The Truth about Protein Supplements
Protein is key for building and maintaining fat-burning muscle mass, and researchers have recommended consuming about 20 g within an hour of a workout. But a new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research finds that hitting the 60-minute mark may not be necessary, as long as you're getting enough of the nutrient through your diet. Aim for roughly 0.7 g of protein per pound of your ideal body weight (e.g., 90 g for a 130-pound woman), spread throughout the day so that you have enough in store whenever your muscles need it. -- Prevention Magazine, page 36, March 2014.
dietary supplement a product, other than tobacco, that is added to the diet and contains one of the following ingredients: a vitamin, mineral, herb, botanical (plant extract), amino acid, metabolite, constituent, or extract, or combination of any of these ingredients. -- Sizer, F., Whitney, E., (2011) Nutrition Concepts and Controversies 12th edition p.274, United States: Wadsworth.
Let's dissect this one at a time. Next, fat-burning muscle. Actually, your muscles use three different substrates as energy to produce work; they are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Carbohydrates, when digested properly, get broken down to its smallest form--a glucose molecule. If you just ate within a half hour of working out, then your body will immediately use the glucose molecules that are directly in the blood steam for fuel. If you haven't eaten in a couple of hours, then your body is gonna use glycogen stored directly in muscle and and the liver. Glycogen is glucose that has been put into short term storage. If you have used up all that glycogen, then the body will retrieve glucose that has been put into long term storage--lipids aka fat. Now, if you have very little body fat (like a tiny percentage) and you consume very little fats and carbohydrates, then your body runs the risk of using protein as energy. The risk is that protein is not the preferred fuel of the body; and the body will metabolize its own muscle mass to use as fuel.
The next item to dissect...the need to eat protein or take a supplement within 60 minutes of a workout. Protein supplements do not enhance athletic performance! If you eat too much real protein from food or take protein supplements, you can over burden your kidneys. Why? Because, unlike carbohydrates and fats, your body does not store amino acids. When protein is digested, it is broken down to its smallest molecule--amino acid. Yes, amino acids are building blocks. BUT if our body does not use them right away, then it will pee them out. No one wants kidney failure.
How much protein do you really need. [This one really makes me mad. I just noticed it as I've been writing. The person who wrote this snippet of an article can't even do the math.] Here's the real formula:
The Recommended Daily Intake of protein for an adult is 0.8 g/kg. First, you have to find your body weight in pounds and then convert it to kilograms. Divide by 2.2 and cancel out the lbs. Then multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.8 g/kg and cancel out the kg. Now you're left with the amount of protein in grams that you need to eat from real food.
130 lbs / 2.2 kg/lb = 59 kg
59 kg x 0.8 g/kg = 47 g
Man, Prevention Magazine has that poor 130 pound woman eating twice what she needs. I think I need to contact the editor.