Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, and protein powders are a convenient way to increase protein intake for those looking to build muscle. Low-carb protein powders, specifically, may be beneficial for those following a low-carbohydrate diet while also trying to build muscle. However, the effectiveness of low-carb protein powder for building muscle depends on several factors, including the type and quality of protein, timing of consumption, and individual goals and needs.
Several studies have investigated the effect of protein powder supplementation on muscle growth and strength. One meta-analysis of 49 studies found that protein supplementation significantly increased muscle size and strength, especially when combined with resistance training (1). Additionally, a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that consuming whey protein isolate after resistance training increased muscle protein synthesis in young men (2).
When it comes to low-carb protein powders specifically, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that consuming a low-carbohydrate protein shake after resistance training led to increased muscle growth and strength in healthy young men (3). Another study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition compared the effects of whey protein isolate and pea protein isolate supplementation on muscle growth and found that both were equally effective in promoting muscle thickness in young men (4).
It's important to note that the effectiveness of low-carb protein powder for building muscle also depends on individual goals and needs. For example, someone looking to gain muscle mass may require a higher protein intake than someone looking to maintain muscle mass. Additionally, the timing of protein intake, total calorie intake, and overall dietary composition may also play a role in muscle growth.
In conclusion, protein powder, including low-carb options, can be effective in promoting muscle growth and strength when combined with resistance training. The type and quality of protein, timing of consumption, and individual goals and needs all play a role in the effectiveness of protein powder for building muscle.
- Schoenfeld, B. J., Aragon, A. A., & Krieger, J. W. (2013). The effect of protein timing on muscle strength and hypertrophy: a meta-analysis. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 53.
- Churchward-Venne, T. A., Burd, N. A., & Phillips, S. M. (2012). Nutritional regulation of muscle protein synthesis with resistance exercise: strategies to enhance anabolism. Nutrition & metabolism, 9(1), 40.
- Hulmi, J. J., Laakso, M., Mero, A. A., Häkkinen, K., Ahtiainen, J. P., & Peltonen, H. (2015). The effects of whey protein with or without carbohydrates on resistance training adaptations. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 34(5), 364–372.
- Babault, N., Païzis, C., Deley, G., Guérin-Deremaux, L., Saniez, M. H., Lefranc-Millot, C., & Allaert, F. A. (2015). Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 3.