If you look back on bodybuilding diets over the last 100 years or so, you’ll find plenty of milk, bread, potatoes, and other whole foods, but one of the staples has been red meat. Many of the biggest, most muscular men have eaten beef on a regular basis.
But can eating red meat everyday really help you build muscle?
Let’s take a look at its benefits.
Muscle is built of amino acids, and the only way for you to get those building blocks is through the food you eat. What’s more, eight of those compounds have been dubbed essential amino acids because your body can’t create them from other aminos or nutrients and you MUST get them directly from the food you eat.
The best sources of essential amino acids?
Not surprisingly, they include mostly animal products, and red meat is high on the list. It’s considered a complete protein because it provides all eight essential aminos.
For instance, a 100-gram serving of beef that is 80% lean will provide around 250 calories and 17 grams of complete protein, according to the USDA’s National Nutrient Database.
The leaner the cut, the more protein for the calories provided, and the better the muscle-building potential.
An Extra Kick
Creatine is one of the most popular and well-researched supplements of the last two decades, and it has been shown time and time again to improve both muscle mass and strength.
What you may not realize is that red meat contains creatine, with 2.5 pounds of beef providing around the 5 grams per day that most experts recommend. That’s a lot of meat, and you probably shouldn’t be eating anywhere near that much, but beef can be a valuable source of creatine, nonetheless.
So beef provides both protein and creatine, as well as the calories and fat that you need to pack on solid pounds. But it’s also that fat that causes some concern, as red meat has been shown in some studies to contribute to heart disease and maybe even cancer.
Whether you’re eating beef now or plan to introduce it into your diet, be sure to see your doctor and get a complete physical. He can help you determine if red meat is healthy for you and steer you in the right nutritional direction.
For many lifters, though, red meat can be a potent addition to your muscle-building regimen.