My lecture yesterday in my Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism class really gained my attention because we started talking about one of the things every gymrat loves talking about…
How much protein do I need to get swole…
When do I take my protein to get swole…
What is the best protein to get me swole…
Being me, I had some interesting challenges to make to the content that was being shared due to coming into the class with some previous knowledge of current research BUT some of the things she shared peaked my interest and I thought I would share these findings about protein as it’s related to muscle synthesis (ie. getting SWOLE). Perhaps it can help to clear up some misconceptions about the whole controversy around type and timing of protein.
1. You need whey protein/Supplemental protein
No you actually don’t. Whey protein, for example, is simply a choice of protein, it’s not a necessity. Guess what boys, you don’t need to down a plain-ass protein shake every 20 minutes to prevent loosing your gains.
Study showing that eating beef vs. a supplement containing essential amino acids only (EEA). Notice the bars…no significant difference between the protein synthesis response to the whole food (mixed or balanced EAA and non EAA) and the EAA supplement.
Take home: It appears that the EAA have a special role in protein synthesis, so as long as you the minimum amount of those lil guys (it has been shown that all you need is minimum of 6g of pure EAA!) then you are fine.
So if you like to drink your protein or you don’t have the moment to stop and eat, than go for whey because it’s convenient. If you like eating your protein and have the time to cook and eat, a whole food alternative is just as good.
On that topic…
Sorry vegetarians and vegans, you cannot argue that your non-aminal based proteins are just as good or even better than animal proteins.
….however, that doesn’t mean that vegetarian sources don’t work at all…
Soy did significantly better than the casein protein for protein turnover BUT whey was even better than soy.
As you can see, soy (which is already controversial for other reasons..) does stimulate protein turnover BUT whey is superior.
…and doesn’t taste like grass…cough.
2. What about timing?
So you see people shooting back the shakes within that 30 minute window because if they don’t, gains will be lost, no?
Again, not true. My prof mentioned that it was optimal for protein synthesis if you stick within 30 minutes to an hour..
But I will reference back to the article I mentioned last week (by Eric Helms), as it’s very much a variable thing based on a number of factors.
…Fed vs. unfed state, type of training, length and intensity of training..
Main point: if you don’t get pure protein in your body within 15 seconds of being done your workout your gains will still be there. SO CHILL!
Finally on that note of timing and amount, you also don’t need 2, 3, or more scoops of protein at a time either..
In this study, they were looking at timing an amounts and there effect on protein synthesis over a 12 hour period post training. Whether you ate an overall total of 80g over 2 large meals (bolus condition), 3 meals (intermediate condition) or if you ate that over 8 meals (pulse), protein synthesis was still increased HOWEVER it appeared the intermediate or 4 meals a day was optimal in this study.
Also, just so you know protein utilization has a saturation point, meaning that there is only so much protein that will be used in the immediate muscle protein synthesis response. The rest will be broken down as usual and used for something else. NO that doesn’t mean you pee it out or you will turn it all to fat, it will be sent to where it needs to be.
One final interesting finding…
Apparently the more trained you are, the less time you have for the intake of your EAAs post training to reach optimal protein synthesis when compared to untrained individuals.
I’m not sure what I think of this finding yet, but it’s was something cool I thought I would share.
Final point (I promise!) I will share I will simply leave below. It’s a highly debated set of numbers right here.
Tell me what your opinion is. For me, I say suck it to the Food Guide’s tiny 15% protein intake and applaud the higher intake for athletes because not only are your trying to build new tissue, but you do use some amino acids for energy if you are training intensely…
But that’s just my thoughts.
And no I don’t mean you need like 2g/lb, but saying 0.8g/kg is ridiculous and I still believe that is too low for most. Say you have someone my size, thats like 1.5 chicken breasts for my whole day. Uh naaahh.
Hope you enjoyed this meathead favourite topic and wishing all my Canadian readers a happy Thanksgiving weekend
Referenced from my Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism course at University of Guelph, taught by Dr. Lindsay Robinson on October 6, 2016.