Every guy in our gym seems to be a massive fan of the protein supplements – whey protein shakes, protein pills, amino acid supplements – now I always thought that unless you’re training at athlete levels, whey protein supplements are bad for you. In the sense that they are unnecessary, could potentially cause health problems and you can get the protein your body needs from natural, protein-rich food food sources.
But the gym jocks are a-d-a-m-a-n-t and so are most gym trainers. The mantra is “protein supplements grow your muscles.” Which is just… well, completely off the mark. Getting supplementary protein is one thing. Protein supplements “growing” muscles is pure sci-fi. Convinced that whey protein supplements are bad for you and wholly unnecessary, I set out to write this: As factual an article as you will find to prove that if you have a normal protein-rich diet, and you are a regular individual looking to stay fit and healthy, and not training at athlete levels, whey protein supplements are unnecessary for you.
The web is full of product-pushing experts. Websites like gymaddiction, musclebuilder, bodybuilder and mypecsarebiggerthanthenano.com throw pages and pages of “stats and facts” to encourage you to buy their product. I went 15 Google result pages deep while searching for “protein supplements disadvantages” for information beyond “the only disadvantage is the price.” Here’s what I found.
Weight lifters or body builders who want to cut muscle (show defined muscles in competitions) often get sucked into taking protein or amino acid supplements. These supplements do not build muscle and combined with an already high protein intake, often stress their kidney function. You mention that this athlete is deficient in calories. If so, then he is burning protein as a very expensive fuel. Unfortunately, weight lifters and body builders sometimes don’t listen to reasonable nutrition advice while looking for the quick fix.
You are correct in that nutrients are much better absorbed from food than from pills and concentrated supplements. There are a lot of “supplements” out that that make unsubstantiated claims for “nutrients” that I have never heard of nor upon searching, is there any research available for these “nutrients”.
Forget the complex daily protein requirements, on average along, it comes down to this:
- Most foods are not pure protein i.e. 1 gm of meat is not equal to 1 gm of protein.
- Thumb Rule: Take your body weight in kilograms. You need that number in grams of protein a day. Ex: If your body weight is 84 kilograms, you need 84 grams of protein a day.
Studying this chart and taking a very common daily meal plan:
- 2 eggs for breakfast: 12 gm
- 1 serving of chicken at lunch (225 gm or 1 serving) = 40.5 gm
- Post workout boiled egg = 6 gm
- 1 serving of chicken at dinner = 40.5 gm
So, it is possible to consume your daily requirement of protein from protein rich lean meats and eggs.
If one takes whey protein supplements (while working out to stay healthy rather than at athlete levels), one could be putting an unnecessary strain on their kidneys. And plain and simple: Why take such a wholly avoidable risk? The way I see it is this: Whey protein supplements are not needed at all as long as you maintain a healthy diet, work out like a “normal” person and eat protein rich food… and (joke to cut the tension alert) so long as you eat meat, you will be healthy and not brain damaged.
Hopefully, this put the picture in perspective. You won’t need whey protein supplements at all if you make sure you’re eating protein-rich food and make sure you’re keeping some check on your daily protein requirements.