The Real Truth About Protein
adaptation from the ebook How Much Protein…
Protein is one of the most popular and controversial topics in all of nutrition. It has become the ‘nutritional golden child’ of muscle building and fat loss. Some people may try to avoid eating carbohydrates, and others may avoid fat, but nobody avoids protein.
Over the last 50 years ‘protein’ has become synonymous with ‘muscle’. When people think of bodybuilders, they think of protein shakes – lots of them.
This has led to the rise of a massive protein supplement industry with projected sales of over 6 billion dollars by 2011 [Packaged Facts, 2008].
The popular theory is simple: by eating more protein you can force your body to an improved level of function, including larger muscles, less fat, and a host of other health benefits. The question is whether or not the scientific research
actually supports these theories.
Protein has been given so many benefits by the media that it is hard to find a health benefit that protein does NOT have. From preventing diabetes to building muscle, protein seems to be able to do it all. These are some pretty big claims, and it would be amazing if even half of these claims were true.
Of all the claims about protein, the one that almost everyone simply accepts as fact is that eating protein builds more muscle. It is this one simple assumption that leads to so many of the additional benefits of protein. Surprisingly, this assumption has never been fully proven.
Purpose Of The Book
The purpose the book “How Much Protein?” is to review the current body of scientific research and find out if there is any truth to the alleged muscle building benefits of protein. Specifically, the book examines the benefits of eating high protein diets (In excess of the 90 grams per day that is the average intake in North America [Fulgoni VL, 2008]), and it will also examine the muscle building benefits of post-workout protein intake.
The book “How Much Protein?” will share with you the exact amount of protein, or range of protein intakes that an adult human needs to eat to allow for measurable increases in skeletal muscle mass.
The book will also reveal where the fitness industry gets its information about the effects of protein and how this information can be and usually is misinterpreted.
How Much Protein?
It is the definition of ‘sufficient amounts’ that is the center of the ‘protein builds muscle’ controversy. To date, we have never had a scientific consensus on the amount of protein we should eat that everyone would agree is sufficient.
From examining the protein intake of many different cultures around the world we are able to see that humans can survive on a wide range of protein intakes.
From levels as low as around 0.3 grams of protein per pound of body mass (about 50 grams per day for a 180 pound man) all the way up to ten times this amount in people who survive eating a diet that consists almost exclusively of meat.
Obviously, even though our protein intake can vary by a factor of ten times, our muscle mass cannot. There is no culture of people on earth who have ten times more muscle than another culture.
Even a champion bodybuilder, with all the amazing genetic potential and anabolic steroid abuse, still does not have anywhere near ten times the muscle of an extremely skinny Olympic long distance runner.
So while people can chronically eat massively different amounts of protein, this drastic difference is not reflected in their muscle mass.