050. Protein, Potency, Powders and Politics – The World Of Muscle

050. Protein, Potency, Powders and Politics

The Body’s Builder: Protein

It’s been touted the most important macronutrient in bodybuilding magazines since the 1950s.

Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

You’ll discover the history of protein, along with its building blocks, amino acids as well as its functions.


The World of Muscle
Link: www.theworldofmuscle.com

Hosts: Tamas Acs and Randy Roach

Episode #50
Protein Potency, Powders and Politics

In This Episode:

Functions of protein

The building blocks of protein: amino acids

The 20 standard amino acids

The nine essential amino acids

The six conditionally essential amino acids

The five non essential amino acids

Complete proteins

In complete proteins

Soy protein

Recommended protein intake

Episode Summary and Updating

Randy started their 50th show by wishing Tamas a happy birthday

The subject of the day was the macronutrient, protein

Protein is and has been the buzzword of the bodybuilding industry since the 1950s

When people hear the word proetein they immediately think about how much they are eating

Proteins are not simply a food source, they are prominent in our bodies as structure, carriers, receptors and catalysts

Collagen is an example of a structural or fibrous protein, enzymes are globular proteins and receptors are examples of membrane proteins

Nex to water, protein is the next most abundant compound in the body

Proteins differ from each other based on the sequencing of their building blocks, amino acids

There are roughly 500 amino acids known with the 20 standard amino acids encoded in our DNA

The 20 standard amino acids are referred to as proteinogenic for building and they are found in our human and plant biology

All proteins that are manufactured in the body have their amino acid sequencing in our DNA

These protein building instructions are transferred from the DNA via RNA out of the cell nucleus to what are called ribosomes in the cell’s cytoplasm where the proteins are assembled based on DNA/RNA instruction

With the 20 standard amino acids Human cells can encode 20,000 proteins

Of the 20 standard amino acids, eight are considered essential because the body cannot produce them

The body has instructions in the DNA as how to use them but cannot produce these eight amino acids

Randy said he used the acronym TV TILL PM over the years to remember the eight essential amino acids




Histidine is often considered an essential amino acid under certain compromised conditions in the body

Similar, six other amino acids are considered conditionally essential in the human diet, meaning their production can be limited under special conditions, such as prematurity in the infant or individuals in severe catabolic distress


The remaining five amino acids can be synthesized in the body at all times

aspartic acid
glutamic acid

Like fats and carbohydrates, amino acids are made of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen, but also proteins contain nitrogen

Isoleucine, leucine and valine are the three branch-chain amino acids and contain an extra , nitrogen atom

Methionine and cysteine are known as the sulfur containing aminos as they have a sulfur containing side group

Amino acids link together to form dipeptides (two), tripeptides (three) and polypeptides (many)

When poly peptides expand over 20 amino acids and begin forming additional branches of amino acids the compound then becomes a protein

The side groups and chains Which usually results in the protein folding into a specific three dimensional structure will determine its function .

Human cells can contain up to one or even three billion proteins

The nine essential amino acids that the body cannot synthesize must be supplied by food and the foods that contain these nine essential aminos are called complete proteins

Animal products such as milk, eggs and meat are the primary complete proteins

The vegetable kingdom does contain much or all of the amino acids but one or more of the essential eight are usually in very low amounts, thus these foods are typically referred to as incomplete proteins

Lysine, methionine, and threonine are the amino acids usually lacking in vegetable and legume foods

Many cultures around the world have come to mix their incomplete proteins so that all essential amino acids are in good quantities

Soy beans are low in methionine so they are typically combined with rice or corn:

Beans and corn
soybeans and rice
or red beans and rice

Randy said he was up on these combinations from his vegetarian days back in the mid to late 1980s

It is also believed that the combined foods did not have to be eaten at the same meal

Tamas added that the difference between getting the essential aminos from animal products and combining vegetable sources is that the latter method brings a much higher intake of carbohydrates

There have been a number of protein scorring methods through the years such as:

biological value
net protein utilization
protein efficiency ratio
protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score
complete proteins concept.

Randy mentioned that in Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors, Volume I he wrote on protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAA) which he said should have been called, Politicians Did correct the amino acid score because milk and eggs were capped so that soy was scored almost as high

As mentioned, Soy is lacking in the essential amino acid methionine

Soy also contains amino acid inhibitors

When protein is eaten, digestion begins in the stomach withHCL (hydrochloric acid) and pepsinogen which is converted to pepsin that stargs to break down the protein into polypeptides

The digestion then continues in the duodenum (first part of small intestine) where the peptides are broken down further to smaller peptides and amino acids by the enzyme trypsin

Soy contains compounds that block trypsin from digesting further the protein

Soy also contains mineral binders (phytates) that interfere with the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc

These amino acid inhibitors and mineral binders in soy are called anti-nutrients

In order to neutralize these anti-nutrients soy must undergo a significant amount of processing thus compromising the protein

Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig, in their 1995 article on Soy, wrote on its history and place in culture:

“Soybeans come to us from the Orient. During the Chou Dynasty (1134 – 246 BC) the soybean was designated one of the five sacred grains, along with barley, wheat, millet and rice. However, the pictograph for the soybean, which dates from earlier times, indicates that it was not first used as a food; for whereas the pictographs for the other four grains show the seed and stem structure of the plant, the pictograph for the soybean emphasizes the root structure. Agricultural literature of the period speaks frequently of the soybean and its use in crop rotation. Apparently the soy plant was initially used as a method of fixing nitrogen.3 soybean did not serve as a food until the discovery of fermentation techniques, sometime during the Chou Dynasty. Thus the first soy foods were fermented products like tempeh, natto, miso and shoyu (soy or tamari sauce). At a later date, possibly in the 2nd century B.C., Chinese scientists discovered that a puree of cooked soybeans could be precipitated with calcium sulfate or magnesium sulfate (plaster of Paris or Epsom salts) to make a smooth pale curd – tofu or bean curd.”

For the first 50 years of 20th century western culture, soy was primarily an industrial product used for its oil for paints and grease with the remaining meal buried into the soil

Industry began feeding the meal to livestock then it quickly made its way into the human diet

Soy and all other beans are a tougher digest compared to animal products

Tamas noted that many female clients and friends don’t like to eat protein and many are
lethargic and anemic

He noted how those who began eating more protein, saw their fat begin to melt away

Randy inserted how that was the case for him back in the mid 1990s when he switched to a higher animal protein and fat based diet and watched his body fat drop rapidly

Randy also had the same experience as Tamas when Randy worked as a computer programmer and would often talk about nutrition with his female coworkers who Randy said ate at times up to a 90% carbohydrate diet

Randy also added that when eating this way for many years, plus taking antibiotics, it can really screw up the intestinal ecosystem making protein digestion more difficult

Tamas would often recommend some supplemental digestive enzymes when protein digestion was difficult

Randy stated that raw meat breaks down quite easily but knows that most will not go that route

The conversation turned to protein quantities

Randy spoke on how Bob Hoffman (owner of York Barbell and Olympic weightlifting coach) drew from the 1921 League of Nation’s protein recommendations for his own 1939 publication, Better Nutrition

The League of Nations was suggesting 0.45 g per lb of bodyweight at that time

This was more conservative than the popular 1 g per lb of bodyweight practiced for many later decades in bodybuilding

The US FDA recommends 50 g per 2000 calories which workds out to only 10% of the diet

A bodybuilder eating a4000 calorie diet would be consuming 100 g of protein which Randy stated was a decent amount but still considered low in bodybuilding

Tamas also added that an important factor is how much of the consumed protein is actually being absorbed for muscle building

Randy said that through the years preceding the 1950s protein was not touted nearly as much as in later years

Again, in Bob Hoffman’s 1939, Better Nutrition, he really did not spout off anything excessive about specialized protein diets

He did have a chapter titled “What Strong Men Eat,” which simply divulged the tremendous appetites of many of the athletes Hoffman knew or read about

These strongmen certainly ate their share of protein and fats but no supplements were around at that time so there was no hyperbole on that subject

When Irvin Johnson introduced protein powder in the very early 1950s and Hoffman saw the financial potential of this new supplement, he released his second version of “Better Nutrition” in 1953 which suddenly had five new chapters touting:

A High Protein Diet May Perform Miracles for You
The High Protein Method of Bodybuilding
The High Protein Method of Reducing
Proteins – The Builders and Repairers
Why a High Protein Diet is More Desirable

Although Irvin Johnson’s first commercial protein powder was soy based he quickly changed to a milk and egg product within a few years, but Bob Hoffman owned land that grew soy so Bob was more committed to soy protein

Randy recalled his many conversations with those old enough to have used Hoffman’s products and how much gas they produced

Even Bob in an article commented on the fact that his soy protein could make you “windy”

Randy reiterated the difficulty for many to digest the oligosaccharides in soy

Randy stated that he felt that it was the actual financial boon that catapulted protein within the bodybuilding industry

Again however, men such as John Grimek and others of that early era did at times eat a lot of naturally occurring protein foods such as meat, milk and eggs

Irvin Johnson (Rheo H. Blair by the 1960s) promoted milk and eggs as the builder foods

Don Howorth, while training for his 1967 Mr. America title, did use Irvin Johnson’s (then going by Rheo H. Blair) protein poweder on top of two pounds of meat, three dozen eggs and a quart of raw cream

Randy feels that Don obviously did not need the powder

Raw food specialist, Aajonus Vonderplantiz believed that raw meat was the superior muscle building food

Randy stated that high protein diets had been targeted as being harmful to the kidneys but he did not believe it held any threat to a healthy individual

Tamas piped in that the claim had been debunked

Randy then added what he has stated for many years that he believes that protein powders do carry a threat to good health when consumed for long periods of time

Tamas and Randy both spoke on disadvantages of eating too much protein as it can and will be broken down and used for fuel under the right conditions

Amino acids can be broken into three carbon units that can be used to build glucose when carbohydrates are low

Only the three carbon backbone glycerol of a triglyceride can be used to build glucose in a pinch

So eating a lot of protein on a lower calorie diet can be an expensive way to fuel the muscles

They also debunked the decades old claim that the body could only digest and assimilate 20 to 30 grams of protein at one sitting

That notion lent heavily to the multiple meal per day approach which called for a lot of protein powders

Randy mentioned the cultures that violated this rule when they ate two primary meals per day

He also mentioned the Masai of Africa who consumed large quantities of raw milk and meat daily

The eskimo often ate up to four pounds of meat and/or fish daily

Randy brought up one more point on the digestion of proteins

It is believed in some parts of the alternative medical field that like proteins nourish like proteins such as eating liver will benefit one’s own liver

Proteins are not necessarily all broken down into their amino acid building blokcs during digestion

Many free form amino acids are in fact released during digestion but many various length peptides and polypeptides pass through the intestinal wall and may perhaps be destined for target tissues

Randy and Tamas concluded that if one does not work out then large amounts of protein are not required, but Randy said he has seen what higher quantities can do in bodybuilding

Protein intake is an individual thing as body types vary significantly

People need to become familiar with their bodies and determine for themselves what is best in terms of how much protein


Randy told Tamas that he is working on the ultimate supinated (underhanded) pulldown bar for biceps and will show pics when finished

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