Should I take protein supplements if I want to build muscle mass?
By John Hanc for Live Right Live Well
It’s true that protein can spark muscle growth. “This is what makes
protein unique,” says Douglas Kalman, Ph.D., a registered dietitian and
sports nutrition researcher at Miami Research Associates, in Florida.
“It is the only nutrient that can stimulate the creation of new
muscle.” But that doesn’t mean you have to gulp down protein shakes
morning, noon and night.
First, you need to exercise correctly and consistently. With no
training, you’ll gain no muscle -- no matter how much protein you eat.
Second, most people can get sufficient protein from their diet,
provided it contains 12 to 15 percent protein. Finally, when
you take in your protein has been shown to be just as important as how
much you take in. Ideally, for maximum muscle growth benefit, you
should have some protein an hour before or after your workout. So while
you could drink a glass of fat-free milk or open a can of tuna, many
people prefer to reach for a protein bar or a shake on their way to or
from the gym, notes Kalman. In other words, “Protein supplements are
not necessary for gaining muscle,” he says. “However, they are often
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