Is there enough protein in your diet? This question should sound familiar. This is because protein consumption is one of the trendiest subjects in nutritional research. Furthermore, protein has become the most popular nutritional supplement in recent years.
Protein is necessary for longevity, fitness, and excellent health. Many misconceptions regarding this essential macronutrient persist even though research supporting adequate high-quality protein in your diet has gained widespread acceptance.
To shed light on the extra health benefits protein may offer your diet and wellness routine, we’ll talk about some of the protein myths you need to be aware of in this article.
Protein is only for muscle building.
Protein, an essential nutrient made of amino acids, is found in our muscles and bones, joints, skin, hair, and many more. Protein also helps maintain a healthy immune system, influences body composition, and can regulate blood sugar.
Protein may be essential to building muscle, but you can’t only give your muscles what they need to grow. They also need motivation to grow further. The building of muscle requires resistance training, such as weightlifting. If your primary exercise is shaking the shaker cup of your whey protein shake while sitting on the couch, this won’t help your body.
Your body needs amino acids from protein sources to grow or repair muscle, but it also needs to be in a state where the protein has something to work with, which calls for physical activity and strength training. People who do not exercise regularly need substantially less protein.
Consuming much protein is necessary to build and maintain muscle mass. Active people, indeed, need more protein than the average person. Still, they need more calories for energy because they burn them faster and want to maintain their bodies healthy and functioning. Eating more calories to meet these increased needs will automatically meet your higher protein needs.
You can only get protein from meat, eggs, and dairy.
Chicken breast in every meal of your day will give you protein for your body. Chicken breast, meat, fish, eggs, milk, and yogurt are excellent protein sources, but you must know of other protein sources.
Nearly every food on the globe contains protein. The most crucial concept to comprehend about protein sources is that they have two categories: complete and incomplete.
Protein consists of 22 amino acids, 9 of which are essential. The nine essential amino acids the body needs to keep healthy and functional are found in a complete protein, such as the protein sources mentioned previously, adding soy and quinoa. Incomplete proteins can be found in beans, seeds, nuts, grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Vegans or vegetarians don’t get enough protein.
Leucine and protein are not a problem for vegetarians and vegans, at least in industrialized nations. This myth is most likely connected to the bioavailability myth, but it’s also connected to the prevalent belief that plant proteins are incomplete, in contrast to animal proteins.
Most plant-based diets are deficient in lysine or methionine, except for soy, quinoa, and buckwheat, which have high quantities of all nine essential amino acids.
We do not need to combine various plant foods, such as grains and beans, to create a “complete protein” in a single meal. We do not have to receive all nine essential amino acids from the same food. Protein needs are met, and amino acid shortages are quickly filled by eating various protein-rich plant meals throughout the day.
Plant-based eaters can quickly meet protein needs by consuming soy foods, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. Vegetables and whole grains both contain protein. Similar to an omnivorous diet, include a protein source at all meals and snacks. For breakfast, try a warm chia seed pudding, tofu scramble, nut butter over whole grain bread, or hot quinoa with walnuts.
Let’s talk about these incomplete proteins right away. For vegans and vegetarians, these are the primary sources of protein. Some contend that consuming only incomplete proteins, missing all nine essential amino acids is insufficient.
Again, this is not the case. Even if you eat a balanced plant-based diet, your body will still get all nine required amino acids because you’ll consume enough incomplete proteins to combine and utilize as complete proteins.
Adding to the misconception stated previously, to reap the nutritional benefits of both complete and incomplete proteins, you must consume both simultaneously. As long as enough incomplete protein is consumed throughout the day, the body cannot retain amino acids for more than a day.
There’s no such thing as too much protein.
The recommended daily quantity of protein for a 2,000-calorie diet is roughly 50-175 grams. If you eat a well-balanced diet, you may easily consume up to double that amount.
You might think that’s a good thing, but it’s not. One chicken thigh weighing 100 grams has about 25 grams of protein, which is somewhat more than your body can absorb and use once. Therefore, consuming a meal heavy in protein does not ensure that your body will utilize all of that protein.
Research suggests that while enough protein is essential for muscle growth and maintenance, overeating animal protein may adversely affect one’s health and the environment. However, “high” protein isn’t as high as many consumers think. There is evidence that a higher-protein diet can help with weight loss and prevent weight gain, especially when combined with physical activity.
In contrast to the standard study diet, which contains 12% protein, several studies use a diet with 25% protein. This is still far less protein than the 40% that many commercial diet regimens and diet books recommend.
Too much protein is bad for the bones and kidneys.
Theories regarding high protein causing calcium to flow from bones date back to the 1920s but have been disproven. Calcium excretion rises in proportion to protein intake, and calcium absorption rises. Therefore, there is no net calcium loss. Protein comprises around one-third of the bone’s mass and half its volume.
In children and teenagers, protein of about 0.8-1.5g/kg a day is particularly crucial for bone health because it serves as a source of amino acids for the formation of the bone matrix and increases the synthesis of insulin-like growth factor, which is essential for the formation of new bone. According to several studies, older people with osteoporosis who consume more protein, about 24% of their daily calorie intake, have higher bone mineral density.
According to the National Renal Foundation, protein is not harmful to healthy kidneys, and issues don’t appear until stage 4 or 5 of chronic renal disease. A 2019 review paper revealed no association between baseline protein intake and long-term kidney function deterioration in the general population or individuals with normal kidney function at the start of the trial, a prospective study of healthy adults conducted in 2009.
The following misconceptions about protein stated in this article are just a few too many other myths out there. We’ve listed the most common few to help clear things out.