PROTEIN POWDER – IS IT GOOD FOR YOU? IS IT NECESSARY? PROS AND CONS (the truth might surprise you)

Lets talk about protein powder now. Most big time gym users seem to be of the opinion that you need protein powder to get maximum results and peak health performance if you’re exercising hard. But is that true? Or is it just a misconception from more lack of education? let’s find out here shall we…

WHAT IS PROTEIN POWDER

First we need to make sure that we actually know what protein powder is. There’s no point learning about the pros and cons of something if you don’t know what it actually is. Protein powder is essentially different types of protein broken down into a powder form that you can use to add extra protein to your diet. You can consume it various ways, whether you mix it into a shake or a smoother, sprinkle it on your food or even back it into your baked goods.

The truth is that yes, protein powders CAN be beneficial is used correctly. There are many possible health benefits that you can gain from using protein powder including weight loss, muscle gain, assisted recovery after exercise and even added nutrition. So let’s take a closer look at these things and how these powders can help.

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT

A protein rich diet can help someone to feel full for longer, this can mean less frequent snacking and even eating smaller portions. This can help someone maintain a healthy weight or even aid in weight loss. In addition to this it can also help to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and other factors that are a risk for cardiovascular diseases.

So in this sense, a protein powder used correctly CAN potentially be a benefit.

MUSCLE GAIN

Again, protein powder can potentially benefit muscle growth. Studies show that people who consume higher protein have a larger muscle growth when doing resistance training. Protein is essential for muscle growth in your body, so of course a protein powder CAN be beneficial for muscle growth. These studies also showed that there was no difference in the benefits for muscle growth between woman and men, however it did show that older people needed much more protein than younger people for the same results.

So again, we have found out that protein powder can absolutely be beneficial for muscle growth.

MUSCLE RECOVERY AFTER EXERCISING

Not only does protein aid in muscle growth, but it is also a vital part of muscle recovery. Having protein shortly after exercising can reduce muscle damage and help in the recovery and repair the muscles need to go through after exercising.

Another main factor which plays a part in how effective protein powder is, is the type of protein powder you use. There are a number of different types of protein powder which include Whey, Casein, Soy, Pea and Hemp. Each vary slightly in how much they help and what they help with the most.

WHEY

This one is the most popular for athletes and fitness freaks. It is a water soluble milk protein and it is called a complete protein. This means that it contains all the amino acids the human body requires from the food we consume; and our bodies digest it quickly and easily.

CASEIN

This particular one is high in glutamine, which is an amino acid that may speed up muscle recovery. This type of powder comes from dairy, so it’s unsuitable for vegans or anyone with any kind of dairy intolerance. Our bodies also cant digest this one as quickly as whey, so if you are using it; it’s best to be taken at night before bed.

PEA

This is common in most plant based protein powders, most of them will contain pea protein. This is a high quality alternative to soy and dairy based proteins and it is a good source of arginine amino acid.

HEMP

Hemp seeds are complete proteins which also contain the essential fatty acids our bodies require. They are also considered the best option for those who are vegan or have dairy or soy allergies.

CONS

What a lot of people don’t realise is the negatives of protein powder. One big con of using protein powder is that you can’t guarantee what you are putting into your body. Supplements aren’t regulated like drugs or medicinal items. This means that they don’t ensure what is on the label is all that is in the product. Some brands use a lot more additives such as sugar, artificial sweeteners, food colouring etc in their powders. So you will need to check what is in the product, but remember, what’s on the label may not be all that is in the product.

But the main thing to remember, which a lot of people don’t seem to know; too much can be harmful. Too much protein can (which on average is 2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day) has been shown to contribute towards vascular, digestive and kidney issues. They also contain chemicals that can be quite harmful for your body. in 2018 there was testing done on 134 of the best selling protein powders. The results will chock, and possibly even disgust you. This is what they found:

70% of them had detectable lead levels
74% had detectable levels of cadmium; a known carcinogen
55% had detectable levels of BPA, a carcinogen known also to cause developmental problems
Organic powders had, on average, twice the level of heavy metals

When it comes to protein, your body only needs so much. For the average person this is about .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. However those who are more physically active, or some who have health issues the amount of protein per kilogram of bodyweight may rise or even lower depending on the issue. However as mentioned earlier, if your protein intake exceeds 2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight then you will be doing a lot more harm to your body than good. Studies also show that once you except 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight there are no more added benefits. Meaning that if you’re already consuming 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight, there’s no reason to take more as you will be doing nothing but putting more potentially harmful chemicals etc into your body.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the answer is that it is highly likely you do not need protein powder. In fact, unless there is a medical reason, there is a high chance that you will be doing more damage to your body if you take protein powder. It is very easy to have a high protein diet through natural foods which will also give you extra benefits than what protein powders will give you. It is always recommended to try a natural high protein diet before turning to supplements such as protein powders. If you believe your body isn’t getting as much protein as it should from the diet, I would recommend speaking to a medical professional before beginning using protein powders as there may be a healthier and more natural solution as to why you are not getting the required protein.

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