Protein in every meal; how and why?

Do all of your meals have a source of protein? No? Then you are missing out on tons of gains! Here is why snacks and meals without enough protein limit your potential.

Motivation

Protein is the macronutrient that contains amino acids, the building blocks of the human body. These amino acids are mostly responsible for repairing the microtears that occur in your muscles during training (Wilmore & Costill, 2016). Needless to say, if you are in any way, shape or form interested in muscle building, protein is a very important part of your diet.

Yes, every meal!

Grabbing a snack without at least 0.3gr/kg/meal (0.3 grams of protein per 1kg bodyweight) should be out of the question for everybody with muscle building aspirations.

Leucine threshold

Leucine is one of the amino acids that is essential to the body, which means the body does not produce this amino acid and it is therefore essential. This amino acid is responsible for the leucine trigger, which has been shown to be related to muscle protein synthesis (also known as building muscle)  (Breen & Phillips, 2011).

Recommendation

“We conclude that to maximize anabolism, one should consume protein at a target intake of 0.4 g/kg/meal across a minimum of four meals in order to reach a minimum of 1.6 g/kg/day. Using the upper daily intake of 2.2 g/kg/day reported in the literature spread out over the same four meals would necessitate a maximum of 0.55 g/kg/meal” (Schoenfeld & Aragon, 2018).

The body can digest 0.55 g/kg/meal, which is quite an amount. The day to day guideline to maximize your gains created by Breen and Phillips (2011), the leading experts on the topic of protein, is: 0.3gr/kg/meal. In short, no gains are made without at least this amount of protein per meal, so next time, think twice before you grab a cookie.

Application

This means if you weigh a solid 90kg and you want to maximize “them gains” you calculate your optimal protein intake like this: 90 x 0.3 = 27 grams of protein per meal.

Tips

High quality Medium quality Low quality
Full fat dairy Pea protein Soy protein
Meat Rice protein Other vegetarian protein sources
Fish Hemp protein
Eggs Whey protein
Poultry Hydrolyzed protein
  Milk protein
Casein protein

(Henselmans, 2018)

 

References

Breen, l., & Phillips, S. (2011). Skeletal muscle protein metabolism in the elderly: Interventions to counteract the ‘anabolic resistance’ of ageing. Nutrition & Metabolism.

Henselmans, M. (2018). Bayesian bodybuilding course. Henselmans.

Schoenfeld, B., & Aragon, A. (2018). How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Wilmore, J. H., & Costill, D. L. (2016). Inspannings- en sportfysiologie. Houten: Bohn Stafleu van Loghum.