Advertising

Last Updated on December 16, 2020

The More Protein You Eat, the Faster You Build Muscles?

The More Protein You Eat, the Faster You Build Muscles?
Advertising

Some years ago I gulped down at least 2-3 unflavoured, whey protein shakes a day, while eating multiple chicken breasts. I thought protein was the holy grail when it comes to muscle growth. Yet I didn’t see the results that I truly wanted in the gym. Instead I was feeling low on energy and bloated.

People training in the gym often consume tons of protein because they expect it to be converted into muscles. Yet the effectiveness of excess protein intake, especially protein shakes has never been scientifically proven. If you drink protein shakes regularly, it’s very likely that you’re taking in more protein than you should.

Video Summary

Will Protein Be Converted To Muscles?

The biggest misconception there is on protein, is that muscles consist entirely of it. This isn’t true.

Muscles consist of protein, yes. But only a fraction of your muscles, approximately 20%, actually is protein. The other 80% are made up of different components, mostly water.

Advertising

    You don’t need to consume as much protein as you think you do. Let me show you that with a simple calculation:

    In my multiple years as a trainer, I seldom saw an increase in raw muscles more than 5 kilograms in a year. Even for beginners. This is not because I’m a bad trainer, no, this is just the hard truth for natural athletes. There’s a lot of deceptive marketing out there. Don’t believe it. When I started training in the gym I started to look pretty massive after one year of training and gained multiple kilograms, but it was never, never more than 5 kilograms of raw muscle in a single year.

    To continue the math and show you how much protein you would need for that natural muscle gain:

    One-fifth of those 5 kilograms is 1 kilogram. 1 kilogram of raw protein that your muscles would actually need. If you divide that one kilogram of protein again through 365 (amount of the days in a year), you get only a few grams. In fact it is a one-digit figure. This results to only a few grams that you would need to eat extra in a day, to guarantee muscle growth.

    You need way less protein than you think you need. All the excess protein that you will consume, will be converted to fat and stored in fat cells.

    Advertising

    How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

    You’re more likely to suffer from protein excess, than deficiency. If you eat sufficient calories in your daily life, you will not be protein deficient.[1]

    I myself strive to consume about 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. Which might even be too much scientifically speaking, yet moderately higher levels of protein intake are still considered safe.

    Unbiased studies recommend consuming about 0.8 to 0.9 grams of protein per day, if you’re an adult. Most people may even need protein intakes of only 0.6 grams of protein per day, but the recommendation’s aim is to cover most of the bell curve. Experienced athletes may even need less than that, according to some studies, as their body is better able to make use of the protein that they actually consume.

    Once I’ve made that switch to a lower protein diet, I’ve actually experienced less fatigue and more energy in the gym and in my life.

    The Downsides Of Protein Excess

    Protein can do more harm than good. I’ve heard this sentence from my mother many times over, back when I was still drinking frequent protein shakes. I ignored it when I was younger and thought my mother was crazy, yet she still had a decent point.

    Advertising

    Our current protein focused diet in the western world is promoting hyperfiltration of your kidneys. This increases the workload of your kidneys and therefore increases the stress that you put on that organ. Too much protein in your diet also diminishes the blood flow of your filtration helper and may even leak protein in your urine.[2] Long-term high protein diets may therefore lead to kidney problems. There is also a linkage to increased cancer risk, liver malfunction, and worsening of coronary artery disease.[3]

    Not All Protein Is Created Equal

    There is a guy training in the fitness center that I’m a fitness manager in. He’s a really friendly guy, but suffers from severe kidney problems.

    I recently discussed his workout and nutrition regime with him, so I might give him some additional advice on how to better his condition. I advised him on cutting back his protein shakes and animal protein intake as meat and dairy can lead to an inflammatory response in his body.[4] He’s consuming a lot of protein on a regular basis.

    Sadly he refused to listen to my advice and told me, that his doctors recommended him to keep following his regular diet plan. They told him that altering one’s nutrition doesn’t make a big difference anyway. Tip: If your doctor tells you that, you must change your doctor as soon as possible.

    Some weeks later, after our workout session, he told me about his holidays with his family. And how he needed to cancel them in the last minute, because he was suffering yet again from intense stomach pains. He had to undergo operation that same day to ease the pain. It was his second alarming operation this year.[5]

    Advertising

    Focus on a plant-based, unprocessed protein source. Such as beans, legumes, seeds and nuts in your diet.

    What To Do Now

    If you drink a protein shake every day, ask yourself: Is this truly working? If not, it may be the time to let go of some of your precious beliefs.

    Consume a plant-based protein shake if you actually like the taste of it. If not, throw it away and don’t waste your money on that beverage ever again.[6]

    Don’t stress protein out too much in your diet. If you don’t like gulping down pounds of lowfat-quark, don’t do it. The extra protein in that food won’t make your muscles pop out. I’ve been there. I was that weird guy that was eating nearly a kilogram of low-fat quark in the morning at 5am after going out, to preserve my muscles. It wasn’t worth it.

    You should take a sincere look at your protein consumption and ask yourself: Am I truly enjoying the excess protein that I put in my body? If not, you should let it go. It isn’t necessary and may even be unhealthy in the long run.

    Advertising

    You have to realize that supplement companies are marketing companies. Ignore those supplements for the beginning and focus on whole foods. Most people in the US are deficient in fiber and antioxidants. A deficiency that can be fatal. It is time to put more fruits and vegetables in your diet and not worry about protein deficiency.

    Reference

    More by this author

    Florian Wüest

    Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

    7 Super Fast Remedies for a Pulled Muscle in Neck Why You Should Keep a Fitness Journal to Jumpstart Weight Loss Hit a Weight Loss Plateau? Here’s How To Break Through It How to Gain Muscle Quickly and Naturally (A Step-by-Step Guide) Your Body on Caffeine Addiction: 70 Cups of Coffee in 7 Days

    Trending in Diet & Nutrition

    1 13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach) 2 How to Break a Fast When You’re Intermittent Fasting 3 How to Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Weeks: 20 Simple Tips 4 8 Best Foods for Dieters to Eat Healthily 5 7 Health Benefits of Vitamin B12 (Backed By Science)

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Published on July 14, 2021

    13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)

    13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)
    Advertising

    We’ve all had late-night cravings. Those times when you would lie in bed but your mind is on the fridge. You try to fight it, but you find out that you can’t. Food—you want food—to chew and to drink and to swallow. It usually goes this way: after much hesitation, you would get off your bed and walk over to the kitchen where you would stand for seconds and maybe even minutes contemplating a lot of things.

    You have heard about it—read about it, too—the famous “eating late at night isn’t good for you.” You know well about how eating late at night can cause you stress and make you gain weight. But you just want to eat—and eat you must.

    But what must you eat? What are your best and most healthy options? Here are the 13 best foods to eat at night.

    1. Turkey

    If you aren’t a vegetarian, then you most probably love turkey. It is not only very tasty and delicious, but it is quite nutritious, too. Turkey contains a lot of protein. As little as 28 grams of turkey already contains eight grams of protein.[1]

    It also contains some amount of vitamins and a nutritive compound called selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that plays an important role in ensuring the thyroid gland functions properly.

    Turkey passes as one of the best foods to eat at night because the protein tryptophan, which it contains in a considerable amount, is believed to promote tiredness and thus, sleepiness.[2]

    2. Fish

    Another great choice for non-vegetarians is fish, especially fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. These are considered healthy choices because they contain a considerable amount of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body regulate its calcium levels and is good for your kidneys, parathyroid glands, skin, etc.

    Advertising

    Fatty fishes also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of healthy fatty acids that can serve as anti-inflammatory agents and are good for the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are shown to be able to increase the amount of serotonin produced by the nervous system, and thus, make sleep feel better.[3] This means that fishes would not keep you awake! You don’t have to roll from side to side trying to fall asleep after eating them.

    Fishes also contain nutritive oils that are good for your body and skin.

    3. White Rice

    White rice is just rice that has no bran germ—that is, both bran and germ have to be removed as a result of processing from brown rice to make it white rice. This removal of bran and germ causes white rice to contain lower fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants when compared with brown rice. However, white rice still contains a commendable amount of nutrients such as thiamine, folate, and manganese and so is great as a late-night meal.

    White rice has a high Glycemic Index. (GI). A food’s glycemic index is simply the measure of the rate at which that food increases the body’s sugar level. Taking in foods with a GI index, such as rice, can improve the quality of one’s sleep. This is as long as one takes these foods one hour before sleep. If you plan to sleep by 7 p.m, then it is a good idea to eat white rice by 6.p.m.[4]

    4. Bananas

    Finally, Something for vegetarians. A fruit! Bananas not only taste good, but they are also rich in the compounds potassium and tryptophan, making them one of the best foods to eat at night.

    Tryptophan, as earlier stated, is an essential protein that plays a role in relaxation. Some bananas before meals can improve the quality of your sleep. Plus, they contain vitamins and are rich in antioxidants. They also contain compounds that are capable of making bowel movements easier.

    5. Cheese and Crackers

    Cheese and crackers, crackers being a source of carbohydrates and cheese a source of tryptophan, can help balance the body’s sugar level. When you take cheese and crackers together, more tryptophan is made available to your brain.[5] The sugar in cheese feeds your brain, and tryptophan helps with the production of melatonin.

    Advertising

    This means that there would be more serotonin and melatonin production in your nervous system when you take cheese and crackers together. Serotonin improves the quality of a person’s sleep.

    6. Warm Cereals

    Cereals are great sources of fiber. Ones like oats also contain an impressive amount of melatonin, which improves sleep.

    Before bed, a hot bowl of cereal and maybe even whole grains are a good choice. They do not contain a lot of calories and would most likely not keep you awake.

    7. Yoghurt

    Yogurt tastes good, and kids and adults love them. They are also a rich source of calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral to the body. It is necessary for the growth of bone and teeth, and skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles need it for muscular contractions to happen.

    Your body also needs calcium to produce melatonin from tryptophan. If calcium levels are low, there will be a reduced rate of production of melatonin—and thus, low quality sleep. Yogurt also contains casein. Casein is believed to reduce early morning hunger.

    Unsweetened yogurt is a great snack and one of the best foods to eat at night.

    8. Eggs

    Eggs are great sources of protein and don’t contain many calories. As a late-night snack, eggs are a great pick. They are easy to cook and can go along with many different kinds of snacks.

    Advertising

    Eggs also contain tryptophan, which—as you must now already know—can improve the quality of one’s sleep.

    9. Protein-Pineapple Smoothie

    As you may have noticed, most of the snacks and foods on this list of best foods to eat at night are protein-rich foods. Protein-rich meals taken around bedtime can boost muscle repair. They can also combat age-related muscle mass loss especially in people who frequently exercise.

    As a late-night snack, you can blend some pineapple pieces into milk. Milk is a great source of the protein tryptophan from which the body produces melatonin. Pineapples do not contain a lot of calories and might not prove a threat to your body’s normal digestive functions. Pineapples can also boost your body’s serotonin levels.[6]

    10. Tart Cherries

    Juices made from tart cherries are great alongside other snacks, such as crackers and cheese. Tart cherries have anti-inflammatory effects. Even though in small quantities, tart cherries contain the sleep hormone melatonin. They also contain procyanidin B-2, which is believed to keep stable the essential amino acid tryptophan.[7]

    Tart Cherries have low calories, too. This means that they are not too heavy and do not pose the threat of fat deposition, and they would not keep you awake.

    11. Honey

    Honey harvested from bees is nutritious and does not contain a lot of calories. It is known to be capable of increasing the production of melatonin in one’s body.[8]

    It also contains healthy sugars, such as fructose and glucose, and can have a healthy effect on your body’s sugar level. Honey is one of the best food to eat late at night.

    Advertising

    12. Popcorn

    When it isn’t swathed in sugar and milk and other fatty stuff, popcorn presents as a great late-night snack. Popcorn is a low-calorie snack and contains a rich amount of fiber.[9] High-fiber grains are believed to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

    Also, popcorn contains polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants believed to improve circulation and in general, health.

    13. Baked Sweet Potato Fries

    French fries are amazing. They taste so good. Do you like french fries? Then baked sweet potato fries are a great pick you might want to consider.

    As a late-night snack, you can very well bake sweet potatoes instead of frying them. They are easier to prepare when baked and do not contain so much fat. Sweet potatoes contain a good quantity of fiber and vitamins.[10]They also contain some great amounts of protein.

    Final Thoughts

    When next you have the craving for a late-night meal, you should know that not all meals are great when eaten at night. Some are about right, and others could contribute to excessive weight gain, heart diseases, digestive disorders, and other health issues.

    Have you ever woken up with swollen eye bags, felt nauseous, or had malaise after a late-night meal? Then it’s possible the meal was not a great pick.

    When choosing the best meals and snacks to eat at night, you should choose meals that contain low calories—not more than 200 calories—and have high protein content. Proteins like tryptophan enhance the quality of sleep. Some of these foods include eggs, turkey, cheese, bananas, yogurt, juices, etc.

    Advertising

    Remember, eating healthy is a great way to remain healthy.

    More Healthy Snacks Options

    Featured photo credit: K15 Photos via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next