INTERVIEW An interview with Dr Donald Layman, PHD, with Susan Birch – The Health Detective (2020)

In June 2020, it was a real privilege to talk to a world leading expert, Professor Don Layman about protein.

Professor Layman is considered the “Godfather” of protein. I have followed his research over the years and this has been base for my own understanding of the importance of protein and how it works in our bodies.

I believe that protein is the most misunderstood part of our diets and if we optimised our protein intake, we would have much better health. I have summarised a lot of Professor Layman’s research in my videos on protein. If you are interested in learning and understanding more, then check these out on YouTube.

Professor Layman and I talk about how much protein we should eat and why older people need more. We delve into the myths that protein causes cancer, kidney disease and osteoporosis. We discuss the best sources and options for vegetarians. We also talk about athletes and kids health. I hope you will enjoy listening as this wonderful and humble man shares his knowledge with us.

Dr Layman discusses;

  • Protein needs
  • Muscle maintenance
  • Role of amino acids
  • Importance of leucine to trigger muscle growth
  • How our protein needs change with age
  • Children, protein needs and growth
  • Ideal protein ranges for adults
  • Protein intakes during time restricted eating and fasting
  • How to keep metabolic rate high and burn fat with calorie restriction
  • Vegan sources of proteins
  • Insulin and mTOR response
  • Leucine and first phase insulin response
  • Insulin resistance and diabetes
  • Cancer, kidney disease, osteoporosis
  • Protein leverage hypothesis and weight gain
  • Unique satiety aspect of protein
  • Whether we can overeat protein
  • Creatine, carnitine and carnosine requirements
  • Blood pressure, nitric oxide and arginine
  • Carnitine and weight loss
  • Protein storage and gluconeogenesis
  • Protein burned as energy
  • The difference between protein and carb metabolism
  • Why vegans need high levels of exercise and supplemental protein
  • 70% of our calorie intake from plants. We don’t need more plants, we need better plants.
  • Meat, animal welfare and the environment
  • Athlete’s and performance
  • Calorie demands when increasing strength and mass of muscles
  • How often to eat, how much protein
  • Nutritional needs for endurance athletes
  • Nutritional needs for explosive/strength athletes
  • Nutritional needs for slalom canoe
  • The different role of carbs and protein
  • VO2max and fat-carb metabolism
  • Improving the health of our children
  • Recommendations for parents
  • How to discuss these issues with our GP’s
  • Misinformation in the medical community regarding cholesterol and fat
  • Misinformation about diet and environmental issues. The least money is made in real food; the most money is made on processed foods
  • How government guidelines support processed food industry

More information can be found at:

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About Dr Donald Layman, PhD

  • Professor Emeritus in the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Served on the faculty at the University of Illinois from 1977 – 2012.
  • Recognised for research about protein and amino acid metabolism, nutrition for athletic performance, obesity, diabetes and cardio-metabolic health
  • More than 100 peer-reviewed publications
  • Has numerous awards for his research and nutrition teaching
  • Served as Associate Editor of The Journal of Nutrition from 1989 through 1993
  • Currently serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour
  • On the editorial boards of Nutrition & Metabolism, and Nutrition Research and Practice
  • Is a consultant to numerous food companies and commodity organizations
  • Completed his B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry at Illinois State University
  • Completed his PhD in human nutrition and biochemistry at the University of Minnesota

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