Any athlete will tell you that protein is essential for your workout routine. Sadly, it’s hard to get people to agree on much else since there’s a lot of misinformation floating around. To set the record straight, we will debunk 6 common myths about protein you shouldn’t believe.
1. You can eat as much protein as you want
Here at Powerful Nutrition, we are all about getting you enough protein to fuel your body. But is there such a thing as too much protein?
Some fitness enthusiasts will have you believe that you can’t have too much protein if you exercise hard enough. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true. Your body can only use so much protein at any time, and the rest will get discarded. However, this doesn’t mean you should overload on protein to give your body more fuel.
Consuming too much protein could lead to high doses of nitrogen, which your body may have trouble getting rid of. The tolerable upper limit for protein intake is 3.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. Prolonged intake of more than 2g per kg of body weight is also not recommended since it could increase the risk of kidney damage. This means that active and healthy adults weighing over 180 pounds should have no problem consuming up to 200g of protein per day.
What all this comes down to is that you should be careful not to overdo it with protein intake. However, 200g of protein is quite a lot, and it gives you plenty of wiggle room for your food and supplement intake. Unless you are pushing the upper limits of what you are allowed to intake – you should be just fine with a mixed diet and your daily dose of supplements.
2. Whey will make you fat
Many people wonder if consuming whey-based protein will cause them to gain excess fat. The simple answer is that any kind of food can cause you to gain weight if you take in more calories than you need. This is true even for foods that are considered healthy, like chicken breasts and salads.
Too much of anything can lead to a caloric excess which will be transformed into extra weight. In reality, not all food is the same, and there are actually foods that help you burn fat. These are mostly foods rich in protein that can boost your metabolism and get your internal clock running faster. Protein-rich foods have a thermic effect and make your body work harder to digest them.
As long as you are tracking your calories and exercising, whey and other protein-rich foods can benefit your body.
3. Vegans don’t have access to complete protein
Proteins are made up of amino acids, and your body needs them to function. Amino acids and the proteins they combine into are necessary for many basic functions in your organism. They also play a significant role in muscle repair, which is why they are recommended for anyone who is exercising.
While your body can produce some amino acids on its own, there are some that you must take in through food. Unfortunately, vegans don’t have too many options for food containing all 9 essential amino acids. Thankfully, this issue is easy to overcome since not all of the amino acids need to come from one single food source.
Therefore, vegans can adopt a varied diet containing a mix of all the needed amino acids. Another simple solution would be turning to a plant-based protein shake to help you round out all your protein needs. Soybeans are also a great source of complete protein, so thinking that vegans can’t get all the essential amino acids is one of the common myths about protein you shouldn’t believe.
4. Protein is only important for athletes
Okay, so if protein is crucial when working out, do only athletes need to worry about their protein intake?
Like we already mentioned, there are certain amino acids your body can’t make on its own. They are still required even if you aren’t exercising and go into your bones, joints, tendons, hair, as well as antibodies and hormones. Although the general population needs protein in their diet, they can get the necessary amounts with a balanced food plan. They won’t necessarily need to turn to supplements for additional protein as athletes do. However, increasing the amount of protein in your diet while reducing carbohydrates and fats is recommended for anyone. A balanced diet with plenty of protein will lead to a leaner and healthier body.
5. Protein will make you strong
On its own, protein can’t increase your muscle mass. What it can do is help your body repair muscle tissue. When you exercise and put strain on your muscles, the fibers in them get torn and damaged. This is where your body uses protein to rebuild the muscles stronger than before. Eating a bunch of protein and then sitting on the couch all day long expecting to get strong is just a common myth about protein you shouldn’t believe.
If you aren’t exercising and forcing your muscles to work hard – protein won’t be able to do anything on its own. Your body can only put the extra protein to use when you are working out, and that’s how you can build muscle and get stronger. However, protein isn’t the only thing you need when pushing your body during a workout. Complete sports nutrition should also include hydration and electrolytes, which can aid stress relief.
6. You should consume your entire daily protein intake in one meal
Eating your total daily dose of protein in one meal isn’t recommended. Your body will require access to protein all day long, especially when exercising. For this reason, many serious athletes eat a pre-workout protein mix to give their bodies enough fuel to power through their gym routines. It’s much better to provide your body with constant doses of protein throughout the day rather than to consume your entire daily dose in one sitting.
Now that we’ve helped you understand the facts regarding these six common myths about protein you shouldn’t believe, you can start planning your exercise routine. See which supplements are the right fit for your needs and start working out. If you give your body enough protein, it will reward you by boosting your muscles and overall fitness.