Double Up Your Beef to Beef Up Your Muscles: The Dinner Trick for Stronger Biceps

Dietitians have been urging us to reduce our portion sizes of certain foods, but recent research reveals that we actually need more of these foods to support healthy muscle tissue. A study conducted by the Exercise Metabolism Research Group at McMaster University shows that recommendations for meat (and protein) consumption need to be increased.

What the study reveals

The researchers tested a group of 35 men (average age 59), determining the optimal quantity of beef needed for muscle protein synthesis (MPS). MPS is a process essential for the body’s ongoing growth, repair, and maintenance of skeletal muscle. While dietitians have recommended 3-ounces of meat per meal to support muscle growth, this study shows that older men actually need 6-ounces.

To give an idea of what this looks like, 3-ounces of beef is about the same size as a deck of cards and 6-ounces is the same size as two decks of cards.

Shrinkage factor

It’s important to consider shrinkage when cooking, as cooked meat shrinks 25% on average. For example, an 8-ounce beef patty will likely be closer to a 6-ounce patty once cooked. The most accurate way to measure food portion sizes is by using a food scale.

Researcher Stuart Phillips states, “…our work shows that the quantity of beef needed to maximize the renewal of new muscle proteins was at least 6oz in middle-aged men. Our findings have clear ramifications for the current recommendations regarding protein to prevent muscle loss in aging.”

Protein needs vary by individual

While it’s important to be aware of these general guidelines, it’s also crucial to understand that protein needs can vary by individual. Factors such as age, weight, activity level, and metabolic rate can all influence the amount of protein a person may need. Consulting with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can help individualize your protein needs.

Protein benefits beyond muscle health

Aside from muscle health, protein plays an essential role in overall health. Protein is a macronutrient that is essential for building and repairing tissue, as well as a critical component of enzymes, hormones, and cell membranes. A diet rich in protein may also promote:

  • Better immune function: Protein helps maintain a healthy immune system by supporting the production of antibodies.
  • Increased satiety: Higher protein intake may help control appetite and reduce overall calorie consumption.
  • Improved bone health: Adequate protein intake can help maintain bone density and reduce the risk of fractures as you age.
  • Better weight management: Regular consumption of protein-rich foods has been linked to better weight management and reduced body fat.

Quality matters

The quality of the protein you choose is also essential. Opt for lean cuts of meat, such as chicken, turkey, and fish, as well as dairy products like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and cheese. Plant-based sources of protein include beans, lentils, quinoa, and soy products.

In conclusion, it’s time to rethink the guidelines for protein intake. The research conducted at McMaster University suggests increasing protein portions, particularly for older individuals, to ensure optimal muscle growth and overall health. Consult with a nutrition professional to determine the right proteins and portions for you. By understanding your individual needs and incorporating more high-quality protein into your daily diet, you can help build muscle and maintain good health.