Protein: which source is best for healthy living, hypertrophy & testosterone

Protein is one of the most important macro-nutrients for someone who is wanting to build muscle optimally.

 

It’s advised for a weightlifter to consume between 1.8-3.1 g/kg of lean body mass of protein per day (20-30%). (study, studystudy, study)

But if you’re a person who just goes for a walk every now and then or ride a little bike, play a bit of golf or tennis, it’s really just unnecessary to eat as much protein. It’s then rather advised to eat about 0.8g/kg of bodyweight. But of course there’s nothing wrong with eating more than that.

 

Distinction Needed:

Low protein:

  • might struggle with gaining muscle, or retaining muscle while in caloric deficit
  • low vitamin B12 and zinc
  • lowers rate of calcium absorption, reduced bone density and increases rates of bone loss (study)
  • lower satiety
  • lower ammonia levels

High protein:

 

Animal vs Plant Based Protein

Animal Protein

Meat, dairy and eggs are the best sources that have a complete protein amino acid profile, and which are the most bio-available. Plant protein however has one or more amino acids missing or low concemtrations (study), spesifically methionine, lysine and leucine.

Protein produces hormones, enzymes and hemoglobin, but more so with animal protein (study)

  • Animal protein is the most digestible and absorbable
  • Your body utilizes 94% of the protein of eggs, 82% of dairy and 73% of  beef and only 60% and less of plant based proteins. Plant based protein are highly digestable, but lacks amino acids so the PDCAAS score isn’t as good.
  • Animal protein’s micro-nutrients are also the most bio-available (study), specially iron, zinc and calcium.
  • The increase in muscle protein synthesis is greater from animal sources than from plant sources, unless plant sources are combined to form the same amino acid profile as animal sources.
  • There is no metabolic acidosis if a well balance healthy diet is followed with animal protein (study)
  • Beef contains anti-inflammatory long chain (LC) n-3 PUFAs and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (study)
  • Animal source protein contains no anti-nutrients like plant protein does
  • Plant based protein however, lowers testosterone more than animal based proteins
  • Plant sources have phytochemicals, lots of antioxidants and other nutrients not available in meat.

So with all that in mind, I would personally have to conclude that animal protein is the best for me.

 

So from all the animal based sources (beef inc. dairy, lamb, poultry inc. eggs etc)…

Which would be the best?

Highest protein bioavailibilty: Eggs

Complete protein: All animal sources including a few plant sources such as quinoa, hemp & chia seeds, nuts, amaranth.

Most micro-nutrients: Beef liver

Least fat: Egg white, chicken breast, rump, sirloin

Best creatine source: Beef, chicken & some fish.

Best L-carnitine source: Red meat

 

Nutrients
animal-protein

Red meat is really high in the minerals and vitamins that you need for health and testosterone production.

Here I compared beef liver, beef rump, chicken fillet, egg, milk and soy protein to compare the nutrients. 100g of each. The % shows how much minerals or vitamins each piece has of your total daily value.

 

nutri

The micro-nutrients in red meat don’t degrade or diminish during an adequate cooking process, unlike the cooking of vegetables and fruits, where leeching and degeneration of micro-nutrients take place.

One of the easiest ways to get most of your vitamins in everyday is just by eating 100g of beef liver.

Something you need to be on the lookout for is…

Organic vs In-Organic

Farmers’ cattle, pigs sheep, chickens and fish can be ‘grass-fed’ or ‘free range’, but that doesn’t mean they don’t fill them with all kinds of chemicals that would be harmful to your health.

Farmers use hormonal and antimicrobial growth promoters for their cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens and fish to make them grow faster, bigger and fatter. Those growth factors have adverse side effects on your health if you eat these commercial meats for an extended period of time. (study)

But not only so with animal sources, farmers also use harmful fertilizers and pesticides on their plants (vegetables and fruit trees) which is also very harmful for your health.

These inorganic substances are:

 

 

Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed

It’s also the best idea to get grass fed beef.

It has:

  • lower fat content than grain-fed beef products
  • higher vitamin A content
  • improved fatty acids (FA) composition and antioxidant content
  • more enhanced total conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
  • almost double the omega-3 (n-3) FAs content than grain fed beef (study)
  • little to no cholesterol elevating fats and higher proportion of cholesterol neutral stearic fatty acid
  • elevated precursors for Vitamin A and E, as well as cancer fighting antioxidants such as glutathione (GT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) (study) related to the 1.5–10 times increase in adipose B-carotene deposition. (study)

 

Conclusion

Some people focus completely on getting maximal high testosterone, and one of the things would be to eat low protein. As low protein will increase your testosterone, while hypertrophy will suffer.

There is a difference between eating for maximal testosterone and maximal hypertrophy. I prefer to eat for the greatest hypertrophy while my testosterone is still highly optimal.

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