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Why Are Protein Drinks So Popular? The Good And The Bad Of It

Why Are Protein Drinks So Popular? The Good And The Bad Of It
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There are a lot of available products in the market that claim to help us in our fitness goals. There are dietary supplements in the form of capsules, detox drinks, weight loss smoothies, and protein powders too. While there can be benefits in taking these supplements, it is always best to do our research to rule out health risks. In this article, we are going to discuss what protein powders are, what they do, and if they are worth the hype.

What are protein powders?

There are different types of protein powders -- whey, soy, and casein protein being the most popular. According to Peter Horvath, PhD, a nutrition professor, whey is the most common of the three as it is a water-soluble protein. However, whey protein is extracted from cow’s milk, so it might not be the best option for vegans. This is why vegans usually prefer soy protein, even though it does not dissolve as well as whey protein when mixed with water.

As explained by Laura Ligos, a registered nutritionist-dietitian and CrossFit trainer, protein powder is considered a dietary supplement as it is not consumed through whole foods.

“Most protein powders contain the powdered protein extracted from a given source. It doesn’t mean it cannot fit in a real food diet/lifestyle, it just so happens that it is a SUPPLEMENT to a real food based diet.”

How much protein do I need?

Registered dietitian Liz Blike says that our protein needs depend on our activities and fitness goals, and this also changes as we age. However, the recommended dietary intake for protein per day is as follows:

  • Women - 46 grams daily, or about 0.8 grams per kilogram of your weight
  • Men - 56 grams daily, or about 0.8 grams per kilogram of your weight

What are the benefits of protein powders?

Protein powders can be useful in specific circumstances as they are an easy and convenient source of high-quality protein. However, don’t order a pack just yet! You need to take a good look into your current diet plan first. If you discover that you lack protein sourced from whole foods, that is the only time you should consider protein powder as a supplement.

Below are the common reasons why nutritionists advise the use of protein powders:

  • If you are recovering from an injury, it is common for your body to require more protein to support healing.
  • If you are planning to go vegan or vegetarian, you might eliminate common protein sources from your diet, like meat, chicken, fish, dairy, and eggs. Because of this, you might need protein powder to supplement your body’s daily protein needs.
  • If you are trying to build muscle, your body might need extra protein, especially since you are amping up the difficulty of your workouts. Protein powders can increase muscle mass and enhance your physical performance.

What are the potential side effects?

Like all dietary supplements, there are both advantages and disadvantages to protein powders. As mentioned by Liz, even though it can be beneficial to our bodies, it could trigger bloating, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

“This happens most often with whey protein powders. This can be related to lactose intolerance. Switching to non-dairy protein powder can alleviate symptoms,” she says.

Consider, too, that protein powders lack the other nutrients our body needs. According to Liz, “When you substitute supplements for real foods, you will be missing out on the extra vitamins and nutrients you could get from whole foods.”

Protein powders can also be high in sugar and calories, so Liz suggests checking their labels and researching on your brand of choice before purchasing them.

Where can I get protein powders?

The protein powder brands recommended by Laura are:

Ascent Protein

For inquiries, contact Ascent Protein Philippines on Facebook.

Klean Athlete

For inquiries, contact Klean Athlete Philippines on Facebook.

UR The Answer

For inquiries, contact UR The Answer through their website.

Important reminder

Before including protein powders in your diet, remember that there are sources of protein from whole foods as well, and powders are merely supplements to our needs.

When consumed obsessively, protein supplements can produce unwanted side effects, such as those which affect the digestive system, for instance. To avoid this, seek professional advice from your nutritionist and do a thorough research on the food supplement you intend to take. Remember, you only have one body, so you better take good care of it!

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