The tried and true macro of the current fitness fad going on in the world.
Now, that’s not to say the two other macronutrients, carbs and fats, should be overlooked.
But carbs and fats will always be continually scrutinized and be relentlessly compared to determine which one is “better for you” or which one has fewer drawbacks.
But protein is, and always will be, the staple in a fitness enthusiast’s regimen.
You know the claims.
You want to gain muscle? Eat your protein, they’ll say.
You want to lose fat? Focus on getting your protein, you’ll hear.
Don’t have time for a real meal? Slam some protein, the bros proclaim.
But with folks starting to consume more and more protein in their daily diets, it’s created something of a miss-information bubble.
Or better known as “bro-science” in technical jargon.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common myths and questions that surround protein and why they’re way off base from the actual science has determined.
1. What’s the best type of protein to consume before bed? Whey or Casein?
If you’re someone who’s asked this question, this is known as something called “majoring in the minor.” Asking this question focuses on the minor details when the bigger picture is often overlooked.
The idea behind casein protein is that is a “slower digesting” protein source so that it will feed your body and muscles throughout the night as you sleep.
In the long run (I mean really long run) it can have some potential benefits, but the impact of casein protein pales in comparison to the dozens of other things that must be done correctly.
This involves hitting your daily amount of macros, getting enough sleep and rest, adequate and frequent weight training, etc.
Protein before bed is always a good idea, especially if you don’t like going to bed feeling hungry, but it doesn’t make an iota of difference whether it’s whey, casein, or a big fat steak.
Get your protein and hit the sack.
2. How much protein should I eat per day? Is the whole “1 gram per pound of bodyweight” thing true?
In my coaching experience, I’ve found it is very difficult for most people, especially those new to weight training, to meet their daily protein requirements when it’s set at 1 gram per body weight.
Women especially struggle to meet this moderate protein demand.
But the good news is, most trainees probably don’t need to be eating that much protein if they can’t tolerate it.
Protein requirements will be more important during times of intense dieting or fat loss phases.
But provided you’re consuming an adequate/surplus amounts of carbohydrates and fats throughout the day, protein requirements don’t need to be as high.
A more realistic number for most trainees is around .8 grams per pound of bodyweight would be more than sufficient.
3. I’m not trying to get too big, I just want to lose some fat. Why should I worry about my protein?
Firstly, I’ve been training my ass off for the last 15 years trying to get “too big”. Trust me, nobody ever accidently got too muscular.
Secondly, it’s actually very difficult to gain muscle.
I mean REAL lean muscle. Not bodyweight (which is usually water, intramuscular glycogen, and fat.)
Eating moderate to high amounts of protein daily ensures proper muscle recovery from training and helps muscle mass stick around during times of intense dieting (like for fat loss).
4. What about protein shakes?
These can come in very handy for most folks who have issues getting adequate amounts of protein from whole food sources like meat.
They’re also convenient and all taste pretty good. (Check This Out: 4 Easy-to-Make High Protein Snacks)
Whey protein shakes will always be your best bet over soy, milk, and other odd types of protein shakes that are out there.
Shakes aren’t any better or worse than whole foods in general, they’re just used as a means to increase protein consumption.
Implement them wisely.
5. If I’m not working out, then I don’t need to have protein shakes, right?
Your body requires protein whether you’re training or not and most people tend to fall short when it comes to consuming adequate amounts of protein throughout the day.
Having a shake is like having a can of tuna, or a chicken breast. Your body requires protein whether you’re training or not.
Having a shake instead of a fast food meal or in lieu of snacking at the office can help curb appetite and help you reach your protein needs.
So have at it and enjoy them when necessary.
6. But can’t you only absorb 30 grams of protein in one sitting?
I don’t know where this myth came from, but it’s stupid as all get-out.
I’m pretty certain it came about when studies found that around 30 grams of protein stimulated muscle protein synthesis (the process that builds muscle).
Watch This: How Much Protein Can We Absorb Per Meal?
Absorption of nutrients isn’t related to muscle protein synthesis. So while 30 grams may be necessary to illicit MPS, your body will make use of alllll the protein you’re consuming in a meal.
So continue to order up those multiple grilled chicken sandwiches at Chick Fil A and double up on scoops of protein in your shake.
7. Protein after lifting weights is a must, right??
It’s your last rep of your last set of your workout and the minute you set that weight down, you got to slam a 50 gram protein shake because otherwise the entire workout will have been a waste of time and you’ll lose all your gains!
Ever heard that before?
There was once a time where it was thought that you had to have your protein shake within some sort of magical “anabolic window” that lasted up to 30 minutes after training.
This has since been disproven and the thought on the issue now is that it is not detrimental at all to wait a bit after you’re done lifting to have your protein shake or a whole food meal.
In fact the whole meal timing thing doesn’t really matter much at all.
8. How about the protein found in other foods that aren’t meat?
Good question. And the quick answer is: DO NOT focus on these foods as good sources of protein.
Nuts, quinoa, oats, wheat products, pasta are all poor sources of protein.
Give in to your primal instincts and focus on actual meats.
9. Isn’t too much protein harmful to your kidneys?
This may only be true to someone who has pre-existing kidney issues.
However, there is no direct causation between consuming up to 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight and kidney health.
10. Just tell me how much protein I should be eating.
Honestly, I wish I could.
I wish I could prescribe the exact amount of protein for the masses.
But that is not possible and everybody is different and requires different amounts of protein based on current body composition, training experience, and current physique goals.
Here’s some general guidelines to follow:
If you’re in a mass gaining/muscle gaining phase, it’s best to keep protein at around 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.
If you’re someone who’s in a fat loss phase or cutting, it’s better to increase protein to up to 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight to ensure muscle maintenance while in a caloric deficit.
As always, it’s best to count and track all of your macros.
But most importantly, protein will always be paramount in your diet, no matter what your age, body composition, or desired goal.
About The Author
With a background in mechanical engineering, John Craven’s never ending search for “how everything works” and problem solving skills have carried over to helping individuals achieve their best physiques possible. His passion is to contribute science-based information about nutrition and training to anyone looking to take control of their body composition while improving the overall quality of their lives.
You can contact him at –
What Are You Craven Website
What Are You Craven Facebook Page
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