Debunking The ‘Protein Builds Muscles’ Myth, And What You Should Eat Instead
When you think of building strong muscles to get fit and increase your bone density, do you think about eating lots of animal protein, like beef or chicken? Over the years, the concept that lots of animal protein builds strong muscles has been perpetuated; but a large body of evidence makes it clear that this myth is just that – a myth.
In today’s post, we’re going to debunk the protein myth by looking at the ways a plant-based, pH-balanced diet builds muscles, and how it affects your bone health.
How Do Fruits And Vegetables Build Muscle?
To answer this fundamental question, we’ll take a quick look at how your body assimilates protein.You’ve probably familiar with “complete” and “incomplete” proteins, a concept that refers to the amino acids that make up the protein.
In a nutshell, complete proteins contain all the nine essential amino acids the body can’t produce and must therefore be obtained from food.
The common misconception is that to reap its health benefits, you must eat protein in its complete state. In actuality, eating a variety of foods, each containing a few amino acids, is a healthier way to get complete protein, and here’s why.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Your body takes these building blocks from any source and builds a complete protein from them. So not only do you get all the protein you need from a varied, plant-based diet, but you also get all kinds of important bone-building nutrients that you can’t get from animal proteins.
When you eat a pH-balanced diet rich in fruits in vegetables with smaller amounts of animal protein (as described in the Save Our Bones Program), your body gets plenty of muscle-building protein from the amino acids present in the plants. There are other reasons why a pH-balanced diet is a better way to build bones and muscle – let’s take a look at some of them.
1. The Power Of Alkalizing Plant Protein
While the Save Our Bones Program is not strictly vegetarian, it recognizes that animal-based protein is acidifying. Therefore, it’s not the best source for the bulk of your protein intake.
The amino acids found in plant foods are more than sufficient for meeting your protein needs, and they have the added benefit of alkalizing your pH. When foods promote an alkaline environment in the body, it sets the stage for your bones to flourish. An acidifying diet, on the other hand, which is composed mostly of meat, dairy, and processed foods (the Standard American Diet) exhausts the body’s natural buffering system and pulls alkalizing minerals from bone.
The bottom line about animal protein is, a small amount is good for bones, but a large amount has the opposite effect. This is why the 80/20 balanced diet is ideal for optimal bone health, where the 20% includes acidifying foods.
2. Foundation Supplements Contain Powerful Bone-Building Nutrients
You’ll find an abundance of Foundation Supplements in fruits and vegetables. Foundation Supplements are key bone-building nutrients described and recommended in the Save Our Bones Program, and the best place to get them is in specific foods that are rich in these supplements.
Animal proteins do contain some healthful nutrients, but the vast majority of vitamins, minerals, and other bone-nourishing supplements like calcium, boron, silicon, magnesium, and antioxidants are found in fresh fruits and vegetables. And of course, muscle-building amino acids are present in abundance as well.
3. Plant Foods Give You Energy
The carbohydrates, vitamins, fats, antioxidants, and phytonutrients in plant foods combine to give you an energy boost. Fruits and vegetables provide energy directly to your cells, thereby helping you move more easily and feel less sluggish. This is crucial for building muscle and bone through exercise and motion.
Fruits and vegetables provide the perfect combination of energy and nutrients for building strong muscles and bones.
4. Plant Foods Guard Against Overeating
Animal-based proteins are easy to eat too much of – they are not necessarily filling. But with fruits and vegetables, you’re less likely to eat too much. For one thing, plant foods contain abundant water and fiber, which contributes to feeling full sooner.
In fact, the more fruits and veggies you eat, the more of those amino acids you’re getting, so your body can make the protein it needs, and only what it needs, to build up muscle.
I find it fascinating when people assume that eating a largely plant-based diet will be “boring.” Yet they see no problem in a repetitive meat-eating diet of roasted, stewed, or grilled meats over and over. Think about it – there are only so many ways to serve a beef burger, but you can combine dozens of various beans, legumes, and vegetables to make many different types of vegetable burgers (for example).
Fruits and vegetables are incredibly varied. Avocados and apples are both fruits, for instance; but they could hardly be more different in color, taste, and texture. The number of foods and food combinations in the plant world is simply incredible.
Remember, variety is key for getting all those amino acids you need for muscle mass and bone health.
In fact, all of these points are important for building bone through strong muscles, because strong muscles are necessary for strong bones.
The Connection Between Muscle Mass And Bone Density
The relationship between these two tissue types – muscle and bone – is well established. Savers will recognize the principles of Wolff’s Law here, which states that bones respond to mechanical stimuli from gravity and muscle.
Bone is actually a very complex tissue. The skeleton’s role is primarily to provide support for the body, but it has many other roles as well. Bones provide a calcium reserve, protect vital organs, and provide attachment points for muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Because of these varied roles, bones respond to a wide range of stimuli, both genetic and environmental. In fact, bones have so much to “say”, that forensic scientists study them to determine diet, age, gender, race, and now, even weight.
More Evidence That Bones Adapt To Weight
When it comes to figuring out details about a deceased person, forensic scientists can tell a great deal from the state of the skeleton. But there has always been one area that’s been tricky to determine, and that is a person’s weight.
Now, new research allows scientists to make educated guesses about a person’s weight based on the thickness of his or her femur.
Scientists studied femur shaft and neck thickness in relation to various individuals’ weights, and they found a correlation between femur width and weight: the heavier the individual, the thicker the femoral shaft and neck.1
This makes sense in view of Wolff’s Law. You see, bone is anisotropic, which refers to the variation of bone’s mechanical properties under different directions of load.
This is not to say that you should deliberately gain weight to build bone density, because studies have shown that overweight people do not have as much bone density as they should in proportion to their muscle mass. In fact, the opposite is true. Instead, build muscle through mostly alkalizing protein and exercise. Muscle weighs more than fat anyway, and acts directly on the bone itself when you exercise.
Applying Wolff’s Law Is A Vital Part Of Building Bone
Research continues to reveal more and more ways that osteogenic loading builds bone. The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System is built on this principle, showcasing no fewer than 52 exercises that provide significant variation in the osteogenic load you apply to your bones.
The moves in Densercise™ are targeted to increase the strength of fracture-prone areas such as the femoral neck, spine, wrists, and ankles via the applied principles of Wolff’s Law. But its benefits are not relegated to these areas alone; with Densercise™ you’ll get all the full-body benefits of exercise, including building muscle.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
Densercise™ also includes an Eating Guide, so you’ll know which specific foods to eat before and after “Densercising” to build the most muscle and bone tissue.
I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment below to share your thoughts about today’s post.
Till next time,
1Agostini, Gina M. “The Effect of Weight on the Femur: A Cross-Sectional Analysis.” Journal of Forensic Sciences. 2011. 56 (2): 339 Doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2010.01648.x