There are so many misconceptions about protein that I’ve lost count. But I’m sure we can discuss a few here and see what the reality is.
Protein will make you fat, especially when you don’t work out.
Of course if you are in a caloric surplus (you exceed the number of calories you burn) daily, yes you will gain weight. But just consuming higher protein (higher than the minimum recommended amount which is usually 40-70g per day) is not going to make you fat. Quite the opposite, actually. Eating the minimum will ensure that your body functions don’t stop which basically means survival. Just because you function doesn’t mean you function well or in other words, that you’re in optimal shape. Increasing the protein intake from the recommended 0.36g per pound of body mass to, for example 0.5 or slightly more will help you retain lean muscle tissue, especially during caloric restriction periods. Muscle mass will increase your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories burned during rest) and give a super kick to your metabolism. If you work out, increased protein is super-important in order to preserve and heal the micro tears in the muscle tissue caused by training.
Protein supplements are doping.
Wrong. This may be more of a myth among people who aren’t familiar with fitness or nutrition at all. But it’s out there so let’s see what we can say here. Well, protein supplements are made from organic substances such as milk derivatives (whey), beef or soy as examples. They usually do contain some artificial sweeteners but according to research, those are perfectly safe in moderate quantities. But a beginner may ask – so why don’t I just drink milk? Well, yes and no. Yes, milk contain protein but it also contains lactose, to which most adults are intolerant (hello, bad tummy) and you would have to drink quite a lot. Whey protein isolate is processed so that a small quantity contains a lot of protein (usually up to 95% of the powder is pure protein) and added vitamins and minerals. As opposed to casein protein from milk, the isolate is very easily absorbable and better for the gut.
Women shouldn’t consume too much protein – it makes them bulky.
A moderate to high protein diet will not make anyone bulky. To gain weight or size you need to be eating a lot (caloric surplus) and lift heavy. Protein as a part of a balanced diet will help you achieve a lean, strong body.
I need to supplement with protein supplements.
If you are capable of eating enough high quality protein with all the amino acids, why bother?
Generally, supplements are quick and easy and you know exactly what you’re getting without weighing. They are good when you’re in a hurry or on the go. But, by all means, if you can get all your macronutrients from food, all the better! There are pros and cons for integrating both, but whereas I would advocate anyone can get their protein requirements from quality food sources, I would not suggest anyone to live off a purely supplemental form of protein only.
If I can help you to understand your own personal protein requirements better, then just drop me an email here http://www.jbnutrition.ie/services/, or a private message on Facebook to see how I can help you optimise your eating strategy for your goals.