It seems that the question is no longer, “do you need protein” but “how much protein do you need”? The debate has gone from a healthy, peer-reviewed debate to an intense internet war. I realized it a long time ago and it still holds turn, the old theory that you can’t absorb more then 35 grams of protein at one time has numerous holes. So if I drank 36 grams of protein then that 1 gram wouldn’t be absorbed? See what I’m saying?
To this day, there has never been an exact number of protein per serving that has been established as the cut off rate. So before when answer the question as to how much protein you need, first we need to address the players.
Whey is known as the king of protein since it contain a very high amount of amino acids. Due to processing methods, we’re able to have whey with very little and the majority of its amino acids in tact. Whey has very high amounts of the branched-chain amino acids, nutritional proteins with a vast amount of health and physique benefits. Aside from the performance benefits, research has also shown that whey protein, due to its ability to raise one of the main antioxidants, glutathione, may be helpful in preventing prostrate grwoth, various forms of cancer and other maladies.
Important to note here, that all whey contains glycomacropeptides, immunoglobins and lactoferrin. I point that out since certain compaines use that in their marketing campaign as if they added extra amounts in.
Casein protein came to attention when research became showing that blood amino acid levels maintained elevated heights longer then groups that drank whey protein. Casein protein is generally considered to be better then whey for long durations since it’s slower to absorb and digest. Casein is high in leucine and isoleucine and research has shown that as a a result of the leucine content in casein, leucine balance is better post casein shake then whey. The only downside,however, is that due to its lactose content many individuals can not stomach casein.
While popular in various Asian countries, there has been much debate over the use of soy in American. That is due to the divide between the people who see their health benefits and athletes who want to build muscle and burn body fat. Without citing numerous research studies, I am just going to sum up the studies and say that soy, in low dosages, has been proven to be helpful for prostrate and ovarian issues as well as cardiovascular conditions. It’s important to note that soy is very inferior to whey and casein protein for those looking to build muscle and burn body fat.
So since we’re more concerned with getting six pack abs then we are the tiny benefits of soy, we’re going to discard it as we move into our next section.
I want to focus on two research studies that are most applicable to the reader.
Kerksick compared 3 different groups of resistance training men during a 10 week structured trial including progressive resistance training programs. The groups were:
40 g casein+ 8g’s whey
40 g whey+3g BCAA+5g glutamine
48 g carbohydrate
The groups ingested the protein postworkout and on the mornings of non-exercise days. The end results was that the casein and whey group had the greatest increase in lean mass. Looking further into the study you can find that they whey ground did have a slightly lower caloric intake. So casein and whey is the superior combination.
Not so fast..
Cribb examined whey isolate vs casein for a 10 week trial and found that the whey group has greater strength, lean mass and fat loss results then the casein group. Though the whey group did a a slightly higher amount of calories.
How much protein do you need?
While it still is up for debate, you can see from the research that between 30-40 grams of protein per servings is enough to turn on muscle building and six pack processes. Is that a definitive answer? No, but it’s a pretty place to start. Whey or casein? While whey is cheaper and you will absorb a whey isolate more then you will a casein blend, I wouldn’t necessarily turn a blind eye to casein. At the very minimum, keep casein handy when you know you won’t be able to eat for awhile.
Kerksick, et al. The effects of protein and amino acid supplementation on performance and training adaptations during ten weeks of resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2006 Aug;20(3):643-53.
Cribb, et al. The effect of whey isolate and resistance training on strength, body composition, and plasma glutamine. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006;16:494-509
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