6 MYTHS ABOUT PROTEIN POWDERS: PART 2
Fourth, you can only absorb thirty grams of protein at a time. This is generally the statement made when anyone puts more than one scoop of protein powder into their shaker cups at the gym. This statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Roughly 90-95% of dietary protein is absorbed (under traditional conditions) within the small intestine. Here it will absorb numerous amounts of amino acids. As the small intestines is essentially under this much pressure to absorb nearly all the protein ingested, it can actually hold onto amino acids and wait to re-release them until our bodies are under stressors or needs them (11, 12.) What this means is that if you sit down at a meal and eat sixty grams of protein, thirty grams doesn’t just magically disappear. The majority of that sixty grams is immediately utilized, and some is stored. In fact, there have been a few studies done in the intermittent fasting community showing that when consuming eighty to even one hundred grams of protein, not only was all of it absorbed and utilized, but it actually showed no difference in lean mass (13, 14.) Now maximally stimulating muscle protein synthesis is a topic for another article as there is a leucine threshold at which “more protein” and “more lecuine” does not increase anabolism another further.
Fifth, all protein powders are the same. This is another one that just blows my mind when you look at the extreme differences between how the proteins are manufactured, processed, and partitioned within our bodies. So lets break down some of the differences between three of the top protein powders. First, we look at casein hydrolysate which is a pre-digested protein broken down into di and tri-peptides allowing it to partition amino acids faster than many free form amino acids (10.) Next we bring on whey protein which is the “whey” portion of protein found in milk (the other being casein.) Some of the major bioactive peptides within whey are ß-Lactoglobulin, Alpha-Lactalbumin, Bovine Serum Albumin, and Immunoglobulins. Every protein with have varying bioactive peptide contents. Whey protein is also one of the protein powders that has an extreme high leucine content, making it a preferred choice for many (15.) Lastly, we look at beef protein which, like all the others, contain all of the essential amino acids needed. It is also packed with zinc, iron, and has some merit at decreasing body fat, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol (16.) That is only a small look at these protein powders. To continue looking at them further would require an entirely different article as there is a varied amount of bioactive peptides, amino acids, digestion rates, absorption rates, and more that we would have to break down one by one.
Finally, protein powder causes liver failure. You typically only hear about people claiming kidney issues from protein powder but as of late, I have seen a bad trend online of people claiming liver issues from protein supplements. There is almost zero evidence for anyone to actually back this claim up. Some people may refer to a study that looked at rats who ate a high protein diet that showed structural changes in the mitochondria in their livers (17.) This was later proposed to be a positive adaption for the rat’s liver. Beyond that study, I usually dont see many people claiming other studies to have detrimental effects of high protein ingestion on liver stress. Actually, I’ve even seen studies proving that protein ingest reduced ALT, AST, and GGT levels while simultaneously improving glutathione levels (18, 19.)
As you can see, ALL of these prior protein myths have been debunked not only by actual research, but also through application. There has been more than enough people ingesting high protein diets and all the protein powder they can afford and have ZERO health disorders. Please remember to keep everything in context. Protein supplements are meant to do just that, supplement an already optimized nutritional protocol. No supplements should be used as a crutch. If they’re used as an aid to further enhance your progress, then you’re using them right!
10. Intestinal absorption of protein hydrolysis products: a review.
K. E. Webb, Jr. J Anim Sci. 1990 Sep (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2211428.)
11. Absorption kinetics of amino acids, peptides, and intact proteins. Gabriella A. M. Ten Have, Marielle P. K. J. Engelen, Yvette C. Luiking, Nicholaas E. P. Deutz Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2007 Aug (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18577772)
12. Increased intestinal amino-acid retention from the addition of carbohydrates to a meal.
N. E. Deutz, G. A. Ten Have, P. B. Soeters, P. J. Moughan. Clin Nutr. 1995 Dec (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16843957)
13. Intermittent fasting does not affect whole-body glucose, lipid, or protein metabolism.
Maarten R. Soeters, Nicolette M. Lammers, Peter F. Dubbelhuis, Mariëtte Ackermans, Cora F. Jonkers-Schuitema, Eric Fliers, Hans P. Sauerwein, Johannes M. Aerts, Mireille J. Serlie
Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19776143)
14. A controlled trial of reduced meal frequency without caloric restriction in healthy, normal-weight, middle-aged adults. Kim S Stote, David J Baer, Karen Spears, David R Paul, G Keith Harris, William V Rumpler, Pilar Strycula, Samer S Najjar, Luigi Ferrucci, Donald K Ingram, Dan L Longo, Mark P Mattson. Am J Clin Nutr. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2009 Feb 20.. Published in final edited form as: Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17413096)
15. Whey Protein but Not Soy Protein Supplementation Alters Body Weight and Composition in Free-Living Overweight and Obese Adults. David J. Baer, Kim S. Stote, David R. Paul, G. Keith Harris, William V. Rumpler, Beverly A. Clevidence. J Nutr. 2011 Aug; 141(8): 1489–1494. Published online 2011 Jun (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21677076)
16. Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet study: effects on lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoproteins
Michael A Roussell, Alison M Hill, Trent L Gaugler, Sheila G West, John P Vanden Heuvel, Petar Alaupovic, Peter J Gillies, Penny M Kris-Etherton. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jan; 95(1): 9–16. Published online 2011 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22170364.)
17. Long-term high-protein diet induces biochemical and ultrastructural changes in rat liver mitochondria. A. Jordá, R. Zaragozá, M. Portolés, R. Báguena-Cervellera, J. Renau-Piqueras
Arch Biochem Biophys. 1988 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3421703)
18. Oral supplementation with whey proteins increases plasma glutathione levels of HIV-infected patients. P. Micke, K. M. Beeh, J. F. Schlaak, R. Buhl. Eur J Clin Invest. 2001 Feb (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11168457)
19. Open-labeled pilot study of cysteine-rich whey protein isolate supplementation for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis patients. Taned Chitapanarux, Prasong Tienboon, Suwalee Pojchamarnwiputh, Donrawee Leelarungrayub. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Jun (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19638084)