The health and fitness world is marred with various kinds of nutritional myths. It seems like everyone has their own set of “nutritional myths” that they have heard from someone (usually friends), and choose to believe in.
Protein myths are no different. In fact, they are one of the most hotly debated topics among health conscious people all over the world.
Therefore, to help you avoid all the white noise surrounding proteins and their consumption, here are 7 popular protein myths that have been debunked by science.
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Myth #1: You must consume protein straight after a workout session during the “anabolic window”
Fact: The anabolic window (a period of time during which the body is considered to be in a prime status to accept nutrients) remains active for hours after working out. Therefore, protein (or any other nutrient’s) consumption immediately after workout is not as essential as most people believe it to be.
In fact, doctors and nutritionists stress on the bigger daily picture and recommend people to ensure a proper protein intake throughout the day not just post workout.
Myth #2: Going vegan means running the risk of protein deficiency in the body
Fact: Contrary to the popular belief, protein is NOT found ONLY in meat and dairy products. You can easily derive all the protein you need from a vegan (or plant based) diet as well!
According to WHO (World Health Organization), our body should ideally derive 5% of the total calories from proteins in our diet. Considering the fact that raw fruits and vegetables are known to contain 5%-15% protein content, you can be rest assured that a vegan diet is enough to provide your body with all the proteins it needs.
If you are still not satisfied, maybe this little fact will help further calm your concerns:
There is NO medical term for protein deficiency in the body. What does this imply? Only that you don’t have to worry about not getting enough proteins as long as you are taking a proper diet, doesn’t matter if it is vegan or meat based!
Myth #3: Cooking protein destroys most of its nutritional value
Fact: This one is plain silly and also, thankfully, completely untrue. Imagine having to eat raw meat, only so that we can get the ample amount of protein from it………
People, there is simply no way you can heat the protein content out of meat or even protein powders. Period.
Your body WILL derive the same nutritional value from a well done steak as it will from a rare one (although it would taste awful). Similarly, you cannot “denature” protein powders of their protein content even if you use them while baking cakes or muffins.
Myth #4: A high protein intake can result in Osteoporosis
Fact: This is one of the “important” protein myths that needs to be dispelled. Many people believe that taking a high amount of protein regularly can lead to loss of bone density.
Long term medical studies have proven this theory to be completely wrong. In fact, a 2008 study published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, showed that a higher protein intake actually resulted in improved bone health and density!
We called this an important protein myth as this wrong theory has led many older people who are in urgent need of a high protein diet to limit their protein intake. This inevitably results in a negative impact on their overall health.
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Myth #5: A high protein diet can make women bulk up like men
Fact: Wrong. Women do NOT have the hormones to allow for muscle build up like men do.
In fact, ample medical and scientific evidence exists that proves that protein aids with the metabolism process in the body. This effectively means that it helps towards burning excess fat and achieving a lean, toned body when combined with regular exercises.
Myth #6: Protein based diets put unnecessary stress on kidneys
Fact: Our kidneys are built for one and one function only, to filter the unwanted substances from our body. They regularly filter 1/5th of the blood pumped by the heart every minute or two. An extra dose of protein in your food does not put any extra stress on the kidneys. The amount of protein consumed is too low to cause any irregularity or harm to their regular function.
However, people on a high protein diet SHOULD drink extra water or fluids. This is because consuming extra protein means the body produces extra urine to pass out the byproducts of protein synthesis. As a result, your body requires extra water to recover the loss.
Myth #7: Protein powders and supplements are better than natural food
Fact: There is simply no better alternative than a healthy, all-natural balanced diet to ensure your body remains in perfect condition.
Protein powders (whey proteins and such) and nutritional shakes are rich sources of protein, and a great supplement to your daily diet but that is all they are – supplements. They cannot and should not replace the real food in your diet. They are just isolated protein rich products that have zero other nutrients.
Further, most of the protein supplements (powders and shakes) found in the market today are not regulated by the government and as such, their labels may not list the true contents or possible side effects of the product itself. It is also important to note that creating your diet around an array of whole foods paves the way for healthy food choices throughout life, thus, ensuring you live healthier and longer.
The bottom line
A protein rich diet has various advantages and at the same time, there are certain aspects about it that you must be careful about.
Needless to say, you should not hear or heed any and every advice that is doled out to you by a beefy guy at your gym. Do your own research and build upon your protein knowledge. Make sure that you are deriving the maximum benefits from your protein based diet!
In the end though, remember the key to good health is eating good wholesome food, regular exercising and ample sleep. Nothing beats that, and no hype or myth can counter it!