Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. Our bodies need protein for muscle repair, growth, and to help with general metabolism. Protein can be found in many different types of food but the most common are animal-based products such as eggs or dairy.1
Protein is an important macronutrient that we need to consume every day. However, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about protein that can lead people to make bad decisions about their diet. Here are some of the most common protein myths and how to avoid being tricked by them.2
What is a Myth?
A myth is defined as “a widely held but false belief or idea.” Myths often have a basis of truth but have been exaggerated. A common definition of the word “myth” is that it refers to an idea or belief that, in some way, has been held by many people over time. However, this interpretation doesn’t quite capture the full meaning of the term.3 For example, when we say someone is under a spell and they are acting irrationally, we might also say they are caught up in a myth. In these cases, myths can be thought of as something false or illusory because it’s not grounded in reality.
But if you think about how people have used this word for thousands of years–to describe stories containing supernatural beings and marvelous deeds–then you’ll see that “myths” often refer to things which seem extraordinary. In fact, many myths contain elements of cultural ideals and natural phenomena that are difficult for people to understand in the past, but are quite common today since they are part of our present reality. This article will cover all the different myths that are surrounded around protein.
History of Protein Myths
There have been many myths surrounding protein throughout history. In 1971, Dr. Robert Crayhon wrote a book titled The Carnivore Diet. This diet encouraged people to consume mostly meat with little vegetables or other plant matter for their whole lives to lose weight effectively.4 He claimed that excess carbs cause cancer and heart disease, which has been proven false . He even wrote statements such as “Meat is the perfect food” and “People who are overweight for life eat too many carbs.” These statements were proven false in 2003 by an article published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
What is Protein Timing?
Protein timing is a popular topic that has been debated for years. There are many different beliefs surrounding this topic. Some say eating protein before bed helps you burn fat, while others think you should have a meal containing protein and carbohydrates immediately after your workout to help your body recover, grow, and remain in an anabolic state.5 Many fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders believe that the optimal time to consume protein is immediately after a workout, but there are also those who say it doesn’t matter when you eat your protein as long as it’s within 24 hours of working out.
The most recent research shows that it doesn’t matter when you eat your post-workout meal, as long as it is within three hours of finishing your last set. In fact, one study found that those who ate immediately after their workout had the same muscle gains as those who ate three hours later. However, any time you can feed your muscles is beneficial for increasing strength and gaining size.
Is Protein Timing a Myth?
Although this theory has been debated for years, there are many athletes who swear by it. One study found that when participants were given 20g of whey protein powder in one sitting or spread out through the day, there was no difference in muscle strength and size gains.6
Well there are many myths out there and one of them is that eating protein at certain times is important for building lean muscle mass. This is not the case and in fact it is absolutely pointless. Protein can be eaten in any portion of the day and is not only necessary for muscle growth, but also for burning fat and maintaining healthy weight levels.
Now this is true, but the problem with this myth is that the protein will not be absorbed in the gut due to the fast gastric emptying that takes place when you eat after a strenuous workout. Also, the protein will not be able to be burned because gastric emptying only slows the absorption rate. Another problem is that protein will leave the body shortly after cessation of the workout, causing the same problems mentioned above. Protein is the building block of all the tissues in your body so if you do not get enough protein, then your muscle growth will suffer and your strength will decline.
Are the Negative Effects of Whey Protein a Myth?
Whey protein powder is a supplement that is derived from cow’s milk and has been used for decades by bodybuilders and athletes to help them recover after workouts. There are many different types of whey protein, but the most popular type in America is whey protein isolate. It’s important to note that while there are many benefits of using whey protein, it also can have some negative effects on your health.7
Some people find it difficult to digest due to lactose intolerance; others report stomach cramps and other digestive issues after taking whey protein powders because they contain too much calcium from milk products; those who don’t consume animal products may have difficulty finding a suitable alternative source of quality proteins.8
There is plenty of research out there to prove that taking whey protein does not cause kidney damage or cancer. However, if you are lactose intolerant, you might want to go with a plant-based option. Whey likely won’t cause any harm, but it’s best to find the right protein for your needs. The short answer: No, there aren’t any significant negative health consequences from taking whey protein supplements. As long as you’re not allergic or have other specific conditions like lactose intolerance, you can safely start incorporating this supplement into your routine to see amazing results.
What are Complete Proteins?
Complete proteins are a type of protein found in many foods. They are composed of all 9 essential amino acids, which the body cannot create itself and must be consumed through food sources. The most common complete protein is animal-based, but some plants provide them as well. Complete proteins are important for muscle development and cell growth because they have all the building blocks needed to carry out these functions effectively.
How Do You Get Complete Protein?
As mentioned, most people get their complete protein from animal products like meat and eggs. Animal proteins include whey protein and casein protein.However, the best way to achieve a good amount of all your 9 essential amino acids is through an evenly balanced ratio of incomplete and complete proteins throughout the day. For example, if you eat meat for breakfast and rice for dinner, you will have about an 80% completion rate (9 out of 11).9
If you add in some vegetables or brown bread on top of that meal, then your chances get even better! Keep in mind that it’s not only important to get all 9 essential amino acids though; they must be from the right food sources! Many athletes make the mistake of taking supplements, but fail to realize that they are not getting their proteins from whole foods.10
Are Complete Proteins a Myth?
It’s not a myth, but there are very few foods which are complete proteins. Some examples include quinoa, soybeans, hemp seed and buckwheat. It is highly unlikely that you would mix these foods into your diet day-to-day though.
This means that if you’re currently consuming meat, fish or dairy as your only source of protein then chances are your body isn’t receiving all the essential amino acids it needs to repair itself. If this continues for an extended period of time the quality of your muscles may begin to decrease since they won’t be getting what they need!
Some people believe that all plant-based foods have incomplete proteins because they lack some amino acids essential for full health benefits. However, this isn’t true! Plant-based sources like beans, nuts and seeds can provide you with all nine essential amino acids without having to combine them at meals or in supplements.
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1 “Healthy diet – WHO | World Health Organization.” 29 Apr. 2020, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet Accessed 12 Sep. 2021.
2 “Protein | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public.” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/ Accessed 12 Sep. 2021.
3 “myth | Definition, History, Examples, & Facts | Britannica.” https://www.britannica.com/topic/myth Accessed 12 Sep. 2021.
4 “What Is the Carnivore Diet? Benefits, Risks, Food List – Everyday ….” 10 Sep. 2018, https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/carnivore-diet-benefits-risks-food-list-more/ Accessed 12 Sep. 2021.
5 “The effect of protein timing on muscle strength and hypertrophy.” 3 Dec. 2013, https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-10-53 Accessed 12 Sep. 2021.
6 “The hidden dangers of protein powders – Harvard Health.” https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-hidden-dangers-of-protein-powders Accessed 12 Sep. 2021.
7 “Whey Protein 101: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide – Healthline.” https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/whey-protein-101 Accessed 12 Sep. 2021.
8 “Whey protein: Health benefits, side effects, and dangers.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263371 Accessed 12 Sep. 2021.
9 “Amino acids: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002222.htm Accessed 12 Sep. 2021.
10 “9 Essential Amino Acids – L-Glutamine and L-Arginine Formula for ….” https://www.amazon.com/Amino-Balance-Supplement-Complete-FreeForm/dp/B08JY8BPWQ Accessed 12 Sep. 2021.