The quick answer is a complicated no.
The protein we eat is broken down into small building blocks known as amino acids. Amino acids are used for a wide variety of metabolic reactions that keep our cells functioning.
After eating protein, our body has a few hours to utilize the amino acids made available from our meals. After this short period has passed, we start to burn our own muscle to obtain more amino acids.
In order to avoid burning too much muscle through the day and to naturally increase our muscle mass to a our fullest, biological extent, a average sized women should eat a minimum of 20 grams of protein 3 times per day and a man 30 grams 3 times per day.
These amounts of protein are higher than recommended by the USDA but have been shown scientifically to result in increases in muscle mass and strength. Increasing muscle mass is also the ONLY known method an individual can increase their resting metabolic rate.
Interestingly, researchers believe the meat intake of our stone age ancestors was approximately 60% of their caloric intake. Although this amount is much higher than modern humans, they also ate much leaner wild game and exercised because of their hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
Studies have also shown that eating plenty of protein for breakfast will suppress your hunger throughout the day and result in you eating approximately 200-300 calories less than you would otherwise. If done consistently, this would translate into a 20-30 weight loss in 1 year!
So skip the oatmeal (it’s mainly carbohydrate anyway), it’s time to have a pork chop for breakfast!
Dr. Nemechek – would you recommend eating protein before or after exercise and does it depend on the type of exercise (cardio v. strength)? what about amino acid recovery drinks? do you know if these boost muscle mass? thank you.
Generally boosting with protein before or after exercise does not speed up recovery.