The protein myth - how much protein do you really need to build muscle and burn fat?

Published: 09th April 2009
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Pioneering scientists, such as Dr. Peter Lemon PhD, have proved what successful gym users have known for years - building a great physique requires a diet rich in high quality protein! Increased protein intake also prevents muscle loss during dieting and is vital for any man or woman looking to add muscle or simply tone up. Research suggests you need up to 1.7-2.5g of high quality protein per kilo of bodyweight per day to build muscle as fast as possible e.g. an 80kg male needs 136-200g per day.

So you know you need to increase your protein, but what is the best source?

Proteins vary in their ability to supply high quality amino acids for muscle building within the body, based on their biological value (or BV). The higher the BV, the more effective the protein source. Whey protein (a refined and isolated protein derived from cow's milk) is considered by scientists to be the ultimate protein, due to its high concentration of essential, non-essential and branch chain amino acids; and has a higher BV than casein, chicken or egg protein.
Whey's high BV means that consuming small amounts can have greater muscle building / toning results than eating other proteins. Whey protein is easily digested and absorbed quickly into your muscles where it can supply essential amino acids required for muscle growth and recovery. Its unique absorption and high biological value means it can boost recovery and physique development better than any other protein. Whey protein is usually sold as a powder which you mix with water or milk to create an instant shake. This is why a good whey protein shake is often the most convenient way to ensure you get the protein you need.

Whey or Casein- which is superior?

You may have seen some sports nutrition products containing a 'new' slow digesting protein called micellular casein. However, the reality is casein has been around for years and micellular casein is nothing more than skimmed milk protein without the carbohydrates. Canadian scientists found that whey protein was six times more effective at improving exercise performance than casein!
Incorporating whey protein shakes into your routine

"Whey is particularly high in the amino acid glutamine, which is the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue and may boost muscle growth and prevent muscle wasting."

Build Muscle and Tone:
If you train hard in the gym, your muscles need amino acids every 2-3 hours to aid recovery and growth. Whey is superior in rapidly supplying hard trained muscle tissue with vital amino acids.

Optimal Workout Nutrition:
Pre-training nutrition can have a dramatic effect on your success in the gym. Whey is considered by many experts to be the ultimate pre and post workout protein because it boosts protein synthesis (making new muscle) and creates the ideal environment for muscle growth.

Support Your Fat Burning:
Calorie restricted diets can lead to hard earned muscle tissue being burnt as fuel, and as a result your metabolism can grind to a halt. Research has found that whey protein can keep you fuller for longer, making it easier to keep to a calorie controlled diet, giving you even better results. Therefore people looking to diet will find whey protein shakes not only low in calories and useful to preserve and build muscle mass or tone, but also excellent in reducing those cravings that often kill most diets.

Boost Recovery:
Whey has positive effects on your body's protein synthesis, muscle building hormones and immune system; it can significantly improve muscle recovery, and get you back in the gym as soon as possible. Convenient nutrition 24-hours a day: Whether you're looking to burn excess fat or build muscle, your body needs high quality protein every 2-3 hours - with whey, you have an easy way to consume protein whenever you need to during the day.

1. Lemon, P.W.R. (1998). Effects of exercise on dietary protein requirements. International Journal of Sport Nutrition, 8, 426-447
2. Lands, L.C., Grey, V.L., & Smountas, A.A. (1999). Effect of supplementation with a cysteine donor on muscular performance. Journal of Applied Physiology, 87, 1381-1385
3. Cribb, P. J., Williams, A. D., Hayes, A., & Carey, ,. F. (2002) The effect of whey isolate and resistance training on strength, body composition, and plasma glutamine. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34, S1688

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