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 The Protein Myth?

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Kosai



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PostSubject: The Protein Myth?   Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:01 am

Hey Guys,

I've recently watched a video on youtube called "The Protein Myth" by Tim Van Orden (youtube username "runningraw"). In the video he makes an interesting argument that our bodies don't really use protein, that it just breaks protein down into the amino acids and uses this to rebuild muscle. He eventually goes on to explain that he's an athlete but his protein consumption isn't high enough to account for the muscle that he builds. He speculates that any raw food has enough enzymes (amino acids) to rebuild his muscle tissue.

On some level what he said in the video made sense. I think gorillas (or maybe monkeys) have a diet where they only eat fruits with no meat and are stronger than humans. Genetically I think we are suppose to be something like 90% the same as those animals so his idea somehow makes sense.

I wanted to open up a discussion on this to hear what others think of his idea.

Cheers.

Alex
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Pete
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PostSubject: Re: The Protein Myth?   Mon Sep 07, 2009 3:51 am

Amino acids aren't actually broken down or destroyed by cooking, you get every amino acid whether cooked or not that your body can assimilate, so the guy is wrong on that score, cooking does not affect amino acids below a super high temperature (basically burning it). There may be the odd person (very rare) who may be able to survive on very low protein for a long time as humans come in many varieties, but for the average trainee it will be basically training suicide. Technically you don't need protein if you eat enough amino acid, in the correct proportions, but just relying on the enzymes in food you'd be hard pushed to find the complete range of amino acids you need to forefill you're body functions in either quantity or proportion.
As a side note enzymes are not actually amino acids, they are short amino acid chains that need to get broken down by the body, rather like weakly held together protein.
There are actually 2 opposed raw food arguments I've heard, this one, that the enzymes slip into the body & aren't hard to get in at all & you use or that enzymes are used to aid the breakdown of the food you eat, that is they must resist digestion for a long while & work as catalysts to speed & ease digestion - so, one says they break down easily, the other says that they are tough & resist breakdown for a long time in the stomach.
People often use the gorilla analogy to 'prove' we can survive simply on leaves & fruit, but this doesn't hold water unless you too actually eat like a gorilla, which is basically you eat for every waking moment that you are not breeding, defecating or urinating. Look at a gorillas gut, it has a massive stomach, the stomach area is so large as it has a much larger volume for the stomach & intestines than a human proportionatly (OK some fat people might compete on size, but not on the actual size of the digestive tract, they just have more fat), gorillas are designed to eat all day, I don't think we are, we don't have the digestive tract volume to consume foods like that without some concentrated protein sources like nuts, seeds etc.
Now I'm not arguing that people cannot survive on raw foods, but I am arguing that people will find it hard to compete in any sport without adequate protein (or let's say adequate amino acids), whether those are from raw foods, cooked foods etc I don't care, but you need them if you wish to compete. I'll agree the amounts quoted in the muscle mags would be more than most of you need to eat, but avoiding all protein sources will adversely affect your athletic goals.
I'd actually go so far as to say I would be very reluctant to train a person who didn't include adequate protein, I'm not sure where you'd even stand legally as their trainer when they injured themselves or got sick if you as trainer knew they were eating an inadequate diet-you could well get sued (& as a sports nutritionist & beginning a nutritional consultancy course I'd feel wrong training a person knowing it was likely to cause harm-or at the very least sub-max performances).
So, I'd have to say, no I don't agree with the, the concept behind the diet, or any of the arguments he puts forward, if he is eating the diet he claims he is at one extreme end of human development, that the regular people shouldn't hold up as an example of how to eat to compete, for the other 99.999% of the human population you simply won't get any results usuing this system.
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john machin

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PostSubject: Re: The Protein Myth?   Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:14 am

I spent seven years totally raw, Alex. I don’t think there was anyone more convinced that it’s the most natural, the healthiest way of eating. In a tropical climate with a tropical range of raw food and all the ancillary effects, maybe it works. It didn’t work for me in this climate, in this country, with the limited foods available. I was eating almost hourly but I dropped weight like I was crash-dieting – the musculature vanished.
I got back into bodybuilding about seven years ago; it wasn’t until I began supplementing protein – and a LOT of it – that the serious gains began.
Be interested to see if Tim Van Orden holds onto his muscle for another year or so. I’d bet against it.
Not sure about his argument: he begins by dissing protein because the body needs to break it down before it can use the amino acids. Later, he describes his preferred source of protein – enzymes - as, quote “complex chains of amino acids”. Duh. Question That’s exactly what protein is.
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Pat Reeves

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PostSubject: Re: The Protein Myth?   Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:30 pm

Hi!
Pete has just emailed my privately to reply to this link. I agree with what Pete has explained in general. Cooking, especially at high temperatures - stir-frying etc, does degrade protein somewhat - but if you eat sufficiently - and let's face it - most people over-compensate! - there is not a shortage of available protein (amino acids) for the average person, whether training or not. Raw-foods supply adequate amino acids - I think I've proved that one already! We need protein, essential fats and carbohydrates - that is what humans need to be healthy. Saying we don't need protein as such, flies in the face of our basic 'fuel' requirements. Obviously, there is protein in most foods we relegate as carbs - but the quality and quantity is not sufficient for our bodies to undergo cellular repair. This is what protein is required for. If we train - especially heavily - we have to gain access to increased amino acid intake, whether from raw or cooked foods. It is certainly not a problem acquiring sufficient protein from raw plant foods - and now with the advent or raw hemp and rice protein powders - it's absolutely not a problem even for world class powerlifters! - All my best, Pat Reeves
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PostSubject: Re: The Protein Myth?   Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:01 pm

Some years ago when I was more interested in the muscle mass part of training, I used to take a whole pharmacy-full of amino acid supplements. Whether or not these did any good was hard to say since I was eating everything that didn't bite me first, and attempting to lift enough iron to build a locomotive,
Then someone suggested that taking amino acids wasn't a good idea. The theory was that feeding one's body with pre-made amino acids encouraged the body to quit making its own.
This sounded logical, and was a scary thought, so I stopped taking the amino acids, and increased my protein intake (soy protein and powdered egg white).

What is the current thinking on this? Is it a good idea to use amino acids as a supplement, or does that defeat the purpose? And what is the opinion on taking protein supplements?
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PostSubject: Re: The Protein Myth?   Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:46 pm

Your stomach actually breaks down protein into isolated amino acids & then assimilates them (to be technical some tiny chains of 2 or 3 amino acids can also get through - hence stuff like creatine can get into the body fairly intact). The idea that the body 'makes' amino acids is incorrect. It's true you can make some non-essential amino acids from the essential one's.
The basic idea behind taking a single (or small group) of amino acids like say glutamine or BCAA's) is that most single amino acids hit the liver & are first used to make protein for various functions around the body (in hormones, in various tissues etc) & what is 'left over' can circulate freely around the body. As a protein breaks down pretty slowly in the stomach, amino acids tend to trickle into the liver, get converted into protein & so the free amino acids are often lost in a new protein 'packet'. Taking an amino acid means that it already broken down & so as soon as it hits the stomach it can be assimilated (& can get into the body in 10-20 minutes) & so hits the liver like a tidal wave. As the liver cannot cope with that much of one amino acid in such a high concentration much of the amino acid can sail through the liver & so can work directly on the tissue in much higher than normal concentrations. Certain amino acids in above normal concentration appear to have good effects on the body. Glutamine has an effect from the moment it hits the gut as it is the preferred fuel for the gut & so you can, in theory increase gut function straight away simply by including glutamine, from there the glutamine that isn't used for gut fuel seems to help the immune system & have a good effect on recovery.
BCAA's (Branch Chain Amino Acids) are a group of 3 amino acids that appear to 'save' skeletal muscle during cardio or weight training & tend to push the body into an anabolic state simply by having a lot of these free in the blood stream. It is unclear if it's BCAA's as a group or Leucine alone has the most profound effect as both the 3 BCAA's & the single BCAA called Leucine have been studied, but consensus has not been reached yet about the need for the other 2 BCAA's? I personally use all 3 BCAA's at the moment. I have tried Leucine alone, but it's quite hard to judge, it's not like a creatine or anything & you get no obvious difference except maybe over the quite long term.

The above are just theories that 'appear' both from the science & empirical observation, not facts, so please bear in mind thinks might change in light of new research.

I takel a few proteins, but then I'm pretty lazy in the kitchen. I think protein powders do a good job at getting you a quick fix of calories & a convenient feed when time or travel cuts into your eating. I think many athletes take extra protein. I think they are a good edition to a persons diet if you want a simple way to boost your calorie intake with the least body fat increase. But, if you like to cook, or can get food, then that's probably the superior choice as protein powders in all their many varieties are still a processed food to some extent, so aren't going to be as good as whole foods.

As a side note. I think you are wrong to move away from the idea of muscle mass building as you age. If anything I think hypertrophy becomes more important as you age. Most older athletes I know actually focus a lot more on hypertrophy as they age than on pure strength or athletic performance training they may have done in their younger days. Keeping (& possibly adding!) muscle mass as we age is one of the vital components I believe in the anti-ageing protocol we should all be employing as we get older. Looking back on the past older guys it's the guys like Jack la lanne, Jim Morris & Bill Pearl who kept working on muscle size & strength have kept themselves in the best physical shape & are still hitting the gym into old age. Keep trying to get more size & more strength, that way you'll keep as much as you can. If you can't work up any more on a move then try another, work on Power, work on speed, do something that will encourage new changes in the body & you'll fight off old age as much as possible.
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Grayfox

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PostSubject: Re: The Protein Myth?   Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:59 am

"...it's the guys like Jack la lanne, Jim Morris & Bill Pearl who kept working on muscle size & strength have kept themselves in the best physical shape & are still hitting the gym into old age."

And let's not forget Frank Zane... he and I are the same age... and the same weight, although his is distributed a little better than mine.

I should have phrased my earlier comment better. I am interested in continuing to increase strength and muscle mass, but not in getting bigger. A bone & joint doctor applaudes the fact that I'm still lifting, but suggests increasing reps rather than adding more iron. The phrase, "compression fracture" entered the conversation. I kinda believe him, but I still add more weight to the bars when I feel ready for it. "Listen to your body."
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PostSubject: Re: The Protein Myth?   Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:27 am

That's the idea, it should always be pushing it a bit in the gym as it is trying to remodel, which is tough.
If you looked like Frank Zane I'd be super impressed Very Happy
I suppose answering these sorts of questions you can easily get confused about what people are trying to say, obviously as you get older the tendency towards atrophy grows, so by aiming at 'maintaining' muscle mass (or maybe adding a bit) means you must be doing some forms of hypertrophy to rebuild the muscle that would normally be lost as we age.
I don't think it's as simple as adding more reps. Look at guys like Clarence Bass, as they've aged they've actually moved to an almost HIT (High Intensity Training) style of training. Still training as hard (or even harder) than they did as a younger guy. He also moved to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) style cardio. He found as he aged he could infact train as hard as he used to ('as hard' doesn't mean necessarily 'as heavy', but 'maximum intensity'), but couldn't work out as long, so he decided to train harder & shorter, rather than longer & lighter...so it really depends on how your body works (as you said 'Listen to your body').
You could aim to look better than Frank Zane - that'd keep anyone busy for a year or 10 Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: The Protein Myth?   Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:02 pm

Oh, and a couple of years ago my doctor was giving me a routine physical exam. He suggested a cardiac-stress-test. Then he paused and asked, "Are you still lifting those weights...?" I said yes. "Oh well, we can forget the stress-test, if your heart wasn't in good shape you'd probably be dead now..."
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PostSubject: Re: The Protein Myth?   Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:08 pm

Many many years ago I was talking to an "older gentleman" in the gym. He commented that he continued lifting, "...So that when I finally reach those Golden Gates I'll be met there by all the people I'd ever known, and they would say, 'Hey, what took you so long?'."
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PostSubject: Re: The Protein Myth?   Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:13 am

From reading the book 'Muscle Smoke and Mirrors' it talks about Milo Henry Steinborn who was a POW in World War II but apparently still was able to get a physique, the exception to the rule.

But the same book talks about how supplements in a way is a big business of itself, really. Fair play but there's probably way too many supplements out there.
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