Protein - we all need it. Having enough of it and from quality sources, is the difference between "Hey" and "WOAH, have you been working out?”. However there seems to be a lot of misconceptions about protein, its benefits, negatives and effects.
This article is based on our best friend SCIENCE, so let’s set the record straight!
Myth: Protein is only important for bodybuilders, women shouldn't use protein powder because they'll get bulky?
Wrong and wrong.
First of all, if you don't want to be a bodybuilder, that's okay. You won't be unless you try really, really hard. It takes years of effort, discipline, and lucky genetics to build that kind of muscle. But, you should know that lean muscle is the foundation of some of the hottest bodies out there.
Second, ladies, you won't bulk up from eating protein or taking protein powder. You won't even get bulky from lifting heavy weights, bodybuilder style. You don't have the testosterone for it. Instead, you'll support lean, sexy muscle that creates a toned and curvaceous physique.
If you ate 20 chicken breasts a day, would your body grow 20 extra inches of muscle as a result? Of course not.
The muscle mass you build will largely depend on whether you're doing physical training like lifting weights. And any excess protein that isn't broken down by the body and used as an energy source (depending on how many carbs and fats you're consuming, as well as your activity level) will be stored as body fat. Even those 10 "naked" burgers could still make you fat if you're a couch potato. Muscle tissue is largely composed of protein, but it's not where protein is stored. The body can't physically store protein as a nutrient. It'll break protein down into its building blocks, amino acids, and either use them, store them in fat cells, or get rid of them.
Myth: Protein Powder Denatures From Cooking or Baking
While this is true, it doesn’t mean the protein becomes ineffective. When protein undergoes a heading process it changes the physical structure of the molecules, this is called denaturation which occurs at temperatures above 104.4 degrees. Therefor when baking with your protein powder it will defiantly undergo some changes, the same way that when a raw egg is cooked it changes from liquid to solid (yet still maintains a protein punch). It is still utilised by the body in the same manner despite the denaturation, protein powder is versatile and convenient. You can throw it in the blender, mix it, stir it or enjoy it in your cooking. Whatever you choose to do with your protein powder, you can rest assured you are still getting your protein needs in.
Myth: Too much protein turns into fat.
Myth: Your body can only absorb 30g of protein per serving
Woweee this is a good one, and far from the truth! Your intestines absorb up to 90% of all protein that is digested (may vary dependant on individual bodily functions). Once the protein is absorbed, free amino acids are released into circulation and are taken up by the liver where they are then used in major metabolic processes like building muscle! If your need for protein is lower at the time of ingestion, instead of getting rid of the extra protein, the body actually just slows down its rate of digestion. Bottom line – the stomach will take its sweet time to release amino acids into the gut where they can then be absorbed and utilised when needed. One study showed that eating a 54 gram serving of protein in one meal versus four meals for 2-weeks found no difference between the groups in terms of protein synthesis or degradation. Which means, it really doesn’t matter how much or when you eat your protein, in time it will be utilised and absorbed by your body.
Black and white - yes this can be true! If you eat too much of anything your body will eventually turn it into fat, but when protein is concerned you would have to eat a whole lot of it and not much else in order for it to have this effect.
Myth: Protein Powders are 100% Protein This is only true if the company you are buying your protein powder from is delivering on their label claims. Unfortunately these days, many companies cut corners to save on costs by using cheap fillers and non-essential aminos to falsely amplify the actual amount of pure protein per serving. Be sure to read the nutrition facts panel carefully, including the ingredient listing. If you see cheap aminos like Glycine or Taurine high on the list, you can be certain your protein is ‘Spiked!’ Added essential aminos including the Branched Chain Amino Acids – Isoleucine, Leucine and Valine are highly involved in the muscle building process, and are needed by the body, not to mention adding them is not cheap either.
Myth: Whey Protein Makes You Fat
Truth – Whey protein doesn’t make you fat. Only eating an excessive amount of daily calories can make you gain fat. Eating a proper amount of daily protein will ensure maximum muscle gains. On the other hand, if you under eat protein, you make it harder for your body to add muscle.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution to get lean muscle, metabolic boosting protein whenever, and wherever you want.
And it tastes good too!
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Bray GA, et al. Effect of dietary protein content on weight gain, energy expenditure, and body composition during overeating: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2012. 307:47-55.
Martin WF, Armstrong LE, Rodriguez NR. Dietary protein intake and renal function. Nutr Metab. 2005. 2:25.
Body Building Website "http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/attention-protein-skeptics.html" sited, January 20th 2015.
Ten Have GA, Engelen MP, Luiking YC, Deutz NE. Absorption kinetics of amino acids, peptides, and intact proteins. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2007. 17 Suppl: S23-36.