Proteins are large molecules that every single cell in our body needs to function properly. Made up of amino acids, protein assists in most bodily processes, from metabolism to improving mood! But do I need to be a gym junkie to take protein powder? Short answer, no. Despite the idea that taking protein is just for those who go to the gym, protein can provide you with multiple benefits. Yes, it does help build muscle and repair tissue, but if you’re not pumping the weights, there is still great use.
Amino acids (the building blocks of protein) are necessary for healthy bones, blood, skin, immune functioning. They are also extremely crucial in assisting with nutrient transport. Protein is also amazing at reducing fatigue and increasing cognition. This is amino acids also assist in the synthesis of hormones, and important neurotransmitters. For example, serotonin, which plays a role in sleep and mood, is made from l-tryptophan. There is also evidence that protein supplementation can improve blood sugar levels.
9 of the 20 or so amino acids that exist are actually essential to human functioning. As protein doesn’t store in the body (like carbs and fats do), it’s essential for us to maintain a steady flow of intake daily. The amount of protein you need to consume is dependent on age, gender, and your goals. Find out your recommended daily intake here. As an example, a 28-year-old female weighs 70kg, she will need 52.5g of protein a day. So, if she’s struggling to add protein to her diet, or needs a bit of a boost of energy at around 3:30pm, and has a smoothie containing her Happy Way Vanilla Whey Protein Powder, she’ll get a little less than half her daily needs.
Of course, a protein supplement is meant for supplemental purposes only. So, ideally you should be getting all essential amino acids from a whole-foods diet. Many may struggle to do this due to dietary restrictions, being time poor or having behavioural or physical barriers to eating foods. Read our blog on what protein supplement is best for you here!
Firstly, protein does NOT make you gain weight. You gain weight when you are in surplus of your bodies needs. Considering most protein powders are typically around 100-150 calories a scoop, its highly unlikely that (sticking with dosing guidelines) you put on weight if you supplement some protein. This myth is common – even my partner thinks it! Yet protein can actually assist with weight loss. This is because it allows people to feel fuller for longer, resulting in smaller portioned meals and less frequent snacking, due to certain amino acids influencing appetite stimulation hormones.
This being said, protein can definitely assist in those who want to increase muscle mass. Of course, this has to be combined with exercise to promote muscle synthesis. This doesn’t mean you’re going to become Arnold Schwarzenegger though; it simply means that protein can help you achieve whatever your fitness goal is – whether it’s to lose fat OR gain muscle. Because of this, protein powders are also super useful in recovering after a workout.
Depending on your health and fitness goals, protein powder may or may not be right for you. If you’re still unsure, you should speak to your health care provider. Always consider your goals and health reasons when dosing. In conclusion, you don’t need to be a gym junkie or an Arnold wannabe, you can just take a protein supplement to improve dietary intake, assist with healing, sustaining a healthy immune system, or simply for an energy boost.