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Beef protein: anabolic underdog?

Whey protein supplementation is considered a top contender when in comes to improving resistance training outcomes. Can a protein supplement derived from beef compete?

Study under review: Carbohydrates Alone or Mixing With Beef or Whey Protein Promote Similar Training Outcomes in Resistance Training Males: A Double Blind, Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.

Introduction

When it comes to protein powder, whey protein is one of the most popular. With its high bioavailability[1], solubility, and relatively high content of essential amino acids (including a healthy dose of of branched-chain amino acids), it is an ideal protein source to trigger and sustain muscle protein synthesis. Like whey, beef protein shares these characteristics, but has received much less research attention than its dairy-based brother. A quick PubMed search yields only 60 studies on beef proteinPMID: 0, with a only a small percentage of those involving humans.

The research that has been conducted with beef protein, most commonly available in a powdered-hydrolyzed form, has been promising. The consumption of 30 grams of protein from minced beef has been reported[2] to increase muscle protein synthesis to a similar extent as 30 grams of protein from non-fat milk over five hours, although the skim milk resulted in significantly higher levels during the first two hours. Another study that compared the effects of whey, beef, or chicken protein supplements[3] on lean mass, fat mass, and one repetition maximum (1RM) found no significant difference between the protein supplements.

However, there have been few head-to-head trials of beef and whey protein to determine which, if either, has an ergogenic edge. The present study adds to the small body of evidence on this topic by comparing hydrolyzed beef protein to whey isolate and a non-protein carbohydrate control (maltodextrin) in healthy, active males.

Beef protein shares many of the desirable qualities of whey protein: high bioavailability, BCAA concentrations, and solubility (when hydrolyzed). However, few studies have tested the ergogenic potential of beef protein. The trial under review pits beef against whey protein to determine if one has an ergogenic advantage over the other.

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Other Articles in Issue #34 (August 2017)