Protein Powder: Yay or Nay?

Matthew W.

Photo on 10-31-15 at 3.22 PMProtein powder, everyone’s favorite, non-controversial topic. (That’s sarcasm). Protein powder is a protein supplement that you mix with a liquid (usually water) to provide your body with a boost of protein. If you’re reading this, you’re probably trying to bulk up, and perhaps that protein powder might help speed things along. If you’ve cared enough to do some research, chances are that the answers you get probably aren’t very consistent. hat this article is going to do is provide information on how safe protein powders are, how much you need, and what they do for your body. The goal of this article is for you to be able to think for yourself, and decide whether or not you want to be consuming protein supplements.

First off, it’s important that you know that the things going into your body are safe. There isn’t a whole lot of information on how protein supplements affect minors (under 18). But they are regulated by Health Canada, and most brands are safe if responsibly consumed. However, if you are using a protein supplement, it would probably be worth your time to do a little research on the specific product you’re using.

Who should be using protein supplements? If you’re vegan, vegetarian, modifying your diet,  or starting a workout, it’s probably useful to get that extra boost of protein to help your body function. But other than that, it depends largely on the person.

If you’re trying to lose fat or build muscle, remember, it’s about the workout, not the powder. The quality and consistency of your workouts is far more important than what you’re drinking. With that being said, you still require more protein than someone who may not be going to the gym. The list below shows how much protein you need in a day.

If you fall under the “teenager” category, then a commercial, medium-priced product will do. But make sure to regulate the speed and amount of protein going into your body. If you consume too much and/or too quickly, then that excess protein will be used for either energy or fat, depending on the circumstances.

So you might want to modify your diet rather than taking a protein supplement. As mentioned before, if you consume a large amount of protein at once, most of it won’t be doing what you wanted it to do. Instead, Try to spread out your protein intake throughout the day (meals and snacks), and eat protein-rich meals 1-2 hours before and after workout.

Also, protein isn’t the only thing that your body needs after a workout. It also needs energy to move and energy to use those proteins. You might be surprised to learn that, after a workout, a balance of fat, carbs, and protein will satisfy many of your body’s needs, meaning it’s better to have a well balanced meal after a workout rather than a protein shake; chocolate milk has a very good balance of the three items.

Carbohydrates are essential after a workout. They stimulate muscle growth and provides energy for your body, meaning your proteins can go to the muscles rather than energy. However, it’s important that you know what carbs you’re consuming. Low GI carbs, which can be found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. are what you want. Any sugary or artificial stuff is high GI carbs, which is a no-no. If you’re not sure, there’s always Google.

  • Recreational athlete: 0.5 – 0.75 grams per pound of body weight
  • Competitive athlete: 0.6 – 0.9 grams per pound of body weight
  • Teenage athlete: 0.8 – 0.9 grams per pound of body weight
  • (Professional) athletes: 0.7 – 0.9 grams per pound of body weight

Assuming you’re a teenage athlete that needs 0.8-0.9g of protein per pound of body weight, you can probably acquire all the protein you need from a healthy diet. The real work should be happening in the gym, not in a bottle. However, after a workout, it’s important you provide the body with food as soon as possible. If you can’t get a nutritious meal within 2 hours of your workout, then you might use a supplement. Just make sure that you balance the protein with some carbs (about 4g of carbs per 1g of protein).

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