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Study: More Protein, More Muscle?

Photo by jetalone via Flickr

Photo by jetalone via Flickr

Jamie was on a quest to gain more weight in the form of rippling muscles.  He was a tall guy, measuring in at 6 foot 4 inches (1.93 m), but only weighed 165 pounds (75 kg).  He wasn’t happy with his wiry look and wanted a stronger, more muscular physique.  In his mission to add more muscle bulk, Jamie started hitting the gym 6 days a week, lifting weights for 2 hours at a time, and eating as much protein as he could get his hands on.  He started eating steak and four eggs daily and was constantly either drinking high protein shakes or eating protein bars.

Some people might be wondering if Jamie is going about achieving his muscle gains the right way.  That is a good question.  Is Jamie’s ultra high protein diet the right way to build bigger muscles?  Well, a study coming out of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is strongly saying that a high protein diet is not necessary for muscle growth.

Study:
Researchers from the University of Texas compared the changes in muscle protein synthesis (growth) in volunteers who consumed different amounts of 90% lean beef. Some volunteers were fed 30 g of beef protein per meal (about 4 oz), while others ate 90 g of beef protein per meal (about 12 oz). Using blood samples and thigh muscle biopsies, the researchers determined the subjects’ muscle growth rates following each of the meals. They found out that only the first 30 g of protein per meal was used to build muscle in the young and elderly volunteers.

What does this mean?
This means that when it comes to muscle growth, the old adage “The more protein you eat, the better,” is not true.  There seems to be an upper limit to how much protein a muscle can use at a given time.  So, eating more than 30 grams of protein per meal, or what is equivalent to 4 oz of chicken or 90% lean ground beef, will not stimulate more muscle growth.  Instead, the excess protein will usually just break down and be used for energy or converted to fat.  So, in order to maximize muscle growth, the study argues that it is best to consume a moderate amount of protein throughout the day, instead of in one meal.  Unfortunately, dinner is where most people eat the most protein and breakfast is where they eat the least.  So, if you want to maximize muscle growth, eat a moderate amount of protein (no more than 30 grams) at any meal.  If you spread the protein consumption throughout the day, your body will be synthesizing muscle all day long!

Source: University of Texas Medical Branch (via ScienceDaily)

Comments (5)

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  1. […] … “when it comes to muscle growth, the old adage “The more protein you eat, the better,” is not true. There seems to be an upper limit to how much protein a muscle can use at a given time.  So, eating more than 30 grams of protein per meal, or what is equivalent to 4 oz of chicken or 90% lean ground beef, will not stimulate more muscle growth.  Instead, the excess protein will usually just break down and be used for energy or converted to fat.” | read more HERE […]

  2. Very informative post. It goes back to the old saying – everything in moderation.

    Frankie

  3. Regardless, I am going to eat and love my protein! 🙂

  4. My brother just started his heavy workouts. He believes that eating high protein foods will definitely make him bigger. He even bought expensive protein bars and shakes just to attain his goal. I will share this article to him and see what will be his reaction to this matter.

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