Protein Only Helps In Muscle Development: Myth Or Fact? Expert Reveals


Protein is an important component of muscle, skin, hair, and nails, as well as antibodies, hormones, and cellular structures. With one is not sure as to how much carbohydrate and fat one can eat, protein has emerged as the most common macronutrient. In spite of that, the protein can still be misunderstood. Most of us know that protein only helps in muscle development. Our bodies break it up into amino acids and use these amino acids for the restoration and reconstruction of the muscles. But, that is partially true, protein does more than just building muscle. Protein is one of the three primary food groups and is composed of amino acids, which serve as “building blocks” cells. These cells need protein to expand and repair themselves. There are some natural sources of adding protein to your diet. Foods such as fish, poultry, eggs, legumes and dairy products are packed with proteins and can be added to our daily diet.

How does protein help in muscle development?

Protein is the source of muscle gain. This important component is a must for all the everyday tasks and uses of your body. Despite myths and assumptions on how much protein you should or should not consume, it is crucial to match your accumulated protein with the rest of your nutritional intake. Many people rightly equate protein with muscle mass, as well as the protein and amino acids that make it up are building blocks of muscle tissue in your body. If your muscles are a building, the bricks are the protein.  

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Protein does more than just building muscle. (Photo credit: iStock)

Your body will make several of these amino acids, but nine are recognised as essential amino acids (EAAs) since they cannot be formed in the body. Instead, you need to consume EAAs from food sources such as beans, nuts and soya. A diet containing mixed amino acids can help maximise the production of muscle proteins.  

The amino acid, leucine, is responsible for many anabolic (muscle-building) processes. This is known as the “leucine trigger principle,” as appropriate amounts of leucine trigger muscle protein synthesis. Protein is particularly important in muscle building because the amino acids (protein building blocks) help to rebuild and sustain muscle tissue. After a workout, protein helps you heal from exercises because the muscles are slightly tearing during exercise.  

Simply eating more protein doesn’t mean you’re going to add muscle mass. You will need exercise and weight training, as well as a healthy and balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates. 

Also Read: 4 Homemade Protein Shakes And Salads For Building Muscles And Weight Loss


You need exercise and weight training along with a healthy balanced diet. (Photo Credit: iStock)

Here are some interesting protein-rich snack ideas that you can try:

1. Rice cake and peanut butter

The rice cake is going to give you energy, while the peanut butter is going to hold you full and provide protein. 

2. Yogurt and banana

Greek yogurt contains more protein than normal yogurt because of the way it is strained. Try this snack before your pre-workout. 

3. Anything with eggs

Eggs are great to eat at any time of the day, not just for breakfast. They contain all the vital amino acids that your body requires to get through the diet. 

Also Read: High-Protein Diet: Best Vegetarian And Non-Vegetarian Sources Of Protein 

Other essential nutrients to build muscles you must load up on:

In order to create muscle mass efficiently, you want to ensure that you have enough calories to sustain your workout, as well as the correct balance of nutrients. Here are some more nutrients that are involved in muscle building which are as follows:

1. Carbohydrates

A lot of bodybuilders see carbs as rivals, and that can be a mistake. Yes, highly processed carbs and sweets are hardly a good thing for the body. But the right carbohydrates found in whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables help to promote movement, including working muscles.  

2. Fat

Dietary fat is often undervalued by athletes. Like carbs, fats may have an undeserved bad image. Small quantities of the right fats are very important. Fatty acids are a vital structural part of every cell membrane, including muscle cells. The body relies on fat to stimulate low intensity, longer-term exercise. 

3. Calcium

It also affects muscles by controlling contractions. This involves the control of heartbeats since the heart is a blood-pumping muscle. Calcium is produced when the nerve is activated by the muscle. 

Bottom Line:

It is totally a myth. Protein is not only for muscle-bound, but it also helps keep your brain, immune system, hair healthy and helps maintain your hormones. In short, dietary protein plays the following function in terms of immune health: supports a strong immune system, helps in healing and repairing, and develops antibodies. Apart from protein, many other nutrients are also required for muscle development like calcium, Vitamin D, Zinc, Carbohydrates, Fats and Potassium etc.  

About Author: Dietitian Vidhi Chawla specialises in controlling nutritional deficiency, weight loss/gain, detoxification, paediatric nutrition, women’s issues like PMS, pre and post-natal pregnancy, menopause etc. She owns a private practice by the name of Fisico Diet Clinic in Delhi.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect.


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