The fitness world is fast becoming OBSESSED with abundance of flavoured protein powder now gracing every shop shelf and computer screen. It seems we simply cannot cram enough of it into our diets. But there are a number of question surrounding the hype and it’s time we set things straight.
Proteins are made up from AMINO ACIDS. Once one or more amino acids form a chain it becomes a protein and each protein has its very own number and order of amino acids. Our bodies need 20 different amino acids in order to produce a variety of proteins. We can naturally produce (synthesise) 11 of these proteins. The remaining 9 amino acids need to be sourced from our food, known as ESSENTIAL amino acids. These are present as different proteins in the food we consume. Our digestive system breaks these down back into amino acids allowing our body’s to build them back into desired proteins once again.
Proteins are aptly nicknamed ‘the building blocks of life’ as they make up our organs (including skin), muscle fibres, hair, nails, cartilage and hormones.
When we exercise we damage our muscle fibres in order for them to grow back stronger. We need protein in our diet for these muscles to REPAIR and GROW. On the recent BBC show ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor’ they performed an experiment where only one leg was exercised. The participant then consumed a protein shake in which the amino acids had been tagged. A biopsy was taken from each quad muscle showing 30% more protein went to the fatigued leg in comparison to the un-worked. This proves that our muscles demand more protein post workout. But was it the clever protein shake that helped this process or is it just our body trying to bring itself back into equilibrium?
Further studies have shown that as long as you are getting enough protein from your diet (around 0.8g per 1kg body weight) then your recovery and progression will be the same as those over consuming protein. Any excess protein in your diet will be EXCRETED or converted and stored as FAT due to our bodies being unable to store the amino acids.
When the body processes the excess protein to be stored as fat, it is first converted into SUGAR. This causes a spike in blood sugar levels which has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes and weight gain. However, this is only in diets very rich in protein over a prolonged period of time. You are not just going to eat a big steak, knock back a protein shake and end up with diabetes.
It is often thought that we can only process around 30g of protein from one sitting/meal. However, there are many studies that now disprove this. Due to body size, composition, lifestyle and metabolism it is hard to put a number on the amount of protein we can absorb. For the average Joe around 15-20% of your daily calorie intake should be from protein. To increase muscle growth around 20-40% of your daily calorie intake could come from protein. However, this increased volume of protein is only safe if you have no medical conditions and if consumed only for a short amount of time.
To conclude we are not anti protein supplements. We simply try to get the majority of our protein intake from our diet. On days where our intake is low we either make up a shake or a treat (waffles, pancakes, flapjack ect) using protein powder. When buying your protein supplements please don’t just buy the cheapest, look for organic and grass fed protein when using whey or casein. We use KMPT Nutrition powders for this reason. Use code TTH10 on their website to get 10% off your order.