So is protein now bad for you?
If you were listening to any kind of news yesterday you would have certainly heard that “Protein supplement advert claims ‘wrong and immoral’ ” as the British Dietetic Association announced that they believed marketing for some products is both ‘Wrong and immoral’.
This was countered by the body representing the sports nutrition industry who said that extra protein allows people to train harder.
You can see the full report on the newsbeat website, but all you need to know is the above and that the industry that sells protein supplements is growing year on year and is worth BILLIONS.
In this post I am going to talk a bit about why we need protein, in what form and any advice that the NHS give. I will give my personal view on protein supplements.
What is it?
Protein is a very important macro nutrient that we certainly need in our diet. It is key to building and maintaining all types of body tissue, famously muscle tissue. Amino acids are used for muscle growth and can be sourced from our proteins we consume.
What do the Doctors say? Where can I get my protein from?
You can read on the NHS Living Well site (http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Pharmacy/Pages/Body-building-and-sports-supplements-the-dangers.aspx) that some forms can be dangerous, and mainly that we should aim to get our protein from our meals, from sources such as meat, eggs, dairy and beans.
How much do I need?
So the Food standards agency says only 55g on average, but dietitians and publications will say 1.2-1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight if you are active or especially lifting weights.
Many body builders aim for more, but they are probably wasting their time, money, and calories!
I think the modern version of “p*ssing away your money” is drinking too much protein supplement!
That’s right, if your body can’t process the excess you will excrete it in your urine.
My take on it?
I have no problem with clients adding some protein supplementation to their diet if required. Sometimes for convenience (it is easier to shake some powder at work from a tap than try to cook some omelettes!), sometimes for enjoyment (Have you tried musclePharm-bars, mmm) and sometimes to just top up the amount of calories they have had (within reason depending on macros).
What I do have a problem with is companies that sell shakes as a means of weight loss by advertising “healthy weight loss” “RAPID muscle growth” “meal replacement” etc.
There is no way that a protein shake is a replacement to a good healthy, nutritious and well prepared meal, but if you find it easier and quicker to grab a protein bar as a snack or supplement in between meals, then go for it!
So is protein bad for you? NOPE. Can it be if you take too many supplementation products, yes it certainly can.