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Myths About Protein

Myths About Protein

When was the last time you overheard a discussion on protein?  What was everyone saying?  You may have heard things like...you need one gram of protein per pound per day...you need to get your protein every two hours...your body can only handle 20G of protein at a time...you should get your protein right after you work out for best results...whey protein is the be all end all of protein...

Well...some of these things may be true in part, but they are ultimately dependent on you and your goals.

How much protein intake you require depends on your goals

Are you dieting to lose fat?  Bulking to gain size?  Well, pay attention because the rule is not more to grow and less to cut.  It's the opposite.  When dieting, consume more protein to minimize muscle loss and maximize fat loss while keeping yourself from feeling hungry all the time.  0.8-1.4G per pound of body fat is recommended when cutting.  However this also depends on your genetic makeup, athletic history as well as your age.

You don't need protein every two hours

Researchers looked at the activation of muscle-building signals in response to protein ingestion. But these early studies were done with resting subjects, and their signals to stimulate muscle growth returned to baseline around 180 minutes after the subjects consumed protein.

This measurement of the time after protein ingestion, known as the "muscle full" effect, gave rise to the idea that if you're chasing gains, you have to continually top up your protein intake to keep those muscle-building signals flowing.

More recent research has shown that resistance training delays the "muscle full" effect for up to 24-hours after a workout.[4] This means that the protein you consume all day, not just within a few hours of your workout, plays a role in your hypertrophy.

In terms of when you plan your meals, evidence suggests that eating six or more meals a day doesn't produce demonstrably superior results or dramatically boost the availability of protein to your body.

Think in terms of total Leucine, not total protein

The "20G of protein per meal" limit assumption was derived from studies on egg and whey protein.  Because of the rapid absorption rate of these proteins, the body reaches its' maximum muscle protein stimulation after 20G, with no additional benefit being shown after consuming more than that.  However, what the body was really responding to was the 1.8G of the amino acid Leucine in the whey & egg protein itself.  

To get this amount of Leucine from lean beef, 113G would be required.  This would contain 30G of protein.  From brown rice?  48G would need to be consumed.  So what it is really about is where you are getting your 1.8G of Leucine from, rather than your protein.

Take your time with your protein intake

You don't need to inhale your entire protein shake right when you walk out of the gym.  That's because the anabolic window is anywhere between 1-2 hours after exercise.  

To maximize the hypertrophic signals that protein trigger, eat a meal containing 30-45 grams of protein three hours before your workout, then consume a leucine-rich meal or supplement up to three hours after.

Whey protein is good, but may not always be the best

Going back to #3, how much Leucine are you getting?  It's now believed that the affect on muscle building between different protein sources is about the same once the Leucine threshold has been reached.  In other words, it's also about how efficient you want to be with your eating habits, and also what you like and don't like.  It's up to you!

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