It seems that everyone in the fitness community is swearing by their favourite protein powders and encouraging their friends to use them to increase their gains and see faster results. Although it is effortless to add a scoop of supplement into a shake or smoothie, it might not benefit everyone.
You shouldn’t blindly purchase and use a supplement just because your favourite influencers online are telling you to. It’s crucial that you first learn what protein supplements are and how they are used in your body to determine whether you should start taking them.
The most common types of protein supplements are found in powder form, which you then add to water or milk. You can easily find a protein powder to fit your dietary restrictions, regardless of whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or allergic. Soybean, peas, rice, hemp, and potato proteins come from plants, while casein and whey protein come from milk.
You should note that although the protein is sourced from natural products, most powders have added sugar and artificial flavourings. Most people enjoy their protein powders with flavours like chocolate or vanilla to add to shakes and smoothies and mask any odd tastes. However, this increases the calories in your daily intake, quickly adding up if you are not careful.
Even recreational athletes and fitness enthusiasts often add protein powder to their drinks for a post-workout boost. Every brand is different, but a typical scoop of powder can have anywhere from 10 to 30 grams of protein. Adding this to your drink can help increase your muscle mass, speed up recovery, and aid your weight loss program.
Protein powder can also vary in price, with the more expensive brands using higher-quality ingredients and containing more nutrition. You can still find decent supplements at low prices, though. You only have to do your research to see if it is the right fit for your body and lifestyle.
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Protein supplements are best for those who cannot reach the daily recommended intake of protein, which is about 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men. The actual amount depends entirely on your age, weight, and fitness levels.
If you have difficulty eating enough in a day, are in recovery from an injury or surgery, or require additional calories and protein for some reason, it is ideal for incorporating protein supplements into your diet. They will help you reach your protein intake goal, supplementing what you can’t get from whole foods.
Older adults and athletes benefit the most from increasing their protein intake, as it helps increase muscle growth and improve strength. Protein supplements are incredibly convenient but often unnecessary. It is pretty easy for the average person to increase their intake by eating whole foods alone and performing resistance training to strengthen their bodies.
Adding multiple scoops of protein powder into your drink won’t actually have an increased effect on your fitness results–it will just add more calories. It is cheaper and less risky for you to change your food intake to reach the necessary protein requirements and see faster results in your physique.
Although protein supplements can benefit your workout and help you achieve your fitness goals, they can also be harmful to your overall health. Take note of these risks of protein powders before you purchase and consume them:
Protein powders are considered dietary supplements, which are not strictly regulated and enforced by the FDA. Manufacturers can work independently of the government and choose what type of information they disclose to the public. It would be best if you always were wary of dietary supplements, read each label thoroughly, and do extra research instead of blindly trusting the company.
You have no way of knowing whether their claims are valid or not. A recent study found that many protein powders actually contain heavy metals, BPA, and pesticides.
Despite choosing a protein powder that fits your dietary requirements, you might still struggle with digestive issues. The most popular type of powder is whey protein, but it can also cause the most distress to your intestinal tract. People with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies will experience pain and discomfort if they consume whey.
Even those without allergies can have difficulty digesting protein powder because of the added sugars and thickeners.
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There is also limited long-term data on the side effects of taking supplements, so do so at your own risk. Protein powders are constantly changing and being marketed as essential to a workout, but there is not enough research to back those claims up. We don’t know the exact long-term effects of taking protein supplements. Be mindful of marketing tactics from manufacturers who only want you to buy their product and don’t care whether it works or not.
Most people taking protein supplements are invested in their exercise regimens and are looking to increase their muscle mass and definition. However, most powders are incredibly high in added calories and sugar.
You can easily add hundreds of calories to your drink, putting your weight loss program at risk. It is not ideal for drinking most of your daily caloric allowance since you will still feel hungry afterwards.
You are more likely to binge after drinking a protein shake and end up gaining weight.
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Protein powders are a fantastic way to increase your protein intake and improve your muscle strength.
Still, it is only worth it if you are an actual athlete working towards that specific goal or someone struggling to reach the recommended dietary allowance. For most recreational fitness enthusiasts, taking protein supplements is overkill and can do more harm than good. It can lead to weight gain and digestive issues, especially if you don’t pay attention to which protein powder you consume.
Remember to do your research and always consult with your primary care physician before adding supplements to your diet.
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