People seem to have differing opinions on whether protein supplementation is for them.
Is it a steroid?
Will it cause instantaneous muscle gain?
Is it healthy?
Will it just make you fatter?
Is it bad for my kidneys?
I have heard all of these questions posed when people are talking about whether whey protein is suitable to add to their nutrition.
For starters let’s clear some of those questions up, it’s certainly not a steroid and unfortunately it will not cause instantaneous muscle gain.
There are many different forms of protein supplement, but the most popular is whey. Whey protein is produced as a by-product in the production of cheese and is considered a “complete protein” as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. They are “essential” as we don’t create them ourselves so they must come from food – so, yes whey protein is healthy.
Studies have now shown that a “high” protein diet isn’t bad for the kidneys in healthy individuals, however it can exacerbate kidney problems for people with existing conditions.
This leaves only one of the above questions to answer.
Will it make you fatter?
Well, it depends on your daily protein requirements and what the rest of your nutrition looks like.
Generally we tend to advise people to get the vast majority of their dietary protein through food. Whey protein is a supplement after all and it should be used as a supplement to a varied diet. That being said you need roughly 1.5-2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight each day in order to maintain muscle mass.
This means there are a few reasons whey protein may be a good option. When:
1. You are only eating 3 meals a day and breakfast doesn’t contain a protein source. You will massively struggle to hit your daily protein quota this way so including a protein shake with breakfast (not as a substitute for breakfast) would be a good idea.
2. If you are a vegetarian or someone who doesn’t tend to eat much meat it would be a good idea. Yes, you can get dietary protein from grains, nuts dairy etc. but again it would be very hard to get an adequate amount.
Whey protein will also help with muscle recovery if you have a shake after you train however ample protein consumption throughout the day is thought to be more important.
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