Most men in college exercise to gain muscle mass. To increase muscle mass, two things must be done.
The first is exercise. Lifting weights or exercising with machines increases muscle protein synthesis. The more often this is done the more frequent muscle protein synthesis occurs, and the more muscle mass is grown. That is why people that work more often than others have more muscle mass. The second way to increase muscle mass is to increase dietary protein intake. Combining exercise and increased protein intake will work synergistically to increase muscle mass.
Many experienced lifters will reach a plateau, and it seems they cannot gain any more muscle mass like they did when they first started to lift weights. At this point, the quality and intensity of the exercise is needed to increase muscle mass. Also, the quality of protein intake should be improved, which will help support getting past that plateau.
Measuring Protein Powder Quality
The digestible indispensable amino acid (DIAA) score is the most modern scientific method to determine the quality of a protein source. In the past, it was biological value (BV) and PDCAA. Some protein supplement companies still mention these two scientific methods in their marketing. But these are now out-dated. The DIAA is the method that one should use to determine protein quality.
According to the DIAA, milk protein powder ranks the highest, followed by whey protein isolate, then whole egg, whey protein concentrate, and beef. No particular scientific reason is given as to why these protein sources rank higher, but one can theorize that following:
Milk protein isolate is typically less processed than all other protein sources. Being less processed could lead to a higher DIAA score. Milk protein is in its native form. Additionally, it contains both whey and casein, which both are high in essential amino acids and particularly the BCAA's.
Whey protein isolate is a very high-quality protein source and one of the most popular in the world. Most bodybuilders and people seeking to gain muscle mass will purchase whey protein powder. Whey protein powder tastes good, is easy to mix, and high in essential amino acids. Unflavored whey protein powder is especially easy to flavor because it is virtually tasteless. Whey protein isolate is usually over 90% protein as well.
Whey protein isolate is different than whey protein concentrate. The major difference between an isolate and a concentrate is that a whey concentrate will be 80% protein and contain lactose. A whey protein isolate will be 90% protein and virtually lactose-free. One would purchase whey protein isolate if they had digestive issues consuming lactose. Lactose is a problem for many people, thus the popularity of whey protein isolate. Keep in mind many so-called nutrition experts claim whey protein concentrate is high quality than whey protein isolate because it is less processed. This statement is entirely false. These slick marketers state this because whey protein concentrate cost twice as less than a whey protein isolate. Therefore the profit margin is much higher. As you can see, whey protein isolate is ranked higher on the DIAA.
Differences Between Whey Isolate vs. Whey Concentrate
· 10% to 20% higher in protein and BCAA's (BCAA's are the building block of muscle)
· No Lactose
· Ranks higher on the DIAA
Whole egg surprisingly ranks higher on the DIAA than whey protein concentrate. I suspect because whole egg powder is less processed than whey protein concentrate, it ranks higher. Most people consume liquid egg whites and powdered egg whites, but according to the DIAA, using whole eggs would be better to increase muscle protein synthesis.
In conclusion, to increase muscle protein synthesis, exercise, and protein is required. By improving the quality of both a person could hopefully break through plateaus. Many supplement companies claim their protein powder is the best and the highest quality. But this is only their opinion. One needs to use the latest most current scientific method, which is the DIAA, to get the highest quality protein source. Milk protein powder, which not very common in the supplement industry, is the highest quality according to scientific testing. By using milk protein powder before and after training, one could maximize muscle protein synthesis.
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