Many people have the misconception that to gain more muscle, one must consume more protein.
If you think: Muscle gain= high protein diet
Building muscle= intake of protein powder
YOU ARE WRONG!
Protein is one of the 3 macronutrients and is a source of energy. When broken down, protein contains amino acids. There are 20 amino acids- 9 essential (we need to intake it), and 11 non-essential (our body makes it itself). It’s functions include; growth, repair and maintenance of our bodies, enzymes, hormones, anti-bodies, maintaining the body PH, energy, and the list goes on.
Remember: a healthy diet= a variety of foods in moderation!
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Carbohydrates spare protein. If you do not have enough carbs, your body will breakdown your fat and protein to give you energy. Carbs also promote the release of insulin (a hormone that counteracts catabolism (breaking down) and increases protein synthesis). Therefore, if you have a low carb, low fat, high protein diet, chances are your breaking down your protein and muscle for energy, so your diet won’t be efficiently building muscle like you want it to. Studies show that if you eat 1g/kg of body weight (i.e if you weigh 52kg, you would eat 52g) immediately after exercising you will have a more positive nitrogen balance and better sparing of your protein. You can check the nutrition labels of food or on the internet for how much carbs foods contain.
-burdens the kidney
-increases bone turnover
As you can see above, you really don’t need that much protein.
How to bulk up?
-Increase your food intake to have a positive energy balance (eat more calories then you burn)
-Protein requirements: 1.5-1.7g/kg BW (using high quality and complimentary proteins)
-Do weigh training (this allows the muscles to temporarily tear then rebuild with more muscle after)
Examples of High Quality Protein:
-Whey: The water part of milk that is left after the milk forms curds
-Casein: The main protein in milk
(These are usually what’s in protein powders)
Other sources: soy, beef. chickpeas, egg whites, chicken, there’s even some in fruits and vegetables!
Therefore, in order to build muscle, you first need sufficient carbohydrates before, during, and right after exercise. Strength training athletes would also benefit from a little extra protein.
I believe getting your protein from food is a better source because:
-It’s more bioavailable
-It’s less toxic
-supplements may not be tested for safety reasons
-you may over- consume
However, it may be beneficial if you don’t have time to cook, need convenience or have a restricted diet. Make sure you choose protein powders which aren’t too high in protein and contain carbohydrates.
When choosing a powder:
Whey vs Casein
-Protein in cow’s milk (about 80%)
-Found in milk (20%)
-Slow digestion protein
-Fast digestion protein (stimulating muscle protein synthesis)
-Sustains amino acid increase and decreases protein breakdown
-Contains a high concentration of amino acids
-used by bodybuilders
Some athletes use the regimen of taking whey protein when they wake up and immediately after exercise (fast, spiked release of protein), casein before bed (slow, sustained release of protein), and a variety of foods during the day. However, this is not necessary if you aren’t working out regularly and vigorously.