There are so many theories about how much protein to eat, when to eat it, increasing it or decreasing it with age, and plant proteins versus animal proteins. So, what is the truth?
What is Protein?
When protein is consumed, it enters our digestive system and is broken down into strings of peptides. The strings of peptides are chains of amino acids.
There are 20 amino acids, and 9 of them are called “essential amino acids”, meaning that the body can’t make them, and you need to consume them.
Amino acids enter the liver, and the liver communicates with our DNA as to when the peptides will be released and where they go.
When you work out, you stimulate some inflammation in your muscles and that is a good thing, as your DNA tells the liver to send amino acids to that area to repair and build the muscles. DNA is called myofibrils, which are the muscle fibers that make up the muscles.
What is Protein Synthesis?
Protein synthesis is when the body creates new muscle tissue from amino acids; it breaks down the protein into amino acids and then uses those building blocks to build new muscle.
When muscle breakdown is less than protein consumption, it results in muscle building. On the contrary, when muscle breakdown is greater than protein consumption, it results in muscle breakdown.
“When muscle breakdown is less than protein consumption, it results in muscle building.”
When you are working out and lifting weights, you aren’t building muscle; in fact, you are probably tearing down muscle fibers. If you are in a state of ketosis, that will help preserve muscle tissue and help avoid muscle breakdown. But even then, you aren’t building new muscle tissue until after the body has ingested protein, broken it down into amino acids, rebuilt those amino acids into peptides, and sent them to the needed muscle fibers for growth. The workout triggers inflammation, stem cells, and DNA which are all needed to build new tissue. It is a chain reaction that requires every step to build healthy new muscle tissue.
“When you are working out and lifting weights, you aren’t building muscle; in fact, you are probably tearing down muscle fibers.”
Do You Need To Eat Protein During a Workout or Immediately After Working Out?
Four hours after a workout, protein synthesis is elevated by 50%. And twenty-four hours after a workout, protein synthesis is elevated by 109%! So, we have more effective protein synthesis to make muscle the longer you wait, in addition to increasing growth hormone and testosterone during that waiting or fasting period.
The muscle fiber is known as the organelle fiber. We trigger the satellite cells on the outer cells of the organelle fiber to turn “on” during a workout. The satellite cells can replicate during the workout and then the protein triggers the satellite cells to attach to the hard concrete muscle cells to grow the muscle fibers. The satellite cells go from being fluffy floating cells to hard muscle cells attached to the muscle tissue. As a result, you have bigger, more concrete muscles.
How Much Protein Should I Eat to Help Build Muscle?
In a study by Thomas DeLauer, there was no difference between those that consumed .61 grams to 1.1 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight.
Saying that, I recommend 1 gram per pound of ideal body weight to shoot for due to protein satiety and the body’s signalling of CCK from amino acids in the gut to tell the brain you have had enough to eat. Additionally, it has been shown that consuming a little Omega 3 fatty acids with your protein not only helps protein synthesis but also triggers CCK and satisfies your appetite.
It is proven that those who eat a higher percentage of protein and Omega 3’s will eat less overall calories, leading to increased muscle growth coupled with better fat loss. Grass fed and wild meat and fish contain a higher amount of Omega 3’s, whereas conventional beef and chicken contain higher inflammatory Omega 6’s.
For those wanting to lose fat and gain muscle, protein is the key to doing both and curbing the appetite for the damaging sugar and carbs. The key to enhancing your results in fat burning and simultaneously gaining muscle is using the Accelerated Keto. It contains additional fat burning ingredients that de-fat the liver, where thyroid hormones are converted into usable energy enhancing hormones and where converting fat into usable ketones occurs.
“The key to enhancing your results in fat burning and simultaneously gaining muscle is using Accelerated Keto.”
Without proper conversion in the liver, energy suffers, fat burning halts, metabolism slows down, and protein synthesis is hindered.
Additionally, Accelerated Keto contains HMB; HMB converts into acetyl-CoA and ketones while preventing muscle wasting. It is common during heavy weight loss programs to also lose additional muscle while burning fat. HMB not only provides an additional secondary source of a ketone body, but has been shown to prevent muscle wasting. It is derived from L-Leucine, a ketogenic amino acid that is known to stimulate mTOR and stimulate muscle growth. It is now known that the body only converts 3% of leucine into HMB, which has been found to be the true molecule for stimulating muscle building.
Centering your meals around good quality wild protein, ideally containing some Omega 3 fatty acids, limiting your carbs to 20-50 grams, and filling in fat for the needed calories depending on your health is the goal.
What Protein Should You Eat?
There are so many supplements, protein powders, vegan sources, and animal protein sources. Below I lay out all the options and the pros and cons.
What Are the Best Protein Options?
- Wild Meat. Animal protein including lamb, bison, deer, and elk are complete proteins that include all of the essential amino acids, high omega 3 fatty acids, collagen and the essential vitamins like Vitamin D, E and Vitamin B’s that are needed for muscle growth. They also have the essential amino acids that trigger CCK in the gut to keep appetite under control. These meats are less acidic than pork and beef and are easier to digest.
- Wild Fish. Wild fish contains complete protein and plenty of omega 3 fatty acids for the building blocks needed for muscle growth. It also provides the appetite suppressing nutrients to keep your cravings for carbs under control.
- Eggs. I recommend sticking with organic eggs, and only egg whites if you have trouble processing sulfur containing foods like garlic, onions, and broccoli; egg yolks contain sulfur.
- Collagen. It is a protein that is needed for hair, skin, nails, tendons and to heal the soft tissues in between muscle fibers, but not necessarily for muscle building. It is needed to repair muscle but not grow it. I recommend taking this twice a day, as the half life of collagen is 12 hours.
What Protein is Second Best Protein to Consume?
- Pea Protein. This is a plant protein and digests more slowly. It can work well for a meal replacement and works well for muscle building. It digested slower than whey protein. However, it can have mold, which can be inflammatory and cause gut issues for some.
- Whey Protein Isolate. It contains less lactose and fat and lacks a lot of the beneficial nutrients found in whey protein concentrate. It is 90-95 percent protein; but the issue is that this is a protein designed to grow a cow, not a human and can create an inflammatory response. Whey protein contains a lot of Leucine, an amino acid that is great for stimulating muscle growth but can also trigger an insulin spike. This insulin spike may slow down your fat loss. You only want to consume this right when you finish a workout, or at the end of a fast, and not sip on it all day long. Saying that, we mentioned above that it is best to fast for a few hours after your workout to maximize muscle growth, human growth hormone and testosterone. If you have a dairy sensitivity then you want to avoid all Whey proteins.
- Hemp Protein. It has strong anti-inflammatory effects and is good to mix with pea protein. This is a good option if you are needing a vegan protein.
- Chicken and Beef. Both of these have truncated or misfolded proteins called amyloids which may not be easily assimilated by the body. In fact, they are stored in the body and can be attributed to diseases like Type I Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and autoimmune disease.
What Protein Should You Avoid?
- Whey Protein Concentrate. Whey protein concentrate is from milk and is put through a filter; it contains milk solids in addition to the protein. It has about 70-80 percent protein and varying amounts of fat and carbohydrates in the form of lactose. I would stay away from this.
- Casein Protein. It is also from dairy and is known as the protein to have at night time because it digests slowly. It is hard to digest and hard on the digestive system. It affects the opioid receptors in the brain and has a morphine-like response. You can become addicted to it and addicted to carbs. I recommend staying away from this.
- Rice Protein. This is not a complete protein and is deficient in lysine. It is also able to create a cross reaction like gluten in the gut; this cross reaction may cause an auto-immune response. Stay away from this.
How To Enhance Your Muscle Strength
Intermittent Fast. Intermittent fasting increases autophagy (the killing of diseased and inflammatory cells). It also stimulates growth hormone, testosterone and fat burning, while lowering blood sugar and insulin. High blood sugar can lead to a breakdown of tissues and muscles. As you intermittently fast and abstain from eating, it spares the breakdown of muscle so that every time you workout, you are building on new muscle. In fact, fasting while exercising leads to bigger muscle gains and energy.
Accelerated Keto. Accelerated Keto not only gives you a boost in mental and physical energy to workout harder, but it helps utilize your fat stores for energy and spare the breakdown of muscle tissue. As a result you build new muscle on top of existing muscle much quicker. Furthermore, it curbs cravings for sugar and carbs, which can lead to a breakdown of muscle and an inflammatory response in the gut inhibiting absorption of the essential protein and nutrients for muscle growth. As I mentioned above, this is the only ketone supplement that contains HMB which prevents muscle wasting. HMB is derived from L-Leucine, an amino acid that is known to stimulate mTOR and stimulate muscle growth. Many protein powders will include Leucine for muscle growth, but the reality is that the body only converts 3% of leucine into HMB, which has been found to be the true molecule for stimulating muscle building.
Energy Enhancer Patch. This increases energy within 15 minutes, increases circulation and lymphatic drainage, burns an extra 300 calories a day, and helps with digestion. With more ATP production at the cellular level, you have the energy to work out harder and more often which translates into increased muscle growth.
PerfectAminos. PerfectAminos is a pure essential amino acid supplement containing the exact ratio necessary to build new proteins. Because of this, it is 99% utilized by the body. One serving of PerfectAminos is equivalent to 30 grams of whey protein, with only 2 calories. One serving of whey protein has 120 calories. PerfectAminos is the only protein to allow you to increase muscle mass without gaining water or fat weight at the same time. In other words, you can “lean bulk”.
Consume 1-2 scoops before or during your workout. For added results, take 1-2 scoops before bedtime.
Carnosine Patch. This patch improves strength, flexibility, endurance and the bioelectrical properties of all of the organs. Carnosine is an essential amino acid known for its muscle and endurance enhancing properties. It is found in animal protein. It is also important for neuroprotection and has been shown to aid in brain diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.
X39 Patch. It uses a patented form of phototherapy which elevates the peptide GHK-Cu. This is a naturally occurring peptide in your body that declines with age. Not only have clinical studies on GHK-Cu shown remarkable benefits including the body’s natural wound healing, but also that it resets the genes in a body to a younger healthier state. It helps with wound healing, exercise recovery, energy, inflammation, sleep, and resetting over 4,000 genes. This is imperative for muscle growth.
Acceleradine. Acceleradine iodine increases metabolic rate and thyroid health to give you more energy to workout out harder and build more muscle. It also stabilizes blood sugar and increases ATP production in the mitochondria which enhances energy, increases fat burning, and maintains muscle mass. Lastly, it detoxes the cells of heavy metals and radiation, which can be compromising your immune system and energy.
Liquid BioCell Collagen. This award-winning product is the most easily absorbed and is clinically shown to promote healthy aging, active joints, and younger-looking skin. It provides a naturally occurring matrix of hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin sulfate in highly bioavailable forms. Most collagen supplements come from sources that cannot be absorbed by the body.
Lift Heavy Weights. Lifting heavier weights is much more effective than lifting lighter weights and doing more reps. “Time Under Tension” is what to focus on, meaning lifting slow heavy weights to build new muscle fibers.
Some Cardio. Some cardio has been shown to increase strength as well; not chronic cardio or cardio without the balance of lifting weights. Saying that, doing more than 60 minutes of cardio can hinder your muscle gains and slow down your metabolic rate. Also, you want to do your cardio separate from weight lifting or after weight lifting. If you start with cardio followed by lifting weights, your output for weight lifting will be compromised, leading to less muscle growth.
Sleep. It goes without saying that quality sleep is imperative for muscle growth and recovery. Sleep is the time the whole body repairs damaged tissue and builds more muscle. The Silent Night Sleep patches improve the quality and length of sleep without causing grogginess.
Sara Banta is a Stanford University Graduate with a Degree in Economics and Psychology, and a certified Natural Supplement Expert & Graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sara is the Founder of Accelerated Health Products and host of the health & wellness podcast, Accelerated Health Radio.