Sometimes, little things can make a big difference. Today's topic is a perfect example.
Savers know that strong muscles are crucial for healthy bones, and that muscle tissue is made of protein. So what else is new? A breakthrough study has shown that the timing of protein consumption matters tremendously in order to reap its maximum muscle-building benefits to increase bone density (and it's not about a post-workout protein shake).
Today you’ll get all the details including how to apply this scientifically proven timing strategy within the parameters of the 80/20 pH-balanced diet. In addition, I'm sure you'll love my handy pH-balanced recipe for a versatile, protein-rich spread that’s delicious any time of the day.
So let’s take a closer look at the fascinating topic of how muscles, bones, and protein all work together to defeat osteoporosis.
Brand New Study Proves Timing Is Everything When It Comes To Protein And Muscle Health
If you’re on the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, you are familiar with Wolff’s Law and how it factors into building bone density through muscle-strengthening exercise. The basic tenet is, the force of gravity and muscle on bone stimulates bone growth.
Clearly, for this strategy to be effective, you need to build strong muscles. What researchers at the University of Texas discovered is that the typical American diet, which emphasizes carbohydrates at breakfast and heavy protein at dinner, is not optimal for promoting muscle growth.
According to study leader Doug Paddon-Jones, “You don't have to eat massive amounts of protein to maximize muscle synthesis, you just have to be a little more thoughtful with how you apportion it.”1 Study participants were given 90 grams of protein as part of their daily diet. One group ate approximately 30 grams for each meal; the other group consumed 10 grams of protein at breakfast, 15 at lunch, and 65 at dinner.
Participants who ate the same amount of protein at each meal showed a 25% greater protein synthesis over a 24-hour period than those who ate the majority of their protein at dinner. In other words, when protein intake was spread evenly through the day, more of the protein went to making muscle.1
This is vital information for improving bone density, because…
Strong Muscles Build Strong Bones
According to a recent study, “…muscle function is critical for the successful development of the skeleton and is likely to play an important role in mediating bone health through life.”2 This brings up an important point: the role of aging in muscle and bone deterioration.
As we age, our muscle mass decreases by about 10 percent between the ages of 25 and 50. After that, muscles shrink even more – by 45% between the age of 50 and 80. That begs the question,
Are Shrinking Muscles An Inevitable Part Of Aging?
To answer this question, we need to look at why, exactly, muscles deteriorate with age.
According to innovative new research from Sweden, after the age of 50 (when the most dramatic muscle loss occurs), motor nerve cells in the spinal cord begin to deteriorate. These nerve cells are responsible for signaling muscle fibers to contract when you’re engaging in physical activity, so when the nerves degenerate, so does the connection between them and your muscles.3
Without this connection to the motor nerve cells, the muscle cells begin to die off.3 The good news is, this degenerative process can be stopped and even reversed through simple changes in diet and lifestyle.
What You Can Do To Halt Muscle Deterioration
A study from the East Tennessee State University has shown that aerobic exercise combined with strength training is superior to aerobic exercise alone for increasing bone density.4 Half of the 43 participants – all of whom were aged 55 or older – exercised 3 times a week for 30 minutes. One group did aerobics only for the whole 30 minutes, while the other group did 15 minutes of aerobics and 15 minutes of strength training (using weights).
After 4 months, the participants who engaged in strength training as part of their routine experienced an increase in both bone density and lean muscle mass.4
So the answer to the above question – are shrinking muscles an inevitable part of aging – is a definite “no.” This is wonderful news!
Putting It All Together – Exercise And Protein Intake For Proper Muscle Synthesis
Proteins are made of a combination of amino acids. There are only 20 amino acids available, but they can be combined in a nearly infinite number of sequences…that is, if your body has access to them. Additionally, for your body to make use of the protein to build muscle, it needs to be bioavailable. This is where variety of diet, type of protein, and timing of protein intake come into play.
Consuming more than one type of protein is important for providing your body with enough amino acids. Choosing proteins that are digestible and bioavailable is equally important to prevent inflammation caused by proteins that are not digestible.
Inflammation happens because some proteins – particularly those found in soy, corn, wheat, and dairy – consist of long chains of tightly folded amino acids, making them nearly impossible for the body to break down completely. Therefore, these incompletely digested proteins don’t get utilized by the body for important tasks like building muscle tissue.
But Isn’t Protein Acidifying?
Animal protein is indeed acidifying. But there are many vegetarian options that are alkalizing, and of course, no foods are off-limits on the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. And remember that it’s not just the type of protein that’s important, but spreading it out through the day as well.
The following is a list of meatless protein options, many of which are Foundation Foods in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
Bioavailable Vegetarian Sources High In Protein
- Pumpkin seeds
- Plain yogurt (regular or Greek)
- Whey protein powder (whey is the most bioavailable form of protein, and it’s alkalizing)
- Mustard greens
- Crimini mushrooms
- Collard greens
- Garbanzo beans*
- Kidney, Pinto, and Black beans*
With this list, you can now easily consume vegetarian and animal protein with your meals throughout the day, and easily maintain the pH balance!
And below’s a handy recipe that provides yet another option for incorporating protein into your daily diet. It’s a pH-balanced, whey-based protein spread that is perfect for “spreading” your protein intake through the day. It’s delicious on apples, bananas, and any food that’s good with nut butter. And because it’s whey-based, it’s the most bioavailable protein your body can use to build strong muscles and increase your bone density.
This takes just minutes to prepare, and there are two delicious varieties.
Whey Better Than Any Butter
Makes 1 Serving
(You can make more and store it in a container in the refrigerator. Check the yogurt expiration date to know how long it will keep.)
- 1 tablespoon chocolate whey protein powder
- 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon dark cocoa powder (optional)
- 1-3 tablespoons of any milk substitute such as almond milk (adjust to achieve desired consistency)
- 2 teaspoons slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon vanilla whey protein powder
- 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
- 1-3 tablespoons of any milk substitute such as almond milk (adjust to achieve desired consistency)
- 1 teaspoon of mini dark chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds (you can substitute with your favorite alkalizing seeds)
Directions for both:
- In a bowl, mix all ingredients except almonds, sunflower seeds and chocolate chips, until it forms a paste of desired consistency.
- Add the nuts, seeds, or chips and mix well. Sweeten with stevia to taste if necessary.
1 Mamerow, Madonna M., et al. “Dietary Protein Distribution Positively Influences 24-h Muscle Protein Synthesis in Healthy Adults.” The Journal of Nutrition. January 29, 2014, doi: 10.3945/jn.113.185280. Web. https://jn.nutrition.org/content/early/2014/01/28/jn.113.185280.abstract
2 Gross, T.S., et al. “The effect of muscle dysfuntion on bone mass and morphology.” Journal of Muculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions. 2010 march; 10(1):25-34. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20190377
3 “Ageing and Human Muscle: Observations from Sweden.” Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology. Vol. 18(1),pp2-18, 1993).
4 Keene, Shane. “Studying the Effects of Inspiratory Muscle Training in Patients with Obstructive Lung Diseases.” The Internet Journal of Pulmonary Medicine. 2007; Volume 7, Number 2. Pdf.
Comments on this article are closed.
I have terrible insomnia. Through your “save your bones” program is there anything inpaticular (like a combination of things) that can help? I don’t want to take sleeping pills as that is not good anyway. Anxious to hear from you.
Thea – I find that drinking a cup of chamomile tea before I go to bed helps me to rest better.
It’s interesting that many people assume that the problems humans have with milk is ONLY the sugar in milk, lactose. But I have a different intolerance to milk, and I know other people who have it too, yet it’s never mentioned.
I’m intolerant to ALL MILK PROTEINS, not the sugar. Therefore, whey and casein are a big no-no for me as they cause me to become really sick to the point that I can’t breathe.
Why is this never mentioned?
As you can imagine, I cannot take your suggestions, Vivian, about whey and yogurt, etc. But thank you for the other suggestions and help that you give that I can incorporate in my diet. ::
I have exactly the same problem – absolutely no dairy in any shape or form – this is what I use instead-
Rice protein instead of whey protein – I use Sunwarrior – comes in neutral, vanilla or chocolate flavour
Coconut milk – if too “milky” I add water to it
Coconut yoghurt – I can get this is Australia and New Zealand so not sure what is available in the USA – tastes wonderful
I make my own “ice cream” with coconut milk and add a bit of coconut sugar to sweeten it as I don’t like stevia
I hope this helps others who have the same dairy challenges
Hi Vivian thanks for your continued update.
What about a cup a day of kefir, if it is unsweetened and home made with whole organic milk? PS, thank-you for your excellent work
Good Evening Vivian,
For Those Who Are Allergic To Cow’s Milk – Could They Use Almond Milk Instead?
Thank You Very Much For All The Research Work You Do For All Of Us, To Help Us Keep Our Bones Healthy.
Until Next Time – Take Care And Stay Well.
LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)
since brown rice is acidifying, will it help if we soak the rice for several hours before cooking. it is said to remove the phytic acid in it.
Hello All, I’ve commented on this one already but forgot to ask if Brown Rice protein powder which has 6g per TBS. would be a good idea until I run out and go to the whey? Thanks very much!!!
Thanks as ever for this information. I am vegetarian except for occasional fish. I’ve been wondering how to get more protein since most beans are acidifying so this will be good.
Does it make any difference what sort of whey protein you buy? There seem to be various types, some have artificial sweeteners in them which I avoid, also the ones I’ve seen all have flavouring added.
Thanks for all the great info you give us, Vivian! However, I would love to try your wee recipe but as I get migraines if I so much as look at chocolate I’m afraid I’ll have to give this one a miss… Any non-chocolate alternatives please?
Hi Vivian , I haven’t commented lately ,but I am here absorbing as much information as you provide,which I thank you for. Knowledge is wisdom.
Actually I have a question. What are your feelings of taking:
I know you have probably answered these questions, but I am recently on board & missed it. thank you.
Why did the 2 groups in the above experiment consumed 90 grams of protein daily? To my understanding – too much protein harms the bones, and the average should be around 50 grams per day, depending on the size / weight of the person.
Shula, the purpose of this study was simply to find clear evidence if spreading protein consumption throughout the day improves muscle health. So the researchers picked a certain protein dosage to be able to compare the results. And yes, you’re right, the ideal protein consumption varies with age, size, etc.
Thank you very much for always sharing with us an excellent info.
regarding our bone health. The e-mails shared by other people
were all encouraging and uplifting. Thank you.
May GOD bless you . Marlene
Thanking you and everyone in the community for the gratitude!!
Wish I could try your spread but I’m allergic to milk, but I was wondering about sprouted grains. You said the protein in grains is nearly impossible for the body to break down, would sprouted grains in Ezekiel bread be any better? I have trouble getting enough protein because of allergies to milk and eggs and I don’t eat beef or pork so any were I can add a little protein helps!
Hi, Vivian. I would also like to know about sprouted grains – especially Ezekiel Bread. And your thoughts on the Paleo Diet.
Thanks for all the info you give us!!!
A variety of combined sprouted grains is a good source of protein, but remember, it’s acidifying. In view of your allergies, you might want to try pea protein. It’s made from yellow peas and it’s rich in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) that support muscle health. Let us know how you do with it 🙂
I’m a little confused. If milk is not easily utilized as a protein, why is whey protein powder considered one of the best sources of protein for the body?
Thanks so much for your help!
Besides the fact that whey protein is alkalizing and milk is acidifying, whey protein is absorbed fast and therefore it’s bioavailability is unmatched. Remember that both whey protein concentrate and isolate are very different from milk. In fact, the whey isolate practically contains no lactose! Keep asking questions 🙂
That is good news about whey because I avoid dairy and therefore whey protein. I will try it and see if it has any affect on my congestion other dairy products do.
Thanks again Vivian for so many interesting and bone building articles. It really is a great resource you give us on a regular basis. I find them all very helpful and try to incorporate what I can of dietary, exercise. The information on osteoporosis drugs would be impossible to know without your research articles. Look forward to more!
What are your thoughts about a vegan diet?
Thanks for all your wisdom and caring to help us all. Can you address specific things we can do for spinal compression? It seems a common problem as we get older. Thank you again for all you do!
Here’s a great stretch to prevent compression fractures:
If you’ve had compression fractures in the past, make sure you check with your health practitioner before you practice the stretch.
What a great addition. This could be a wonderful asset to my arsenal. I’ve been having severe problems with my spine compressing and it seems I’m not doing enough. Have just created a new menu plan to incorporate with the exercises and praying I can get back on track sooner rather than later.. Thanks so much Vivian!!!!
You’re very welcome!
What about juicing
And getting a large amount of vegetable nutrients?
Juicing is a good way to alkalize the pH and consume fruits and veggies that you would otherwise not eat (at least not in those quantities). They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However, juicing is not the most efficient way of getting protein.
I also take whey powder occasionally, but thanks to you Vivienne will take it more regularly.
Thanks for all the valid info you give us Vivian to help us to build strong bones.I am trying to convince a friend to stop taking Actonel but she keeps arguing that my taking yogurt is dairy and it’s stupid to say that milk is the bone thief as yogurt is made from milk.
Could you give me an explanation on this as she is quite convinced she is doing the right thing taking Actonel once a week and the Osteoporosis Society have told her she should continue.She has read your book “Save our bones” but sadly not convinced.
Nancy, let’s embrace the freedom we have to make our own choices about our bone health!
thanks once again Vivian for this wonderful information
I do take whey powder most days but only once a day and after exercise but i will now take it through out the day
I hope this works better
I used to be on more of a high protein diet. I’ve now reduced my protein intake but I’m not sure how much is enough. I’m about 130 pounds and somewhat active. I try to walk a couple of miles a day plus a few visits to the gym a week and some general things around the house