The latest science on protein | Nicholas Burd, PhD

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For many of us looking to achieve athletic goals and age healthily, protein is something that is regularly front of mind. Join me in Episode #310 as I sit down with Associate Professor Nicholas Burd, a muscle physiologist and researcher, to discuss the latest scientific evidence on protein. From selecting your protein source to choosing an appropriate amount for your goals, Dr Burd shares recent research findings on how to optimise your protein intake.

“Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand – you can’t view them in a silo. The same thing with protein quality, exercise is probably changing protein quality because it’s based on digestibility.”

Dr Nicholas Burd is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health and a faculty member of the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). His interests lie in nutrition, exercise, and substrate metabolism, and he has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed research papers, review articles, and book chapters related to protein metabolism and its application in performance and clinical nutrition. His extensive educational background makes him very well qualified to speak on today’s topic.

“Whether you’re an athlete or an older individual, or in any disease state really, the amount and quality of protein [you] have is going to generally dictate… function and metabolic health.”

In this episode, you’ll learn the science behind how to optimise your protein intake. Discover the nuanced difference between optimising and maximising intake, the problem with eating too much protein, and why getting protein from whole foods is important. We also cover protein timing and distribution, supplementation, and much more.

Specifically, we discuss:

  • Intro (00:00)
  • Introduction to Nicholas Burd’s Work as a Muscle Physiologist (01:32)
  • Exploring Muscle Protein Turnover and Renewal (03:57)
  • Muscle Fibre Hyperplasia vs. Hypertrophy in Humans (08:06)
  • The Role of Protein Metabolism in Muscle Physiology (15:21)
  • Optimal vs. Maximal Protein Intake for Muscle Growth (19:12)
  • Understanding Amino Acid Oxidation and Its Implications for Muscle Growth (23:05)
  • Leveraging Food Matrix Effects for Optimal Protein Utilisation (33:39)
  • The Role of Dietary Fats in Potentiating Amino Acid Utilisation (38:55)
  • How Low-Carb Diets Influence Protein Requirements (43:50)
  • Protein Requirements During Energy Restriction and Weight Loss (46:54)
  • Optimising Protein Intake for Endurance Athletes (48:08)
  • Nutrient Timing and Protein Distribution (1:05:06)
  • Maximising Dietary Protein Absorption and Utilisation (1:12:34)
  • Protein intake from the perspective of muscle physiologist (1:18:09)
  • Sex-Based Differences in Protein Metabolism with Aging (1:20:45)
  • Should You Supplement With Essential Amino Acids or BCAAs? (1:26:12)
  • Exploring the Rationale Behind Collagen Supplementation (1:30:43)
  • Biggest Protein Myths Debunked (1:40:16)
  • Outro (1:42:45)

I hope this episode helps you better understand how to optimise protein intake for your unique needs. Thank you to Dr Burd for sharing some of his vast knowledge on this topic. If you’d like to learn more about protein I suggest you listen to Episode #290, a protein masterclass featuring Dr Donald Layman, Dr Christopher Gardner, and more.

Learn more about Dr Nicholas Burd on his staff profile, and read his publications on ResearchGate.

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More about Dr Nicholas Burd

Nicholas Burd is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health and is also a faculty member of the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Dr. Burd has an interest in nutrition, exercise, and substrate metabolism. His research uses methods such as stable isotope tracers, blood and skeletal muscle biopsy collections to provide a window into the intricacies of human metabolism and regulation of skeletal muscle mass in various populations including aging and chronic disease. He has received funding from several National Food Boards and Councils (Beef, Pork, Dairy, and Potato) and government agencies (NIH and NASA). He has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed research, review articles and book chapters related to protein metabolism and its application in performance and/or clinical nutrition. He is an active member of several scientific societies including American Society of Nutrition and American College of Sports Medicine.

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