Protein Facts: Answers to Common Protein Questions
While protein is one of the most popular supplements for anyone who regularly works out, there are a lot of questions and misconceptions people have about taking protein.
Most people know increasing protein intake is one of the best methods for promoting muscle growth but they don’t often understand why, or how or even how much protein is enough.
With all the myths, rumors and false information you hear at the gym or read online, it’s tough to sort the protein facts from the fiction.
Fortunately, here are some answers to common protein questions – and if you’re still confused, feel free to leave a comment or question at the end of this article.
Q. Why Does Protein Make You Feel Full?
A. Food intake is regulated through receptors known as MORs (Mu-Opioid Receptors), which can be found on nerves in the walls of the portal vein – a major blood vessel which drains blood from the gut.
Stimulating these receptors sends a single to the brain, telling it the body is still hungry; while blocking them results in a decreased appetite.
Research has shown when protein is broken down into certain peptides, these peptides interact with MORs to decrease appetite. This results in a chain of reactions in which the brain transmits back to the gut, which stimulates the intestine to release glucose. This in turn keeps the appetite under control. You can read about additional ways protein can help with weight loss here.
Q. What Other Benefits are There?
A. There are several benefits to including a protein shake or supplement in your diet including:
- Faster Recovery
- Helps to Repair Damaged Muscles
- Weight Management
Q. How Much Protein Do You Need?
A. Most experts typically recommend eating anywhere from 40-70 grams of protein a day, but it varies depending on your gender, age, physical activity, and other circumstances.
If you’re sedentary and have to sit at a desk for long stretches at a time, then your body doesn’t need as much protein as professional athletes looking to pack on pounds of muscle.
According to Peter Lemon, a professor of nutrition at University of Western Ontario, endurance athletes should aim to consume between .5 and .7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Strength athletes may need about .7 to .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Keep in mind, however, you don’t want to consume your protein all at once, as the body can only digest so much protein at a time. The rest simply passes through the digestive system. Kathleen Laquale, a licensed nutritionist explains, “The body can only break down 5 to 9 grams of protein per hour. Any excess that is not burned for energy is converted for fat or excreted, so it’s a ridiculous waste to be recommending so much more than you really need.”
Protein shakes like Myotein are a great source of protein especially before or after a workout because the body will use the protein you’re feeding it during those times.
Q. What Happens If You Don’t Eat Enough Protein?
A. Don’t worry – your muscles won’t shrink if you don’t get enough protein every single day or chug down another protein shake after every single workout.
However, low protein consumption for an extended period of time can have widespread effects on the body if you’re not careful. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, inadequate protein intake causes the body to break down muscle tissues, and furthermore, reduced protein intake may reduce your immune system, weaken your cardiovascular system and even stunt growth.
Kwashiorkor, a condition caused by extreme protein malnutrition, is becoming a large concern in third world countries. This condition is characterized by a loss of muscle mass, protruding stomach, growth failure, and even coma or death.
Q. What If I Have Too Much Protein?
A. Consuming too much protein isn’t the best idea either. Your consumption should remain at less than 30% off your total caloric intake.
Adding too much protein can put stress and strain on other bodily systems. Adding too much protein to your diet can also cause you to add equal amounts of fat and muscle if your not increasing your exercise at the same time your increasing your protein intake.
A diet with more than the recommended amount of protein can also lead to a build up of toxic ketones. As the body tries to eliminate the ketones through the kidneys, you lose excessive amounts of water and can end up dehydrated.
Protein should be an important part of your diet; whether you’re trying to build muscle, burn fat, or just stay healthy. Find a way to put a healthy dose of protein into your daily meals in a way that works for you, give you a healthy amount, but doesn’t give you more than your body can handle.
If you have any questions, or if you’re looking for specific protein facts, please share your inquiry below.