The essence of protein powder is to add additional supplements to our food, thereby providing a healthy living. The use of protein powders is becoming increasingly popular over the years. Many people are beginning to make use of it because it is believed to have so many benefits. People that use protein powders are usually professional athletes or too busy people who barely get the chance to grab a full meal. There is a general belief that supplementing your diet with sports nutrition powders helps you gain muscles and recover quickly. Professional athletes also believe that protein powders give them a competitive advantage. Also, with the knowledge that protein is a key raw material involved in muscle repair, preservation, and growth of muscle tissues, bodybuilders believe that the protein supplied in the powder is an economical way to get large amounts of proteins. They believe it is a faster way to achieve their lean muscle mass.
What role does protein play in muscle mass growth?
For athletes and other consumers of protein powder, we must note that the principal thing that stimulates muscle growth is exercise.
However, what dietary protein does is that it provides us with the essential raw material needed by the body for growth. Most of these whole plant foods like green vegetables, beans, and seeds are rich in protein, and they provide the adequate amount of protein needed for muscle growth.
People also go for these protein powders because they are usually advertised as natural or organic.
What are the downsides to protein powder?
The most important thing you should note when consuming animal protein is that the body will increase its production of a hormone called insulin growth factor 1[IGF-1]. This hormone is one of the body’s important growth promoters early in life. However, this hormone also promotes the aging process later in life.
This hormone has been noted to promote the growth, proliferation, and spread of cancer cells. It is also linked to the increased risk of several cancers, including breast, colon, and prostate cancer.
Also, there are unnaturally concentrated soy proteins found in protein powders and meat substitutes. They are usually isolated and, most times, problematic. Soy has an essential amino acid profile that sparks the production of this insulin growth factor hormone.
Having pointed this out, you should note that muscle growth is not strictly dependent on the amount of IGF-1 circulating in the blood. This is because muscle tissue produces its own IGF-1 in response to strength training aiding in muscle growth.
Therefore, engaging in strength exercise and combining it with a good diet will lower your risk of cancer caused by IGF-1 circulating in your blood.
Although these protein powders are labeled organic, are they actually safe?
In recent times, the study of protein powders, especially from clean label projects, shows that there is an elevated level of heavy metals and BPA in 53 leading brands.
Some of the contaminants found include high levels of lead, BPA, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. These substances were linked to some health conditions like multiple cancers, reproductive harm, and brain damage.
This contamination could be due to locations where the manufacturers of protein powders source their plant ingredients. Some of these plants are sourced from contaminated plants.
Most soils have contaminated heavy metals.
Coming to whey protein powders, about 10% of lead which is above the health guidelines, are found. However, egg-based protein powders are free from lead.
How are these proteins contaminated and still being marketed for people to buy? This could be a result of the lack of restriction by the FDA. There are no dietary supplements regulated by FDA to ensure that they are safe or effective. Also, there is no requirement that supplements be tested to ensure that they contain what the label says. It has been noted that most of these supplements marketed actually do not contain all that they are supposed to.
Moreover, when you set out to purchase your protein powder, there are some ingredients you should pay attention to and also look out for.
It is important to read the labels because sometimes, there are additives like caffeine, creatinine, and sweeteners that are usually not highlighted in the advertisement. If you, by chance, get powders with the above-mentioned contents, you might be exposing yourself to harm.
If you are someone that takes coffee, consuming several cups of coffee or tea or day in addition to taking your protein powder could cause you serious harm. Some of the hams can be tremors, migraines, or even insomnia.
Popular sports supplement works to increase the amount of water contained in your muscle cells. This can lead to significant weight gain. This will, in turn, expose you to the risk of dehydration, stomach pain, and even muscle cramping. The dangers of creatine can be intensified for people with kidney or liver disease.
Another downside to protein powders is that they sometimes contain a high amount of sugar. The American heart association recommends a daily added sugar limit of 25 to 36 grams, yet some protein powders have as much as 23grams of sugar per scoop. Some other protein powders have a very high amount of sweeteners, such as sucralose or aspartame, and this can be very harmful when taken in high quantities. Having highlighted this, it is important for consumers to know exactly what they protein shakes contain and also note the impact it has on their life.
What is the alternative to protein powders?
We generally think that we need very high protein. However, we should note that the recommended daily allowance of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.
This guideline means that someone weighing 140 pounds should consume roughly 50 grams of proteins per day. This is the equivalent of 6 ounces of lean meat, 5 ounces of nuts, or 20 ounces of tofu. You should note that constantly exceeding the recommended protein limit may be very harmful to your body, especially your bones, kidney, and liver.
Moreover, contrary to popular belief, it is worthy of note that no one needs protein supplements to reach their protein needs except in rare cases. You can reach your protein needs by consuming diets rich in whole foods like legumes, nuts, and soy products. Also, having a well-balanced diet will help you attain a healthy living. What this implies is that you can reach your fitness and health goals.
With the recent discoveries of the downside of protein powder, it will be very beneficial to seek alternate routes to build your protein and muscle mass.