By George L. Redmon PhD. Current data indicates that a meal packed with 20g to 30g of protein has an anabolic impact because it increases the muscles amino acid pool, especially leucine, a key growth signaling amino acid. Conversely, the nutrient quality of the protein, its absorption, break down and digestibility rate and how much to take and time of intake all play a crucial role in affecting muscle protein synthesis. The list of protein sources are many, with casein, egg, soy , whey, plant and vegetable, to varying food sources like fish, turkey, chicken and dairy. Paradoxically, new research appearing in the Journal of Nutrition revealed that a protein blend containing soy, whey and casein together prolonged protein synthesis after resistance training at a greater rate than any one source individually. The key variable in this study was different absorption rates of these proteins in a balanced source that was easy to consume. Ironically, intertwined within all of this is the reemergence of beef protein, considered the black sheep of protein within the resistance training community.
The Bum Rap on Beef Protein
Although beef has long been known to be one of the best protein sources in the world, Dr. Jose Antonio the President of the International Sports Society states that it has gotten a bad rap mainly due to its high fat content. He however reminds us that this fact depends on the type of beef consumed. He suggests remembering the type of beef with the highest fat content is accomplished by following the alphabet when making your choice. For example ground beef is 70% lean/30%fat, ground chuck 80% lean/30%fat, ground round 85%lean/15% fat, and ground sirloin 90%lean/10% fat.
Beef Up To Bulk Up
Bottom line here, beef contains varying amounts of amino acids that promote growth and a host of other nutrients. Furthermore, researchers at McMasters University in Canada recently reported that subjects eating a six ounce serving equaling 170g of 85% lean ground beef resulted in significant changes in the rate of protein synthesis (creation of new protein) following exercise. Also, based on fats role in the manufacture of testosterone (‘T’) and more fat presence in beef, you may want to consider beef as a viable nutrient to assist you in reaching your bodybuilding goals. Without ample amounts of good fats mono-saturated and some saturated fat and cholesterol, the body is incapable of making testosterone, one of your most prolific anabolic hormones. Dr. Antonio suggests working beef into your regimen about 2 to 3 times a week. Conversely, body building icon Vince Andrich concurs. He however states that beef is good for connective tissue, yet falls short in another critically important muscle-building arena. That is, the BCAA (branch chain amino acid) levels delivered via beef proteins are around 35% lower than milk proteins, and over time, this has a negative impact on your ability to put on lean muscle. He when on to say, to ensure maximum strength gains that the current crop of powdered beef supplements with the saturated fat removed can help augment your amino acid intake. Because of this and other concerns , like the body’s tremendous effort to dismantle the proteins from the fat and connective tissue in beef that bind it all together, he maintains that two to four meals with lean beef per week is a pretty safe bet as a complimentary source of protein versus a main source.
Andrich, V., Protein Wars. MUSCLE INSIDER Apr 14, 2013. On line at: muscle-insider.com/features/protein-wars. Accessed on 08-14-14.
Antonio, J. Protein Power: All Proteins aren’t Created Equal. On line at: bodyforlife.com/ library/articles/nutrition/protein-power-not-all. Accessed on 08-06-14.
Robinson, R.J., Burd, N.A., et.al, Dose –dependent responses of myoibrillar protein synthesis with beef ingestion are enhanced with resistance exercise in middle-aged men. Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism. 2013; 38(2): 120-125.
Reidy, P. T., et al. Protein Blend Ingestion Following Resistance Exercise Promotes Human Muscle Protein Synthesis. Journal of Nutrition. 2013; 143: 410-416.
Article submitted by George L. Redmon, Ph.D.
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Dr. Redmon has been associated with the vitamin and health industry for over 25 years, having served as The National Product and Education Director for one of the country’s largest retailers of nutritional supplements. He has been widely published in many major bodybuilding, fitness and alternative medicine publications. He is the author of Natural Born Fat Burners, Energy for Life and is a member of The National Academy of Sports Medicine and The International Society of Sports Nutrition.