There’s a fine line between fact and fiction, and this is very clearly seen in the case of the term ‘protein’ and the myths that surround this essential nutrient that the body requires.
In today’s world, people are more health conscious than ever. Just walk into a gym and find a 14 year old boy working out alongside a 60 year old man which just goes on to show the wide spectrum of people that are now fitness enthusiasts.
While it’s a great thing to be health conscious and lead a healthy lifestyle, it is also necessary to understand that proteins are one of the many essential nutrients required by the body for growth. Without their buddies (carbohydrates, fats and multivitamins), proteins aren't going to give you your dream physique or pack on pounds and pounds of muscle. You need to understand that proteins are no magic food, and work only when eaten at the right time in the right amounts.
The most common myth is that more protein builds more muscle. Yes, this is true to some extent and muscle growth is not possible without adequate protein, but along with that you need to make sure that you’re having enough calories daily in the form of carbohydrates, fats and other essentials.
So for all those of you who are overdosing on protein shakes and still not growing, it’s probably because you’re consuming lesser calories than required. For the hard core fitness freaks, up to 1.5 gram of protein per pound of body weight is beneficial. Beyond that, the excess protein is converted to carbohydrates or excreted by the body and goes down the drain, just like your money. Remember the chapter on ‘A Balanced Diet’ in school? Yes, that was the real deal.
Overdoing the protein could be quite a serious affair. Not many know that beyond a certain point, the excess protein takes a toll on the renal system. Above 35% of the diet if consisting of protein, has shown to cause problems with the functioning of the kidneys. So stay safe and don’t blindly follow what you hear at the gym. Pair up the protein with carbohydrates and fats so that you don’t concentrate on that one aspect and neglect the others.
Another myth that prevails is that eating animal meat causes cancer. Please don’t buy into that since there hasn't been any research to support this theory. Protein has been shown to cause calcium losses, but it is also essential for the growth of our bones throughout our lifetime. These two facts may seem contradictory, but to get the best growth output all you have to do is consume adequate amounts of both protein and calcium in your diet, and you’re good to go!
Another myth is that all proteins are absorbed immediately by the body. That depends on the type of protein consumed by us. The popular Whey protein most of you guys show off with is the one that is immediately absorbed by the body. However the protein found in eggs, called Casein protein is a slow digesting protein that takes 6-8 hours to get absorbed and is best had before you push off to bed. Keep an eye out for the Casein the next time you go shopping, it may just be what you’re missing!
The world of health is a never ending journey with learning at every step. The more you learn about your body, the healthier you will be.
So start reading up, and who knows you may debunk a few more myths that you believed were set in stone!