4 protein myths you shouldn’t believe
From high-protein diets to protein powders and shakes, the p-word is pulling a big punch right now. We bust the biggest protein myths.
Nutrition experts agree protein is essential for good health, and contributes to the energy we need to get through each day.
Getting the right amount of protein in your diet provides the building blocks for healthy muscles, bones, blood and skin.
Research shows protein is also important for the proper functioning of immune cells, and for transporting vital nutrients around the body.
There’s no doubt protein power has landed – but so have some myths that could be preventing you from getting the protein your body needs each day.
We debunk four of the biggest protein myths:
Protein myth 1: It’s just fine to get most of my protein at dinner
If you are like many adult Australians, you probably eat most of your protein – whether it’s a slab of steak or a tofu casserole – with your evening meal.
But there is a limit to how much protein your body can process at one time.
Research has found it is best to spread protein intake evenly across each main meal throughout the day to optimise and maintain your muscle.
Protein myth 2: I already filled my weekly protein needs
You eat a big meal, and think you’ve had enough protein to get you through the week.
But unlike fats and carbohydrates, protein is not stored in our bodies.
Instead, it is continuously broken down and needs to be replaced regularly – so you need to include protein in your diet every day.
Protein myth 3: I need less protein as I age
It is true that children and teenagers need protein to fuel their growth, with the recommended amount varying by age, activity level and health status.
- Related story: How much protein should you eat per day?
Experts now also recommend a higher protein intake for older adults to support healthy living.
Men up to 70 years old should consume about 0.84g of protein per kilogram of body weight each day, while men over 70 should consume 1.07g per kg.
For women, the recommended amount is 0.75g per kilogram of body weight to age 70, rising to 0.94g per kilogram after that.
Protein myth 4: All protein is created equal
Protein sources are not equal in their ability to build or repair muscle.
Protein is made up of amino acids, including nine that are essential – such as leucine, which plays an important role in building muscle.
Essential amino acids come from a diet that includes high-quality or complete proteins.
Experts recommend consuming a variety of protein sources to meet daily needs.
How to get high-quality protein in your diet
- Animal sources: Eggs, fish, chicken, pork, beef
- Dairy products: Milk, yogurt and cheese
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