Plant protein derived from certain foods can be as efficient as animal milk for muscle synthesis, suggests a new study. According to research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, potatoes can be as dependable a protein source as animal milk for athletes looking to build muscles.
Despite being debunked numerous times, it is commonly believed that animal protein is vital to maintain and build muscle mass since it provides adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids needed in Muscle protein synthesis (MPS) – a process through which amino acids become skeletal muscle proteins.
Researchers at Maastricht University, The Netherlands, found that consuming 30 grams of potato-derived protein concentrate following resistance exercise strongly increased muscle protein synthesis rates to levels that did not differ from the response following the ingestion of an equivalent amount of milk protein concentrate.
Lead study investigator Luc J.C. van Loon, PhD, a professor of physiology of exercise and nutrition at Maastricht University Medical Centre says, “In general, plant-derived proteins are considered to have lesser anabolic properties, due to their lower digestibility and incomplete amino acid profile. Our results show that ingestion of 30 g potato-derived protein will support muscle growth and repair at rest and during recovery from exercise.”
The findings from van Loon’s research group demonstrate that potato-derived protein concentrate powder can be used to increase muscle protein synthesis rates both at rest and during post-exercise recovery in healthy, young men, at rates that do not differ from the ingestion of an equivalent amount of milk protein.