Protein Myths That Are Affecting Your Diet
Protein Myths That Are Affecting Your Diet
A wholesome and varied diet is so important when trying to keep your health on track and reach your fitness goals. If we don’t fuel our bodies right, we are less likely to see and feel the results we want!
In order to achieve optimal health benefits, we need to consume protein. Protein is an essential macronutrient — it is important for the structure and maintenance of the body’s tissues and organs, as well as helping build and repair muscle tissue.
Recently, you’ve probably noticed plenty of health discussions revolving around protein intake, with many varying opinions on what is the right and wrong approach to take! This can make it quite confusing when trying to work out how much protein to include in your diet, as well as when to consume it.
To try and help you make sense of it all, we’ve broken down four common protein myths that might be impacting your diet:
Myth 1. To grow muscles, I need lots of protein
A common misunderstanding is that the more protein you consume, the better this is for your results. While protein is an essential nutrient to include in your diet, this does not mean that you need to eat an excessive amount in order to receive benefits. According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, the recommended daily intake of protein for women is 46 g/day or 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (there are 0.36 grams in a pound). Just be mindful that this is a general recommendation which doesn’t necessarily take into account your level of physical activity and lifestyle.
Keeping this in mind, it’s also important to note that your body can only absorb a certain amount of protein per meal you eat. This makes it important to spread your protein consumption over the course of the day, so you might like to incorporate a protein source into every meal to ensure you receive the most benefits.
What this also means is that if you try to include an excess of protein into your diet, once you hit a certain amount (which will vary depending on your body and lifestyle), your body will begin to excrete it because it can’t absorb any more.
The real secret to protein consumption is to try and eat a balanced diet — by doing this, you will likely reach your recommended intake of protein daily, without even trying.
Myth 2. All protein sources are the same
If you want to get the most out of your protein intake, then you probably want to choose the highest quality protein options, right? Choosing whole protein foods such as quinoa, lean meat, dairy and eggs means you get additional nutritional benefits. This is often not the case for processed protein sources. For example, while protein bars may be high in protein and convenient to eat on the run, they can be lacking in other nutritional benefits and high in refined sugars.
Myth 3. More protein equals more health benefits
It’s also important to consider how you incorporate protein into your diet. If not done mindfully, you could actually be undoing some of your hard work. If you want to increase the amount of protein you consume, make sure you keep in mind the impact that this might have on your overall energy consumption. For example, if you start including protein shakes on top of your current meals, or add extra protein serves into your meals, this also means that you may be consuming extra nutrients such as fat and carbs, along with the protein. In the long run, this might lead to weight gain.
Myth 4. You can’t build muscle on a plant-based diet
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, we’re sure you’ve heard this one before! A common misconception is that if you don’t eat animal protein, you won’t be able to build muscle. Just like any diet, a plant-based one needs to be well-balanced but it certainly is possible to gain muscle on a plant-based diet.
It's important to remember that complete sources of protein are found in animal products, such as meat and dairy. Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids your body needs and is not able to produce on its own. Many plant-based proteins are incomplete proteins, which just means that a little more thought needs to go into planning plant-based meals. The combination of the right plant-based foods can easily provide your body with all the essential amino acids that it requires.
Protein has a range of benefits and is vital to your health. In addition to the role it plays on your body, incorporating protein into your diet can keep you fuller for longer, help reduce cravings, as well as boost your metabolism.
For a range of protein-rich meals and snacks, don’t forget to check out the meal plan section in the SWEAT app.
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.