The need for Protein throughout the day


So that kinda addressed a lit bit the topic of, you know, what’s an optimal amount of protein in a meal. But then the other question that I
always thought about was frequency and distribution. You know, when we talk about protein intake, we just give a daily number, okay, but protein metabolism is regulated on a meal to meal basis and most
Americans actually consume about 60-70% of their protein at one meal which is dinner. If you
think about what the normal American eats, it’s cereal for breakfast, bagel something
like that. Lunch might be a little bit more protein – a sandwich, a salad, or something
like that, but dinner really have, you know, 10-12 ounce of meat, something like that.
They’ll get 50-60 grams of protein and that will be the majority of their protein. Well,
can you make up for low protein at other parts of the day by overeating it at another time
of the day? That’s also important. That’s a question we had. Actually it’s funny. I
was writing my, I was drafting up my final experiment to Dr. Layman and in every single one of my
reviews, I had written, I had written something about protein distributor. He said, ” you
realize you talk about this through out your thesis that you’re writing” Oh, I guess I
better test it. So this is actually a graph taken directly from him. Were we thought about
the threshold response. So what if you have theoretical optimal protein distribution were
you hit the threshold in three meals vs a theoretical un-optimal protein distribution
were you are below the threshold at two meals and way above it at another one. Kind of like
how most people eat, right? So what? Would that actually make a difference? Theoretically,
we say yes, but it’s always important to test things. So we designed diet groups. Actually
one of the big criticism, I got from the comparing wheat, soy, and whey, was people said you
can’t say that its Leucine that causing this because there are other amino acids in protein.
Even though none of the other amino acids have ever been shown to do anything metabolically
for muscle protein synthesis, but that’s either here nor there. So I said okay. Let’s take
the highest quality protein source, whey and let’s distribute it based on what we know
about the threshold and see if we can make it act like a lower quality protein source
by distribution it inappropriately. OK, so we did this experiment in rats again, but
it’s actually been, I believe, Doug Patton Jones has repeated this with humans. And so we gave breakfast was twice much as. So we have an evenly distributed whey group and an unevenly
distributed whey group. Breakfast was twice as high in protein in the evenly disturbed
group and an amount we knew would hit the threshold. Okay, it would be sufficient to
start muscle protein synthesis. Where as the unevenly distributed whey group, we knew would be below
the threshold. Okay, now it’s not truly evenly distributed because dinner is still a little
heavier because they have a total, their calorie intake at their dinner was bigger overall
because we still make it kind of similar to the way people eat. They eat bigger dinners
regardless. Um, so it was a one gram protein at dinner and 70% more protein in the unevenly
distributed group, but the total for the day was the same and again same thing for leucine.
Total for the day, was the same even though it was distributed differently, okay. So what
we found was, this is after the breakfast meal. Like we thought below the threshold
for unevenly distributed whey, you get a little bit of a responds, but not much. Were as you
got the response you expected in the evenly distributed group. And then this is, remember
I talked about one of those big named initiation factor, SFK. So this is basically showing
that this makes sense. Because SFK had the same response. So we also feed these diets
for 11 weeks and then we took out muscles from the animals and weighed them to actually
see if there were differences. We, so we looked at the singling to see if the singling was
there. The singling was there and that singling we measured again at 11 weeks and it was the
exact same. Okay and then we looked at tissue weights. Significantly bigger muscles in the
animals feed evenly distributed whey vs unevenly disturbed whey. Okay. Let me back up real
quick. The interesting thing was their body composition weren’t different. Okay. Their
body fat levels weren’t different and their lean body masses weren’t different. I was
like how do you explain that difference if is no difference and what a lot of people
get hung up on lean body mass is lean body mass is all none fat tissues – skin, bone,
organs, liver, heart, all that sort of stuff. So we started looking at some of the other
organs. Well in the unevenly distributed whey groups, they actually had bigger livers vs
the evenly distributed whey. So when you change the distribution of a protein source. You
don’t necessarily change the lean body mass, but you change were those amino acids are
targeted for storage. Does that make sense? [inaudible question] Yeah, you know think
if i had to hazard a theory, one would be the liver kind of acts like a sink for extra
amino acids and maybe the thresholds are different in different tissues.Right? So the threshold
in muscle might be quiet different than the threshold in liver. So that’s why, I think,
you might see different responses. [inaudible question] Right, exactly, exactly, liver weights
were bigger. So basically showing that when we published the paper, showing there is no
difference in body composition, this is why. Because it was no difference in lean body
mass, but among the individual tissues there were differences. [inaudible question] I wish
we had, the problem was we didn’t save a lot of the other organs because this was not something
we expected and we didn’t know it until afterwards and some of the only other organs we had were
liver and kidney and kidney wasn’t different. So I wouldn’t, I don’t know if I would expect
it in other organs. I might expect it in the intestines. Like I wouldn’t be surprised if
they had all their spongy tissues were bigger. So I wouldn’t be [inaudible question]. Yeah
I mean intestine and liver get first crack at all amino acids except, you know, the branch
chains. So, what was really interesting this, the data I don’t have up here, is if you think
about it these, they were feed these diets for 11 weeks and we measured; there was 120
animals in this study and we weighed out and put together and measured all the diets three
times a day for every single animal. That was a real pain in the butt which is why were
not worried about this being repeated anytime soon because we don’t think anyone else is
that crazy to want to spend 8 hours weighing out meals, but one of the things that was
very interesting that was we showed differences in body weights and well actually this was
part of… let me go back real quick. So we actually, along with that study, repeated
this experiment over a long term. Okay so we feed these diets for 11 weeks. Totally
isocaloric and showed differences in body weights, muscle mass, and body fat levels.
Like wheat was way fatter than all other groups and whey was the leanest. Well, whey and egg
were the leanest. So its fun because a lot times it gets into a totally debate is a calorie
a calorie, right? You hear that all over the time. Well all we did was change the source
of protein and change how it was distributed and we saw differences, you know. So I think
that really points to the fact that a calorie is a calorie only in a bomb calorimeter, but
your body is not a bomb calorimeter. So finally, looking at distribution and how that’s effect by things, we’re also interested in the mechanism behind kind of how distribution is approaching
distribution is effected because so far I’ve only talked about kind of maximum response
to a meal. I’ve looked at all these responses that we’re measuring are 90 minutes after
a meal. Ok, so it’s just a snap shot of protein synthesis, but the overall amount is the area
under the curve, right? So duration is also important. If you could get protein synthesis
lasting longer that also is going to make you, you know, better for your muscle. So
there aren’t a whole lot of studies looking at duration of muscle protein synthesis which
is why my adviser told me to go look at it. So we took a meal that we knew would maximize
the rate of muscle protein synthesis. So we got some got something that was well over
the threshold and feed it to these animals. What we found was the rate of muscles synthesis
peaked at 90 minutes and went back to base line by 3 hours and I was like cool. So when
I go measure plasma leucine it will go up and come back down and be back down by three
hours. And that was exactly what I did not find. What we found was the plasma leucine
went up and stayed up and was still elevated at three hours even though muscle protein
synthesis had returned to baseline. I remember, I ran that data 3,4 times and I don’t know about
4 months after the study, Dr Layman came up to me said,”We are we with this duration thing
because it’s been awhile since you did this study.” I said “Yeah, it’s almost done. I’m
working on the data, I’m running it again.” He said,”didn’t you run that 3-4 times.” I
said, “yeah, but it’s wrong.”He said, “Why is it wrong? Is your technique bad? Are you
getting variable response? I said no, it doesn’t make any sense. He said that’s not a good
answer. He said you need to stop trying to make your data fit hypothesis and change your
hypothesis to fit your data. Probably some of the best advice I ever got in graduate
school. i think a lot of fitness professionals could actually benefit from that as well.
So we got, one of the things we thought might be happening, was maybe the initiation factors
that we talked about before 4bp1 and SFK maybe their singling starting to fall off. But that’s
not what we would out at all, we found that singling was still very reflective of plasma
luecine levels. So what you have is protein, you have synthesis falling back to baseline in the
face of elevated leucine. So even though leucine is responsible for initiating the single, it’s
not necessarily responsible for the duration of the single. Okay

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