Protein powders are the real thing?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 10, 2009 6:20 AM GMT
    Hey all..

    My housemate (a science student and a smart girl!) reckons protein powders are pointless and are nothing compared to protein readily available in food like eggs and milk..
    I agree with her that nothing beats the real thing...but are protein powders all that bad and useless? Is the protein in them as bioavailable as the protein in natural foods?
    Is protein powder even worth getting?
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    Aug 10, 2009 1:33 PM GMT
    Here is what Student Health at Brown University has to say about protein supplements.

    Are protein powder supplements necessary if I'm working out?
    Unfortunately, a lot of money is spent on protein supplements (usually in a powdered form), in the hopes that the protein consumed will go straight to the protein of your muscle. If it were only that easy, we could all save a lot of time in the gym!

    The body likes to take a more indirect route, however. Much of this high level of protein is actually converted to carbohydrates and fats in the body. Too much extra protein can put a burden on the kidneys, be dehydrating, and can cause calcium loss from the body. Your protein needs are usually met quite easily by a slight increase of protein in the diet. Most Brown students, unless they are restricting calories, get about 1-1/2 to 2 times the protein they need just with a regular diet. This is true for both vegetarians and meat-eaters.

    http://www.brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/nutrition/supp.htm

    I no longer use protein supplements. I did not find that protein supplements helped me. I get the recommended amount of protein from my diet. The only way you will know if the powder is worth it, is to try it. Just be aware of the side effects mentioned in the Brown Student Health Manual.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Aug 10, 2009 1:49 PM GMT
    I found that protein supplements really helped me. It has been advised that even if you don't work out a lot, you should still take some whey protein. It really depends on the protein you consume. Whey, is not some chemical induced protein. It's made from milk, so I think you're housemate is a wrong to say you should get it from some animal product when it fact whey is just that. It's also a complete protein balanced to give you more bcaa. they're also usually highly fortified to counteract calcium leaching. furthermore, most brands only deliver between 15 and 25 grams per serving. depending on whom you ask, if you're active, you're advised to consume anywhere between 100 to a gram per body weight of protein to maintain mass and induce growth. Sure, eating foods high in protein does the same thing, but the reason people take it is that it's a concentrated form that is easy and quick to ingest, take with at the gym, and depending on your brand, is very lean without fat or carbs (gold standard is about 22 grams for 120 calories).
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    Aug 10, 2009 2:13 PM GMT
    Supplements, and not just protein, give you a way to get calories without lots of bulk and time. Bodybuilding is about calories. Sports performance is about calories, and several other things.

    I don't know that I could eat 5000 calories of really good food, just because of the bulk. Your roommate is a bit off track.

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    Aug 10, 2009 6:39 PM GMT
    I needed to clarify my earlier post

    Many of the articles on university and medical web sites state that adequate protein can be obtained from a balanced diet and supplements are not necessary. Your housemate could be right on this point. The RDA represents the minimum amount of protein needed to fulfill protein needs in 97.5% of the population. This value is equal to 0.8 g of protein per kg body weight per day. The average mixed American diet provides from one to two times the RDA for protein.
    Individuals undergoing endurance training increase their protein needs to about 1 to 1.2 g per kg per day, well above the RDA minimum.
    http://www.thedoctorwillseeyounow.com/articles/nutrition/protein_2/

    If you need more protein, whey supplements are a good way. Your housemate is wrong about whey not being a natural food. Whey is natural, and is a byproduct of cheese making. Whey protein is a complete protein which means it contains all the essential amino acids. There are foods that are incomplete proteins since a few amino acids are missing. Animal protein is complete protein except for gelatin. Many plant proteins are incomplete. Soy is a plant protein that is considered complete. There are no bioavailability issues with whey protein.
    If you consume more protein than is needed for muscle growth, the excess will be converted to carbs and fat.
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    Aug 11, 2009 1:16 AM GMT
    Protein powders are supplements, and not a substitute for actual protein from foods. I think this is where a lot of confusion exists from beginners and from those that don't workout.

    I think I read somewhere that one medium size egg contains less than 6 grams of protein. One scoop of protein powder usually contains anywhere from 30 - 40 grams of protein.

    I don't know about you, but I can't eat more than 3 hard boiled eggs without feeling a little nauseous. icon_lol.gif
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    Aug 11, 2009 2:37 AM GMT
    of course real food is always better but for strength training and to gain lean muscle mass you probably arent going to be able to eat the large amount of protein that you need, thats where the protein powder comes into play, to help you. You shouldnt be living off the stuff but it should be part of your overall fitness/workout/nutrition regime
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    Aug 11, 2009 3:49 AM GMT
    They are certainly the real thing to perpetrate flatulence!

    I just stick to meat products and milk for my protein now. I grew tired of having my ass cheeks suffer methane gas burns.icon_eek.gif
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    Aug 11, 2009 3:55 AM GMT
    I just like the convenience of being able to add 20 grams of protein or so to meals when I don't feel like taking time to cook meat. I can just add grains and vegetables and I feel like I am getting a healthy meal