15 Oct 8 Protein Myths Debunked
Protein, for whatever reason, gets a bad wrap and has been labeled as dangerous when too much is consumed.
Protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to body recomposition purposes.
When working out, wether it’s cardio or weightlifting, muscles need protein after they have been worked and, in a sense, damaged from the workout. Protein allows our muscles the ability to repair and grow.
More often than not, people do not consume enough protein. It might be due to the fact that people are just misinformed, don’t realize how much protein they actually need, or are nervous that eating too much protein will result in unwanted muscle gains that will make them look like a bodybuilder.
Here are the 8 most common misconceptions that people have and need to further understand.
1. I don’t want huge muscles. Why do I need protein?
Protein is the building block of muscles. Yes, protein will help muscles grow, but it is also relative to how much volume that is going on in the gym.
Women usually struggle with this concept more than men. The fear of becoming too big with weightlifting and increasing protein intake has women frazzled that they will become the next Thor.
Women have different hormones than men, so they are not going to grow muscles like men. And the women who are ripped, they are taking their nutrition, and other supplemental intake, to a different extreme to reach that physique.
So, that extra piece of chicken that you consume isn’t going to make you become jacked.
2. Are protein shakes good?
Supplements are supposed to supplement our diet. But protein shakes are one of the few supplements I would recommend to everyone to increase their protein intake. If they are getting enough protein through their diet, then protein shakes are not warranted. However, that is typically not the case.
Protein shakes are a convenient and easy go to protein source to get an easy 25 grams of protein quick. With the busy lives that we live now, protein shakes are a great option to increase your intake and get the amount that you need.
3. What if I’m not working out? Taking protein shakes doesn’t make sense then, right?
First of all, you don’t take a protein shake.
You drink a protein shake just like you eat a steak.
You are not in the WWE where you are taking steroids.
Your body needs protein even if your are not a regular exerciser. Protein is the building block of muscle. And all muscles, if you are working out or not, need protein to fuel them.
And just like you would any other type of protein source, like chicken, you can use protein shakes to help you reach your protein intake goals.
4. I heard you can only absorb 30 grams of protein in one sitting?
This myth was brought to life due to the fact that it takes 30 grams of protein to sufficiently stimulate protein synthesis.
The fact of the matter is our bodies are a lot smarter than that.
When we eat bigger meals, our bodies just take longer to absorb it.
So for all you double chicken Chipotle people out there, keep doing your thang. You don’t need that type of negativity in your life.
5. How important is protein shakes after a workout?
The standard of thinking for many years was that you had to shotgun your protein shakes directly after a workout.
Again, our bodies are much smarter than this.
If needing protein right after exercise was going to make or break us, then human beings would be extinct. Our ancestors thousands and thousands of years ago would go a couple hours before eating their prey after running it down for how ever long it took them to capture it.
However, more recent science has suggested that eating within a window of roughly 2 hours after a training session is the most effective.
For general population purposes, just get your daily needs of protein in. Plain and simple.
6. Doesn’t excess protein damage our kidneys?
Our bodies are way smarter than that!
This myth is further reiterated due to the fact that people who suffer from kidney disease have high creatine levels in their urine. And individuals who are on a high protein diet also have higher creatine levels.
That’s like saying Eric Cartman from South Park is short and weak, and that Tyrion Lannister is short and weak as well. Which is not true, because Tyrion is a certified badass.
The amount of protein that is needed to cause kidney damage is so astronomically high that you would not be able to eat that much protein due to being so full.
I haven’t seen any research that suggests eating 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight is going to compromise our kidney health.
If you do have kidney issues then yes, a high protein diet can cause issues. If that is the case, I would advise you to see a registered nutritionist.
7. Is quinoa a good source of protein?
Quinoa is not a good source of protein.
In fact, quinoa, nuts, and whole grains are all poor sources of protein. These foods are higher in carbs and fat.
Here’s a venn diagram to help you better understand foods and their macronutrient content.
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8. Alright, cut to the chase! How much protein do I need to eat?
Everyones requirements are different based on body size, goals, and how they absorb protein. So here are some guidelines that you can go by.
For weight loss: 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass.
For muscle gain: .8-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
For maintenance: We can maybe go down to as little as .6-.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Now, if you’re like me and don’t like to weigh their food or math is really hard, there is a simpler method we can do to hit protein goals.
We can use our hands as a reference for portion sizing.
The palm of our hand is a good indicator for the portion of protein on our plates. Our palms will come out to be approximately 25 grams of protein.
For women we want about 4-6 palms of protein per day and men should be somewhere between 6-8 palms per day. That is about 100-150 grams for women and 150-200 grams for men.
If you fall into those numbers with your protein intake, then you are going to be just fine.
If you need further help or guidance with your nutrition and/or your training program, consider working with me. Check out what I have to offer by clicking here to find out more information.