Debunking the top 5 protein myths

Whether you’ve been taking protein for years, or you’ve just started to take it as a supplement, it’s always the same – there are always protein myths created by those who take it surrounding every local gym. Helping you to distinguish myth from reality, Maxinutrition – retailers of quality protein bars sets the record straight by telling you exactly what the top five myths are:

1. Protein can only be found in meat

Typically, protein is found in foods like eggs, dairy products and meats – but there are also other foods that include protein. These foods include grains, legumes, nuts and some vegetables. However, meat – more often than not – can provide a higher quantity of protein per 100g compared to plant-based sources. For example, 100g of chicken can provide you with 25g of protein, while 100g of lentils only provides 9g of protein.

2. More protein automatically equates to more muscle

The more protein you eat, the more muscle you build? Not quite, as this isn’t always the case. Even though this sounds like an ideal scenario, it does take more than just eating chicken all day to build muscle. Ensuring that you’re getting essential amino acids from your diet, together with appropriate strength training, is crucial to building new muscle.

3. More protein is always good

When it comes to the amount of protein that will benefit you and your diet, there is a limit. The body can only consume so much to benefit muscle repair; a protein dosage of around 20g per meal or snack is the maximum amount the body can digest in order to benefit your diet. In order to boost your daily protein intake, distribute the amount of protein that you take throughout the day. This can take the form of a mid-morning snack such as a handful of nuts, or alternatively you could take a protein bar.

4. All proteins are the same

Not all sources are the same when it comes to protein. Animal protein is known as ‘complete’ protein, which means that they provide all of the essential amino acids (building blocks to create protein) that we can’t make in our bodies, meaning that we need to get them from the foods we eat. ‘Incomplete sources’ of protein are derived from plant-based foods, which don’t contain all of the essential amino acids that we require. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, mix and match your protein sources with grains and beans – or try nuts and legumes in order to access the full array of essential amino acids in our bodies.

5. Protein supplements always equate to unnecessary calories

This myth does make sense in theory, as more protein does equate to more calories – but this isn’t the case in practice. Of course, if you eat more food than the amount of calories that you burn, you’re going to put on weight. However, for those who exercise, the number of calories that they expend will be greater. For those that want to see results by supplementing protein, we recommend establishing the right balance for you and your workout routine. Try to consume between 1 – 1.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, remember that this will depend on your workout routine – for example, somebody weighing 80kg may need around 80 – 144g of protein, which is then split equally throughout the day.