Protein is really good for us, right? So is protein powder also good for us?
One thing we're all aware of is that too much of anything is never good for us.
People who work out are usually on supplements, mostly protein supplements, since they function like catalysts for building muscle as well as increasing athletic capabilities. This helps them repair and rebuild muscles, both of which are equally important for bodybuilding.
But is it possible that the scoops of protein powder in your glass smoothie, or milk, may be fostering health hazards one might not be aware of? We spoke to experts who helped us understand better.
How Much Protein Do We Actually Need?
"For most adults with minimal physical activity, it is recommended to consume a minimum daily average of 0.8 gms of protein per kg of body weight," says Dr Ankur Phatarpekar, Director Cathlab & Interventional Cardiologist, Symbiosis Hospital, Mumbai.
He also mentions that if you exercise primarily with weights or bodyweight for more than one hour most days of the week, you may do well to consume to 1.2 to 1.7 gms per kg of body weight each day.
Anywhere from 10 percent to 35 percent of your calories should come from protein. So if your needs are 2,000 calories, that's 200–700 calories from protein, or 50–175 grams.
"Vegetarians have higher protein requirements because plant proteins are not as well digested and processed by the body as animal proteins, and are not as 'complete' as protein from meat."Dr Ankur Phatarpekar, Director Cathlab & Interventional Cardiologist, Symbiosis Hospital, Mumbai
So it's recommended that vegetarians eat 10 percent more protein than meat-eaters, and because vegans don't eat eggs, milk or dairy products, they may need even more.
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What are the Cardio-metabolic Risks of Protein Powder Intake?
Dr. Vivek Chaturvedi, Professor & HOD, Cardiology, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad "protein powder intake does not have cardio-metabolic risks. The problem arises due to frequent contamination of protein powder with other substances, which may be very harmful to the body."
Also, overconsumption of protein powder may also quickly have homeostasis in our body. But per se, intake of an adequate but not excessive amount of protein powder does not cause cardio-metabolic problems.
"In case you are unable to meet the requirement of your regular diet, then you must have supplemental protein powder. Unless you are allergic to the specific type of protein, or have medical conditions. Anyone, whether young or old can consume it. Just choose a safe, natural and genuine brand, and drink enough water throughout the day."Dhruv Bhushan, Co founder, CEO, Habbit Health
Does Protein Powder Clog Arteries?
"Protein powder has no direct effect on the arteries. Some types of protein powder may contain cholesterol, particularly LDL or bad cholesterol, as extra components, which can be deposited on artery walls, and increase your risk for cardiovascular disease," Dr Ankur Phatarpekar.
He goes on to add: "Whey protein may be effective for lowering LDL cholesterol, according to certain studies. If there are no added components like saturated fat, sugar or cholesterol, whey protein alone has no negative effect on arteries according to what has been proven so far."
But those added components, when taken in excess might cause harm to your arteries. However, at the same time, fat content of recommended daily allowance of protein is insignificant. Therefore there is very minor risk as such.
Should One Depend Only on Food for Protein Intake?
"The natural source of protein is the best source of protein. However, it is lately being pointed out that a typical Indian diet, especially vegetarian Indian diet, may not have sufficient protein. So supplementing some protein is not a bad idea," says Dr Vivek Chaturvedi.
However, one should keep in mind, that this has to be from a good source – and if you decide to increase your protein from some other naturally available substances that is as good if not better.
What Are the Side Effects Of High Protein Content?
According to Dr Ankur Phatarpekar: "There are potential benefits of a high-protein diet for otherwise healthy people. However, there are health concerns related to excess protein in the body, specifically when you follow an excessively high-protein diet for a long period."
Protein powder is a good thing to build up our muscle mass. There are no recommendations for, or against it after heart surgery or heart attack. One should just ensure that you take adequate amount of protein.
This may be reduced in patients with kidney disease which are often present in patients with heart disease. So before deciding on your protein intake, if you have had heart ailments, one must consult a doctor.