Hundreds of times I have come across this question which is asked by people trying to build muscle and lose fat and usually incorrectly answered that is why I have decided to write this week’s post to settle out the debate once and for all. But before we do that, let me quickly get you through what BCAAs actually is.
What are BCAAs?
The abbreviation of BCAA stands for Branch Chain Amino Acids. It is a non-continuous link of a central carbon atom bound of three or more considerable carbon atoms. The three BCAAs are isoleucine, leucine and valine all of them are classified as essential amino acids that means they are mandatory to ingest by humans as they cannot be made by our bodies.
Unlike other amino acids or most proteins, BCAAs are generally, not metabolized by the liver directly; however, instead they are transported to muscle tissues where they are oxidized by the muscles.
So, let me get you through the point! Do BCAAs have calories?
Yes, yes indeed!
As per the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, BCAAs has listed caloric values:
- Isoleucine: 6.2 calories per gram
- Leucine: 6.2 calories per gram
- Valine: 5.6 calories per gram
Considering the above caloric values in mind, 10 grams of BCAAs at the typical 2:1:1 ratio of isoleucine, leucine, and valine, respectively, contain around 60 calories.
Why is BCAA supplement labelled as 0 calories?
Most of the supplement manufacturers don’t list the calories from BCAAs in their products, since:
- As per the FDA regulations supplement manufacturers are not allowed to declare the protein content of a product when it only contains individual amino acids.
- The FDA regulations let the manufacturers to calculate the caloric content of their products using various methods.One of the methods is Atwater method that contains added up the calories from carbs (4 kcal/gram) protein (4 kcal/g), and fats (9 kcal/gram).
Simply consider that if a product is free form amino acids and it has no carbs or fats and it is technically listed as 0 protein so, it’s obvious to consider it as 0 caloric value.
So, whenever you come across a debate that does BCAAs have calories, help me some myth-busting by sharing this post!