Are Protein Supplements Good For You?

Anyone who has come to JARFIT in Denver, CO, knows I believe that not only should your workout be personalized, so should your diet. No two people need the same amount of each nutrient to get their desired results. That same philosophy holds true on whether protein supplements are good or bad. There are situations where a protein supplement can be quite beneficial and other places where they shouldn’t be used. Age is a factor in how much protein is necessary. Older people don’t process protein as well as younger people do. Activity level also plays a role and the amount of muscle you hope to build, so often, people working out hard, like those preparing for competition, may need the extra protein, so supplements can help.

Never confuse healthy eating with taking protein supplements.

A healthy diet should be a top priority. You should always try to eat real food before considering supplements. Real food contains other nutrients that will provide other types of building blocks to help you achieve your goals. With that said, protein supplements may have a place in your diet. They can be used for pre-workout or post-workout snacks. If you’re working hard to get all your nutrition from eating healthy meals, but miss a meal, a supplement can be a stand-by in those cases. Making a protein shake with fruits and vegetables added can fill the gap.

Many things determine the amount of protein you need.

Since many of my clients are preparing for competition, an increase in protein in their diets is important. However, we do create a diet for each one, which includes all the macronutrients required to meet that protein and other goals. Most my clients don’t qualify as seniors, so in most cases, they process the protein well. Supplements are called supplements for a reason. They’re not meant to be a primary meal, but to supplement a diet when necessary.

Protein supplements aren’t regulated by the government.

Even though some supplements may contain other vitamins and minerals, some have other additives that are unhealthy. If you’ve ever consumed a real protein supplement with no additives, you already realize they taste terrible. That’s why manufacturers add sugar and other ingredients to make them thicker, more palatable and extend their shelf life. Because they aren’t regulated, some are no better than a candy bar with a smidgen more protein or have everything from metal shavings to rat feces ground into the powder. When you eat whole food, you know what you’re eating and have far more control.

  • As a developed nation, we don’t often see protein deficiency in people that process it well. However, you can get too much protein. Long term excess leads to blood vessel disorders, seizures, kidney disease, liver disease and potentially cardiovascular disease and death.
  • Most people can safely use a supplement occasionally to fill in the gaps for a missed meal or to boost protein intake. However, people with kidney problems need to steer clear of the potential for excess protein.
  • If you’re going to use a protein supplement, read the labels and check the amount of sugar the supplement contains. Always make sure you drink extra water, since there’s more potential for dehydration if you supplement with protein.
  • Since the FDA doesn’t regulate protein supplements, find ones with a third party consumer group endorsement, like the Clean Label Project that tests for contamination and truth in labeling.

For more information, contact us today at JarFit 

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