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22.10.2012


Protein pulse diet doesn't work for young people

Recently we wrote about protein pulse diets, and here's another instalment. We unearthed a study done in 2000, which shows that the protein pulse diet does not have an anabolic effect, at least in young women aged 26. On the contrary: for this group pulsed protein intake seems to have a catabolic effect.

The study we're talking about was done by Marie-Agnès Arnal, the scientist who discovered the protein pulse concept. Because Arnal had discovered the anabolic effect of the protein pulse diet in people in their sixties, she repeated her experiment with younger women to see what happened. These subjects were also given 1.7 g protein per kg lean body mass daily for two weeks.

Pulsed administration strengthens anabolic effect of proteins
As in the previous experiment, half of the women consumed the protein throughout the day at the 3-4 meals they ate [Spread], while the other half ingested 79 percent of their daily protein allowance during their midday meal [Pulse].

As in the experiment with the older women, the protein pulse diet boosted the body's protein synthesis. However, the protein breakdown also increased, and the catabolic effect increased by more than the increase in the anabolic effect.

None of the effects were statistically significant however, so the researchers concluded that a protein pulse diet has no effect on protein metabolism in younger women. But if you look at the figures below, you might wonder whether the effects would have been insignificant if the researchers had worked with a larger group of subjects.


Protein pulse diet doesn't work for young people


Protein pulse diet doesn't work for young people


The figure above compares the effect of the protein pulse diet on nitrogen retention for women in their sixties with the same effect for women in their twenties. The elderly women retained more nitrogen as a result of the protein pulse diet (and therefore built up more muscle mass) and the younger women retained less although the reduction was not statistically significant.

So a protein pulse diet doesn't work for people in their twenties. We wonder at what age this diet starts to become interesting for natural strength athletes: above the age of 35? Or 45?

Watch this space.

Source:
J Nutr. 2000 Jul;130(7):1700-4.

More:
Pulsed administration strengthens anabolic effect of proteins 20.10.2012
Human study: protein pulse gives anabolic stimulus 18.10.2012