Stuart Phillips The Proof Podcast

Using science to build muscle and grow stronger | Dr Stuart Phillips

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In Episode #210, Professor Stuart Phillips returns to expand on our conversation about using science to improve training outcomes.

“In young, healthy people who are physically active, you are actually very efficient at getting the protein that you need digested and absorbed.”

One very common criticism of a plant-based diet is that it’s difficult to meet protein requirements due to both quantity and quality of plant-based protein sources. “Evidence” provided for this often centres around amino acid profiles, linking back to the DIAAS and PDCAAS protein scoring systems. Today, Professor Stuart Phillips offers clarity on this topic and much more useful information on what to consume, in what form, and when.

You may remember Stuart Phillips, PhD from the very popular Episode #190: Get Stronger to Live Longer. Professor Phillips is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Skeletal Muscle Health in Aging, and a Professor in Kinesiology and Graduate Faculty in the School of Medicine at McMaster University. With a prolific academic career and research focused on the impact of nutrition and exercise, Professor Phillips offers invaluable insight into this field.

“In Western societies, people [can] compensate for ‘poorer’ quality proteins by just eating more protein. It’s almost a non-issue.”

In this episode, we cover a whole suite of information that is highly relevant and applicable for those looking to improve their training outcomes. In addition to briefly revisiting the basics of protein consumption, we discuss distribution and timing, protein needs for older people, and protein quality scoring systems. We also dive into supplementation for those looking to improve performance and muscle protein synthesis, including caffeine, beta alanine, nitrates, creatine, omega-3s, and hormones.

Specifically, we discuss:

  • Intro [0:00]
  • Protein distribution [2:20]
  • Scoring systems for protein [13:13]
  • Supplements for performance [30:08]
  • Sodium bicarbonate [45:40]
  • Nitrates [53:29]
  • Creatine [58:10]
  • Omega 3s [1:07:25]
  • Hormones & protein synthesis [1:12:30]
  • Aging & muscle gain [1:15:20]
  • Exciting new studies [1:26:12]
  • Outro [1:29:19]

As always, sourcing nutrition information from true experts in the field is critical. Professor Phillips strikes the delicate balance of delivering evidence that scientifically nuanced, but still accessible for a layperson. If you found this episode informative and a looking for ways to introduce more plant-based protein into your diet, you can download my free recipe eBook, Plant Perform. This recipe guide includes high-protein recipes and more to optimise physical performance and recovery.

To listen to my previous conversation with Professor Philips, head to Episode #190. You can also learn more about him via the McMaster University profile, and connect with him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Enjoy, friends.


More about Stuart Phillips, PhD

Professor Phillips is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Skeletal Muscle Health in Aging. He is a Professor in Kinesiology, and Graduate Faculty in the School of Medicine at McMaster University. He is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (FCAHS) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). His research is focused on the impact of nutrition and exercise on the mechanisms of human skeletal muscle protein turnover. He is also keenly interested in diet- and exercise-induced changes in body composition particularly in older persons.

His research is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the National Science and Engineering Council of Canada, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the US NIH, the USDA, and several industry partners.

Dr. Phillips was the inaugural recipient of the Enzo Cafarelli Graduate Mentor Award in 2017. He was named to Clarivate’s Highly Cited Award in 2018-2021 as one of the top 1% of all cited researchers in physiology and nutrition. He has more than 50,000 citations and an h-index of 121.

Supporting studies

  • Limitations with the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) with Special Attention to Plant-Based Diets: a Review PMID: 33409931
  • Dietary Protein and Amino Acids in Vegetarian Diets—A Review PMID: 31690027
  • IOC consensus statement: dietary supplements and the high-performance athlete PMID: 29540367 or PDF

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