Get Your Debate-Team Helmets On! This Time? Protein Calcs!:
In the constant race we all run to either lose weight or keep it off, many of us find the key is diet.
For a number of reasons it’s been the biggest subject in the health & wellness space, since well forever really.
If you’ve veered anywhere near the gym-bros of the exercise crowd, you’d know that among the strange elixirs they drink like BCAAs and grape juice with creatine, they also focus a lot on protein.
Not only have recent studies shown that protein & creatine are really the only two things you need to build muscle, besides exercise,
But changing the amount of protein in your diet might have even more benefits than the swole gains, yo…
The Short Answer:
- Among other things, protein intake is an important thing for gym-rats.
- It may turn out to do a lot more than just build muscles, even for regular people.
- There are many different calcs for daily intake, and some of that seems up to choice.
- The old “Bro Science” number has been about 1g per pound of body weight per day.
- The RDA is barely enough and will only keep you from getting sick.
- A Japanese team tried to find out the best amount by testing health outcomes.
- Test mice who got low amounts had a) fatty liver disease, b) bad cholesterol, and c) high blood-sugar.
- The team tested protein by percent of calories from 5%-45%.
- The ideal range they came up with was betwen 25%-35%.
- The very young and the very old need the most protein, with requirements dipping in-between.
- Some ways this could extend lifespan are:
- 1) Reducing Carb Intake.
- 2) Decreasing inflammation through greater muscle mass.
- 3) Slowing aging through elevated levels of carnosine in muscle.
- There may still be some debate, but at least now we have a study-backed guideline.
Read on to find out the details…
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One of the big questions the exercise crowd will puzzle over is, “How much protein do I need?”
There are all kinds of different answers to this.
I did and on any of those sites, my results were anywhere from about 64g/day, all the way up through 161, 185, and even 220!
For gym-rats, the bro-science number that’s as old as the hills is generally about 1g/lb of bodyweight/day.
So even for them, this whole thing could be a little confusing, too.
What’s even more confusing is the RDA of .8g/kg of body weight/day, which equals about .37g/lb.
Seems pretty low, right?
Well all that does is get you the bare minimum so you don’t get sick.
To end the confusion, enter the heroes at Waseda University in Japan; led by chief kaiju, Yoshitaka Kondo!
At least from a health & wellness standpoint, this team decided to take on the dreaded task of finding the real, actual, best amount of protein.
-Much to the chagrin of self-sure gym-bros & broettes everywhere.
So they took several groups of young & middle-aged mice and put them on the exact same diet, with the exact same number of calories.
What they ended up finding was a lot more interesting than just the vanity of 6-pack abs many of us are worried about.
Because that number (or range-of-numbers) was a lot more helpful than just reducing belly fat.
Kondo’s team found if you don’t get your intake in that range and end up lower, it looks like you’ll get:
1) Some form of fatty-liver disease
2) Higher cholesterol
3) Worse blood-sugar
And for the protein numbers they arrived at?
After doing tests that ranged from 5-45% of total calories, the result of anywhere between 25%-35% of total calories turned out the be the sweet-spot.
The authors also go on to note that very early in life and anywhere at and past middle-age are the points where subjects need more protein than in the middle.
To flesh out their results, the team made sure to test both young and middle-aged mice.
I assume in the early part of life, it’s to power the growth-phase and later in life it’s because the body is not as good at utilizing protein as it used to be.
They didn’t specify how much longer it would make the study’s subjects live, but by the absence of problems and the increase of benefits, the researchers seem to be inferring longevity improvements.
So how could this be happening?
Well, if the researchers subtracted protein from the diets but kept the calories the same, that means the study mice had to eat more carbs according to the charts they published.
For some reason, they decided to keep fat percentage about the same, if the circle-diagrams are to be believed.
Since they evaluated muscle, weight, liver, cholesterol, and amino acids, the picture of the mice’s health was pretty good.
It might be worth noting that these results are pretty-much opposite of the old “Food Pyramid” that suggested we should all pig-out on carbs.
Note just for fun: if you want to calculate your own healthy protein range according to the Waseda findings,
Just multiply your calories from the above calculators times any percentage you choose between 25-35%,
Then divide that number by 4, since protein has a calorie-density of 4 calories per gram.
Then you’ll get the number or range that’s right for you based on their study results!
But back to the guesswork, because there are some more interesting possibilities out there.
In a previous post, we also learned that muscle that’s being used at all, especially exercised, acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory.
The chemical reactions work on the exact same two pathways that the most powerful anti-inflammatory drugs work on.
So not only are the Waseda blood-chemistry numbers likely to result in a longer life, reduced inflammation will probably do so as well.
Another thing we learned about muscle is that it’s the only place in the body where the amino acid Carnosine is stored.
It turns out that Carnosine will come out of muscle tissue and form something called a “sacrificial peptide”.
This molecule then intercepts and stops a type of aging called “glycation” that happens when your blood-sugar gets too high.
As we recently said in the Metformin post, the pills the Silicon Valley billionaires are taking perfectly manage blood-sugar.
But they’re used because the main side-effect is that users mysteriously lived 20 years longer than all the doctors had thought they should.
So controlling or even stopping glycation from having more muscle mass to help do it could also be another longevity angle.
This, and phenomena like it are probably some of the reasons why increased muscle mass is associated with longer life.
Because even the most hardcore lifters of any knowledge will tell you that increased muscle mass doesn’t really raise your metabolism that much just all by itself.
So it may not be “burning off” the sugars, carbs, & “bad” calories.
There is probably something a lot more subtle and small going on.
But at least now we have a science-backed answer on the best amount of protein for you to get every day. No Bro-Science needed!
PS: A previous study even showed that people who do weight-bearing exercise in addition to cardio live even longer, so there is a lot more to “the voodoo of muscle mass” than meets the eye!