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Are Protein Powders Really Necessary?
Protein powders has become a common topic among athletes or the guys who are sweating it out in the gymn, in order to build their muscles. The fitness experts have to answer innumerable queries about it. Yes, the protein powders are indeed becoming increasingly popular these days.
What are Protein Powders?
Protein powders are mostly available in three different forms i.e. whey, soy and casein protein. Peter Horvath, PhD, associate professor in the department of exercise and nutrition sciences at the State University of New York at Buffalo say, “Since whey is soluble in water, it is the most commonly used and can be taken with milk. It also possesses all the amino acids and hence is regarded as the complete protein. Soy protein is preferred by vegans.
“Under certain circumstances, protein powders can be used to provide the body with some readily available protein,” Carole Conn, PhD, RD, CSFD, associate professor of nutrition at the University of New Mexico. “But it is true that you can even get it by eating everyday foods like meat, chicken, fish and milk products.”
“They can be used under certain circumstances,” says Barbara Lewin, RD, LD, a dietitian and sports nutritionist who has worked with NFL, NBA, and NHL athletes and trained Ironman competitors. They are as follows:
- During your growing up years.
- At the start of a body building program.
- When you intend to make your exercise regimen more rigorous.
- While recovering from an injury.
- People who are vegetarian.
“Most Americans get about 15% of their calorie requirement from protein. Many of the protein powders contain as much as 80 grams of protein in one serving and your body doesn’t need it,” he elaborates further.
How much Protein Powders do one need?
Doing some simple calculation would help you to determine the amount of protein your body needs.
- The need of recreational athlete is around 0.5 to 0.75 grams per day for every pound of body weight.
- Athletes who are into competitive sports require around 0.6 to 0.9 grams per pound of body weight.
- Athletes in their teens require about 0.8 to 0.9 grams per pound of body weight.
- Sports person who want to build muscle mass require about 0.7 to 0.9 grams per pound of body weight.
A normal healthy athlete can use up only 0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight in a day at the most. So, that makes it 157.5 grams for an adult athlete weighing about 175 pound. But it is not difficult to get it through your diets. (The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Database, online at www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=20958 contains a list of foods along with their protein contents for your ready reference.)
So, the question is, how are you going to replenish it through the use of protein powders?
“Carbs are more important during workouts as it provides the body with fuel or energy to go through the rigors of exercises. The body also needs protein. But its requirement is less compared to carbs. The ratio of carbs to protein that the body requires is 4:1 or 5:1. One scoop of protein powder normally has 20 grams of protein in it. So, you have to consume around 80 grams of carbs to maintain a proper balance of nutrients in the body,” says Lewin.
“So, if you discover that you can’t get your daily doses of protein through your daily diets, you can go for protein powders as snacks or during your meals,” Lewin concludes.