Friday, July 29, 2011

Protein, Recovery, Training

When it comes to exercise/training and recovery, we've been programmed to think that we have to load up with protein or a protein smoothie after a workout and make sure we get the amount that 'they' recommend due to the higher demands of training.  Actually, carbs right after a workout are more important for immediate replenishment as that is what fueled the workout do begin with.  Of course muscles to the work, and protein helps rebuild them so don't get me wrong, protein is a necessary nutrient.  However, after the carbs, after you get some calories back in you, it is important to get protein.  When the average person thinks of protein foods they think meat. When the average person thinks of protein smoothies, they think of adding a scoop of 'whey' protein to the blender.  When it comes down to it, meat, whey, and don't forget dairy, are actually detrimental to recovery and training.  All three are highly processed, HIGHLY acidic foods.  I am no scientific genius, but to put it in simple terms your body tries to balance its pH levels. Those levels are affected by acidic and alkaline foods. The more alkaline the food, the less work your body has to do to digest and get the nutrients out of it.  The more acidic, the more your body has to do to get the nutrients. Often times because you are eating a processed food (ie: meat, dairy) the nutrients have been destroyed before you even get it.  The work your body goes thru to try to extract what little nutrients remain in the processed food (vitamins, protein, etc) is almost as demanding on your body as the workout itself, but in an obviously different way.  Raw foods are the best as they are, by natural design, equipt with natural enzymes that facilitate digestion.  Meat does not have that design and is made even worse when cooked, but very few eat raw meat. I wonder if that is actually good for you and less acidic??   Cooked meat is a poor form of digestible protein.  Whey protein is a highly processed by-product of milk.  Non meat processed alternatives aren't much better--like processed soy protein powder.  Getting protein from the true source, plants, including grains and nuts, is the best place to get it.  Think about it--the animals that we usually eat are vegetarian and they get their protein from plants (grass, hay, seed, etc).  For protein supplements in a smoothie, the most bio-available is hemp protein, but a discussion on hemp is a whole other topic (and argument). There is this article I found (link below) while trying to find out how in the world "they" ever figured out how much protein we need in general.  I knew it long ago that it was based on a flawed study so I wanted to find it--the article below mentions the study, but I don't think it provides a link to it.   For those of you that train according to heart rate, think of the 220 - AGE theory that was truth for a while (and still is for some).  That was a theory that snowballed that I think was based on some calculation on fetal heart rates times some number times the square root of...blah, blah.  Its ok to start with, but is actually not a very reliable way to train if you want to improve your condition.  Our  knowledge on protein is also flawed as there is not much out there that really supports that we need the amount "they" recommend.  BUT there's profit involved in getting us to consume more.  I believe companies SHOULD profit as much as they can.  They create new jobs that way, open more locations, etc. However, they shouldn't do it by misleading their buyers (ie: dairy commercials that tell us how much calcium and protein we need to get and that its a good way to lose weight, prevent disease, etc--all BUNK).  Anyway,  I did some searching and found some good articles.  The link at the end is a great one that will provide you with a ton of info and it sites its sources which for me makes it a bit more credible.

Here's a section from the article--the link to the whole thing follows:

"True, we need protein to replace enzymes, rebuild blood cells, grow hair, produce antibodies, and to fulfill certain other specific tasks... (But) study after study has found that protein combustion is no higher during exercise than under resting conditions. This is why (vegetarian) Dave Scott can set world records for the triathlon without consuming lots of protein. And why Sixto Linares can swim 4.8 miles, cycle 185 miles, and run 52.4 miles in a single day without meat, dairy products, eggs, or any kind of protein supplement in his diet. The popular idea that we need extra protein if we are working hard turns out to be simply another part of the whole mythology of protein, the 'beef gives us strength' conditioning foisted upon us by those who profit from our meat habit."  FULL ARTICLE

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