Twice a Day Protein Increases Lean Muscle Mass
If you’re not taking a protein shake, you may be missing out on some gains in lean muscle mass, especially if you’re an older lifter. Whey protein seems to be the perfect protein supplement because the greater leucine concentration of whey protein activates more muscle building. Many athletes perform resistance training and consume dietary protein as a strategy to promote anabolic adaptation. Due to its high satiety value, the regular addition of supplemented dietary protein could plausibly displace other key macronutrients such as carbohydrate in an athlete’s diet. This effect will be influenced by the form and dose of protein.
Greater Muscle Hypertrophy with Whey Protein
Muscle anabolism due to exercise and nutrient intake is influenced by various factors, such as the type of protein. Previous research has been documented that a rapidly absorbed protein such as whey isolate is going to lead to a greater insulin and amino acid response than a casein protein. New research suggests that having a whey protein isolate shake may be the most anabolic supplement you can take. In a previous study, researchers randomly assigned subjects to consume a whey protein shake before and immediately after exercise, while another group got a drink that looked and tasted exactly the same as the whey protein shake but was just a placebo (i.e. flavored water). Neither the subjects nor the researchers knew who was getting the whey protein and who was getting the placebo drink. There was no difference between the daily protein, carbohydrate, fat, and total calorie consumption between the two groups; the only difference was a whey protein shake added before and after exercise. So how much of an effect can two little whey protein shakes make? The men performed resistance exercise for 21 weeks; at the end of the study, the subjects who consumed as little as 15 grams of whey protein before and after exercise had greater increases in muscle mass than the control group. The group that consumed the whey protein before and after exercise had greater increase in muscle quadriceps compared to the control group. Of the muscle strength variables, whey protein intake had a positive effect only in isometric leg force production in the leg press (the increase was greater than the control group). So here you have two groups doing the exact same exercises and workouts, yet a simple whey protein shake was the only difference for those who got bigger.
2 Shakes a Day for 24 Weeks Increases Muscle Mass in Older Adults
The newest study published in the Journal of Nutrition reports a protein shake at breakfast and lunch preserves lean muscle mass. In the study, researchers compared the effect of protein supplementation at breakfast and lunch for 24 weeks beyond habitual intakes on whole-body lean muscle mass in healthy adults aged 50–70 years of age. The subjects consumed the protein supplement at breakfast and midday meals, the lower protein–containing meals of the day, for 24 weeks. At the end of the study, lean muscle mass increased in the protein group compared with a decrease in the control group. Protein supplementation at breakfast and lunch for 24 weeks in healthy older adults resulted in a positive increase in lean muscle mass compared with an control drink. These observations suggest that an optimized and balanced distribution of meal protein intakes could be beneficial in the preservation of lean tissue mass in the elderly.
Norton C, Toomey C, McCormack WG, Francis P, Saunders J, Kerin E, Jakeman P. Protein Supplementation at Breakfast and Lunch for 24 Weeks beyond Habitual Intakes Increases Whole-Body Lean Tissue Mass in Healthy Older Adults. J Nutr. 2016 Jan;146(1):65-9.