Men Need More Meat for Muscle Mass

Men need to eat more meat. No matter what the government says. In fact, according to a major new study, if you’re a man and want to maintain your muscle mass as you age, you need to eat more meat–a whole lot more–than the government recommends.

As you probably know, the USDA recently revised its daily serving recommendations. Maybe you’ve seen the cartoonish “My Plate” diagram. According to these new recommendations, men ages 19 to 30 should eat 6 ½ ounces from the “protein” food group each day. Men 31to 50 should eat six ounces. And if you’re older than 50, you are only allowed 5 ½ ounces from the entire “protein” food group each day.

And, according to the USDA, your daily serving of protein doesn’t cover just meat. Your daily allotment of protein also includes any eggs, nuts, fish, and processed sources of protein, such as soy.

So–there you have it.

This is the government’s mastermind solution to the dietary problems in the United States. To limit your protein. And if you’re a man over 50, you only get a measly 5 ½ ounces a day!

This is a huge mistake!

Men and women alike lose muscle mass as they age. And eating meat is just about the best way to preserve it. In fact, when it comes to food, no other dietary source provides as many concentrated nutrients as meat. It contains a large spectrum: protein, bioavailable minerals, and many vitamins. All these together are relatively hard to come by in nature from other sources.

This is one reason why vegetarianism is wrong for health in most people. You can be both overweight and undernourished on a strictly vegetarian diet–the worst of both worlds.

Plus, the new guidelines for meat aren’t high enough. That’s because the government bases its figures on the amount of daily protein needed to prevent outright deficiency.

Does this sound familiar?

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for the intake of vitamins and minerals is also based on minimal amounts necessary to prevent frank nutritional deficiency diseases. They do not take into account all the scientific evidence that supports the need for higher levels to support optimal health.

But it turns out this measly “recommended” amount of meat will not preserve muscle mass, particularly for older men who want to maintain their muscles and lean body mass as they age. The study did not look at women, although as the same species, it should make sense for women too.

Canadian researchers from McMaster University recently set out to determine the optimal amount of meat a man should eat each day to maintain muscle mass.

To figure this out, researchers enrolled 35 men, ages 59 and older, in the study. They measured how protein meals of various sizes contributed to the growth, repair, and maintenance of the subjects’ skeletal muscles. They observed a process known to medical specialists as “muscle protein synthesis.”

And–by the way–these were regular men. With regular lives. They didn’t lift weights or engage in other “muscle-building” activities that required additional protein.

The researchers found that for optimal muscle protein synthesis, a middle-aged man should eat six ounces of lean ground beef (85 percent lean) in a single serving. This is the optimal level for men who want to maintain muscle mass in their 50s and older.

That serving size is about twice what many health experts recommend in a single serving. In fact, it’s more protein than My Plate recommends a 65-year-old man eat throughout the entire day!

According to Dr. Stuart Phillips, the study’s senior author, “Our findings have clear ramifications for the current recommendations regarding protein to prevent muscle loss in aging.”

So, let’s think about this finding for a moment. Six ounces is just over one-third of a pound. Think of all your favorite steak houses and diners. At these places, a six-ounce steak or quarter-pound sirloin burger is a great meal. And a grown REAL man feels satisfied after eating it.

My Plate says you’ll blow your entire allotment of daily protein in that one meal, but restaurateurs know better. They have more common sense in terms of what’s a satisfying portion of meat. Once again, the free market better understands what people really need for a satisfying meal than the government does.

Plus, once again, the science backs up this common sense understanding. A juicy six-ounce steak is just the right amount for muscle health in men!

The government–on the other hand–has no clue, even when it comes to what constitutes a healthy serving of beef! Maybe, sometimes, what people want to eat is exactly what they really need to eat. Our bodies are once again trying to tell us something! 

It seems like another government dietary guideline has met–like Napoleon–its Waterloo. But will the USDA have the good grace and sense to retreat?

Maybe with just a little more meat in their diets, middle-aged men can really do something to help counter-act the effects of aging. And we can all forget about the new illusion of “dangerous low-T.” (Learn more about why the “low-T” campaign by Big PHARMA is largely just an illusion by subscribing to my newsletter, Insiders’ Cures. To become a subscriber, you can get started here.)

Perhaps we need to bring back those great beef commercials…

Can you still hear the baritone voice of Robert Mitchum telling you “Beef…it’s what’s for dinner”? In the background you’ll recall, is the music from Aaron Copland’s score to the ballet Rodeo. It’s a classic American tune based on the Appalachian folk melody “Bonaparte’s Retreat.”

How fitting.

Now, if we can just get the U.S. government to retreat and let us eat our meat in peace!


Meghann J. Robinson, Nicholas A. Burd, Leigh Breen, Tracy Rerecich, Yifan Yang, Amy J. Hector, Steven K. Baker, Stuart M. Phillips. Dose-dependent responses of myofibrillar protein synthesis with beef ingestion are enhanced with resistance exercise in middle-aged men. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 2012; : 120 DOI: