Hearing people discuss protein powder as if it’s some kind of miracle drug, has possibly one of my biggest annoyances in the last 5 years.
Seriously, if it isn’t half of our parents generation calling it a steroid, it’s the younger generation who think it’s going to make them muscle-ier than Arnie.
These rumours have fueled a huge amount of news stories over the years, but thankfully there are some people out there who have some sense, like Scitec Nutrition. They have created a guide dispelling common myths like:
- Protein Shakes Make Women Big (This rumour is such a pet peeve of mine)
- They Damage Kidneys…
- Protein Shakes are Not as Good as Protein from Real Food…
- Your Body Can Only Process 30g of Protein at a time…
- More Protein, Means More Muscle…
- All Proteins are the Same…
- Protein Shakes are for Men…
- Protein Can Only Come From Meat…
So it’s not a miracle “steroid”
Firstly, protein powder is definitely 100000% not a steroid, and whoever told you it was has no idea what they’re talking about.
Taking protein powder, is effectively the same concept as taking a vitamin C tablet. If you haven’t had much/enough vitamin C, and you’re deficient, you take a vit-c. Protein powder works in just the same way.
So why do people think it makes them muscular?
To explain this further, you need to know a little a bit about:
what protein is?
Protein is an important macronutrient, within your diet.
- Micronutrient= Vitamins and minerals
- Macronutrient = Carbs, Protein and Fat
Macronutrients are what makes up the calories in your food, and is where you get your energy from. Protein is one of the most important nutrients as the majority of your bodies lean tissue mass is comprised of protein. Protein is in pretty much all the food you eat, for example: a 200g chicken breast contains 58g of protein, 7g of fat and 0 carbohydrates.
What Protein *Powder* is?
So know you know what protein is and how important it is, what about protein powder. Protein powder is an easy way of ensuring you are receiving an adequate amount of protein in your diet. For example:
Vegans and vegetarians generally eat low protein foods, so vegan protein powders are great for them to consume as part of a balanced diet
The elderly, many elderly people find it difficult to consume food and are told to take protein supplements as part of a, you guessed it, balanced diet.
Gym-Goers: people who attend the gym, and weight train, generally require more protein than the average woman. Protein powder is an easy, cost effective and efficient way to consume the required protein you need after working out. Because nobody wants to be that person who eats 5 chicken breasts a day…
How it works?
So the reason bodybuilders/gym go-ers and the like require more protein than the average human is because: When you exercise, you’re effectively damaging your muscles. To repair said muscles, your body requires protein, more than any other nutrient. SO That means if you work out, you need more protein, if you do super intensive workouts you need even more…
Is Protein Powder for you?
If you lead a healthy life, with a balanced diet and you don’t lift weights or workout then no – the chances are you don’t need protein powder. That is, as long as you are getting between 0.8g to 2.2g of protein per kg of bodyweight.
If you’re not hitting these figures and you can’t find a way to do it via food, then adding a scoop of protein powder to a milkshake, to an omelette or to your morning porridge is definitely a good idea.
For vegans and vegetarians: there are plenty of vegan/cruelty free protein powders on the market. they are definitely worth investigating.
For those of us who work out?
I recommend using a calculator like the iifym. Here you can figure out the exact amount of protein required for your activity level. However, I always advocate getting it from food first as and where possible.