Supplements Your Health & Wellness

Muscle matters, but protein shakes matter much less

I’d like to offer some advice on protein shakes.  It’s a great thing to be building your muscles, especially as you get older.  But, you may be surprised to learn that there is no good evidence that eating more proteins, much less taking protein supplements, builds muscles.  In fact, the evidence suggests that most Americans already get all the protein we need in our diet, perhaps even more than we need.That said, one study from the NIH of women and men in their 70’s showed that people who ate less protein lost “significantly more” muscle than people who ate more protein.  And, as we age, it is important to maintain muscle, particularly in our legs and hips to prevent falls and injuries.

But, most of us do not need more protein in our diets.  As a general rule, weight loss results from eating fewer calories, not from eating less protein.  And, as far as protein shakes and powders are concerned, the evidence is paltry at best, that they are a better source of protein than food.  In special cases—where an individual cannot take in enough protein–you should talk to a doctor about whether protein supplements could help.There is no conclusive data as to whether too much protein is bad for you.  But, some people with particular health conditions, like diabetes, should limit the amount of protein they eat. And, if you have kidney disease, limiting protein intake could delay the onset of kidney failure.Of note, lean meat is a great source of protein.  So is chicken, fish, nuts, seeds and vegetables.  And, if you’re a vegetarian, rice and beans as well as peanut butter, bread and eggs should give you all the protein you need.Read more about what the NIH has to say about this, by clicking here.

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