It's time to bust-a-myth

Jenna is back to bust some of her least favourite gym nutrition myths. 

The gym nutrition space is filled with TONS of garbage marketing and information, so she’s here to unpack them all and give you the information you actually need.

Time Stamps

00:00 Introduction

00:40 Protein Shakes

08:28 Protein Absorption

15:38 BCAAs

23:10 IIFYM


Jono: Welcome back to the Bite Me Nutrition podcast. Today I'm talking to Jenna. If you don't know who Jenna is, sort yourself out. She's one of the other amazing dieticians I get to work with at Bite Me Nutrition. So say hi, Jenna.

Jenna: Hi.

Jono: Excellent. We tried that earlier and she opened her mouth and the thing froze. But that was really clear and Crystal, and I can still see you. So excellent. It's all happening guys. Good to go. Jenna and well, I say, I, I'm just going to ask questions because we're going to pick her brain today on Jim bro, Jim girl, Jim, Jim person myths. Yeah.

Jenna: Good to go. We're going to be all inclusive. It's everyone.

Jono: Yep. Everyone is susceptible to these myths. So we want to make sure that we're, we're going to hit some of the bigger ones today. And if you like this style of podcast and you like, you think there's some myths that we've missed in particular, please let us know, shoot a general or myself a message. Um, cause these are fun and we would very happily do one of these again. We'll probably do one again anyway, regardless of, yeah, just self-indulgent. Uh, yeah, yeah. The, the, the myths are endless. All right. So, um, I'm there's going to be no segue whatsoever. First myth.

Jenna: Yeah, there's plenty out there. Ha ha ha. Yeah. Well, it's going to say, yeah, do you want to pick a particular one to start with or you just want to go straight down the list? OK.

Jono: protein shakes. Oh, no. I'm just gonna go down the list unless we naturally go somewhere else. But protein shakes are essential. True or don't say true or false. Give me the what's the goss.

Jenna: Yes. Cool, all right, so yeah, this idea that in order for us to gain muscle mass, you know, get the gains, we've got to be consuming protein powders. And definitely following your favorite athlete on social media is gonna help to push this kind of narrative. But, you know, we, I think you have, I have definitely put on our social media, there's nothing magical about protein shake. It is just a convenient way to get high quality, you know, if we're choosing something like a whey. a protein. And if that is, you know, a way for us to meet our protein needs, which we'll have a little bit of a conversation, there's another myth around this as well. But if that helps us to meet our protein needs, then great, but it's not going to do anything additional in terms of building muscle. And then I guess, you know, the other things that we've got to think about, so if protein is protein, it doesn't matter really where we get it from. But if we're looking at, I guess, a protein shake versus whole protein foods. There's a few things in there that we need to consider. Number one, a protein shake is going to be more expensive per gram than eating whole foods. And even right now with like the way that groceries are going, I went back, I rechecked to make sure that this was still a thing. But, you know, picking on... our favorite supplement, the bulk nutrients, they're probably the cheapest ones out there. You're looking at like $1.30 for 27 grams of protein. Compare that to a chicken breast, you're looking at 95 cents for the same amount of protein. So we can't argue that buying whole foods, depending on the kind of food source that we're going for and where we're shopping, is still cheaper than buying a supplement. So cost is one big thing. The second thing,

Jono: Hmm.

Jenna: food is more than just like the macronutrients that we eat. And again, this is another myth that we're going to go into the if it fits in macros trend, but you know, consuming meat or you know, a whole protein source versus it doesn't always necessarily have to be meat, but consuming a whole protein source, we're getting so many other things other than just the protein. So, you know, if we take the red meat as an example, we're also going to be getting 25% of our recommended daily intake of things like our niacin, our B6, our B12, phosphorus, zinc, iron, all of these things that we're not going to get from a protein shake. So if we are solely relying on protein shakes for our protein source, we're going to be missing out on a lot of micronutrients. Then the third thing, there's so many things we can do to break down all of these myths, but the third thing is that, you know,

Jono: Mm.

Jenna: We know that again, you know, consuming whole foods is more beneficial for recovery, for muscle growth, all that kind of stuff. So consuming a protein with a carbohydrate source, so as a part of a balanced meal versus just slamming a protein shake post exercise is going to be far more beneficial in terms of your performance and your returns on that exercise session. So like I said, There's nothing wrong with a protein shake. You can definitely meet your protein intake requirements without one. Look, I know I still recommend certain clients to take protein shakes. I know that you recommend, you know, a time and place for a protein shake, but it's just remembering that our whole diet doesn't need to revolve around said protein shake. But yeah, is there anything you wanna add on?

Jono: I was going to ask about that. Um, because like, so what, what are some times where a protein shake might be? The not the right choice, but a viable option. Yeah.

Jenna: Hmm. Yeah, I think that there's two times that I have definitely, well, two areas across the day that I would strategically use a protein shake. Number one is breakfast. If you are someone that is in a hurry, doesn't have time to maybe make eggs, doesn't enjoy yogurts and things like that, want something really quick and convenient, a protein shake can be a really great way to get a bit more protein in at breakfast. So that's kind of the big time that I would recommend one. It opens up your window to so many more. I know you love, you know, the soggy overnight weekdays. It just... Ha ha ha.

Jono: No, I do not. Those are horrible. I can't believe that like, soggy Weet-Pix has been something that has been like, you're trying to avoid my whole life. But now, anyway, anyway. Never eat soggy Weet-Pix. Everyone knows that acronym for anyway, sorry. Go on.

Jenna: Oh, I love a silky wheatbeak. Anyway, we can talk about that another day. But yeah, so it just opens up your choices, I guess, for a high protein breakfast having a protein shake. And then the second time that I would, you know, recommend one I know, recommend is the right word, but I would, you know, suggest it would be post workout, if you're not going to have a main meal.

Jono: Mm.

Jenna: you know, in the next sort of hour to hour window. So it's not, again, like necessary that we've got to be slamming a protein shake sort of, you know, 30 minutes after we finished a workout. But we do know that to maximize, as I said, those returns, the sooner we get the protein in the better, you know, muscle protein response that we're going to have. And so if we're delaying that meal, because you know, we've got to run errands after the gym, or we've got to come home and cook a meal, cool, maybe something like a protein shake.

Jono: Hmm.

Jenna: would be more convenient but in that there'd also be that caveat of making sure it's got a carbohydrate source. Is there any other times that you would recommend or suggest?

Jono: Mm. No, I was just going to flag like you just did at the end. Like even though we're saying having a protein shake, we're probably never recommending someone has a protein shake as breakfast. We're saying with breakfast, you know, with some toast or some cereal or some fruit or some, you know, cause it's not a complete meal at all. Um, yes, no, I think that covers everything that I would do for protein shakes. Um, I think there's just that probably the way that they are superior is accessibility and ease, not health. And that's definitely not how they're promoted. Hey, like the magic. Yeah. So look, you mentioned that 27 grams of protein powder or 27 grams of protein from chicken breast and like that 27 grams is dangerously close to the 30 grams of protein that as we all know, we can't, we can't absorb more than 30 grams of protein in one go. Right? Like that's, is, is that true?

Jenna: Hmm. Absolutely not. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely.

Jono: I'm setting these up so poorly, I'm sorry.

Jenna: It's fine. The great thing about these myths is that they all intertwine with each other at some point. This one is actually pretty cool because we did just get, there was a new study that was published, I believe it was November last year, that really dug a bit more deeper into this idea of this cap on our... kind of the anabolic response to protein. So what we're looking at is there's been a lot of I guess early research, a lot of anecdotal stuff around cool, our body can only absorb, well they say absorb you know X amount of protein, usually it's anywhere between 20 to 40. What they're actually talking about is there's only there's a cap on what our body can utilize and so therefore if we're having more than say the 30, 40 grams, anything additional on top of that is going to be quote unquote wasted. And we don't want to be wasting protein. And so therefore, you know, what's the point in having it? But like I said, there was this new study that came out the end of last year, they actually looked at what is our actual upper limit of protein ingestion and muscle protein synthesis following exercise. And so what they did is they actually tested no protein, 25 grams and 100 grams of protein coming from cow's milk. So yeah, 100 grams of protein is a lot. They did make note in the study, they called it, I think it was something going on with the barbecue test or something like that because they found that

Jono: That's huge. That's so wild.

Jenna: you could consume at a barbecue 100 grams of protein quite easily without feeling like you're force feeding yourself. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like when you're standing around barbecue, you know, it's a lot easier for you to eat. But anyway, 100 grams of protein is a lot. So they did it all from cow's milk and tested a number of things post exercise, which is this study is really quite comprehensive and you know, we can always share links and research and all that.

Jono: Oh, like smoked meats and that sort of, yeah, right, right. Yep. We'll link it in the show notes as that, you know, good podcast host.

Jenna: Yeah. Yeah. So the biggest findings that they found from this study in particular is that, cool, so the 25 gram dose was digested and absorbed after six hours, and the 100 gram dose was still being digested at the end of 12 hours. So this means that, cool, we're having maybe a little bit more of a slower... release of the protein just given the sheer volume and the amount that our body can actually digest at one point. So that was one big thing to note. The 100 gram dose resulted in a higher rate of muscle protein synthesis over the first four hours when compared to the 25 gram. And that 100 gram dose also resulted in higher rates of muscle protein synthesis over 12 hours compared to the 25. So what does this really mean? It means that cool, it still looks like even if we are consuming more than the sort of 30 grams, 25 grams in this case, of grams of protein, we are still getting the same amount of muscle protein synthesis, if not more. So it kind of outlines that there maybe isn't this cap on how much protein can be utilized. The other really cool thing that this study did. was it showed that for every gram of protein that we consumed, over 20 grams, only 15% of it was oxidized, so aka wasted, broken down, used for something else. So that means that 85% of what was consumed over that 20 grams was actually utilized in some way. So again, it kind of really just blows this whole myth apart that we can only absorb 30 grams in one sitting. The other thing that comes with this myth of like the 30 grams in one sitting, it also breaks apart this idea, it's something very big in sports, you know, nutrition of protein distribution where, you know, we want to be making sure that we're having that sort of 30 grams at breakfast, lunch, dinner, a couple of snacks across the day because our body's going to utilise it better. This study is kind of like torn that apart a little bit. important anymore, but it may just not be as important as we think it is. And so does it really change the recommendation around, you know, having protein at breakfast? We've kind of already talked about this. Personally, it's not going to change my recommendations only from the standpoint that protein is way more important than just muscle growth. Like, you know, we all want to get gains,

Jono: Totally. Yeah, yeah.

Jenna : We do know that protein is satiating. And so therefore, if we have a high protein breakfast or we've got enough protein with all of our meals, we are gonna feel more satisfied. We might overeat a little bit less. So from that distribution standpoint, it doesn't really change too much, but it kind of can help people that are stressed about, you know, my meal doesn't have 30 grams of protein, I'm gonna lose all of my gains.Take some of that stress away from it. And it's like, okay, well actually, so long as I'm meeting my total protein intake across the day, that's way more important than how much I'm getting in each individual meal. So yeah, for someone that is busy and time poor, that can be, take some of that stress out of it. Yeah, but yeah, like if you're a bit of a science nerd, that... paper was just, I mean, chef's kiss. That was, yeah.

Jono: It was wild. Yeah. The method. So good. Um, um, George Romulan, like that's the guy that did it. His lab has done tons of stuff on, on protein and, um, some really good, like casein studies and stuff as well. So, yeah, I'm not surprised that that's who it was. Um, but yeah, the study, if you're in any way interested in protein is a, is a very good read and yeah, we'll, we'll link it and yeah, I totally agree. I think, like you said, it doesn't necessarily change.

Jenna: Mm. Mm-hmm.

Jono: what we would get people to do most of the time in terms of distribution of protein. Cause exactly like you said, protein does more than gains. It's also energy, appetite, all those other things. But yeah, I've, it's always nice to get, to find that we can actually be a bit more flexible. Like the more flexible, obviously we're allowed to be, the better we can get stuff to fit people's individual needs. And this definitely allowed even, well, I think allowed more flexibility. So let's stay on the protein train.

Jenna: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Jono: Sort of branched chain amino acids, BCAAs, right? You know, they're great, right? Like I see everyone has them. Every time I go into a supplement store, they try and sell me to them. So, sell me them. So I can only presume that's because they're very effective and should be an important part of my daily routine.

Jenna: BCAS. Mm, mm-hmm. Oh, absolutely. I swear there must be some kickbacks happening from the BCAA supplement industry because every time, yes, they've got to be. Every time I walk into the gym, there is always that one person with the bright pink, the bright blue coloured water and yep, you've got to get them in. Yeah, I make the joke that yes, it's everyone's favourite flavour of water because that's really, well, it's more than that but we'll get into it.

Jono: They must be cheap to make.

Jenna : The biggest thing, so BCAA, so our branched chain amino acids, we've got nine of our essential amino acids that we have to get in through our diet in some way. Of those nine, there's three that are branched. That's just their chemical nature. And so we've got leucine, isoleucine, and valine. So they're your three branched chain amino acids. Now they... have gained so much popularity, especially in kind of this sporting world because they are three of the most anabolic. So anabolic just meaning muscle building amino acids that we get in our diet. But it's important to note as well that leucine itself, I'm sure if you again have nerded out on any of the sports nutrition science. leucine, we've got to make sure we get it otherwise we're never going to turn on muscle protein synthesis, you know, but it's important to note that if we just have leucine by itself, we it's actually more anabolic than when we have it with all three. So that's like the first thing that we can cut BCAs out with. So going on this idea that they are anabolic, it leads to these claims that they'll increase your muscle protein synthesis, you'll get better growth and going to recover faster and fatigue less after exercise. They have a role in cognitive function. That's something different than the sort of anabolic effect and that we're going to have a healthier immune system. The evidence for all of these claims is incredibly weak and most of it is done in animals, mice to be specific.

Jono: every time, every time, bloody animal studies. No, they're important, but people misuse them.

Jenna : Yeah, absolutely. So we haven't got any of that research to back up any of these claims in humans. So that's kind of like the biggest, like the first red flag that we should be thinking about. I would love to know, so the improving cognitive function comes from the baleen itself. So it actually will be broken down into tryptophan. Tryptophan is then important for serotonin. And if we have more serotonin, we're going to

Jono: Uh, yeah, okay.

Jenna : fatigue less. However, there is some competition that happens in the brain and uptake and all that kind of stuff. So again, really good in theory. And I would love that if that was the case, like, great, but it is just there's no evidence for it. So what a BCA is useful for essentially nothing. You're far better off. taking a whole protein supplement. So if you're looking at wanting to increase your muscle proteins, wanting to gain muscle mass, there's more to it than just three single amino acids. Definitely, you know, leucine is important, but you're going to get that from something like a protein powder maybe instead if you are struggling to get enough protein, you know, in your diet. I wouldn't be relying on the BCAAs. They are only kind of doing half the job when it comes to, you know, giving you everything that you need. The other caveat with this one as well, and it's very interesting because I did just speak to, had to inform a powerlifting client that I have who's, you know, cutting weight and all that kind of stuff. They contain calories. So it's protein, so it is still going to contain calories and what you're going to get is roughly about 40 calories per a 10 gram script. It seems a bit like a drop in the ocean but you know when these things add up over time it can definitely make a difference. If you're going to spend calories in order for more you know less fatigue and more energy and you know better performance in exercise, you'd be far better off switching the BCAAs to something like a sports drink or a carbohydrate drink that is actually going to give your body the fuel that you need for that exercise session for the same amount of calories. You just have bigger bang for your buck. So if you do have those calories that you do want to spend and you want the additional benefits if we're doing long training sessions of better performance, your carbohydrates are, we know, much more preferred by your body.

Jono: Mm.

Jenna : during exercise than protein anyway. So yeah, stop wasting your money on BCAAs essentially.

Jono: Yeah, I can't. I think the two other things, um, just the zero calorie thing, I think it comes from, it's something to do with the labeling law around you. Individual amino acids don't have to be. So you'll, you'll probably see that your BCAA supplement can claim zero calories on the label. It's just cooked. But anyway, um, that, and the only other, there's, there is the odd study I've seen in humans with BCAAs getting benefits.

Jenna: Mm-hmm

Jono: from like fatigue and recovery. And that's always compared with a group that's not eating enough protein anyway. So they've got a protein deficient group and then a protein deficient group plus BCAAs and shock horror, BCAA group does a bit better, but like maybe just don't be deficient in protein and eat enough protein. But yeah, they must be, cause they're like, they're expensive. They must be cheap to make and they must be easy to sell.

Jenna: Mm-hmm. the BCS do better. Yeah.

Jono: And side note, if you do like the taste of them, that's fine. Get some diet, right? Cordial, like have, right? Or sports drink exactly like you said.

Jenna : Yes. Well, that's the other thing. There is nothing wrong with taking a BCAA, like apart from you're wasting money. So it's not gonna do you any harm. Yeah, it's gonna add to your pool of total protein intake as well. So great that we know that, you know, we've already talked about total protein intake is important. So if you wanna have Adam, have Adam, but there is just so many other things to spend your money on.

Jono: options yeah for sure for sure all right there's probably 75 more protein related myths that we could we could do so maybe we can we can do some more protein related myths on another episode but you mentioned if it fits your macros before or iifym yeah i said that right um what is that talk me through that

Jenna : So this was a big, I don't know if it still is as much. I definitely hope not. I mean, it's not the worst diet trend out there, but it's very big in that kind of bodybuilding kind of space. So like, yeah, if it's your macros is essentially what the diet trend is. And so it's this idea of, okay, well, if I'm counting my macros and I'm keeping to a set macro target. then it doesn't really matter what I'm eating and I'm still losing weight. So if you're eating, you know, our macros provide us with energy, they provide us with the calories. So yes, 100% if you're eating a controlled amount of your protein, carbs and your fat, you're going to be within a set calorie range. And if you've set that range in a deficit, then yeah, you're going to lose weight or, you know, build muscle if that's your goal as well. So Like I said, from a weight loss side of things, if that's your goal, cool, it works. There's no denying that. When was the last time you gave a client their macros?

Jono: Uhhhhhh... All three?

Jenna: Yeah, all three.

Jono : I can't remember. I'll give calories and protein if someone's tracking and they want to know their numbers, I'll give calories and protein and occasionally I'll give like a floor of like you're not allowed to go below this amount of carbohydrate or you're not allowed to go below this amount of fat just as like guidelines but certainly not a you must hit all three. Yeah it's and I've tried tracking my macros like Stuff that. It's hard. Like props to people who do it. Because yeah, you gotta micromanage three numbers. But yes, yeah.

Jenna: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. It can make it just makes life so much more complicated than it than it really needs to be. And 100% I agree, I only have a really calories protein for clients that I have that are, you know, running marathons and doing all that kind of crazy stuff. There is a bit of a carbohydrate target that I would aim for, but I would never be expecting, you know, tracking of that. So that's the I guess the

Jono: Mm.

Jenna : principle of the diet, the biggest issue with this kind of if it fits your macros mindset is that it's not going to say anything about your diet quality. So 100% you could be hitting a protein target, fat, carbohydrate target, great, for a bit of an example. So say you were eating 1800 calories that broken down into whatever the macros was, you could have a medium quarter pound 1000, wouldn't it be nice if you could have a medium quarter pound meal for 100 calories for 1100. And cool, you'd have 700 calories left over to maybe have a small breakfast or small lunch. And great that fits your it is probably going to fit into your macros, you've got 38 grams of protein in there. The biggest thing is though that you're getting 18 grams of saturated fats. And next to no fiber in that meal. So yes, it's going to fit

Jono: God, that would be the dream.

Jenna : maybe your protein and your calorie targets, but you're doing your health a disservice by consuming more saturated fats and not a lot of fiber. So it really misses the mark in terms of what our diet is as a whole. And we kind of already talked about this when we were talking about protein supplements. Our diet is far more than just the macronutrients. It's all of the smaller things that we get in. And 100% as well, like we've already talked about the flexibility of... cool. So long as my calories are matched, my protein is matched, your fat and your carbohydrate intake doesn't matter too much, depending on what your goals are. And it gives you that flexibility of cool, maybe one day I want to have more avocado and less bread. And so I have that flexibility of doing that. And I get the benefits of the extra healthy fats from the avocado and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, I mean, like I said, it's not the worst

Jono: Hmm.

Jenna : by far not the worst diet trend that there is out there, but it's nothing new and it's actually has the potential to do some pretty damaging things to your health overall.

Jono: Yeah. I think if it's taken too far in terms of like, cause it only really deals with quantity, it doesn't deal with quality at all. Right. Which like you said, with the medium quarter pound a meal example, but like it's not quantity or quality that are important. Like they're both important. Um, I think when it came out, it was like early 2000s or something, when it started to gain traction and it came from a really good place of prior to that. Everyone thought to lose weight, they had to eat.

Jenna: Mm-hmm. Bless.

Jono: squeaky clean and we hate clean eating, but you know what I mean when I say it, like you couldn't eat any, you know, anytime you ate something like that, it would stop your fat loss. And so I think that if it's fits your math course, things came out because it was like, no, provided you're sticking to within these numbers, it's okay if the bulk of your day is fruits and vegetables and grains and lean protein and things, and you have a donut, and that fits into your numbers, that's totally fine. But then people have taken that idea and just run with it to be like, How much crap can I fit into 1800 calories and still like tick these boxes? And like the amount of healthy meal prep fitness meal prep accounts on Instagram, but I won't name or throw under the bus because some of this stuff's amazing, but the amount of times I see healthy meal prep and there's like the veggies are like spring onions sprinkled on top because it fits it's high protein, low calorie and it like fits your macros. I'm like, where is the color? So.

Jenna: Yep. Where's the veggies?

Jono: Yeah. So if you are tracking your macros, you probably don't need to, unless you're in like, you've got 20 weeks left on a bodybuilding prep. Um, but if you are tracking, don't forget, yes, hit those numbers, but also get some nutritious food in there as well. Please. And thank you. Yeah.

Jenna : Yeah, yeah. I definitely remember from early in my bodybuilding days, the Jimbo split. Yeah, look, it's a sign of, it's a tale of how old we are, that was the trend, I think, just at our age. But yeah, I definitely knew people that were, you know, I still have

Jono: We've all got to go through the, we've got to go through.

Jenna: amount of calories left. I'm just going to go and hit up whatever fast food I can to get my calories and Yeah, so it It has absolutely done some really good things like you said around like this whole clean eating trend that was happening But yeah, it definitely can go too far the other way Um, and we're all about balance That's the most important thing

Jono: Mm. Yeah. Yes, we are. Look, I'm sorry, everybody. I have to run, which is annoying because we've got one more myth to get through. But I think that is an, I know it was a good one, but teaser, it's going to be talking about fasted cardio. So I think we need to, that's just a sign that we will absolutely put a few good myths together. If you've got myths that we didn't cover, unless they're fasted cardio, cause I've just told you, we're going to cover that one. But there's other myths we haven't covered.

Jenna: Oh-hoo! have to do this again.

Jono: message me, message Jenna, shoot us an email or a DM on socials. We'll build another gym myth episode because this was fun and very informative. I think it could probably improve your health a little bit but also mostly save your cash. I feel like most of these myths are about like making you spend more money than you need. Yeah.

Jenna: Mm. Just save, save some cash. And we're all about that this day in age, life is getting expensive.

Jono: Yep. 100%. So thank you so much, Jenna, for opening your brain and giving us all of this information. That's going to be hopefully a bunch of people have realized they can chill out on some things that they were stressing about that they don't need to stress about. They can save some money on some things that they don't need to spend money on. Again, you should already know where to find her, but if you don't, I'll put the things in the show notes, but at jennestein,

Jenna : Mm-hmm.

Jono ": That's it, Instagram handle. That's probably the best place to find you, hey? And then, yeah, cool. Awesome. Thanks, Jenna. I will chat to you next time. Bye, team.

Jenna: Mm-hmm.
Yeah, absolutely.
Cool. Not a problem? Cool, thank you.