What Does Protein Do For Muscles?
Protein is one of the most important nutrients for building strong bones, preventing osteoporosis, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and many other health benefits. In fact, it’s so essential that it was even included in the first edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). However, there are some concerns over its role in building muscle mass.
In general, protein is thought to increase lean body mass (LBM) and strength. LBM refers to the total amount of weight your body contains.
Strength refers to the ability of your muscles to move an object or perform other tasks. A person with greater LBM will have better physical capabilities than someone with lesser LBM. So if you want stronger muscles, then you’ll need more protein!
However, research shows that protein doesn’t necessarily lead to increased strength. Some studies show no effect at all while others show a small increase in strength.
What’s more, some studies suggest that consuming too little protein may actually decrease your chances of building muscle mass.
The Bottom Line: Research suggests that protein isn’t necessary for increasing LBM and strength. But it certainly helps!
Protein and Muscle Growth
If you’ve been working out for a while, you may have heard that it’s not just how much you work out, but also what you eat. While this is true in most cases, it’s more important to make sure you’re eating enough calories.
When your body doesn’t get enough calories, it goes into starvation mode and will start breaking down muscle just to give you the energy you need to work out.
This is why most “diets” don’t work. In fact, if you’re working out and trying to lose weight at the same time, you’ll probably end up losing more muscle than fat.
When you don’t provide your body with enough protein, it breaks down the muscle and converts it into amino acids, which are later used to synthesize new proteins. This process (which also happens during intense exercise) increases with caloric deprivation.
This means if you’re dieting or fasting, your body will break down muscle and use it to create new proteins. For this reason, it’s very important to eat plenty of nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.
While there aren’t any solid studies that suggest drinking milk builds muscle mass, it does contain all of the essential amino acids. For this reason, you may want to drink milk after a good workout.
Be sure to drink the whole fat version (which has more protein) rather than the skim or 1% versions.
The Bottom Line: To build mass, you need to eat enough calories to support your workouts and active lifestyle. After your workout, have a high-protein meal and drink some whole fat milk.
Protein and Muscle Recovery
The main function of protein is to build and repair body tissues like muscle. When you work out, you break down muscle.
The more you break it down, the more you have to build it back up.
In order to support this constant rebuilding process, you’ll need to eat enough lean proteins, like fish, poultry and lean meats. These foods are also good for your overall health and can help preserve your muscles.
If you don’t get enough protein, you won’t be able to build muscle and your body will break them down more quickly than you can replace them. This can lead to a host of health problems like fatigue, anemia and even osteoporosis!
The good news is that a lot experts agree that eating 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight is the most efficient way to prevent muscle loss during dieting or inactivity.
This means that if you weigh 180lbs, you should eat 72 grams of protein. This number can be a bit off due to factors like your level of fitness, health and age.
As a general rule however, most people won’t need more than 75-100 grams of protein a day.
To build muscle, you need to eat even more protein than this. Studies suggest that weightlifters need 1-1.
Sources & references used in this article:
13 Things You Didn’t Know About Muscle Growth by J Stoppani – jimstoppani.com
The current science of sports nutrition–foods, contaminants, drugs, and more by CM Kline – Journal of the American Chiropractic Association, 2011 – go.gale.com
How To Eat More Food While Losing Weight (Backed By Science) by BT Basics, YGTAS Back – rudymawer.com
How Much Protein Do You Need to Maintain Muscle Mass While Dieting? by A Legge – completehumanperformance.com
Why Post-Workout Protein is Unnecessary by B Capra – centerforpeople.com
6+ 1 Convincing Reasons You Should Not Subscribe to the “Chocolate is Good For You” Hype Indiscriminately. Plus: Which Chocolate is the Healthiest … by TR Intra-Workout – titaniumprox.wordpress.com
Baby Food Matters: What science says about how to give your child healthy eating habits for life by C Llewellyn, H Syrad – 2018 – books.google.com
17 Powerful Tips to Boost Muscle Growth [Backed by Science] by TT Boosters, HGH Best – anabolicbodies.com