This post is inspired by more debates and misinformation about protein supplements doing the rounds, sparked by a BBC article and another by the Daily (M)Fail.
So here we go here is my little take on it regarding protein supplements, I am mainly going to focus on whey protein powders as this is probably the most well-known protein supplement…
We know that protein powders have been used by bodybuilders and athletes for a long time and now casual gym users and the general public is more aware of them and using protein supplements more and more. Sports related protein products are forecast to reach £7.8 billion a massive industry.
Now it could be argued if whey is a supplement or an actual food…..[controversial statement?] Whey protein is a by-product of cheese production. It is one of the two proteins found in milk, with the other being casein. Whey is the liquid left behind when milk is turned into cheese. I hear it argued that whey isn’t real food, but where do we draw the line then what is real food and what isn’t then?
Don’t get me wrong, I would always advocate that people try and make up their food and protein requirements from whole minimally processed foods when possible. But there are times when using protein powders can be a useful in the diet. What tends to happen like everything else is over exaggerated marketing claims by companies and people kicking the arse out of things.
You can certainly get all your protein requirements from whole foods, but protein supplements can have their uses
• They can be handy to have around workouts as they are easily digestible, some people may find this an advantage as it is easier than eating whole food around workouts and avoiding an upset stomach.
• Protein powders can be consumed as a meal replacement as part of a calorie controlled diet or can be taken with other nutrients/foods/liquids (e.g. milk, juice, yogurt etc) to make up quick convenient snack to provide quick convenient meal or snack with protein.
• Bulk protein powders can work out cheap per gram of protein than many other foods
• Have an excellent shelf life and can be easily stored and transported.
• Can be used as low cost and convenient way to get adequate protein into the diet.
• Your not going to get jacked by just guzzling protein shakes, you need to train and eat properly
• Over exaggerated claims by protein companies
• Relying on shakes and not getting a varied diet and missing out on other nutrients
• Adding extra protein diet and perhaps extra calories into the diet when not needed (e.g. do you really need to put that extra scoop of protein into smoothie, shake etc.)
• Health Halo effect- Buying the bars, shakes etc. thinking you are being healthy but not needing it.
Why do we need protein in the diet.
There are many benefits when getting adequate protein in the diet as it can help with appetite and weight control as protein can induce satiety and help keep you feeling fuller for longer, increase secretion of gastrointestinal hormones, and increase diet-induced thermogenesis (increase in energy expenditure by the energy content of food ingested).
Most people, when they think of protein know that it helps build muscle, well yes it can help repair muscles after exercise. Our bodies also need proteins for our hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes and antibodies.
The Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) for protein is 0.75g of protein per kilogram body weight per day for adults. HOWEVER, THIS IS TO PREVENT DEFICIENCY not for people who are exercising regularly.
When you exercise, your muscles are broken down and then use protein to rebuild themselves stronger while recovering, so a higher intake would be recommended.
A general recommendation for people wanting to build muscle or even highly active individuals is to aim for about 25-50 grams of protein every 3 to 5 hours (depending on your weight, goals and training).
• Again, the media and the marketers over confuse things
• Guzzling protein shakes is not going to get you ripped, without hard work and good diet.
• Whole food diets are great
• You can get all your protein requirements from whole foods
• Supplementing with protein powders can be useful
• Don’t read the Daily Mail
Jamie Miller Personal Trainer
UK Fitness Personal Training
FITNESS, NUTRITION & PERSONAL TRAINING