Sports supplements such as protein shakes were initially used by body builders however recently many people are using protein shakes as an integral part of their training routine. The fitness industry is thriving worldwide. Various sports supplements such as protein powders, BCAAs, Creatine, pills and etc. are promoted as crucial part of attaining fitness.
Studies have found that more than 50% of the regular gym enthusiasts took protein supplements. However, even though protein is an integral nutrient that we can’t live without, they may not be as necessary as we have been led to believe.
Protein is a vital nutrient that humans can’t live without. Each and every cell in our body contains protein. Protein is used to repair and build tissues as well as make enzymes and hormones.
People also use protein mostly as supplements to lose weight, gain muscle as well as to improve performance and reduce their recovery times to ensure that they are ready for the next session.
Consumption of extra protein increases strength and aids in muscle development when used in conjunction to an exercise programme. This leads to the questions such as how much protein to take, when to take it and should we supplement it or not. However not everyone needs a diet that contains high protein.
How Much Protein Do We Actually Need?
For example, a person weighing 80 kilograms, they would need about 64 grams of protein (0.8 grams of protein per Kg of bodyweight) a day to maintain their current weight. Moving on to a person of the same weight who aims to improve their fitness and health, the recommended protein intake is between 1.3 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram a day to repair the tissues damaged during the workouts and aid protein synthesis.
Working out and supplementing your protein intake initiates the process of protein synthesis. Protein synthesis occurs naturally whereby the body cells produce protein (muscle) that is used to repair the damaged cells. Protein synthesis is enhanced if protein is taken before or after the training.
How much protein to consume has been continually debated by scientists however most believe that about 20-25 grams of protein (found in one scoop of most whey protein powders and protein shakes or in 100 grams of chicken breast) in one serving is sufficient to maximise the protein synthesis process. Anything more is used for energy purposes or excreted in urine.
The muscle full effect is the point at which maximum muscle synthesis occurs. This usually happens after 90 -130 mins after consuming protein. This observation makes its way from research on whey protein. Whey protein is also known as the fast-acting protein that is its amino acid appears to peak within the bloodstream quickly and for a small amount of time.
However, research has shown that milk proteins contain both fast and slow acting proteins that provide sustained protein synthesis. This questions the full muscle effect, and this might mean that the muscle full effect is only a characteristic of the whey protein as it is fast absorbing.
So Do you Need That Protein Shake?
Hence eating more than 20 grams of protein may not be a waste especially if you eat high protein foods and just don’t rely on protein shakes.
Protein supplements are also not only used for muscle building. They can also be used to improve weight loss as whey protein increases the hormone release that increases satiety and reduces appetite. Protein shakes also aids in preserving muscle during weight loss or cutting periods.
Thus, do we really need protein supplements to achieve fitness? Its highly unlikely, since whole food sources are recommended by experts however if supplementing with whey allows you to meet your protein need then why not?