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A recent study published in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism has become one of the most detailed deep-dives into the effects of diet and resistance training in adults aged between 40 and 64, and results have showed that once an individual goes past the optimal protein intake, there appears to be no added benefit in terms of increased muscle mass or improvements in body composition.
These findings will be great news for gymgoers who might be eager to change up their routine of chicken breast and beef steak for more moderate alternatives.
In a 10-week trial, the stats of each participant — individual strength, lean-body mass, glucose tolerance, and blood pressure — were all tracked. The group was split into moderate- and high-protein intake groups. The moderate group consumed around 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, whereas the high-protein band were given approximately 1.6 grams.
“The public health messaging has been that Americans need more protein in their diet, and this extra protein is supposed to help our muscles grow bigger and stronger,” said Professor Nicholas. A. Burd. For its part, The American Food and Nutrition Board recommends that adults ingest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. So during the trial, the high-protein group were given around double the recommended level of protein, but at the end of the 10 weeks, researchers found no tangible difference in either group’s biomarkers such as strength, body fat, lean mass, kidney function or bone density.
“We found that high protein intake does not further increase gains in strength or affect body composition,” said Burd. “It didn’t increase lean mass more than eating a moderate amount of protein. We didn’t see more fat loss, and body composition was the same between the groups.”
Berd now believes that increasing one’s protein intake above 0.8 – 1.1 grams per kilo of bodyweight, at least among middle-aged weightlifters, is probably a pointless exercise. Still, with the American male said to weigh an average of around 198 pounds) and women averaging around 171 pounds it’s important to understand how much protein is in different types of foods.
But with less pressure to overload on protein, now is a great time to consider some of these moderate protein alternatives.
Hardcore bodybuilders have often shunned lamb and pork in favor of chicken breast, or beef steak, but these chops still pack the protein. Per 100g, a grilled lamb chop contains 29.2g of protein. Grilled pork chops are slightly ahead with 31.6g of protein per 100g.
Shrimp don’t skimp on protein. You can get 22.6g protein per 100g by eating these little creatures. Mussels really do build muscles, with 16.7g protein per 100g.
Almonds are a seriously strong nut, containing 21.1g protein per 100g. Oatmeal comes in at 11.2g protein per 100g, and grains such as brown flower contain 12.6g protein per 100g.