Protein powders are powdered forms of protein, both plant and animal-based and most commonly used by bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts. The powders may also have other additives including added sugars, artificial flavouring, thickeners, vitamins and minerals. Here are the health benefits and hidden dangers of protein powder.
Benefits of protein powder
Improved muscle strength and performance: Protein is an essential nutrient for building and repairing muscle tissue, and it plays a key role in muscle strength and performance. Consuming adequate amounts of protein, especially after exercise, can help stimulate muscle protein synthesis and support muscle recovery. Protein powders can be a convenient and effective way to increase your protein intake, especially if you are trying to build or maintain muscle mass.
Weight management: Protein can help you feel fuller and more satisfied after a meal, which may help with weight management. Feeling fuller can help manage appetite which can be effective for weight loss. Protein powders can be a convenient way to increase your protein intake, especially if you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Convenience: Protein powders can be a convenient way to increase your protein intake if you have a busy lifestyle. They are easy to mix with water or milk, and they can be taken on the go. You can also add protein powders to smoothies, oatmeal, or other foods to boost their protein content.
Dangers of protein powder
Long term effects unknown: One Harvard study reports that the long-term effects of taking these supplements remain unknown. There is very limited data regarding the long-term effects.
Unsupported claims: In the US, the FDA leaves it up to manufacturers to evaluate the safety and labelling of their products which means there is no guarantee that the protein powders contain what the manufacturer claim. This may also be why researchers found a variety of toxins in significant quantities in protein powders.
Additives and sweeteners: Some protein powders may contain additives, sweeteners, or other ingredients that you may not want to consume. It is important to read labels and choose a protein powder that is free from additives and sweeteners, or that contains natural sweeteners, such as stevia.
Allergies: Some people may be allergic to certain types of protein, such as whey or soy. If you have a protein allergy, it is important to choose a protein powder that is made from a protein source that you can tolerate. You should also be aware of any other ingredients in the protein powder, as they may contain allergens. People with dairy allergies and lactose intolerance also risk experiencing digestive distress.
Kidney damage: Overconsumption of protein, especially from protein powders, can put a strain on the kidneys and potentially lead to kidney damage. It is important to follow recommended dosages and to consume protein as part of a well-balanced diet. If you have a preexisting kidney condition, you should speak with a healthcare provider before adding protein powders to your diet.
Preexisting health conditions: If you have a preexisting health condition, such as liver or kidney disease, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before adding protein powders to your diet. Protein powders may interact with certain medications or exacerbate certain health conditions.
Protein powders can be a convenient and effective way to increase your protein intake, and they may have several health benefits. However, it’s important to use it as part of a well-balanced diet. It is also important to speak with a healthcare provider before you start using them as a supplement.
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