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Top 6 Protein Myths Busted Wide Open

By 5th September 2018Nutrition

If macronutrients were celebrities, protein would be Drake.

Just like the pop music scene and Drake, you can’t look too far into fitness and health nutrition without protein becoming a hot topic of conversation. This brings with it a whole host of myths and BS, some of which I’m going to clear up for you today.

Lets first just have a quick round up on the basics of protein. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Protein is a macronutrient.
2. Proteins are made from a chain of small compounds called amino acids. Despite there being hundreds of amino acids, the human body uses just 22 of them. The body can produce all of these except nine. These nine are categorised as essential amino acids (EAA’s) and must be consumed in the diet.
3. It’s important for growth and recovery of cells within the body.
4. Good sources include meat, fish, eggs, diary produce, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses.

With the basics under wraps, let’s get to busting these common myths. Let’s see if I can make it to the end of this article without insulting a single vegan.

Protein

The Main Role Of Protein Is To Build Muscle
Ahh, hands down the most common myth. I actually completely understand how and where this myth has come from. Stereotypically if you want to build muscle you do need a higher protein intake, but that’s not all its good for. It can also help to preserve lean body mass, used in the growth of hair and nails and is used to make various enzymes and hormones within the body.

The More You Eat, The Better
There is a threshold of protein intake where more doesn’t mean better and serves no real added benefit. My recommendations for daily intake are goal dependant. Starting somewhere like this is a good choice:

Fat loss goals – 1g of protein X bodyweight in KG = grams of protein per day

Muscle building goals – 2g of protein X bodyweight in KG = grams of protein per day

Eating Too Much Protein Will Cause Kidney Disease
The issue with this statement is the way in which its said. Some studies do confirm a high protein diet can accelerate kidney damage in people who have existing kidney conditions. Notice the word existing? Causing kidney damage in individuals with healthy, functioning kidneys however – now that needs a lot more research.

Cutting Protein (Meat) Is The Key To Weight Loss
Cutting meat out of your diet may well lead to weight loss, simply because you’d be decreasing your daily calorie intake by doing this. Of all the macronutrients I’d argue protein is the one you don’t want to reduce! This is purely because it’s beneficial for long-term fat loss through its ability to help preserve lean tissue, increase your daily energy expenditure (by ramping up your “thermic effect of food” value) and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Adding Protein To A Meal Makes It Healthy
It depends on what you’re defining as “healthy”. If you’re eating a filthy, rich, high calorie macaroni cheese and feeling guilty so add chicken to it, it won’t automatically make the meal healthier. It will just have a higher protein content and more calories. If you’re eating a green salad, then yes maybe adding some protein to it will balance out the macros for a more well rounded meal.

Whey Protein Shakes Make You Fat
A whey shake won’t automatically make you fat, that is unless it happens to tip you into a calorie surplus. Remember it’s the total amount of energy consumed (or not) that will impact weight gain or loss, not the actual macronutrients themselves.

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