As mentioned in part 2 of this series (read it here: Animal Protein and the Body), the digestion of animal proteins releases a lot of acid in the body. The body then has to neutralize this acid load in some way. It was before believed that the body used calcium from the bones to do this buffering because a higher level of calcium could be measured in the urine after intake of meat. But it is now shown that the calcium comes from the diet, which could indicate that the body absorbs more calcium when one eats meat, and this extra calcium then makes up the higher level found in the urine (1). This means that there must be some way other than through calcium from the bones that the body neutralizes the acid. Studies now indicate that the body maybe uses muscles to do this buffering. The liver can use the amino acids from the muscles to make glutamine, which can be used to neutralize acids (2). This phenomena can explain some experiments that Professor Russell Chittenden, professor on Yale University, did around 1900. First, he took a group of military men in training and lowered their protein intake so that they only got one third the amount they were used to. They went through 15 different fitness and strength tests, and from the beginning to the end of their diet, their score increased from 3000 to 6000. Later, Chittenden experimented with a group of trained athletes, who were used to eating meat, by giving them mainly plant-based food. After the end of five months, they could perform 35% better than they could before (3). Regarding this, it is interesting to notice that athletes from ancient Greece could compete better if they only ate a plant-based diet. Also several of today's athletes are vegans or vegetarians. Dr. Campbell summarizes these findings by saying, "It is not that animal protein ... does not build muscle mass. It does. But so does plant protein. And it does so with superior results" (4). Therefore, rather than eating the ox to get strong as him, you should eat what he eats.
Do you think that animal protein builds muscles? Why or why not?