How an Obsession with Body Building Nutrition Can Sabotage Your Goals

When all the complex science and trial and error of bodybuilding nutrition is boiled down to its basic elements, there remain only three primary macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Now, by no means are carbohydrates and fats any less important or complex, but to a bodybuilder protein becomes a bit of an obsession. Determining what protein source to use at each meal and around workouts is pinnacle to reaching your bodybuilding goals. On top of that, bioavailability, ease of use, and cost per serving add even more complexity to the equation.

Let’s take a look at the devastating effect of excessive whey protein use on a healthy colon. You might be Whey too clogged up. According to what is written about it, whey sounds like the perfect protein. It is highly bio-available, easy to use, mixes well, and is incredibly economical per serving. Nothing but good right? Wrong. There are many problems with whey protein use, but the focus of this article is to bring to light one problem that will derail your bodybuilding goals and leave you in serious pain. This problem is intestinal toxemia.

Wade McNutt has already written about the condition of intestinal toxemia, but the topic is very important to the bodybuilding community and deserves a more in depth look. Intestinal toxemia occurs when large particles of undigested food enter the small intestine. Since the small intestine was not designed to handle voluminous amounts of undigested food, the food products then become a haven for bacteria. Proteins putrefy, carbohydrates ferment, and fats become rancid due to the workings of intestinal bacteria. These bacteria then produce very harmful by-products that damage the intestines, reduce nutrient assimilation, create excess gas and bloating, and lead to persistent diarrhea. On top of that, mild to intense stomach pains accompany this process.

Whey protein is a huge contributor to intestinal toxemia. The reasons for this are myriad. Whey protein contains no fiber, and fiber provides the bulk necessary to keep things moving consistently through the intestinal tract. Whey protein is completely “dead”, in that it has no live enzymes present to digest it, allowing for the perfect bacterial base to thrive in. Whey itself is also very acidic, throwing off the intestinal pH balance to an environment that favors unfriendly bacteria and leads to toxemia. Lastly, and most noticeably, the very properties of whey protein allow for it to stick to the intestinal tract. If you aren’t convinced, here’s a fun and quick experiment to show just how hard it can be for your body to remove whey “sludge” from the intestinal tract. Take a pinch of whey protein in between your thumb and pointer finger. Now, add a few drops of water (or vinegar to mimic stomach acid) to the powder and move your fingers around to create a paste. Do you see how sticky and gooey that paste is? Getting it off your fingers is actually not that easy. Now image scoop after scoop of the stuff in your intestinal tract, and it is of little surprise that your body has a difficult time removing whey protein.

Since whey protein is no longer a viable option, what choices remain to bodybuilders? Surprisingly, there are many vegan protein sources that each bring positive ancillary benefits to the bodybuilding nutrition enthusiast:

* Hemp Protein – is one of the most bio-available vegan protein sources available. It contains all 9 essential amino acids. On top of that, per serving it contains well over 10 grams of fiber (depending on manufacturing processes) and has a very balanced fatty acid profile.

* Rice Protein – boasts a Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) of 80%, and is also a complete protein, providing all 9 essential amino acids.

* Yellow Pea Protein – also a complete protein, with a considerably high PER.
Note: Combining rice protein and yellow pea protein is a very smart move, as the amino acid profiles of each protein complement each other very nicely, and the combination has a higher PER.

* Spirulina – this sea algae is a complete protein, and is roughly 95% digestible by the human body. On top of the protein content, spirulina contains highly bio-available sources of B-vitamins, iron, Vitamin E, and is very nutrient dense.

Another huge benefit of plant proteins is that they are supremely hypo-allergenic. This is beneficial to the bodybuilder because even low level allergic reactions can diminish workout recovery. However, lowered recuperative capabilities equate to hampered workout performance and sluggish energy levels – definitely not what bodybuilders are looking for.

* Egg, soy, and casein proteins can work as well, but many people are allergic to these proteins and do not even know it.

Listen to your body, and use your best judgment with these protein sources. No matter what protein source you are using, you must make sure that you are ingesting adequeate amounts of fiber with each meal. Fiber will keep the meal moving through your intestinal tract at a steady pace, staving off any chance of intestinal toxemia. At least 6-8 grams of fiber per meal is recommended. One last point that is of the utmost importance: manufacturing processes are vital to the bio availability of the protein source. For example, hexane is used in the manufacturing of most whey and soy protein powders. Hexane is a petroleum solvent similar is chemical structure to gasoline. Gas goes in your car, not your protein. Go for organic sources that use low temperature processing techniques that retain protein bioavailability and minimize protein denaturing. Well that’s all for now muscle freaks! I hope that I have at least enlightened you on the dangers of following the crowd with your nutritional needs. Remember that knowledge is the key to your bodybuilding goals, so get out there and learn from those who are more experienced and knowledgeable. Listen to your body to see what works best for you. Happy bodybuilding!

Copyright 2007, Masszymes Inc. All rights reserved.

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