By Massa Bitar
Everything you need to know.
Whether used as a pre-mix, protein-bar, ready-to-drink shake or in powdered form, protein supplements are becoming increasingly popular and are leading charge in the supplements market. Is this just a trend or is it a necessity?
What is protein powder?
Protein is essential for maintaining and rebuilding muscles. Protein powder is mostly used as an easy and convenient supplement to get more protein into the body. The most common sources for it are milk (whey or casein), egg whites or soy.
- first look for a reputable company that has good manufacturing practices.
- Then, investigate the nutrition label; choose the purest PPs made with real food ingredients (whey, egg whites or cocoa).
- Make sure it is low in fat and carbohydrates and is free of sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavors or fillers.
Do you need protein powder?
The purpose of using protein powder should be to fill gaps in the diet and not to make up the bulk of it. There is a common myth that the more protein you eat, the more muscles you will build. This is incorrect.
Let’s explore why:
The average recommended daily protein amount for adult women is 46 g/day; for men 56 g (athletes need more).
- 120g chicken breast (34g)
- 120g lean steak (34g)
- 120g fish (20g)
- 1egg (6g)
- 1cup milk (8g)
Some of these powders provide 80 grams of protein per serving. This might be too much for your body and just like fat and carbohydrates, if you eat too much protein, your body will convert it into fat, making you fatter and not leaner.The following are examples of when a protein supplement can be useful:
- Starting an exercise routine: a person new to exercising needs more protein.
- Increasing the level/intensity of workout.
- Teenagers who work out (the growing body needs more protein).
- A person who is unable to meet his/her protein needs through food alone.
While protein powder can be a helpful and convenient supplement, it cannot replace a healthy whole food based diet. Refining a product (isolating an ingredient), leaves behind much of the nutritious ingredients found in whole foods. But, when your diet lacks adequate protein to supply your needs, that’s where the protein supplement comes in handy.