Straight Facts: Debunking The Biggest Protein Myths For Building Muscle

Jerry Brainum debunks the biggest myths in bodybuilding regarding protein

Protein is an essential macronutrient and the foundation of repairing muscle tissue in bodybuilding. It’s the most basic knowledge an aspiring bodybuilder learns upon taking up weight training. However, despite this foundational knowledge, over time there have been many myths that unnecessarily complicate things when it comes to determining the correct diet for your bodybuilding needs. In our latest episode of Straight Facts, Jerry Brainum highlights the biggest protein myths prevailing in fitness today – and debunks them once and for all.

As with all things involving diet and fitness, things have become let’s say… complicated needlessly. Fitness and diet culture is a big ticket item for businesses. Sadly, there are many diet plans and business models aimed to prey on those looking for ways to lose weight or gain muscle with bogus concepts or information. That’s why Jerry Brainum breaks down the biggest myths and uses researched studies and science to clear the air.

You can watch his full video episode above. But et’s also recap the biggest protein myths below.

MYTH: Protein destroys your kidneys

Jerry Brainum explains that this misconception was based on a study done into kidney failure and protein intake. But the issue with the study is the fact that the test subjects were people who already had existing kidney failure (to the point where they are already on dialysis).

So yes, if you have kidney issues already, you need to be careful about protein intake. But Jerry Brainum warns that it’s a mistake to expand this out to the larger public. Kidney problems that have contributed to health dangers or death is less likely due to protein intake but drug use by bodybuilders.

MYTH: Protein causes a loss of calcium which leads to the loss of bone mass such as osteoporosis

Protein does have acids that are sulfur based. This is a fact that then led to the idea that high protein diets would cause calcium loss in bones. Jerry Brainum discusses a study that was done using pure protein. The results showed that, indeed, the pure protein led to a loss of calcium.

However, protein sources from food are never pure protein alone. In fact, even protein supplements are not pure protein. For example, most protein-based foods contain a mineral such as phosphate. Studies show that as long as phosphate is present, protein will not cause issue with calcium levels.

MYTH: Protein Makes You Fat

Eating too much protein does not need lead to weight gain. This was discussed in our previous episode of Straight Facts as well which explored weight loss myths. Jerry Brainum explains that the reasoning behind the myth is that protein contains calories. Basic knowledge tells us that too many calories will lead to weight gain. However, protein is oxidized in the liver when in excess. This is not converted into fat. While food that contains protein can have other nutrients that contribute to weight gain – protein itself will not increase fat.

MYTH: Protein Timing Windows

It was long thought that there was a “anabolic window” after training in the gym. This window would be vital to utilizing protein for optimal muscle mass growth. Typically, this window was consider to be 2 hours after a workout. However, studies have shown that protein synthesis actually peaks in 24-48 hours after workout. So forcing your protein intake right after a workout is rarely necessary.

Jerry Brainum does note that there is one exception. Some studies show that the more advanced you are, it would be a good idea to ingest protein within an hour after a workout. It’s slightly beneficial but nothing game changing.

MYTH: You Can’t Get Enough Protein On A Vegan Diet

Jerry Brainum calls BS on this notion. He believes that it is possible to get enough protein on a vegan diet… but it does take a lot more work. Essential amino acids are less complete in a vegan diet and would require additional supplementation and make sure you are eating the right kind of foods within the vegan wheelhouse. Additionally, vegan foods are often fibrous and can make you feel more full – making it harder to eat the amount of food necessary to get the protein you need.

MYTH: The More Protein You Eat The Bigger You Get

Jerry Brainum explains that more protein does not equal exponential increased gains. Of course eating the right amount of protein is important. This may require upping your protein intake as a bodybuilder. However, as was mentioned earlier, excess protein is oxidized by the liver. So it no longer contributes to help with muscle mass growth after a certain point. It won’t make you fat but it also won’t make you stronger/grow muscle mass.

MYTH: Everyone Needs A Protein Supplement

Jerry Brainum discusses how it’s a good idea for vegan bodybuilders to use protein supplements. But most people can get all of the protein they need on a regular diet easily. Supplements are convenient but not necessary for bodybuilding success if you can naturally eat enough food and enjoy doing so. You will not fail as a bodybuilder if you don’t use protein supplements.

However, if you find them to be more convenient for your lifestyle in order to achieve success, then they are an extremely helpful alternative. Just not 100% necessary.

Wrap up

The internet has made information far easier to obtain. Unfortunately, it has also made misinformation far faster and easier to spread. That’s why Jerry Brainum used this episode to focus on debunking the biggest myths he has seen discussed online. He does note, however, that the very nature of science is to know as much as we can right now. Things may change – and some beliefs can be proven false or true later with new studies or technology available.

Many of the myths on this list were once seen as fact by the scientific community. This doesn’t mean science is untrustworthy. It simply means to have an open mind and do constant research as time passes.

You can watch Jerry Brainum go into full detail in our latest episode of Straight Facts above. Make sure to also swing by every Wednesday for new episodes each week!

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.