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Protein Myths: Separating Fact From Fiction

By Haseeb Pirzada | Updated: Sunday, 21 February 2021 22:42 UTC
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Selection of protein sources
Selection of protein sources

Highlights

  • What is protein?
  • Myths about protein.
  • High protein diet.
  • Protein myths about bodybuilding.
  • Protein myths and facts.
  • What is a good intake of protein?

As a fitness freak, I have been hearing a lot about every aspect of nutrition. Particularly, when it comes to protein, the debate is endless. Whether it is about weight loss or muscle retention, proteins always have been a hot topic for discussion. All these misconceptions are badly affecting the general perception of diet among the masses. So, I thought to burst some of the popular protein myths for you.

Not only the gym instructors, but I’ve also seen a nutritionist in Rawalpindi advocating high protein diets. In order to make you understand better, let’s begin with the introduction of protein. Just start with it!

What is protein?

Protein is one of the three most important nutrients in our diet other than carbohydrates and fats. Undoubtedly, protein plays many key roles in our bodies including;

  1. Protein is needed for making new cells as well as the repair of older cells.
  2. Protein helps to keep us full
  3. Other proteins have a great impact on our muscle and bone health.
  4. Protein is important for the growth of our hair and nails.

Other than the right nutritional information, these protein traps are affecting the health of people. Some of the myths about protein are;

You can eat as much protein as you want!

Despite all the benefits of protein in our diet, there is a limit to the safe-consumption of protein. The amount of protein in your diet varies from person to person. But exceeding the safe limit can be harmful to you. Let me make it simple for you, the protein you eat is automatically converted into amino acid and nitrogen. Excess protein can result in an up build of nitrogen in your body that can be toxic for your kidneys.

Protein shakes can fulfill your protein requirements.

Okay! I understand how much you love your protein shake, but that can’t fulfill your protein requirement. Protein shakes are the convenient choice as the protein source but remember that these powder protein sources can’t substitute the whole proteins. Make animal and plant-based protein as your primary protein source and then add these protein shakes to your diet.

Protein huge meals are good for you

Moderation is the key to a healthy diet; even if it’s protein, you still need to consume it in limited quantities. Consuming too much protein at once will go overboard and rather than being digested into your body it will be converted into fat. You can try distributing your net protein into different meals rather than consuming it at once.

You always need a protein supplement to fulfill your daily protein requirement

Protein requirements can vary from person to person and so as their protein sources. Some people may prefer animal-based protein while other plant-based protein sources are more suitable. But general perception about protein intake is that you can never fulfill your protein intake without consuming supplements. If you are taking your protein from good dietary sources you can get enough protein.

Too much protein can make your bones weak

Well, it’s not true in any case. Let’s break it down further, first of all, your bone health is dependent more on other nutritional components than protein. This claim originated from the idea behind that too much protein can increase the acidity in your body and make calcium leach out of your bones resulting in bone weakness. However, the results are opposite and protein intake is found to improve your bone health.

Protein bars are good for you

One of the most easily accessible protein sources for people is basically the protein bar. But you will be surprised to know the facts once you read the label. Most of the protein bars have added preservatives that add to the overall calorie value of these bars. Apart from this, many calorie bars contain chemical carrageenan that is known to cause inflammation, irritation, and other health problems.

Other than protein bars and supplements, magic protein drinks are a new trend in the market. Once, I went to Azeema Sheikh Hospital in Rawalpindi and I saw a person who was brought to emergency due to overconsumption of some magic weight loss protein coffee. So, basically, you are not supposed to believe everything you hear or read on the internet.

The Bottom Line!

Let’s summarize the protein tale by saying that no single nutrient in your food is harmful or beneficial including proteins. Consuming the right nutrients in the right amount can help you to achieve your fitness goals.

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