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3 / How Much Protein Do You Really Need? Cutting Through The BS w/ Dr. Donald Layman

We often hear a lot about the connection between protein intake and healthy muscles. With all the different and often conflicting sources of information out there, it can be hard to grasp just exactly what the good science is. In this episode, we talk with my friend and mentor Dr. Donald Layman. He helps us make sense of the information out there related to protein and building healthy muscles.


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Dr. Layman is professor emeritus at the University of Illinois where he researches the effects of protein on the metabolism. He has a firm grasp of the history of protein research and the source of many common myths that surround protein and diet.

Today we sit down to talk about why the production of dietary protein has been demonized throughout recent history and why animal protein is an important source of nutrition. We also discuss why studying the negative outcomes of diseases is less helpful than studying how to build healthy muscle to begin with.

If you’ve been wondering which diets are best for building muscle mass and which are mere fads based on incomplete research, Dr. Layman shares a ton of insight and expert knowledge on today’s podcast.

Have you been wondering which diets are bunk and which are grounded on sound research? Let us know in the comments!

In This Episode

  • The history of protein science, its roots in the agricultural sector, and how this affects our understanding of protein today
  • How to make protein turnover more effective in muscle and what diet best helps this
  • The limits of relying totally on animal testing
  • The relationship between protein intake and mTOR production and why it is critical to understand this
  • Why it matters when and how often we consume protein and just how it relates to exercise
  • Why protein matters for more than just building muscles and how it is crucial for immunity, vasodilation, blood pressure, and so much more


“100 years ago when people were more active you could get along on relatively little protein… Now that  we’re in more stressful modern societies, you have to work at getting exercise, and we’re living longer too, so protein becomes a lot more important.” [1:43]

“We know that having large healthy muscle mass makes you more able to handle the stresses we encounter. In an accident or surgery or heaven forbid something like cancer your survivability is directly related to muscle mass.” [19:21]

“One of the cool things that is important for people to understand is that the protein in our muscle turns over, we replace all of them, about every 30 days. So in the course of a year, you’re going to replace your entire body protein at least six times. That’s a pretty crazy idea.” [27:00]


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