Does eating protein supplements for training works for us?
This is a very common question with lots of different answers.
Let me explain what is protein and its function. Protein is made up of amino acid chains. It cannot be made by our body naturally and must be obtained from the food we eat. They are the main building blocks for muscle fibres (muscle hypertrophy) and also helps to repair our body cells.
And many of us doesn’t know that protein can be converted to glucose by the liver to be used as fuel/energy if your body is not getting enough calories from carbohydrates and fats. So warning! For those who are into zero or low carb diet, you might be using your precious muscles as energy, making you lose lean body mass.
So what happens when you consume too much protein?
Example, from animal meat, milk and protein shakes. Excess protein will be converted into glucose and eventually stored as fats in our body!!!! You do not want that to happen.
Basically, a sedentary lifestyle person do not need so much protein. Sufficient protein can be obtained form natural food such as lean meat , fish, milk, nuts, eggs, tofu etc. Most importantly is to have a balanced diet. Protein needs can be met adequately with a healthy low fat training diet.
Even for active people or athletes, the increment shouldn’t be a lot too. Remember, its not how much protein we consume. It actually how much our system can absorb it. Its the absorption. Excess protein will be stored as fats!
Dietary Reference Intake (DRI)
The dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for daily protein intake is 0.8grams per kg body for a sedentary lifestyle person. Shocking? Yes, so if you weigh 60kg, you will only need 48grams of protein. (a serving of chicken breast meat already provide 30 grams of protein). so do you need more?
Yes , only if you having an active lifestyle or working out very hard in the gym. Because your body needs the extra protein to repair and build muscles. You can consume between 1.6-2 grams per kg bodyweight.
From my opinion, protein supplement is only required if you are not getting enough from natural food. Or if you are a vegan or vegetarian. There is also a difference between vegan and vegetarian. Do check it out.
So don’t waste effort and money on expensive supplements, be it amino acid pills or protein shakes. Protein shakes are basically milk powder from the cow!!! Its just the branding and marketing that makes it looks like some magic food. You are better off eating more fish, eggs or tofu. Why pay extra?
Another misconception. You can’t put on muscle just by eating protein alone! Its weights training, hours and hours of blood and sweat in the gym that causes muscle to break down. And through adequate rest and sleep, our body grows.
So clear up your doubts, train regularly and eat what is sufficient. Excess protein or carbs will only be stored as fat.