Beef Protein Isolate Results in Similar Gains in Lean Muscle Mass and Strength Compared as Whey Protein Isolate
For years, bodybuilders looking to add size and strength were advocated to have steak for breakfast. Beef is a nutrient-rich, high-quality protein containing all the essential amino acids in proportions similar to those found in human skeletal muscle. Beef protein contains all the key amino acids, including BCAAs to support muscle growth and repair. Beef protein has a high-quality amino acid that is rich in leucine. This is important for bodybuilders looking to pack on dense muscle, as having a high leucine content determines muscle protein synthesis. Previous studies have found that protein ingestion post-exercise is enhanced from high leucine fortified proteins. The amino acid composition in protein such as whey and beef is superior to that of soy likely due to an increased leucine content.
Beef Stimulates Muscle Protein Synthesis
Recently, researchers have documented potent anabolic effects from beef protein in conjunction with resistance exercise. For example, one study investigated the anabolic response to a bout of resistance exercise in combination with a high-quality protein-rich meal (340 g of beef, which contained 90 g protein). The combination of a protein-rich beef and resistance training produces 2-fold greater than beef intake alone. Additionally, another study demonstrates that a 170 g serving of lean meat, providing 36 g of protein, resulted in higher rates of muscle protein synthesis than smaller servings of 113 g and 57 g of beef (24 g and 12 g of protein, respectively) when administrated after intense resistance exercise. This suggests that high-quality lean meat in conjunction with resistance exercise can stimulate gains in lean muscle mass.
It’s been reported that having a high-quality source of protein spaced evenly throughout the day is essential to building high-quality muscle. For example, one study measured changes in muscle protein synthesis in response to two identical diets yet the protein was altered throughout the day.
One group received roughly 30 grams of protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner whereas another group received protein in an escalating dose: 10 grams at breakfast, 16 grams at lunch, and 63 grams at dinner. At the end of the study, the 24-hour muscle protein synthesis rate was 25% higher in the evenly spaced group vs. the escalating protein distribution group. The consumption of a moderate amount of protein at each meal is essential for stimulating 24-hour muscle protein synthesis more effectively than inadequate protein intake throughout the day.
This means you have to consume quality protein at every meal throughout the day. The problem with beef protein that many bodybuilders have is they don’t have access to grilling facilities 24/7 to consume lean meat throughout the day, but now supplement companies have developed a beef protein isolate.
Researchers from the University of Tampa recently submitted new research beef protein isolate research presented at International Society of Sports Nutrition Conference in 2015. Researchers examined post-exercise consumption of two servings of beef protein isolate or whey, compared to a maltodextrin control on lean mass and strength during eight weeks of resistance training.
Thirty college-aged, resistance-trained males and females were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups. Subjects consumed two servings (46g) of:
- Beef Protein Isolate
- Whey Protein Isolate
Subjects trained five days per week (3 resistance training, two cardio) for eight weeks as a part of a daily undulating periodized resistance-training program. Two servings of protein were consumed immediately following exercise or at a similar time of day on off days. Dual emission x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was used to determine changes in body composition. Maximum strength were assessed by one-rep-max (1RM) for bench press (upper body) and deadlift (lower body).
At the end of the study, both beef protein isolate (↑5.7%) and whey protein isolate (↑4.7%) each lead to a significant increase in lean body mass compared with baseline. Fat loss was also significantly decreased at eight weeks compared to baseline for beef protein isolate and whey, 10.8%, and 8.3% respectively. 1RM both deadlift and bench press both significantly increased for all treatment groups when compared to baseline. However, no significant differences in increased strength as measured by deadlift (↑11.6%-19.3 %) or bench-press (↑11.4%-17.6%) were observed between beef protein isolate, whey, or maltodextrin groups over the 8 week training regimen.
The results of this study further support the benefits of protein supplementation following resistance training. Specifically, in this study consumption of two servings of beef protein isolate or whey resulted in significant gains in lean body mass over time, which outpaced gains resultant from resistance training alone (maltodextrin supplementation).
Overall, the results of this study demonstrate that consuming two servings of either beef protein isolate or whey protein isolate following resistance training lead to significant increases in lean body mass and strength.
So this is great news for beef protein isolate, given that some people do not tolerate whey protein isolates due to lactose intolerance, beef protein isolate can be a suitable alternative.
Sharp, Matthew, et al. “The effects of beef protein isolate and whey protein isolate supplementation on lean mass and strength in resistance trained individuals-a double blind, placebo controlled study.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 12.Suppl 1 (2015): P11.
Robinson M.J., Burd N.A., Breen L., Rerecich T., Yang Y., Hector A.J., Baker S.K., Phillips S.M. Dose-dependent responses of myofibrillar protein synthesis with beef ingestion are enhanced with resistance exercise in middle-aged men. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 2013;38:120–125.
Symons T.B., Schutzler S.E., Cocke T.L., Chinkes D.L., Wolfe R.R., Paddon-Jones D. Aging does not impair the anabolic response to a protein-rich meal. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2007;86:451–456.
Pennings B., Groen B.B., van Dijk J.W., de Lange A., Kiskini A., Kuklinski M., Senden J.M., van Loon L.J. Minced beef is more rapidly digested and absorbed than beef steak, resulting in greater postprandial protein retention in older men. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2013;98:121–128.
Negro M, Vandoni M, Ottobrini S, et al. Protein Supplementation with Low Fat Meat after Resistance Training: Effects on Body Composition and Strength. Nutrients. 2014;6(8):3040-3049
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