Ever wonder if you could get better body composition and strength results by eating more protein?
A review in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition identified the dose of protein that is necessary to produce dramatic increases in muscle and strength from resistance training—and the dose is higher than is commonly thought.
Researchers analyzed all previous studies that compared changes when participants took various types of supplemental protein in conjunction with training. A higher daily protein intake was always more effective than a lower intake.
Additionally, and there was what they called a “protein spread” effect. In studies that showed statistically significant strength and body composition gains, there was an average 66 percent greater protein intake.
For example, in a study that had college football players consume either 2 or 1.24 g/kg/day of protein over 12 weeks, the group that consumed the higher 2 g/kg dose gained 14.3 kg greater increase in maximum squat strength.
Researchers also identified a “protein change” theory. The most strength and muscle size was gained from studies that had participants increase their protein intake for the study by 60 percent over what they normally consumed. Studies that didn’t show muscle or strength gains only increased habitual protein intake by 6 percent. For example, two studies that showed impressive muscle size gains increased protein intake by 97 percent over baseline!
To achieve the greatest increases in strength and muscle size from training and protein, take away the following points:
- Shoot for more than 2 g/kg/d of protein—researchers suggest 2.38 g/kg/d is the dose that reliably produced muscular and strength gains in the studies reviewed.
- Whey protein appears to be superior to other protein sources.
- Previous studies indicate best results will come from getting a large portion of protein from high-quality food sources and supplementing to reach the daily intake goal.
- Studies show that when increased protein intake is combined with intense strength training, it can produce significant fat loss. One study compared a 2.3 g/kg/d protein intake with 1.45 g/kg/d and showed that the higher protein group had 5 percent less body fat by the end of the 10-week study, despite the fact that they consumed 400 more calories a day than the lower protein group.