Diet for athletes
For centuries, athletes have speculated about how much protein to build muscle that they need to eat every day.
While previous studies have shown that 30 grams of complete protein could increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis by 50% in both young adults and older adults, the question of maxing out the protein benefits had not been studied.
Now researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch have designed a study to give us preliminary answers.
They fed 34 volunteers (17 young adults and 17 elderly) portions of lean beef in 4 ounces (30 grams protein) or 12 ounces (90 grams protein) portions.
After eating the beef, the volunteers were tested with blood samples and biopsies from thigh muscle.
4 ounces (30 grams) is effective
Both serving sizes topped out at 50% increased protein synthesis, so the additional protein in the 12 ounces of beef gave no advantage in muscle building protein.
Further studies are needed to confirm these results and test other complete proteins like egg, milk, whey, poultry, fish, and soy, as well as identify the time period for increased muscle synthesis.
Protein in small meals
In the meantime, the research authors suggest spreading dietary protein throughout the day rather than eating a lot of protein in one meal like the customary dinner in the United States (Symons T, A moderate serving of high-quality protein maximally stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis in young and elderly subjects, Journal of the American dietetic Association, September 2009).
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