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Do I Need to Supplement with Protein Powder?
💥 Truth Bomb 💥
Put down the protein powder and read this…
Go check out this post for a longer explanation of how much protein you really need, but as a quick recap, the RDA of 0.8g/kg for meat-eaters and 0.9g/kg for plant-based eaters is sufficient for 97% to 98% of healthy individuals.
Do you really fit into that 2-3% who really needs more? Probably not…
Do you exercise for more than 8 hours a week? Many of us don’t…
Are you aged over 65?
Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
Have you been instructed by a doctor or dietitian to eat more protein?
Even if you answered yes to one of these questions, you probably still don’t need to supplement your diet with protein powder, or any other artificially protein-laden snack or drink.
You may need to increase your protein intake *slightly*, but this can easily be achieved with whole food sources.
Are you a professional athlete or bulking up to become the next Robert Cheeke?
OK, maybe you’re going to struggle to consume enough food to meet your daily protein needs, in which case a protein supplement might help you hit the target.
But here’s the thing…
Protein powders are highly processed and contain things like added sugars, artificial sweeteners, flavourings, and thickeners (hello, upset tummy!). These products are unregulated, so what’s on the label may not be what’s inside the box/packet.
There are also limited data on the possible side effects of high protein intake from supplements so we don’t know their long-term effects (good/bad).
To cap it off, in 2018, the Clean Label Project researchers screened 134 protein powders for 130 types of toxins. They found many of them to be contained heavy metals, BPA, pesticides, or other contaminants with links to cancer and other health conditions.
Not all of those tested contained elevated levels of toxins, and you can check the results on the Clean Label Project’s website, but here’s an infographic summary of their findings..
So, having seen this, would you really want to supplement your diet with protein powder?
The bottom line
I don’t recommend protein supplements.
However, if you do want to supplement your diet with protein powder, please don’t use them as meal replacements or you’re missing out on an opportunity to nourish your body with vital micronutrients and fibre.
And for the love of squats, please choose wisely.