- High in protein
- A ‘complete’ protein source with all the essential amino acids
- High in Leucine – a trigger for Muscle Protein Synthesis
- Low in fat
What is protein:
Protein is a vital macronutrient for the human body. It provides a valuable energy source (4kcal per gram) and amino-acids which are used for the growth and repair of structural cells (e.g. muscles) and for the production of immune cells, enzymes and hormones.
In their most basic form, proteins are long chains of amino acids joined together. There are twenty amino-acids, nine of which are considered “essential” as they need to be obtained from the diet. The others are termed “non-essential” as the body can produce them either from scratch or by modifying other amino acids. Despite their name, they are far from “non-essential” as all amino-acids are required in varying quantities for the body to function effectively. This is why protein deficiencies can lead to serious health implications.
What foods contain protein?
Protein can be found in a wide variety of foods and in varying quantities. Examples include; meat, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts, beans and pulses. The term “a complete protein” is used to describe food sources which contain all nine essential amino acids. Typically, these include the animal products listed above. However, there are a few plant-based, complete protein sources, such as; soy and mycoprotein (Quorn). In addition, “complete protein” meals can be created using non-complete protein sources by combining foods together to form a complete amino-acid profile. Although it is not essential to eat “complete protein” food sources, it is essential that daily protein and amino acid requirements are met.
So how much do I need?
The recommended nutrient intake (RNI) for protein is set at 0.75g per kilogram of body-weight per day. To put this into context, this is equivalent to 60g of protein per day for an 80kg individual. However, this amount does not account for the demands of exercise or the specific goals of the individual. Research suggests that athletes engaging in intense exercise need to consume twice as much protein (1.4-1.8g/kgBW/d) to maintain a nitrogen balance. Again, to put this into context, this is equivalent to 112-144g of protein per day for an 80kg individual. If insufficient amounts of protein are consumed, a negative nitrogen balance (whereby an athlete loses more nitrogen than they take in) will develop, which can lead to muscle breakdown and impaired recovery. Over a period of time, this can lead to muscle wastage, injuries and illness (Kerksick et al., 2018). But to build lean muscle mass there must be an overall positive protein balance (i.e. muscle protein synthesis is greater than that of muscle protein breakdown). To achieve this, protein (nitrogen) intakes must exceed that of protein (nitrogen) lost.
What does the science say?
The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) makes the following recommendations:
- An overall daily protein intake of 1.4-2.0g/kgBW/day is sufficient for building and maintaining muscle mass in most exercising individuals.
- Higher protein intakes (2.3–3.1 g/kg fat-free mass/d) may be needed to maximize the maintenance of lean body weight in resistance trained subjects during a calorie deficit.
- Higher protein intakes (> 3.0 g protein/kg body weight/day) when combined with resistance exercise may have positive effects on body composition in resistance trained individuals (i.e. promote loss of fat mass)
- Protein doses should ideally be evenly distributed, every 3–4 h, across the day.
- Rapidly digested proteins that contain high proportions of “essential amino-acids” and adequate leucine (a specific amino acid), are most effective in stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
(Kerksick et al., 2018)
What can we take away from this?
From the above recommendations we can make several conclusions:
- If you want to build muscle, you need to eat more protein than the RDA suggests and you need easily digestible protein sources which contain a high proportion of essential amino-acids.
- When in a calorie deficit (such as when aiming to lose body weight or body fat), even more dietary protein is required to preserve lean muscle mass than the RDA suggests (2.3–3.1 g/kg fat-free mass/d).
- Protein intakes need to be spaced across the day
Meeting daily protein intakes can often be a challenge, particularly if an individual’s body weight is on the heavier side. For example, a protein requirement of 1.4-2.0g/kgBW/day is far easier to achieve for a 50kg individual (70-100g protein/day) than compared to a 90kg individual (126-180g protein per day). Achieving this is even more difficult if individuals aim to meet their protein requirements using only complete protein sources. That’s why we came up with PRO-CHU.
PRO-CHU is the first chewable protein supplement which contains all the essential amino-acids required for muscle growth and repair. They are an easy to chew, healthy, protein gummy which come in a convenient resealable pack. This allows you spread your protein intakes across the day, helping you towards your daily protein targets, whilst enjoying a tasty snack. We’ve made them using hydrolysed whey protein isolate and collagen peptides, both of which are rapidly digested and absorbed for immediate use within the body. These also contain a high proportion of leucine (an essential amino acid) which is known to directly trigger muscle protein synthesis, leading to muscle growth. By using hydrolysed (broken down) whey, we aim to remove the uncomfortable stomach issues some people have with standard whey protein, whilst still providing all the benefits. This is so nothing holds you back from achieving your goals.
So why not give them a try?
Kerksick, C. M., Wilborn, C. D., Roberts, M. D., Smith-Ryan, A., Kleiner, S. M., Jäger, R., Collins, R., Cooke, M., Davis, J. N., Galvan, E., Greenwood, M., Lowery, L. M., Wildman, R., Antonio, J. and Kreider, R. B. (2018) 'ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations', J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 15(1), pp. 38.