High protein products are marketed as a means to gain muscle but are they really necessary?
According to Deakin University nutrition expert Associate Professor, David Cameron Smith, there is strong evidence that protein supplementation improves muscle mass and strength gains.
For example a recent study (published in the American Journal of Physiology- Endocrinology Metabolism) found that subjects who consumed leucine (one of the building blocks of protein known as an amino acid) and carbohydrate enriched mixture one hour after resistance exercise increased their rate of muscle protein synthesis by 145% as opposed to only 40% when participants did not ingest the nutrients.
However Deakin University nutrition expert Dr Tim Crowe adds that protein powder would only be of benefit if you were not deriving enough protein from your diet.
Most healthy athletes can get their protein from a good mixed diet.
The maximal amount of protein needed for muscle building is 1.8g protein per kilogram of body weight. So if you weighed 80kg, you would only need 144g of protein per day (max) to reap the muscle building benefits.
If you had already consumed this amount from your diet, any extra protein you consumed from protein powder would not be used towards building more muscle.
Instead it would be used towards your energy needs or excreted, which would mean a waste of your money.
Tip 1: For maximum benefit, protein consumption should be spread throughout the day as absorption is maximal at around 25 to 30 grams per meal.
Tip 2: Best sources of protein for repairing and rebuilding lean muscle tissue are meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood. Whey protein is the most absorbable source in protein powder. For maximum benefit, protein consumption should be spread throughout the day as absorption is maximal at around 25 to 30 grams per meal.
Tip 3: There is some evidence that consuming carbohydrate with a protein meal /protein powder will improve amino acid uptake by muscles. Therefore a protein-carbohydrate snack such as a chocolate protein-shake after a workout makes sense.