Is eating enough protein going to help you get fit at home?

With the UK in lockout, plenty of us are searching for ways to keep fit at home, and may consider raising our protein consumption for fuel exercise. Protein powder, once a specialty product for bodybuilders, can now be found in store shelves, shakes, bars, fortified snacks, tablets and even candy. In 2016, the Mintel study showed that almost one in ten British citizens had used protein powder in lea for three months.

Will you need to add to your protein intake?


The Department of Health suggests 55.5g of protein consumption a day for men and 45g for women. But, according to the UK National Diet and Nutrition Report, the average amount eaten by a 19-64-year-old male is 87.4g daily and a woman 66.6g.

Protein needs range from person to person, based on weight and physical activity. “Those training to improve strength, fitness or the like need a little more protein,” says Graeme Close, Professor of Human Physiology at Liverpool John Moores University. It recommends a total of 1.5g protein per kg body weight for a person trained on a daily basis (90g protein for a 60kg person, for example).

Protein shakes are “a convenience, not a necessity” for most people, says Professor Close, adding that “the best way to get your protein is through food.” However, there are occasions where protein products can be helpful.

Is it easier to eat protein by food?


The most popular form of protein shake is made of whey, a by-product of cheese. It’s “fat milk and sugar skimmed out,” says Professor Close.

“Other protein forms have become very popular, with a variety of vegan proteins and blends, including hemp, rice and pea proteins,” says personal trainer Scott Laidler.

T is necessary for those studying to eat a “consistent amount of protein throughout the day,” says Professor Close. So if you can’t eat when you need to, a protein drink can help supplement your diet to achieve your training goal. Yet he advises eating protein-rich meals during the day. “Wake up in the morning and have an omelet, smoked salmon or yoghurt and berries.

Is protein powder going to help you develop muscle?

“You see all these [people’s] photos in men’s health magazines that look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the mid-80s, holding a protein shake,” says Professor Close. “They don’t look like that because of a shake, they’ve been training the house down, and the rest of their diet is immaculate.”


Although you need protein to synthesize fresh muscle development, “results will only be seen if you follow a well-considered exercise program, eat a well-constructed diet, and get adequate rest and recovery from your workout,” says Laidler. Protein shakes are not “a magic bullet or some kind of special ‘active ingredient’ that leads to quick results.” When the protein is digested from either direction,


Is protein powder going to help you lose weight?

Protein digestion requires higher energy consumption [than any other macronutrients] so that it can help to suppress appetite,” says Dr. Aishah Iqbal, a medical researcher, personal trainer and weight loss coach. “However, using protein shakes as a meal replacement for weight loss is often very unsustainable [and you] will often see the weight bounce back once the practice is stopped.”

Another concern is that protein shakes do not have the same quality content as food, which makes them unsuitable for meal substitutes. “They don’t have all the vitamins and nutrients that a balanced meal would contain,” said Professor Close.

Is the protein bars healthy?


There is a wide variety of protein bars, some of which are less nutritious than others, containing additives, sugar and unsanitary fats, so it is necessary to read the bottle. “You could make your own trail mix, with naturally high protein ingredients such as nuts and seeds, as an alternative,” says Laidler.



How to select a protein food


If you are failing to meet the appropriate protein standard with the amount of exercise you do, despite trying your utmost to eat protein from naturally protein-rich ingredients, British Dietetic Association Clinical and Sports Dietitian Rick Miller says it is reasonable to fill ‘in holes with a trustworthy brand of protein supplement.’

“Top athletes use goods tested by third party quality testing.

A variety of protein powders contain more calories, carbohydrates and proteins than you need. Some products, also referred to as muscle gainers, can be very high in calories and carbohydrates.

If you plan to take a protein supplement, ‘please read the label closely, take the prescribed serving amount, and don’t be tempted to take any more than is required, as this is not confirmed by the current facts.

Protein goods are not meant for all

“Those with pre-existing kidney problems should be aware of excess protein intake, as there is evidence that the disease may worsen,” says Dr. Iqbal. If you are unsure, ask your GP to refer you to a licensed dietitian for advice.

The website says, “There is also evidence that the long-term consumption of too much protein can lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis.”

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