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  • Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, Volume 70, Issue 1
  • February 2011, pp. 100-103

The science of muscle hypertrophy: making dietary protein count

  • Stuart M. Phillips (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 22 November 2010

Growing evidence supports the conclusion that consumption of protein in close temporal proximity to the performance of resistance exercise promotes greater muscular hypertrophy. We can also state with good certainty that merely consuming energy, as carbohydrate for example, is also not sufficient to maximise muscle protein synthesis leading to anabolism and net new muscle protein accretion. Recent work also indicates that certain types of proteins, particular those that are rapidly digested and high in leucine content (i.e. whey protein), appear to be more efficient at stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Continued practice of consumption of these types or proteins after exercise should lead to greater hypertrophy. Reviews of numerous training studies indicate that studies in which milk proteins and principally whey protein show an advantage of these proteins over and above isoenergetic carbohydrate and soya protein in promoting hypertrophy. Thus, the combined evidence suggests a strategic advantage of practising early post-exercise consumption of whey protein or dairy-based protein to promote muscle protein synthesis, net muscle protein accretion and ultimately hypertrophy.

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Corresponding author: Professor S. M. Phillips, fax +1-905-523-6011, email
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1.NA Burd , JE Tang , DR Moore (2009) Exercise training and protein metabolism: influences of contraction, protein intake, and sex-based differences. J Appl Physiol 106, 16921701.

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10.DR Moore , SM Phillips , JA Babraj (2005) Myofibrillar and collagen protein synthesis in human skeletal muscle in young men after maximal shortening and lengthening contractions. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 288, E1153E1159.

14.MD de Boer , CN Maganaris , OR Seynnes (2007) Time course of muscular, neural and tendinous adaptations to 23 day unilateral lower-limb suspension in young men. J Physiol 583, 10791091.

15.EI Glover , SM Phillips , BR Oates (2009) Immobilization induces anabolic resistance in human myofibrillar protein synthesis with low and high dose amino acid infusion. J Physiol 586, 60496061.

16.SM Phillips , EI Glover & MJ Rennie (2009) Alterations of protein turnover underlying disuse atrophy in human skeletal muscle. J Appl Physiol 107, 643654.

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