The science of protein distribution: How to scientifically get abs!

The science of protein distribution: How to scientifically get abs!


Muscle growth involves more than just hitting the weights at the gym. The most important part of muscle growth is the recovery process. When rebuilding ripped muscle fibers, many factors influence the rate at which the muscle is synthesized, including sleep, hormone levels, and nutrition. Nutrition plays a crucial role, the key aspect being protein intake throughout the day. In this blog post, I will be focusing on the effect of protein on muscle growth and the most optimal way for protein intake. This is relevant to me as I like to occasionally go to the gym in my free time.


The role of protein muscle growth:


Protein is made up of amino acids, known to be the building blocks of the body, which are essential for synthesizing new proteins in the body. This protein is then used in a process called MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis), in which the body builds new muscle tissue and replaces damaged proteins. Without protein, your body has no resources to support the growth of your muscles.


The “Muscle Full” Hypothesis:


There has been a prevailing belief that the body can only absorb a limited amount of protein in a single meal, the “muscle full” hypothesis. According to this idea, any amount of protein consumed beyond a certain threshold in a single sitting would be wasted. It is believed that “excess” protein would turn into fat or simply excreted out of the body. The most scientific finding in this area has been done by Morton RW, who concluded that 0.4 g/kg/meal would optimally stimulate MPS. However, there are many problems with this research. Most importantly, these estimates are based on a rapidly digesting protein source, unlike normal sources of protein. It is believed that normal food with protein and other macronutrients would delay protein absorption. While the research shows that consumption of protein doses higher than 20 grams results in greater amino acid oxidation, not all the additional ingested amino acids are oxidized as some are still used for tissue-building purposes. It is also mentioned later in the article, that their findings were estimated means for maximizing MPS and that the ceilings can be as high as 0.60 g/kg for some older men and 0.40 g/kg for some younger men. Even so, the practical uses of this research remain speculative. People are not using these specific lab-based sources of protein which are not used the same way as other sources of protein.


Total Daily Protein Intake:

It is mostly believed that the total daily protein intake for maximizing muscle growth after weight lifting is around 1.6 g/kg. 1.6 g/kg/day should not be viewed as a perfect amount or limit to which the protein will be either wasted or used. A recent research paper on protein supplementation reported an upper 95% confidence interval of 2.2 g/kg/day. New research is coming out all the time on the optimal amount of protein per day. Although researchers are trying to find one number, it is commonly believed that there is no one number, it is different for every person based on various factors. The factors that can influence this optimal amount of protein include age, caloric intake, height, gender, and activity level. 


Although both research areas contradict each other, the general belief from both articles is the idea of having a good amount of protein throughout the day for your body to have the right amount of resources to be constantly rebuilding your muscles. Also, it is physically impossible to get abs in 24 hours.


Name: Oliver Raffone


Schoenfeld, B. J., & Aragon, A. A. (2018, February 27). How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? implications for daily protein distribution – journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. SpringerLink. 

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