6 Myths About Protein You Need to Know


Protein: Debunking the Myths

Most of us have had the importance of protein pointed out since we were children. It was touted as the basis of a good diet that would build strong bones and make us grow up healthy. We weren’t really sure if the claim was true, what foods were rich in it.  We didn’t know if we would die without it or grow to a freakish size if we ate too much of it.

While we know the answers to those questions today, protein is still surrounded by claims from doctors to body builders, personal trainers and the lady who runs the corner market. And like yesteryear, the claims range from solid truths to baseless fairytales. Read on to find out which popular facts are valid and which can be dismissed.

Myth #1:  Too Much Protein is Bad for Your Health

If your diet doesn’t exceed 35% of calories from eating protein and you’re in generally good health, you’re on a good eating plan, according to The National Academy of Medicine (NAM, formerly the Institute of Medicine). However, if you suffer from renal problems or chronic kidney disease, lower protein diets are typically recommended.

Myth #2:  Protein Requirements Don’t Change As You Age

Unfortunately, just like most physical needs, your body’s protein requirements alter as you age. Around age 40, sarcopenia sets in and your body starts lose muscle mass.  You can deter this process by lifting weights or engaging in other resistance exercise regimens. Eating a healthy diet, including a slight increase in protein, which promotes muscle protein synthesis.

Myth #3: Protein is Protein, Regardless of Its Source

The most important aspect of this is its capacity to supply your body with the 8 vital amino acids essential to grow, maintain and restore body tissues. These proteins can be found in one vegetable, soy, as well as in meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products. While it’s good for your digestion and palate satisfaction to eat a variety of foods, all of these sources provide all the essential amino acids in the right proportions needed for health and vitality, unlike supplements and additives.

Myth #4:  Endurance Athletes Don’t Require Extra Protein to Perform

Since endurance athletes break down considerably more muscle tissue than couch potatoes, it makes sense that they need more protein than them. Extra protein helps these athletes rebuild muscle tissue and reduce the associated stiffness and pain. It’s also believed that including protein in the high carb meal many athletes eat after a workout can help the muscles’ absorption of glycogen, where carbohydrates are stored in the body.

Myth #5:  Eating Animal Protein Increases Your Risk for Cancer

According to the findings of the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, there is no research that supports the myth that animal protein increases the risk of cancer in general. However, there is substantial evidence that red meat like pork, beef, lamb, and goat increases the risk of colon and rectum and processed meats such as bacon and ham raise the chances of contracting stomach cancer.

Myth #6:  You Always Lose Weight on a High Protein Diet

Protein doesn’t magically make you lose weight but its consumption, between 20 and 30 grams at each sitting, can make you feel fuller and eat less at each meal. Eating a bit of it can also help you get rid of fat and keep more muscle tissue while dieting. Cutting carbs can result in quick weight loss but the only way to keep your weight in check and preserve your health is eat a low-calorie diet that includes a wide variety of fats, carbohydrates, and protein.

CassieWritten by:  Cassie Damewood