WATCH: How Much Protein Do You Really Need to Build Muscle?

TAGS: muscle glycogen, Law of Conservation of Energy, thermodynamic principle, high protein diet, how much protein, protein consumption, high fat diet, whey protein, gain muscle, protein synthesis, dieting, justin harris, low carb, dave tate, Nutrition

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You can find a lot of fallacies about protein consumption in strength training magazines and on bodybuilding websites.

  • "Your body can only digest 20-30 grams of protein at a time."
  • "Too much protein will turn to body fat."
  • "High-protein diets are bad for your kidneys."

You can find a lot of disagreeing rules too:

  • Consume 1-2 grams per pound of bodyweight daily.
  • Consume 2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight daily.
  • Consume 1-2 grams per pound/kilogram of your goal bodyweight.

So, what's the truth? How can you know the real science from the fake? In this video, Justin Harris and Dave Tate respond to a question from Instagram user usedtire:

"For dieting, how does Justin feel about low carb, high fat, protein vs. low fat, high carb, protein? Outside of protein powder, what other supplements does he recommend?"

Justin opens his response by referring to thermodynamic principle known as the Law of Conservation of Energy. You cannot violate this law — if you could, proving so would earn you an immediate Nobel Prize. What this law means for someone dieting is that if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. Every other factor falls in line behind this.

This means that your macronutrient ratios matter less than your overall calories do. That said, macronutrient ratios do make a difference. Justin goes into detail about carbohydrate storage, muscle glycogen, and working metabolism to explain how different levels of carbohydrate and fat consumption are appropriate at various times during a diet.

Justin also gives his recommendation for protein: Whey protein shakes may be easy to consume, but should not be the primary source of protein in your diet. Instead, consuming most of your protein from meat or eggs will yield better results. Justin uses blood amino acid levels to explain why this happens.

Dave also discusses nutritional biochemistry to explain what happens when your body works to digest protein. Starting by denaturing the protein and breaking down amino acids, your body goes through an extensive process to use protein to repair muscle. Justin and Dave give details of how this process works and why it matters for your diet.

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