I've decided that maybe the best way to answer this is to ask a few different question.
1) How much of my meal is actually absorbed in one sitting? I've blogged on Insulin levels playing a key part in digesting protein into the body before. This might reflect how much we can consume and absorb.
2) Does the amount of Protein (Amino Acids) Absorbed reflect on how much tissue damage is done during a workout? Proteins role is to repair any micro fibers that are torn during a workout. Thus making them bigger and stronger for the next workout. If no damage occurs, what would the effect of consuming Protein have?
3) Finally what are the downsides of consuming excessive amounts of Protein? We strive to build a stronger healthier body? Does the journey provide more dangers then the end result? I think I need to do a separate blog on the downsides of 'Cost'. Consuming more food doesn't come cheap. Body Building can hurt your bank balance just as much as your muscles. Are there ways to cheat the system and eat more for less?
How much of my meal is actually absorbed in one sitting?Well from a little investigation I think I've managed to hit the nail on the head, and answered this question... with another question! How big is our engine??
We are not all the same size, shape or build. If we want to be able to calculate how much Protein our bodies can absorb we first need to calculate how large our body mass is. This question can be attacked from another angle.
Take a deep breath because I'm about to go a long way around a question. Ready? Okay, our bodies need a certain amount of Calories a day (Energy) even without us doing any physical work (our organs and cells need energy to function as much as we do to move). Calories are a unit of energy which are produced from the consumption or Macro Nutrients (Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins). In theory if we can Calculate how much energy we need per day including any excessive work and exercise we do, we can calculate our maximum daily Protein consumption.
If we agree that we sleep for 8 hours a day, then that leaves 16 hours a day that we are awake and able to to consume food. Now if we then agree that it takes 2 - 4 hours for food to leave the stomach (depending on what type of protein based food it is. The more lean, the longer it takes for the stomach to break it down. Fish can leave the party in as little as 30 minutes. Poultry in around 2 hours and anything on four legs normally gets churned up then out, in about 4 hours). For arguments sake shall we say it takes 3 hours for protein to pass through our tummies? I highly doubt were going to be eating steak all day so it would make sense to say 3 hours as an average. Now were awake for 16 hours and we can eat every 3 hours so I make that a little over 5 meals a day. Now remember this has been based on just an average as I'm certain that nobody is going to fancy eating the same thing everyday, thus giving us room to mix our pallets up a little.
We need to calculate our daily Calorie consumption. This is easily done with the help of a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) Calculator. This will calculate how many Calories your body will need if you did nothing all day. Once you have your answer, your need to calculate how many more Calories you require for your daily routine, work, exercise, etc..
Its clear that i will need to have two meal plans. One for Training days and one for Non-Training days. Take note that as you grow and put on muscle, you will in turn weigh more. That will result in another trip to the Calorie Calculator pages from time to time.
I've calculated that for a Non-Training day for me I will require around 3000 Calories per day. If I divide that into 5 meals a day like I earlier discussed, it leaves me with 600 Calories per meal.
Now for a new piece of information. I'm going to give you the values of Calories in Macro-Nutrients per gram.
- Carbohydrate = 4 calories per gram.
- Protein = 4 calories per gram.
- Fat = 9 calories per gram.
Now I for one am not going to live off of only a supply of Protein for a diet so I need to invent a logical way to add my daily required amount of Carbohydrates and Fats to my diet. As you may already know, Carbohydrates are a great catalyst in asking you body to start producing Insulin, which in turn helps aid you body to absorb Protein. Also complex Carb's and Unsaturated Fats have a number of good qualities and should not be left out of the mix, in order to produce a healthy diet.
I have decided that for my diet and per meal I will consume a:
- Meat product
- Healthy oil (unsaturated Fat, Omega 3, etc..)
- Serving of nuts
- Serving of veg (1 of my 5 a day)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 20g = 180 Calories
- Cashew Nuts - 20g = 116.4 Calories (3.64g of Protein)
- Broccoli - 80g = 30 Calories
Grand total = 72.04g of Protein per Meal and 360.2g per day!!
For the record if the meat i had decided to eat with this meal was chicken , this is how much I would need to consume in order to reach my Maximum.
- Chicken - 298.7g = 273.6 Calories (68.4g of Protein)
Does the amount of Protein (Amino Acids) Absorbed reflect on how much tissue damage is done during a workout?
- You will consume the correct amount of your daily protein and fats, therefore limiting the speed of your recovery.
- You will consume excessive amounts of protein and fats, therefore providing your body with all the Lysine and Leucine it requires. Unfortunately more then likely also exceeding your daily Calorie input, resulting in your body to start storing body fat.