Protein shakes: your friend or foe?
If you have ever been to a gym, you must have heard about the protein shakes or protein powders. What are they? Why is there so much buzz going on in the sports industry?
They are majorly consumed after the workout session and comes in various shapes and forms. Protein powders — made into a shake or consumed however you like — are getting more and more popular as a nutritional supplement.
What are protein powders?
Bodybuilding supplements are dietary supplements specifically marketed to those involved in bodybuilding, weightlifting, and athletics.
Among the most widely used are vitamins, protein, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), glutamine, essential fatty acids, meal replacement products, creatine, weight loss products and testosterone boosters. They enhance weight gain, promote weight loss or improve athletic performance.
Protein powders come in various forms. The three common ones are whey, soy, and casein protein.
Whey is considered to be the most commonly used as it is a complete protein. (Complete proteins contain all nine of the amino acids necessary for human dietary needs.) In very specific circumstances, protein powders can be useful. “They’re an easy and convenient source of complete, high-quality protein,” says Carole Conn, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition at the University of New Mexico.
But remember: Most people, even athletes, can also get everything they offer by eating sources of lean protein like meat, fish, chicken, and dairy products.
So if we can get the same amount of protein from a normal healthy diet, then why do people rush towards them?
The answer is that weight loss and muscle building ads tout protein supplements as near-magical solutions to getting the body you want. But in reality, this is all a myth.
These supplements have a major impact on a body, major health impacts. Some supplements are nutritionally sound and help support health goals when used the right way, but they also have risks and downsides that could significantly impact your health.
Let us do the protein math:
It doesn’t take that much protein to achieve body building goals. Most Americans already get about 15% of their daily calories in protein. To build a pound of muscle, Lewin explains, the body needs between 10 and 14 additional grams of protein per day.
“That’s not really that much. Some of these powders have 80 grams of protein per serving. You don’t need that. All your body is going to do is break it down for energy. And too much protein can be hard on your kidneys and your liver.”
Excess amounts of these protein powders may also cause dehydration, nausea, liver damage, digestive problems, and many many more health issues, which can be very derogatory for one’s health. Some may be;
- Inferior nutrition: In a battle between supplements and whole foods, according to the Mayo Clinic, whole foods are the clear winner. “Supplements aren’t intended to be a food substitute because they can’t replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods,”
- Digestive problems: That lack of fiber in supplements is one factor that can cause digestive problems, including constipation and diverticulitis.
- Kidney risks: If protein supplements consistently put you past your recommended daily requirements, you may be subject to developing kidney problems because the kidneys are involved in breaking down protein.
- Unhealthy weight gain: If taken in excess quantities, protein supplements can cause you to gain weight. And by weight, we mean fat.
- Disturbs blood sugar level
- Bone loss
- Hair loss
- Hormonal disruption
- Heavy metal poisoning
Protein powders are not really necessary if you have access to a normal, healthy diet. Try and eliminate them from your daily workout routine, as yes they are of help, but not your friend in a long run. Stay healthy.