All about The Great Protein Challenge: How Low Pro Can You Go?    22 Jan

All about The Great Protein Challenge: How Low Pro Can You Go?  

What you need to know about The Great Protein Challenge:

  • ‘The Great Protein Challenge’ is a new initiative of Metabolic Dietary Disorders Australia (MDDA), a national registered charity founded in 1996 to support families and individuals affected by rare genetic disorders, called Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEMs).
  • 2018 marks the inaugural launch of The Great Protein Challenge, an important health initiative to raise awareness and support for the debilitating, rare genetic metabolic disorder called Phenylketonuria or PKU.
  • The Great Protein Challenge aims to encourage everyday Australians to experience a typical day in the life of a person living with PKU by significantly reducing their protein intake for 24 hours.
  • The Challenge will run for the month of February, commencing on Thursday 1 February and ending on Rare Disease Day, which takes place on Wednesday 28 February.
  • All funds raised through the Challenge will help to raise awareness and support for the Australian PKU community.
  • To get involved, or for more information, visit

Who should get involved?

  • Any individual, group of individuals or organisations can be involved in The Great Protein Challenge.

How can you get involved?

  • MDDA is encouraging individuals, teams, organisations and corporates to ‘PLEDGE or PLAY’ in The Great Protein Challenge by asking “How Low Pro Can You Go?”
  • To get involved or to show your support, you can:
    • Visit for more information and to register and donate.
    • Choose to ‘PLEDGE or PLAY’ to support our cause and help raise awareness.
      • PLEDGE: donate funds directly to support our cause OR to sponsor and support a friend taking the challenge and PLAYING their protein.
      • PLAY: Abstain from eating protein-rich foods (such as meat, eggs, chocolate or dairy) for 24 hours, and ask your friends to PLEDGE their support for you.
    • Host a PLAYDATE of your own (as a corporation or group) and play together as a team.
    • Share your experiences and join the online conversation by using #lowpro4PKU
    • Encourage friends, family or colleagues to get involved.

When & where?

  • The Great Protein Challenge is an exciting initiative bringing together all Australians to raise awareness and support for people living with PKU.
  • Unlike a traditional event, which takes place on a specific date at a specific location, The Great Protein Challenge allows supporters to participate wherever they are, whenever they want, during the month of February.


How Low Pro Can You Go?

  • The aim of The Great Protein Challenge is to have participants understand how restrictive the PKU low-protein diet is.
  • In Australia, the only currently available treatment option for PKU is through adhering to a strict, lifelong, low-protein diet.[1]
  • People with PKU must also support their low-protein diet with the use of Phe-free amino acid supplements, to prevent malnutrition.1
  • Recommended daily dietary intakes of protein typically include:
  • Adult male without PKU: 64 grams.[2]
  • Adult female without PKU: 46 grams.2
  • Person with PKU: 6-8 grams.1
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding woman with PKU: 1-3 grams.1
  • People with PKU must typically avoid high protein foods such as dairy, red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, beans and lentils.1
  • Did you know the amount of protein contained in the following foods?
    • 120g banana (average sized): 2 grams.
    • 50g boiled potato: 1 gram.
    • 30g hot chips: 1 gram.
    • 75g avocado: 1 gram.
    • 20g green peas: 1 gram.
    • 50g boiled white rice: 1 gram.


Getting started:

  • To register your pledge or to be part of the challenge and see how low you can go on a low-protein diet for 24 hours, please visit
  • To PLEDGE, simply nominate the amount you wish to plegde as either a direct donation or in support and sponsorship for a friend doing the challenge.
  • To PLAY, design your meal plan using the guide here so that your entire day does not add up to more than 10 grams of protein. Count your entire protein intake for 24 hours – ranging from food, beverages to snacks and dessert you consume on the day – using our protein calculator.
  • Don’t forget to share photos and experiences through your social media channels using #lowpro4PKU so others can see your support for PKU.



[1] Human Genetic Society of Australasia. The PKU Handbook, 2005. Available at: [Accessed 15 December 2017].
[2] National Health and Medical Research Council. Nutrient Reference Values: Protein. Available at: [Accessed 15 December 2017].