If you have been hitting the gym or know friends that have, the ‘protein shake’ is something you’re definitely familiar with. Athletes swear by it, the fitness freak has made it a part of his/her diet and the vegans find it pretty convenient too, to ensure sufficient protein intake.
Artificial protein, which mostly comes in the form of protein powders are quite the craze owing to their high protein and extremely low fat content which helps in losing weight. It is also great for muscle development, and is also considered to be a complete source of protein as it contains all the nine amino acids that the human diet needs.
It’s convenient– You can shake up a glass in the midst of your hectic schedule and ensure that skipped full course meals does not necessarily mean skipping your protein requirements too; it’s fast– it does not take as long as solid food to get absorbed and hence is a very quick way of energizing your body when it is worn out, maybe after a session of working out; and there are so many kinds to it!
There’s the popular whey protein, which is best had post workout given its ability to get absorbed really quickly by the body; casein protein which gets digested the slowest and provides essential nutrients and soy or pea protein for the essential amino acids if you’re a vegan or a vegetarian.
These are the tall claims that artificial protein supplements make. Let’s go over some facts now which might help us decide if the intake of artificial protein is any good.
1. Intense protein power
Protein powders contain protein in extremely concentrated forms. Sometimes, each scoop of powder has 80 grams of protein while the average human adult only needs 0.8 gms protein/ kg body weight while an athlete may need between 1.2-1.4 grams. This high protein concentration which is accompanied by hardly any other nutrients is dangerous and can cause metabolic by products to build up in your blood, diarrhea, a sense of nausea and potentially even death.
2. Gaining weight again
If you’re gulping down the shakes, you have to make sure you’re working out enough too. Often, one ends up having too much protein without being able to keep up their workout regime which actually leads to weight gain as the calories that you’re failing to burn out, converts itself into fat, probably defeating your very reason for having protein supplements.
3. Flavors to kill for
You would probably not be able to drink down those supplements had it not been for their strawberry or chocolate-y essences. That is basically you gulping down some artificial sweeteners that might increase your craving for sugar as well as your risk to develop obesity and/ or type-2 diabetes.
4. Workout for kidneys
Having more protein than your body requires puts your kidneys under a lot of pressure as they start overworking, to filter out the excessive amounts of urea and calcium from the bloodstream. Overworked kidneys also mean less effective kidneys. This leads to problems like kidney stones and even renal failure.
5. Heavy metal blues
Though hopefully not a problem with reputed and trusted brands, some protein supplements were tested positive for heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury. Unfortunately, the protein supplement industry is not controlled or monitored as strictly as they should be, raising a serious alarm regarding their safety criteria.
So, we suggest you to ditch the shake and make use of the access that you have to a healthy and normal diet that includes the necessary lean proteins. Only in trying circumstances or in the absence of such an access can you grab an occasional shake.
If you had to choose between inadequate amounts of protein and taking artificial protein supplements, it’s probably better to go for the latter. If you’re someone who is having trouble having solid food or do not eat animal or fish protein, taking artificial proteins might be recommended for you. But don’t go for the artificial thing when you can have the natural one. It might look like a quick fix plan, but is likely to betray you in the long run.