Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Protein = Muscle?


Myth 28: Eating a lot of protein helps build muscle.

What Dietitians of Canada says:

“Protein alone does not build muscle mass… Sure, you need protein, but overdoing it adds extra calories and won’t build bigger muscles. While most people get enough protein from their daily diet, strength-training athletes, like bodybuilders, might benefit from more protein, especially in post-workout snacks. But even that extra amount of protein can be met by simply choosing protein-rich foods from Canada’s Food Guide, such as lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, lower-fat milk and alternatives, and legumes.”

What I say:
This is one myth that drives me nuts and while DC has it right they’re also missing a few key point. Yes, you need protein to build muscle. However, eating more protein doesn’t translate into increased muscle mass. If you consume more protein (or more of any macronutrient) than you need your body will just store the excess calories as body fat. Some professional athletes, vegetarians, and vegans may also need extra protein as plant sources of protein are not as easily absorbed as animal sources. The average individual only needs about 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day. Consuming protein through isolated amino acid supplements is not a good idea as you may end up displacing other essential amino acids. Extra calories are extra calories and chugging protein shakes is not going to help you in your quest to build muscle. The only thing protein supplements are sure to build are the bank accounts of the businesses making and selling them.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

4 thoughts on “Protein = Muscle?

  1. Amen! I made a very similar argument on my Facebook page (check it out):

    Keep up the myth busting Diana!


  2. This frustrates me too. I think a lot of people (including personal trainers) look at the amount of protein they need in a day and equate that to the amount of meat and supplemental protein they should eat, not realizing that most other foods contribute protein to the diet (grains, vegetables, milk etc.).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: