By: Nutritionist S. Keith Klein IV CN CCN
Keep in mind that studies are equivocal. In other words, for every study you show me that a supplement does this or that, I’ll find an equal number of studies that shows it doesn’t. The goal of the scientific community is to conduct enough studies, over time, that will tip the scale firmly in one direction or another so that the findings, with a high probability, confirm that this supplement does this or that.
A new study just came out by a researcher that found your basic requirement for protein is .8 grams per kilogram of body weight to prevent deficiency. It also said that you should consume 1.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight to satisfy your protein requirements. And this is where I take issue with human protein requirement studies. Using their 1.5 gram per kg of body weight formula, where I weigh 210 pounds, would mean that based on their advice, I need to consume 143 grams of protein daily to achieve my desired results to gain muscle and drop body fat. That information is as useless as throwing a potato chip underwater because of how the patient’s protein was consumed, which isn’t clear.
Consider this for a moment. Everyone understands that the human body can only absorb so many calories and nutrients in one sitting, right? And if you consume more than your body can use in that one sitting, the excess of all foodstuff will either be stored as fat or converted into energy and burned. As a 210-pound male, I can utilize about 45 grams of protein at one time. The excess will be converted to fat if I eat 100 grams of protein at one time and can only utilize 45. And that’s an inefficient use of my foodstuff if I ate my protein all at once. Let’s be clear; I cannot make a bodybuilder bigger by shoving more and more protein, fat, carbs, and calories into each meal; I can only make them bigger and leaner by adding more meals of equal proportions based on what they can absorb. And this is where these protein studies are missing an important point.
Is it possible that anyone can eat and utilize 100 grams of protein per meal? Yes, it is; however, in the case of large bodybuilders eating that much, it’s most likely that they are using compounds like anabolic steroids and insulin, which, when injected, allow a more significant amount of protein and fuel to be used and shoved into muscle. However, that doesn’t apply to the average athlete, so for the sake of this discussion, we’ll leave those exceptions out.
So the study tells me to eat 143 grams of protein per day, and I eat one meal a day, I will only absorb about 45 grams of the 143 which means my results will be minimal at best. The excess that falls over the 45 grams won’t be used, so that I won’t retain my current muscle, nor will I gain any new muscle. And if I only eat three meals a day where each meal contains 47 grams of protein, I will absorb 100% of the protein I require, but then again, my results are limited because I only ate three meals and only used a total of 143 grams of protein, which isn’t enough for a 210-pound athlete like myself. But what happens when you eat more meals? That’s the real question.
Now, consider this. If I eat the right type, quality, and amount of protein, my body can absorb and utilize 45 grams of protein at each feeding every 3 hours. And this is the issue I have with these studies. They all tell you what you can eat for a day, but they need to study what you can utilize per meal! So, since my body can absorb and assimilate 45 grams of protein per meal and I eat six correctly balanced meals with the right protein quality, I can utilize 6 X 45 grams of protein or 270 grams of protein per day! Which is way over their recommendations of 143 grams. And by doing it correctly, spreading the meals out in equal proportions where my body can utilize all the nutrients, I will be able to use 100% of all the nutrients that will feed my energy, muscle cells with no excess left over to feed a fat cell.
Just like the human body can only utilize so many grams of protein, it can only put so many grams of carbohydrates, calories, and grams of fat per meal to use. Since these studies focus only on a three-meal daily requirement, they need to study what their subjects can use per meal, and that’s where science has failed us. Keep in mind that I have over 40 years of clinical practice with thousands of body compositions to support what I’m telling you. And this explains how it’s possible that athletes and weight loss patients can eat more food and meals and get leaner and more muscular simultaneously.
So let’s be clear, if I had ingested three meals a day with only 47 grams of protein at each meal, I would have never achieved the look that I did to win the Mr. Texas. And the way my Mr. Olympia competitors get so big is because they are willing to eat 7-8 equally balanced meals every day for years.
The same principles apply even if you want to lose weight and tone up. I use the same principles for optimal health and weight loss as well; it’s just that the grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats are in different amounts, which are based on the person’s current weight, goal, and desired body weight. This also explains why five smaller, more frequent meals work for diabetic patients. By giving them the correct number of meals, amounts, quality, and balance of fuel, they utilize 100% of their foodstuff with no excess to push up blood sugar.
Copyright 1999/2023 Nutritionist S. Keith Klein IV