True Or False: "To Build Muscle, I Need To Have High Amount Of Protein From Both Food and Shake Sources"
Written by Arielle Kestenbaum | Reviewed by Laura Kahn MS, RDN, CDN
True or false: “To build muscle, I need to have high amounts of protein from both food and shake sources.” This sentence is false. In fact, to build muscle, it is important to have three main components:
1. Adequate calories
2. A good intake of protein (quantity and quality)
3. A good strength program (exercise)
Adequate calories: Consuming enough calories per day is important for many reasons. First off, eating too little calories can lead to reduced muscle mass. Our bodies work hard to keep vital organs functioning. Consuming too little calories will cause our bodies to use stored muscle for energy. As such, it is important to eat a balanced diet comprised of protein, carbohydrates and fat in order for our bodies to run in the most efficient manner. Additionally, it is important to consume a protein source with each meal. Pairing a protein with a carbohydrate and healthy fat will help us to stay full longer, as well as provide the necessary energy to move from one activity (and meal!) to the next.
A good intake of protein: Consuming more protein than our bodies require can put a strain on organs. For example, the kidneys work to filter our blood in order to produce urine as a by-product of waste and extra fluid. When protein is consumed in excess of recommended amounts, our kidneys are overworked and are forced to flush out ketones in our urine. This can cause a significant loss of water, which can lead to dehydration. The quality of protein sources is just as important as the amount consumed daily. Examples of optimal protein sources include eggs, dairy, seafood, poultry, pork, lean beef, tofu and beans, respectively.
A good strength program: Consuming an optimal protein source paired with a carbohydrate after completing resistance training has been shown to help build lean muscle. Eating the proper nutrients (protein and carbohydrates in particular) remains an important step in building muscle. It is important to consume protein after a workout in order to repair and build muscle tissue. Additionally, it is important to consume carbohydrate after a workout in order to replenish lost glycogen stores. Glycogen is a form of carbohydrate that is stored in muscle and subsequently used during exercise. These two macronutrients work together in order to both maintain current and build new muscle.
· 0.8g/kg body weight: sedentary to low-active person
· 1.0g/kg body weight: moderately active person
· 1.2g/kg body weight: highly active person
· 1.5-2.0g/kg body weight: body builders
Just like carbohydrates and healthy fats, protein should be an essential part of our diet. Protein provides the proper nutrients we need for strength and building lean muscle. Eating more protein than is recommended can actually harm our bodies more than it can help. Remember to pair optimal protein sources and carbohydrate sources at all meals and snacks in order to efficiently burn energy while storing excess as lean muscle. With the calorie, protein and exercise recommendations provided, it is possible to keep our bodies healthy and strong each and every day!