The Rundown on Protein Powders
By Dietetic Student Deborah Shteierman
While most dietitians believe that we should get most of our nutrients from food the protein powder industry is still booming.
While meat is an excellent source of protein, it comes along with saturated fat and cholesterol. Grains and legumes are also a good source of protein, but those can come with high amounts of with carbohydrates or calories. The attraction to protein powders is fueled by the fact that it is an alternative source for protein, without much added fat, carbohydrates, cholesterol, or calories.
Protein powders boast claims such as lasting energy and endurance, anti-aging remedies, weight loss, and muscle building. There is a claim for almost every consumer, from athletes and body builders to teenagers and adults looking to shed a few pounds or stall the aging process. However, claims and promises aside, many do not truly need this added protein in their diet, as they are getting enough in their regular diet. A potential consequence of ingesting too much protein is increased urine output, and severe dehydration can be a result. Another significant concern when it comes to protein powders is the fact that the FDA does not screen these products. Consumer Lab studies have reported that several protein powders that they screened actually contained harmful or unwanted substances. Lastly, protein powders are advertised as meal replacements, but in actuality, they often do not provide several essential vitamins and minerals, they are often lacking fiber, as well as needed carbohydrates and fat.
Even so, there are several occasions where protein powders can provide ample benefits. People who can benefit from protein powders include athletes who are recovering from injuries, someone who is starting a new muscle-building regimen may require more protein, and lastly, someone who is pursuing a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle may need additional sources of protein as well. It can also be convenient for those on the run. In all cases, protein powder should be reviewed carefully, ingredients closely inspected, and the recommended serving size should be noted. A smart consumer is an educated consumer.
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