“I am a fit 52 old man who body builds. I have been using protein powders all my life; recently a colleague advised me that they were not good. Is that true?”

Proteins are the main structural component of tissue and organs. We need proteins for growth and repair of cells. Each protein contains hundreds and sometimes thousands of units called amino acids in specific combinations. In the body there are 20 amino acids; 12 of these are manufactured by the body itself and the remaining are obtained from a balanced diet.

Proteins are needed in the diet primarily to supply the body with amino acids. Ingested proteins are broken down in the digestive system to amino acids, which are then absorbed and rebuilt into new body proteins. In general, animal proteins have a higher nutritional value than do plant proteins, because they have more essential amino acids.

A vegetarian diet containing eggs, milk, and cheese provides sufficient amounts of all essential amino acids. A vegan diet, which also excludes dairy products, needs careful planning to prevent protein deficiency. Proteins act as an additional source of fuel and also provide the building blocks for muscle repair and development.

Once needs are met, any extra is used for energy or stored as fat. Excess calories from any source will be stored as fat in the body. Extra protein intake can also lead to elevated blood lipids and heart disease, because many high proteins you eat are high in total fat and saturated fat. Extra protein intake, which can be taxing on the kidneys, pose an additional risk to individuals predisposed to kidney disease.

Anywhere from 10 to 35 per cent of your calories should come from proteins for most adults, 1 gm of proteins per kg of body weight is enough to meet the daily requirements.

If you weigh 75 kg for example, a protein intake of 75gm is sufficient. People who exercise regularly also have higher needs, about 1.1-1.5 gm/kg body weight. People who lift weight regularly or are training for a running or cycling event need 1.2 -1.7 gm/kg body weight. Excess protein intake would be more than 2gm per kg body weight each day. Most people even athletes can reach their protein needs by including a serving of dairy at each meal and a piece of meat the size of a deck of cards at lunch and dinner.

The healthiest protein options are plant sources, such as soy, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils or lean meats such as skinless, white meat chicken or turkey, a variety of fish, egg white, low fat dairy and lean cuts of beef. Whey protein is considered a complete protein as it contains all essential amino acids. It is low in lactose content.

In moderate dose whey products do not typically cause any adverse events. However, consuming very high dose can cause, stomach pain, cramps, reduced appetite, nausea and headache.

These are three primary types of whey proteins:

1. Whey protein concentrate: It contains low levels of fat and carbohydrate. Concentrate of protein varies from 30 to 90 per cent.

2. Whey protein isolates: Fat and lactose removed. Usually 90 per cent protein.

3. Whey protein hydrolysate: It is the pre digestible form of whey.

What are protein powders?

Protein powders come in various forms. The three common ones are whey, soy, and casein protein. Whey is the most commonly used, because it’s a water-soluble milk protein. It is also a complete protein, so it has got all those advantages (complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids necessary for human dietary needs.

People who are vegan may prefer soy protein. In very specific circumstances, protein powders can be useful. They are an easy and convenient source of complete, high-quality proteins. Most people, even athletes, can also get everything they need by eating sources of lean protein like meat, fish, chicken, and dairy products.

There are a few reasons why an ordinary athlete might want more protein in his or her diet.

A teenager needs more protein to fuel their workouts because their body is still growing and uses more protein in general. If working out is new to you and you are trying to build muscle, you’ll require more protein than you normally would. If you normally work out for half an hour a few times a week, but now you have decided to train for a half-marathon, your body will need more protein to help them heal. People who pursue a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle eliminate a number of common protein sources from their diet, including meat, chicken, and fish, and sometimes dairy and eggs as well. All of these are valid reasons for trying to get more protein into your diet, and protein powders are one way to do that. Excessive protein can be hard on the kidneys. It also can contribute to dehydration. To avoid those risk, make sure your teen gets their protein from high protein foods in their daily diet.

Before, during, and after a workout, carbohydrates are what your body needs. They are what your body uses for fuel, and what your muscles run on. Protein is also important for recovery after a workout, but research shows that at that point, the body needs fuel with a 4-1 or 5-1 ratio of carbs to protein. Since most protein powders have at least 20 grams of protein per scoop, you would need about 80 grams of crabs to go with that scoop to get the proper proportion of nutrient.

Dr Asok Cherian says 10-35 per cent of calories for most adults should come from proteins

Protein powder is one of the top nutrition supplements on the market. You may wonder if consuming a lot of protein powder can be harmful. The short answer is no, but it may have minor side effects.

People often use protein powder after workouts to support muscle growth. Your muscles need enough protein to rebuild muscle tissue after a strength training work out. You might use it if you have difficulty meeting your daily protein needs through food alone, for example, if you aren’t eating large amounts of food or you’re following a vegan diet. If you’re getting enough protein through food, it’s unlikely that you’ll see much benefit from taking protein powder.

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