Do You Need To Consume Protein Powder?
Protein powders have been all the talk, especially in the gym circles. You’d normally hear bodybuilders, coaches, and gym enthusiasts comparing the protein powders they use in their shakes, each taking pride in getting creative with their shake recipes.
But what are protein powders? Do you actually need to consume some too? If you do, how much exactly does your body need?
What Is Protein Powder
As we all know, protein is one of the essential elements our body needs to grow well and strong. Our muscles are made of protein, and they need protein to maintain or increase their intensity. In addition to our muscles, most of the enzymes, bones, cartilage, skin, and blood depend on proteins one way or another to function. So yeah, it’s pretty essential for our well-being.
Usually, we can take all of the protein we need from solid food like chicken, meat, fish, eggs, beans, dairy products, and other protein-rich food. You can also ingest it in the form of a soluble powder that you can mix with water, milk, or many different forms. It’s most commonly used in the gym and by athletes to reach their fitness goals.
In his blog post “Which Protein Powder Is Best for Your Fitness Goals?”, Nicholas Blacksmith explains some of most favored types of protein powders available in the market. The most common of which, he explains, are the Whey, Casein, Soy, Hemp, Pea, and Rice powders. Each has its own advantages depending on your need. For instance, Whey protein is the most commonly used as it’s a complete protein which has all of the essential amino acids needed by our body, and it’s also very readily absorbed by the body. But in case you’re lactose intolerant or you’re vegan, you might want to opt for soy, hemp, or other plant-based powders.
Do You Need To Consume Protein Powder?
The fact remains, however, that proteins powders are only nutritional supplements. They aren’t necessary for everyone. One should always get one’s nutritional needs from whole and solid foods, and only move onto supplemental protein powders when there’s a need for them. So how do you know if you need to consume them?
Here are some questions you can ask yourself first:
Is Your Diet Lacking In Protein?
A normal person with a moderately active lifestyle needs to consume 0.8g of protein per 1 kg of body weight. This means if you weigh 70 kgs, your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of proteins should be 56 gms. If you find trouble in keeping up with this RDA, whether due to a busy lifestyle, poor appetite, or dislike for the protein options you have available, chances are you should supplement your nutrition with protein powders to get your adequate body needs.
Are You Still Growing?
If you’re still in your adolescent years, your body is still growing. Growing means your body needs more protein to build your muscles, bones, and tissues properly. Normally you can make sure your body gets sufficient protein from a healthy and balanced diet, but in case you’re also working out and training, you might need more protein in your RDA. Consuming an amount of protein powder can supply your body with its needs in this case.
Are You New To Exercise?
Even if you’re maintaining a healthy diet, if you’re just getting started on a new workout program, especially strength and resistance training, your body RDA of protein will increase. You can get the extra needs from a protein shake from the powders.
Do You Want To Gain or Lose Weight?
Some people seek more proteins in their diet to help them with weight loss. This works for them as it provides a feeling of being fuller, and thus their appetite is a suppressed for longer periods. Others want to increase their body mass, especially build more muscles, in which case an extra boost of protein powders can help them gain that weight. It’s worthy to mention that consuming protein on its own can do little to build muscles without a good-structured workout routine to stimulate the building of the muscles.
Are You Training For an Athletic Goal?
Likewise, those going through hard and intense training programs for their fitness and athletic goals need more energy and proteins to get their body strong and ready for competition. Some common symptoms of a diet that are lacking in protein is feeling your muscles becoming easily fatigued when lifting weights or training in the gym, or when your injury-recovery is going too slow. Whether it’s training for a marathon, bodybuilding, or sports, protein powders are easy, practical, and efficient to consume.
Are You Vegan or Going Vegan?
Just like in the case of consuming a diet that’s lacking in proteins, most vegans suffer from nutritional deficiencies. That’s because most plant-based proteins lack in some or most of the essential amino acids, unlike the animal-based proteins. Plant-based protein powders, like soy, rice, hemp, or pea can be used or mixed together to ensure a full balanced diet.
Are You Recovering From an Injury?
In case of suffering an injury, the body needs even more protein to help repair the damaged tissues. This is especially common with athletes suffering from sports injuries, where a dose of protein powders can help speed up their recovery.
How Much Protein Powder Do You Need?
If you reached the conclusion that consuming protein powders is beneficial for you, what’s left is to know just how much exactly do you need.
As previously mentioned, an average person needs 0.8 gm per 1 kg. This can increase to 1.1-1.4 gm/kg for recreational athletes, 1.2-1.4 gm/kg for competitive athletes, and can go up to 2 gm/kg for extreme endurance sport athletes, bodybuilders, and those seeking to build muscle mass generally.
The tricky part about calculating your protein intake is that you need to calculate the protein portion of the total amount of food you’re eating. A 250 gm of burger doesn’t mean pure 250 gms of proteins. You can find the pure protein value found in most of the most lean and common protein-rich foods through a quick online research, after which you’ll be able to calculate your portions much faster. Once you’ve calculated your intake, you can decide exactly how many servings of protein powder you need, and how frequently. You’ll be able to calculate the powders servings from the nutritional values written on the packages.
After all is said, it’s always best to get your protein intake from whole foods. Protein powders aren’t meant to replace food, they work best as nutritional supplements in-between meals.
Committing to a Balanced Diet
Consuming a well-balanced diet is essential to build and maintain a strong body. One of the most essential nutrients our body needs is protein, which is best taken from a whole and solid foods. There are some cases when supplementing your diet with protein powders is necessary, like in case of training adolescents, athletes, recovering athletes, vegans, modifying body weight, building muscle mass, and those new to exercise. Protein powders should always be taken based on the body needs, level of activity, and the deficiency of protein in the diet.