Club Julian’s “Myth vs. Fact” nutrition series continues with head trainer and certified nutrition specialist Deb Petitta’s views on the role of protein in muscle maintenance!

Myth #8: Consuming more protein means bigger muscles

Fact:Three things will help increase the size of muscle: (1) Work out harder, (2) Consume the proper amount of protein, and (3) Consume adequate calories.

Protein DOES have a role in developing muscle strength, however.

Arm Wrestle photoOne of protein’s chief roles is to rebuild and repair tissue, including muscle, throughout our body. Protein also regulates various processes including the formation of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies which help fight infection. We ALL need to consume protein regularly because there is tissue breakdown on a constant basis. Those who may need to consume on a slightly higher level would be infants, young children, and pregnant women.

Although protein is not the preferred energy source because the body runs on carbohydrates and fats, it is vital to consume the appropriate amount of protein. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 10-35% of total calories come from protein.

So, would more be better if you’re trying to build muscle?

Not necessarily. Of course, exercisers, athletes, and bodybuilders do require more because there is more muscle breakdown through exercise than there would be with a moderately active or sedentary person.

To calculate your needs:

  1. Convert your weight to kilograms (kg) by dividing your weight in pounds by 2.2
  2. Multiply by .8 and 1.8gm/kg. This will give you a range of where your protein requirements need to be by grams.

Use the lower of the two numbers if you are sedentary and a non-exerciser. Use the higher of the two if you work out hard on a consistent basis. Somewhere in between if you are a moderate exerciser. To consume too much more protein than this will not only tax the kidneys by excreting the excess, but what is not excreted is converted to fat and stored for a later use.

Questions? Comment here or on our Facebook page – we will get back to you with an answer!