So this article post has been inspired by learning that when I was a teenager my mother used to replace my protein powder with cocoa powder. Apparently she did it quite regularly and I never even noticed. If only I had gotten vanilla flavour every now and again I might of caught her in the act. Instead my low calorie high protein powder was swopped with a high calorie low protein replacement. Why in the world did my dear mother do this?
When interrogated to her motives behind the deception and deceit her answer was simple. She thought they were steroids. Que major eye roll and head shake.
Supplement company’s do themselves minimal justice to dispel this horribly miss informed myth. The average persons nutritional knowledge is quite poor. Therefore simple correlation is taken as gospel when people view supplements. Bodybuilders sell and promote supplements. Building big, veiny, freakish muscle is the aim of a bodybuilder. Therefore the average person believes protein powders are only for the huge guy in the gym that spends his time downing shakes and being unsociable. And as they reside in a completely unregulated industry they could of course be steroids. I will not bore you with the cost implications, the ethical implications and the business ruining implications if a major supplement company did this. Just trust me on the fact that your average tub of protein powder from a well know brand will not be steroids.
Ok so with my rant over here is the evidence that fairly conclusively tells us that not only are protein supplements safe but also quite beneficial to our health and well being.
So what is whey protein powder? (the main one you will see, the others being casein and soy). Basically it is the liquid left behind after milk is turned into cheese. Anyone remember the nursery rhyme of little Miss Muffet sitting on her tuffet eating her curds and whey? Whey is the main protein found in milk. You will see it added to so many products for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest users of whey protein powder is baby formula. Now try and tell me protein powder is un-natural, just try.
Anecdotal evidence is as follows from myself and my clients over the years. I have taken protein supplements for a decade now and have never suffered ill effect bar the feeling of utter betrayal from mummy not so dearest. I have been a personal trainer for 8 years and have recommended to my clients to take protein supplements if they are struggling to get a reasonable amount into there diet.
Not one negative case in those 8 years bar a few preference issues with people who’s taste buds need a reality check.
And now for the peer reviewed scientific “look at how smart I am” literature that is the best we have at understanding anything about anything.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition’s position stance on protein is a positive one (1). Basically they say its quite safe and quite useful for those involved in regular training.
“While it is possible for physically active individuals to obtain their daily protein requirements through a varied, regular diet, supplemental protein in various forms are a practical way of ensuring adequate and quality protein intake for athletes”
A huge meta analysis (study of studies) found protein supplementation to be beneficial to increases muscle mass and muscular strength (2) Remember training to increase and retain your muscle mass is vital in a fat loss regime. This ensures you achieve that sexy, toned and in shape look everyone is after, not just getting to a number on a scale.
A study in the journal of Advances in nutrition (3) found that protein supplementation when combined with resistance training helps offset the muscle wasting and strength decreases seen with age related decline (sarcopenia).
Trust me that there are many more of these types of study’s out there demonstrating the usefulness and safety of protein supplements. However, do not believe for a second they are magic or can replace a proper planned, structured and goal orientated program of training.
A very recent paper made comment to the fact that it is total protein intake over the course of the day that will all yield the benefits from this apparent wonder substance (4).
“With regard to nutritional intakes, total protein intake per day, rather than protein timing or quality, appears to be more of a factor on this effect during long-term exercise interventions”
Protein powder is cheap, convenient, accessible and socially accepted in this day and age. These are the tenants of success for any diet and training program. Protein supplementation is not vital to the process but it really does make it that bit easier.
As with most things in my life this article was inspired by my mother. I write this article on the eve of her birthday believe it or not. Naturally I have a tub of the finest whey protein powder money can by for her for tomorrow and I guess if you are going to essentially write an article on how the person who brought you into this earth was wrong you better have peer reviewed evidence to back you up ha.