If you’re interested in fitness, chances are you’ve already heard about protein shakes, protein bars, and protein powder in general! It’s becoming more and more popular as a nutritional supplement and can be bought in just about every nutritional store, online, and even in the humble supermarket!
Protein powders (and the related bars, shakes, and even cookies), are simply a nutritional supplement to add more protein into the diet, which is essential for muscle repair, recovery and growth.
But do you really need the extra protein, and if so, what type should you choose? I have outlined some myths and truths about protein powder below to help provide you with some clarity!
First, we’ll start with the myths:
Myth #1: Protein powder makes women bulky
Protein powder does assist in muscle growth, but it has as much chance of making you bulky as eating any other protein source would. How much muscle you build comes down to so many other factors including hormones, body structure and the type of training you do.
Myth #2: You won’t build muscle without it
As I mentioned before, so many other factors go into building muscle, and it’s totally possible to build muscle with diet and training alone. In fact, it wasn’t until two years that I actually started using protein powder! That was only because it was a convenient and easy way to get in some protein, and because I found a brand that was both delicious and didn’t upset my tummy. (Thanks, Tropeka).
Myth #3: Plant Protein doesn’t work, you need animal protein
The most important thing to remember is that both whey and plant-based proteins can help you increase muscle mass and improve strength. However, the different nutritional profiles and formulas of each protein may make one a better fit for you and your goals.
The protein found in whey isolate (animal-based) is of exceptionally high quality because it’s full of amino acids, and it is especially high in leucine, which is the most important amino acid in the muscle-building process. However, it is entirely possible to quickly and effectively build muscle with plant protein, so please choose what’s right for your body. I personally use a vegan-friendly protein powder because that’s what’s best for me.
Myth #4: Protein shakes will make you lose weight
Protein is broken down the same way carbohydrate is broken down. Protein powder still contains calories, and regardless of what anyone says, if you consume too much protein, carbs or fat you’ll gain weight.
And now for some truths!
Truth #1: Anyone can take protein powder to increase their protein intake
You don’t need to be a bodybuilder to benefit from protein powder; it can be good for anyone. You might want to consider supplementing with protein powder when you’re amping up your workouts, when you’re new to working out, when you’re trying to build muscle, when you’re recovering from muscle injury, or when you know that your diet is low in protein.
Truth #2 Protein powder is great to drink, cook and bake with
Protein powder is thankfully very versatile, you can throw it in your smoothies, your energy balls, your homemade cakes and even your healthy chia pudding.
Truth #3 Protein deficiencies are very common
Women in particular (especially those who are working out) often don’t get adequate protein. Increasing your protein intake can be an effective way to help repair injuries, build muscle and reduce illness.
Truth #4 Protein can help to reduce appetite and cravings
While I said previously that it’s a myth that protein shakes will make you lose weight, it’s actually true that protein can help reduce your appetite and cravings. What does this mean? Well, it means that you shouldn’t think of protein powder as having any magical qualities!
If you’re trying to lose weight it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on your total calorie consumption. Having adequate protein in your diet while keeping an eye on your total calorie consumption can keep those hunger pains away and may help you feel more satisfied for longer.
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