Protein Powder – Myth Busting

I get a lot of questions especially from girls about protein powder and why I take it. I remember when I first started taking it, I never wanted to take it in public because I didn’t want to have to justify myself to anyone as to why I was taking it. It seems to be this thing that everyone that doesn’t know anything about it has an opinion on it. So I am here to set some things straight. Hopefully this article will be able to give you some evidence based answers on some of the common questions and set some ‘myths’ straight – so next time someone questions you, you can hit them with the #EvidenceBased.

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Let’s get some facts on the table first

Protein is one of three macronutrients, the other two being fats and carbohydrates. Everyone has different macronutrient requirements based on their height, weight and goals. Protein, carbs and fats are the main nutrients that make up the food we all consume on a day to day basis. So if you are getting your carbohydrates from pasta or fruit, fats from peanut butter or avocados and protein from chicken or protein powder. In simple terms, your body isn’t going to know the difference between foods with similar nutritional makeup.

Chicken Breast Nutritional Breakdown (100g):

Calories:  110

Carbs:      0g

Fats:         1.2g

Protein:     23g

1 Serving of Protein powder (the brand I use):

Calories:   98

Carbs:      1.9g

Fats:         1.9g

Protein:     18g

So not exactly the same but you can see the pattern. Both chicken breasts and protein powder have similar nutritional makeup.

Now let’s address the Myths:

Protein Powder makes you ‘Manly’:

Although our bodies are extremely smart, they aren’t able to differentiate a chicken breast from protein powder, even though they both have similar macronutrient makeup.  For example, my body is not going to say,‘  “Right, this is protein powder not chicken so I am going to grow Amy a beard”. I never really understood the whole ‘protein powder makes you manly’ myth, but hopefully that has cleared things up for you guys.

Protein powder makes you ‘bulky’:

I understand why people might think protein powder makes you ‘bulky’. It’s not uncommon to hear hear those ‘broscience’ guys (the industry’s term for people who think they know everything, with little scientific knowledge on the subject) talking about having to take their shakes so they can get ‘huge’. And they are right in some ways, when we work out our muscle fibres become damaged, and after our workout they have to repair themselves. Protein is needed to stimulate the growth and repair process. This is where the protein and ‘becoming bulky’ overlap, but correlation does not mean causation. For both males and females, becoming ‘bulky’ is not easy. It requires years of intense training and a certain diet based on their goals. To become ‘bulky’, you have to be eating above maintenance (more food then your body needs) and be kicking ass in the gym everyday, but even when you are doing those two things it doesn’t happen overnight. Quite the contrary. It takes months to build muscle that you will notice, let alone get ‘bulky’. Not to mention the hormones that come into play, women just don’t have enough testosterone and other male hormones in their body to get ‘bulky’ without being on some kind of substance geared towards making them more bulky.

Whey protein can damage the liver & kidneys

According to Examine.com (an excellent scientific-based source for all things health) whey protein (the most common protein powder) does not harm the liver of kidneys. However, people with existing liver or kidney problems shouldn’t increase protein intake without speaking to their doctor first. But for the average Joe’s with perfectly functioning kidneys and livers, we should be good.

So why am I using protein powder?

I find that protein powder is very useful for helping me to hit my daily protein goals. Some days I will get enough protein from my main meals, and other days I won’t. This is when protein powder can be so useful.  A shake is a great snack, it is portable, filling and tastes damn good! I do like to get my macronutrients from whole, minimally processed food where possible, but from a convenience point of view you can’t fault it. Id much rather reach my protein goal from protein powder, than not reach it at all.

I hope you guys found this post useful and that it was able to clear up some questions or concerns anyone had about protein powder. Any additional questions feel free to comment and I will try answer to the best of the ability. Don’t forget to follow my page. See you in the next post!

The Girl on the Go xx

 

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