A new study compares the effects of animal and fungal proteins in the creation of muscle mass in humans.
While more and more people are turning away from meat to favor plant products, some scientific studies are trying to understand how different forms of protein (animal or plant) differ from each other in the process of building muscle mass.
Mostly, animal products are thought to be the best sources of protein for health. However, recent studies have questioned this belief. This is the case of a study by the University of Exeter dating from 2017 that suggested that mycoprotein, a protein derived from a micro-fungus (Fusarium venenatum), could be as good for health as an animal protein like milk protein.
More recently, the same team of researchers, led by Benjamin Wall have tried to compare the effectiveness of mycoprotein with that of an animal protein like milk protein in the creation of muscle mass. The results of their study were presented at the 2019 Congress of the European College of Sport Science.
An increase in muscle mass of 120%
For their study, scientists analyzed the behaviors of 20 young men in good health. They assessed their rate of muscle mass creation when participants were resting after an intensive exercise session and after ingesting either milk protein or mycoprotein.
And the results are quite unexpected. Participants in milk protein increased their muscle mass creation rate by 60% while those under mycoprotein increased by 120%.
"These results are very encouraging when we know that some people are looking for proteins that are not derived from animals to maintain their muscle mass," says Benjamin Wall, lead author of the study. Indeed, the team points out that these results are good news for vegetarians because they show that fungal proteins can effectively replace animal proteins in the creation or maintenance of muscle mass.
Other studies by Wall have described mycoprotein as "the new healthy protein with low environmental impact" even though other researchers highlight possible allergic reactions to foods containing mycoprotein.