The online world is packed with information on how we should lead our lives if we truly want to be healthy. Alas, some, if not most of that information is very conflicting, leaving people completely confused by the idea of changing their lifestyle, because there are so many potential routes to take. This is especially common in dietary questions. The latest crusade on carbs has made many people question if they’re consuming too many carbs, and what kind of carbs to cut out from their eating regimes. What about fat, the scapegoat for so many chronic illnesses that we’ve lost count?
And finally, the muscle-building macronutrient that everyone loves, protein. What is the healthy amount of protein one can consume on a daily basis? Is it relevant to choose the source of protein or not? How does this affect your calories and fitness goals? Are protein shakes, meal supplements enriched with protein powder, or protein-based foods the best option for weight loss or any other goal?
Although there’s no cookie-cutter solution to give you a unified answer to all of these, there are certain bits of wisdom you should know. These will help you determine when you should rely on food, when and how much you should add protein shakes, and how you can benefit from both.
Quantifying your protein intake<
First of all, let’s get to a very important topic regarding your protein intake. Just like with your carbs and fats, the amount of protein you consume every day consistently does indeed matter, and it affects how well you’ll be able to build muscle, burn fat, and stay healthy. Although most people don’t consume enough, let alone too much protein, you should know that going overboard with this nutrient has been linked to a range of chronic diseases from type 2 diabetes to cancer, so moderation is always advised.
An average person can happily live with 1g of protein per kg of body weight, while professional athletes can consume double that amount to achieve their goals. So, regardless of your protein sources, you first need to check how much protein you need every day and then determine if you can realistically get that much protein from food or if you could benefit from adding protein shakes to your diet.
Shakes for the plant-based eaters
Certain lifestyles can be tricky for maintaining proper muscle mass, not to mention any fitness goals such as bodybuilding or taking part in triathlons and similar competitions. Vegans, for example, often have a hard time preventing certain deficiencies when they stick to relying on foods alone, and since complete protein is typically found in animal-based foods, then consuming enough protein becomes a challenge.
To overcome such issues and prevent deficiencies, to ensure an optimal diet is highly recommended and very beneficial both for athletes and for amateur fitness enthusiasts. Consuming ample complete proteins is vital for our health, so if you’re about to switch to a plant-based lifestyle, adding a powder-based protein shake to complement your diet is the most convenient way to stay healthy.
Balancing your protein-packed foods
On a different note, athletes and sports enthusiasts who lead an active life and maybe wish to take part in a competition often need to consume more protein than a typical sedentary individual. However, consuming such high amounts of complete protein from food sources alone can be very difficult, especially if you take into account that you also need to consume enough carbs and healthy fats for optimal health and energy levels.
Protein is very satiating and it can be strenuous on the body to digest large amounts of food necessary to prep for a competition. So, when an athlete wants to optimise their diet, they will gladly supplement their main meals with protein powder so as to avoid digestion troubles and stay on top of their nutritional goals.
In addition to being convenient, protein shakes have another perk: they are often lower in calories and they have a lower carb and fat content than protein-rich foods. As a result, even people looking to shed some fat and lead a healthier life while they improve their strength, endurance, and body composition can benefit from adding protein shakes to their eating plan.
To wrap up, protein shakes might not be considered strictly a necessity in most situations, as with enough time and preparation, consuming enough complete sources of protein is quite possible. However, shakes do offer a significant advantage both for our health and our fitness goals, making them so much more than a passing fitness fad.
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