Sunday, December 18, 2005

Beef vs. Soy Protein: Where's the BEEF? It's in your elevated cholesterol and LDL levels!

I have many friends and colleagues in both the strength and endurance worlds who believe and promote the myth that animal proteins are of superior quality for the athlete. I no longer subscribe to this belief. While animal protein sources might provide us with the complete amino acid profiles that most closely match our own human protein profile needs (actually human flesh would be optimal), plant protein sources can provide us with all the protein we need, WITHOUT ANY OF THE HARMFUL SIDE-EFFECTS. Yes, we CAN get every amino acid we need from plant protein sources--without all of the silly "combining" initially postulated. (Email me if you want those references.)

The latest NSCA's online Performance Training Journal contained the following juicy summary (by G. Greg Haff, PhD, CSCS) of a research study on the impact of a beef vs. soy protein-based diet on resistance training performance and lipoprotein profiles in older men:

Recently, researchers from Kansas State University and the University of Arkansas investigated the effects of protein type on resistance training performance and lipoproteins. Twenty one men with a mean age of 65±5 years participated as subjects in this investigation. All subject were initially placed in a two week baseline diet which required them to eat 0.6 g of protein/kg per day from a soy based texturized vegetable protein food. After the initial two week diet period 11 men continued eating the soy based diet, while 10 men consumed 0.6 g of protein/kg per day from beef. All subjects performed resistance training three days per week over the course of the 12 week dietary intervention. After the completion of the study there were no significant differences between the two diets in the overall muscular strength and power of the subjects. The beef group did experience significant increases in total cholesterol, low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL), while the group that consumed the soy products did not experiences any significant alterations. Additionally, the beef group had significantly higher cholesterol than the soy group. Based upon this study it appears that the type of protein consumed does not significantly impact the strength gains noted from a resistance training regime in older adults. Conversely, it appears that older adults with a diet which gets the majority of its dietary protein from beef results in significant elevations in cholesterol and low density lipoproteins, which both have been indicated to be risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Haub MD, Wells AM, and Campbell WW. (2005). Beef and soy-based food supplements differentially affect serum lipoprotein-lipid profiles because of changes in carbohydrate intake and novel nutrient intake ratios in older men who resistance-train. Metabolism Clinical and Experimental, 54:769-744.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, my "meat is better" friends!

Now we just need the same study that demonstrates similar findings for diets that advocate chicken/turkey/fish vs plant protein. These animal protein sources MIGHT promote lower increases in cholesterol and LDL levels, but they still promote increases, as well as likely contain fecal matter, dangerous bacteria, antibiotics and hormones to promote fast and furious growth, prions from consuming food derived from ground animal parts or dried blood, or nasty chemicals (mercury) from the environment.

How do you think the bison of the great plains or gorillas and elephants in the jungle become so muscular and massive? They don't eat meat or each other--they eat plants! Face it, my macho friends; it's true. You can eat plant-based protein and increase strength--and be healthier for it! You won't turn into a "girlie-man" or a pasty-white, hemp-wearing PETA activist.


Anonymous said...

Two weeks of a slight diet change will yield little or no change of data. This study has been deemed faulty by the medical community. Look beyond the study to see how other medical researchers interpret the validity of a study.

Anonymous said...

It was a twelve week study not a two week one - you meat eating numpty.