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Beef & chicken protein match whey for muscle mass and strength

By Stephen Daniells , 26-May-2016
Last updated on 26-May-2016 at 17:31 GMT2016-05-26T17:31:09Z

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Protein from beef and chicken sources are equally as effective as whey protein to stimulate improvements in body composition and resistance training outcomes, says a new study.

Supplementation with the BeefISO (beef protein isolate) MyoCHX (chicken protein isolate) from Essentia Protein Solutions resulted in lean body mass gains of 3.5 kg and 2.9 kg, respectively, after an eight week resistance exercise training program. Whey protein supplementation increased lean body mass by 3.3 kg, according to findings presented at the recent Vitafoods show in Geneva.

“Even though the amino acid patterns of beef, chicken and dairy proteins differ, the results of this study demonstrate that beef and chicken based protein sources provide the necessary nutrition to stimulate improvements in body composition,” reported the researchers, led by Essentia’s Dr Christopher Detzel.

“This study provides novel findings that the post-exercise consumption of high quality protein from beef or chicken-based protein supplements leads to significant improvements in body composition.”

An earlier publication of in vitro data by the company’s scientists indicated that the beef and chicken protein ingredients are quickly absorbed and efficiently activate the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) signaling pathway, which is associated with increased building muscle. (J Int Soc Sports Nutr . 2015; 12(Suppl 1): P35)

Dr Detzel told us that this is the first time the company has looked at different the effects of animal protein and a maltodextrin control.

‘Really interesting for the paleo and cross-fit crowds’

Corey Jansen, SVP – Essentia North America, told us that the data supports the potential of the beef and chicken protein for sports nutrition and general nutrition applications. “If someone is looking to do something different with their products, then our data support these ingredients as essentially equivalent to whey, but they’re also allergen and lactose-free. It could also be really interesting for companies targeting consumers from the paleo and cross-fit crowds.  

“We don’t expect these proteins to replace whey,” he added, “but there’s an opportunity for companies who don’t want whey or want to create a unique protein blend for their application.”

Jansen also sees potential for geriatric nutrition where muscle loss is a significant healthcare cost. “We think, based on these new results, there’s a benefit and an application for all consumers.”

Study details

A double-blind, parallel, placebo controlled study was performed at the University of Tampa and included 41 men and women aged between 18 and 30 undergoing an eight-week resistance exercise training regimen. The participants were randomly assigned to receive 48 grams per day (two servings) of protein from beef, chicken or whey, or maltodextrin as a control.

Results showed that all three protein groups experienced significant increases in lean body mass gains. Significant reductions in fat mass were also observed in the groups of 2.7 kg, 2.1 kg, and 1.4 kg for BeefISO, MyoCHX, and whey protein, respectively. While no significant increases were observed in the maltodextrin placebo group for lean body mass, a significant decrease in fat mass was recorded (2.3 kg).

The researchers also conducted a second phase of the study to examine the effect of a single-dose (24 g) on postprandial amino acid responses. The results of this study showed that the plasma amino acid increases reflected the pattern of amino acids in the protein sources. The BeefISO ingredient offers 18.1 grams of essential amino acids (EAAs) per 100 grams, and 8.0 grams of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). The leucine content is about 4%. The MyoCHX ingredient offers 34.9 grams of EAAs per 100 grams, and 14.7 grams of BCAAs. The leucine content is about 6.6%. Whey is about 37.2 grams of EAAs per 100 grams and 17.7 grams of BCAAs, with a leucine content of about 8%.

“Choice of protein source did not significantly impact resistance training outcomes and this data indicates that unique digestibility characteristics may offer benefits to protein supplements beyond amino acid content which should be considered when choosing a post-workout protein,” they concluded.

Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
2015, Volume 12 (Suppl 1): P11, doi:  10.1186/1550-2783-12-S1-P11
“The effects of beef protein isolate and whey protein isolate supplementation on lean mass and strength in resistance trained individuals - a double blind, placebo controlled study”
Authors: M. Sharp, et al.

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