Protein seems to be the biggest rage in the fitness industry these days. Everyone and their mothers seem to be on a high protein, low carb, gluten free, free range, organic grass fed diet. Yes, protein is great but it’s not the only thing that helps you stay fit and you don’t need as much as you think.
The rise in popularity of protein powders seems to have given birth to a lot of silly new myths. Let’s get myth busting.
Myth 1 – Protein Powder is Cheating
This one just downright annoys me. Some people assume that if you take protein powder, you will magically get shredded and muscles will start popping out of places you didn’t know existed. It’s just stupid. Protein powder is nothing but protein, a macronutrient found in just about any food.
It’s just a convenient way to get in your daily protein if you find eating enough is difficult for you. It’s no different than grinding chicken into a powder (if you could do that) and consuming it. It’s not a magic powder, just a convenient one.
Myth 2 – You Need 1 Gram of Protein Per Pound of Bodyweight
I know a lot of people who will disagree with me here. Heck, you’re probably raging right now typing an angry letter in the comments. Well, calm down. I know it hurts that you spent all that money on protein powders but unless you are chemically enhanced or at the peak of your physical conditioning, you do not need to consume that much protein.
For most ordinary folks 0.7 grams per pound of bodyweight is more than enough. Try it out for a few weeks. If you lose all your muscle and shrivel up into a raisin, come back and finish your angry comment.
Myth 3 – Protein is Harmful to the Kidneys
This is another silly myth. Unless you already have a pre-existing medical condition, daily protein consumption is completely safe for you in normal amounts (remember, you don’t need so much protein anyway) and yes, upwards of 2grams per pound of bodyweight is safe, if you’re going to do that anyway.
Now, if you get the bulk of your daily protein from protein powders, well, eat real food first and if you can’t do that then at least make sure that your powder is of very high quality and free from dangerous chemicals that will harm your liver and kidneys.
Always make sure you are drinking enough water when consuming high amounts of protein. You should be doing that regardless.
Myth 4 – Protein Can’t Make You Fat
Sorry to tell you this but any type of protein contains calories. If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain fat. It doesn’t matter whether these calories are from protein, carbs or fat. If you eat a whole bunch of steaks and chicken thinking you’re never going to get fat because you’re on a low-carb diet, well, think again.
The reason a lot of people lose weight on a low carb high protein diet is because protein helps you to stay full longer which means you eat less. Carbs are also known to store water, which explains the initial weight loss when cutting out carbs. Protein itself doesn’t burn fat and you should watch how much you eat.