I bought a set of calipers, which shows how to get a rough estimate from a single reading (waist). I was unable to train my boyfriend to get reliable readings for me, so I will have to go with that rough estimate at the present, which would mean my %bodyfat is 29.2% rather than the bmi-based estimate of 33%. I have two bioimpedance devices that display %bodyfat from 35-38%. Those are likely way off.

The calculation worksheet that came with the caliper shows that were I to lose bodyfat only while maintaining my lean body mass to get down to 18%, my weight would be 132 pounds.

So I am in the “desired” range for a woman of my age, but what I want is to be lean (and a size 8). Probably when I reach that size 8 goal the reading will be in the “lean” range, and I should find someone with some experience to get me a more accurate reading.

For my weight training, I only do strength exercises with free weights, dumbbells, etc. I have a weight bench, Olympic bar, hex dumbbells in common sizes, a rack that can be used for bench or squats, and a pullup bar mounted on the wall. No need to ever go to a gym, at least not for a long time.

When you do proper strength exercises, you automatically get shape. Women don’t get bulky like men do. We don’t have the genetics There are only 2 ways a woman might actually get bulky: 1. steroids and 2. not being lean. I do look bulky if I have too much padding over those shapely muscles.

So it’s all N=1. So what? If you haven’t run the same experiment on yourself to find out how protein, carb, and fat intake affects your weight loss, body composition, or performance, you’re working on N=0 right now.

I’m waiting eagerly for your data. Anybody?

What’s wrong with Atkins?

Unlike many diet or health writers, I am not irrationally prejudiced against the Atkins diet. Eating according to the the requirements of the induction phase for a few weeks at the beginning is not going to result in a sudden loss of health. It does indeed seem that those who are opposed to the Atkins diet don’t seem to be familiar with it. Many critics seem to think that the Atkins diet forbids a dieter from eating anything but fatty meat, cheese, and dairy products. They ignore, or perhaps they are unaware of the fact that even in the induction phase participants are encouraged to eat lots of fresh vegetables.

It’s a fact that many people who have gone on the Atkins or other low-carb diets have found their health improve. Diabetics do better when they are not eating lots of carbohydrates. Long-term studies attempting to follow people on the Atkins diet have not found the dreaded health effects that were feared.

Anecdotally speaking, I have heard a great many people say that they turned their health around, and changing some sort of low carb diet was a big part of it. I have never heard anyone warn that they honestly tried it and became much sicker. While this is anecdotal, it is interesting.

It has been shown that people who lose weight on the Atkins diet do so by consuming fewer calories. So despite the claims of “fat doesn’t count” and carb-counting being somehow different, like all other diets this follows the laws of physics: consuming fewer calories than you use results in weight loss. The fact is that being permitted to eat fat means people are more satisfied, and eat less.

One objection of mine to the Atkins diet relates to why I did not lose weight on it, which is that I was able to increase my fat intake to the point where the number of calories I was eating meant I was not losing weight. I don’t know how common this is.

But the other objection is that in the end, it is still a diet which people impose on themselves and eventually fall away from. Studies show that in the long run, Atkins works about as well as other diets. In the end, only changes to eating habits will result in permanent weight loss.

Is eating too much protein bad for the kidneys?

Researchers and doctors have suggested that it may harm a person’s kidneys to eat too much protein. A recent study I ran across shows that while those with already damaged kidneys should probably limit their intake of protein, there is no support for the idea that eating a lot of protein, as one might do on an Atkins diet, increases the risk of this happening.