I’m often asked how much protein I should eat if I want to build muscle.
There are a lot of myths about this that have been built up over the years. One of the most usual myths is that your body can only consume 30g of protein at once. Any more than that, and you conclude weeing out the amino acids.
This is one of the oldest myths, and it came about due to a published paper that reported those findings (I’ve been unable to find the paper, so I may be adding to the myth!).
The original research was done on OAPs and females (who have lower muscle mass). This is really flawed, and the myth stays on. Only yesterday, one of my rugby players asked me, can’t we only absorb that amount. I was like, dude, I would have been in your tribe 100,000 years ago! You’d never have survived.
The body can process and absorb vast amounts of protein, but it does depend on body mass, activity patterns and age — as we get older, we produce less stomach acid and digestive enzymes.
We must recognize that a lot of research, particularly research from the 70s and ’80s, was undertaken in hospital settings with patients who were very ill? Protocols that we use in sports still come from hospital research.
In those situations, when a patient is bedridden and not eating correctly, the patient starts breaking down their own muscle to provide energy. They literally start WASTING AWAY; you’ve probably seen people to whom this has happened. It’s sad. Of course, these settings look at anything that can help preserve muscle mass very favourably.
The myth of only 30g of protein comes from a study done with very sick people. The study found that the patients could only utilize more than 30 g. If they fed them more, there was no significant advantage. This is where the myth stems from.
Later I heard that Louis Ferrigno, aka ‘The hulk,’ started to tell people in Golds gym the same myth. The rest, they say, is history……. (although this may also be another myth)!
If you think about it logically and look at how we have evolved over the 1000’s years of human existence, when our ancestors would have killed a wild animal, they wouldn’t be sitting around the campfire saying.