Protein. It’s perhaps the most discussed macronutrient for gym buffs everywhere. There is a ton of questionable information about protein out there, so it can be hard to find accurate information. Fret no longer! Here are the top three protein myths, exposed:
Myth: I only need to eat the recommended daily amount of protein.
Fact: If you’re active, you need more.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is the amount needed to avoid deficiency, not necessarily for optimal health. By definition, the RDA is the the amount needed to meet 97.5% of the populations needs. Your body uses the protein you consume to build muscle, create hormones, maintain skin integrity, and much more!
However, the RDA for protein may not be enough for an active adult. Multiple factors can increase your body’s need for protein, including age, weight, how many calories you eat, how much you exercise, and body fat percentage. Your body uses more protein post-workout to repair muscles and prevent further breakdown. When you lose a pound from restricting calories, that pound is made up of roughly 75% body fat and 25% protein from muscle breakdown. The aging process also results in loss of lean body mass.
So how much do I need? Use the Infographic on the right to determine your personal protein needs:
Myth: I only need protein to build muscle.
Fact: Remember to exercise!
While protein does help build muscle, exercise will also help stimulate muscle growth and body fat reduction. Exercise causes micro-tears in your muscle fibers, which prompts your body to repair the muscle. Your body uses protein and other nutrients to thicken and strengthen the muscle fiber for your next workout. A strong exercise routine paired with protein will result in increased muscle size and strength.
Myth: High protein diets cause kidney damage
Fact: Protein does NOT cause kidney damage in healthy people
The kidneys are two small organs in your lower back that metabolize and excrete nitrogen byproduct produced when you digest protein. Therefore, it may appear that a higher protein diet would “stress” the kidneys; however, this is not the case in healthy individuals. Low to moderate protein diets are recommended for those with kidney disease to prevent further damage brought on by other causes (alcohol, drug use, etc.). For those with healthy kidneys, normal protein intake will not affect kidney function.
Well, there you have it! Hopefully we’ve cleared up some misconceptions about protein.
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