Should you consume protein powder if you are not a gym-goer?

Have you ever taken medicine when it is not required? We take medication for the strength or ‘supplement’ that our body fails to produce due to some complications.  Similarly, protein powder is supposed to be a “supplement” for protein. It is consumed when you do not get your daily protein needs from the food you usually consume. Gym-goers require extra protein to fuel their muscle growth. For getting it from their regular food, they would have to consume it in larger quantities, which is not possible as a person can eat only a limited quantity. That is where the role of supplements comes in. Hence if you are not a gym-goer, then you should not consume protein powder.

Whey Protein Powder
WHEY PROTEIN POWDER

What are Proteins?

Protein is a macronutrient that is chemically composed of amino acids (organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, or sulfur). It makes up 15 percent of body weight and is the building block of muscle mass.

Why are proteins necessary? What are the benefits of protein?

1) Growth and maintenance-

They Proteins are needed to build and maintain body tissues. The body’s proteins are in a constant state of turnover. Under usual circumstances, our body breaks down the same amount of protein that is needed to build up and repair tissues. In other times, it breaks down more protein than it can create. This increases the body’s need. The requirement for protein increases during illness, breastfeeding, and pregnancy. Older people, adults, and people recovering from injury require more proteins.

2) Causes biochemical reactions

Enzymes are proteins that control various body processes like digestion, respiration, blood clotting, muscle contraction, etc. they combine with other molecules called substrate and catalyze reactions.

3) Act as messengers

One of the benefits of protein powder is that they act as messengers. Chemical messengers in the body are hormones that are made up of proteins. They communicate between your cells, tissues, and organs. Hormones are of three types; proteins and peptides, amines, and steroids. Some examples of them are:

a. Insulin- helps in the uptake of glucose or sugar by the cells.

b. Antidiuretic hormone (ADH)- absorbs water in the kidneys.

c. Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)- stimulates the release of cortisol, which is a crucial factor in metabolism.

4) Provides structure

These include keratin, collagen, and elastin. Keratin can be found in our skin, hair, and nails. Collagen is the most abundant protein that forms the bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin. Elastin is very flexible and allows the body tissues and organs such as the uterus, lungs, arteries to maintain their shape after contracting or stretching.

5) Maintains proper pH-

Another important benefit of protein is that it helps in maintaining proper pH. Proteins regulate the concentration of acids and bases in our blood and other body fluids.

6) Fluid balance-

Attracting and retaining water is done by albumin and globulin, which are proteins.

7) Immune health-

It forms antibodies and immunoglobulins, which protect the body from foreign particles and infections. They identify and tag bacteria and viruses and eliminate them.

8) Stores and transports nutrients-

Another benefit of protein powder is that it helps in transporting essential nutrients. Protein, such as Ferritin, store iron, and casein is a necessary protein in milk that helps a baby grow. Protein as a transporter includes hemoglobin, which carries oxygen, glucose transporters (GLUT) transport glucose, and lipoproteins transport fats and cholesterol.

9) Provides energy-

Four calories per gram of energy are stored in proteins. It supplies that body with energy and has a lot of nutrient value.

Young man taking break in his training
YOUNG MAN TAKING BREAK IN HIS TRAINING

Is too much protein harmful? Are there any side effects?

Too much of anything is not good. It may cause: –

● Calcium loss – too much protein consumption can cause low bone health and osteoporosis.
● Heart disease – too much intake of red meat and dairy products could lead to overconsumption of saturated fats and cholesterol.
● Risk of cancer increases – carcinogenic compounds, hormones, and fats may be present in meat, which may cause cancer.
● Kidney damage – if a person is already suffering from a kidney problem, then the kidneys will have to work harder to get rid of the excess nitrogen present in amino acids. This is a major side effect of consuming excess protein
● Dehydration – the excess nitrogen which is present is excreted with fluids and water. This might make you dehydrated, but you may not feel more thirst than usual.
● Diarrhea – consuming too much-processed food that lacks fiber can cause diarrhea. This mostly happens if you are lactose-intolerant or consume too much-fried meat.
● Constipation- high protein diets are low in fiber content. This may cause constipation.
● Weight gain – one major side effect of consuming protein is that excess protein is stored as fats, which causes a gain in weight.

Some foods which contain protein: –

● Lean meat and poultry.
● Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese.
● Fish and seafood- crab, lobster, fish, prawns, oysters, clams, mussels.
● Egg.
● Nuts (including nut paste) and seeds- cashews, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, almonds, etc.
● Legumes and beans- lenticels, split peas, tofu.
● Some grains and cereal-based products.

Some people believe that drinking a protein shake within 30 minutes of exercise will boost your gym results. Researchers have found that this fact does not hold true. Daily protein intake is more important than taking protein powder or shake as a supplement. If you are a gym-goer and are taking protein powder, then it is advisable to take it under a doctor or trainer’s supervision. It should be taken within limits and at proper times. It is recommended that if your workout does not warrant a recovery meal, then you should eat a healthy meal and not a supplement. There is no compulsion to consume protein powder as a daily nourishing and balanced diet can cover the protein requirement.

Conclusion:

Protein is essential for most of the processes in our body. There are numerous benefits of protein and it is needed for overall growth and metabolism. There are around 100,000 different proteins made by the combination of only 20 amino acids.
They last in the body for a maximum of 2 days as they cannot be stored. Interestingly, without the protein albumin, our entire body would swell up because if there is a low protein content in the blood, then water may leave the blood cells and collect in the tissues. Hence, consuming protein in proper amounts is extremely necessary.

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