Skeletal muscle is made up predominantly of protein. When we eat animal flesh we are eating their muscle, along with any associated fat and a small amount of carbohydrate stored in skeletal muscle as glycogen. Skeletal muscle is made up predominantly of three essential amino acids called the branched chain amino acids, due to their unique branched structure. These are leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids cannot be synthesised in the body as humans do not possess the synthesising enzymes, and so they must come from the diet. A shortage of any one of these amino acids in the diet can cause a loss of skeletal muscle, and low energy and low protein diets may cause a loss of skeletal muscle for this reason. High protein diets do not necessarily stimulate muscle growth, because for this to happen their also needs to be a stimulus such as resistance training. Resistance training provides local cellular and systemic hormonal changes and in the presence of adequate branched chain amino acids, this stimulates muscle growth.
Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself