episode #361

Is Your Diet Starving Your Muscles? A Protein Masterclass with Donald K. Layman, Ph.D.


Dr. Donald Layman is the OG in the field of protein and amino acids. Dr. Layman’s expertise spans decades, and his insights have revolutionized our understanding of protein’s role in health, from athletic performance to combating obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues.

“It’s worth noting that muscles help us maintain our balance and posture. It is the main component in maintaining the body’s stability, which is often overlooked.” – Dr Donald Layman

In this episode, Dr. Layman teaches you about the nuances between protein intake and amino acids, shedding light on the essential nine and synthesizable eleven amino acids crucial for our diets. Delving further, he and Dr. Stephanie explore the intricacies of protein quality, comparing animal and plant-based sources, and deciphering the optimal dosing for muscle growth and repair.

Don also unravels the mysteries surrounding carbohydrate load tolerance, navigating the fine balance between minimum and maximum carbohydrate intake for various training regimens. Additionally, they debunk myths surrounding aging, particularly in women, and the imperative role of protein consumption in perimenopause and menopause.

Episode Overview:

0:00 Intro/Teaser
3:36 Welcome Dr. Donald Layman
4:13 Exploring the Function of Muscle in the Body
11:43 Delving into Protein, Amino Acids, and Synthesis
15:07 Protein Needs and Aging Process
26:58 Protein Quality: Animal vs. Plant Proteins
34:01 Supporting Vegetarians and Vegans with Protein Intake
36:16 Child Neglect and Malnutrition
41:00 Regulation of mTOR and Carbohydrate Consumption
44:22 Muscle Potential and DNA Limits
54:07 Leucine, mTOR, and MPS
57:44 Protein Timing for Exercise
1:00:30 Carbohydrates and Protein Choices
1:03:58 Protein Target for Weight Loss
1:07:54 Protein Dosing Throughout the Day

Resources Mentioned:

Essential amino acids and muscle protein recovery from resistance exercise

Metabolic Flux

Exercise, protein metabolism, and muscle growth

Stimulation of net muscle protein synthesis by whey protein ingestion before and after exercise

Dietary protein distribution positively influences 24-h muscle protein synthesis in healthy adults

Dr. Donald’s Website: MetabolicTransformation.com

Forever Strong book


Dr. Donald Layman is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Layman served on the faculty at the University of Illinois from 1977 – 2012. Dr. Layman has been a leader in research about protein, nutrition for athletic performance, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular health. Dr. Layman has over 120 peer-reviewed publications. He has received numerous awards for his research from the American Society for Nutrition and the National Institutes for Health and for his nutrition teaching. Dr. Layman served as Associate Editor of The Journal of Nutrition and the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior and on the editorial boards of Nutrition & Metabolism and Nutrition Research and Practice. Dr. Layman has an extensive consulting background including work with NASA, the Shriners Children’s Hospital, the US Air Force plus numerous food companies and organizations including Kraft Foods, Nestlé, Danone, Agropur, the American Egg Board, and the National Dairy Council. Dr. Layman earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry and biochemistry at Illinois State University and his doctorate in human nutrition and biochemistry at the University of Minnesota.

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I’m Dr. Stephanie

Part geek, part magic, and all the way passionate about being a well-lived woman.

I want to throw my grandkids in the air in my 70’s. I want to be squatting even more weight than I am now, and putting my OWN luggage in the overhead bin. Sound like weird goals? For me these are just some of the little things that represent a life well-lived.

My health is MY job – I’ll be damned if I rely on luck, ‘good genes’ or a cocktail of drugs that over promise and under deliver.

The Betty Body is my first book-baby, and a collection of what I’ve learned after thousands of clinical hours, hundreds of conversations with the world’s top experts, and most importantly…

This book is an outline of what took ME from “rock-bottom health” at 38, to being my own version of a Betty in my perimenopausal mid 40’s. A woman who is physically strong, full of energy, enjoys mental clarity, great sex and a joyful family life. Is it all roses? Of course not. But I have the stamina and tools to deal with the push and pull of life so that it doesn’t turn into chronic stress.

I want this for you too. Let’s go Bettys!