Protein shakes for building muscles: Do you really need them?
When it comes to building muscles or losing weight, fitness enthusiasts make a lot of fuss about having protein shakes before and after a workout. It is a common belief that protein shakes can maximize the output of your workout routine, by helping in muscle growth and recovery. But is it really necessary for all to include protein shakes in their diet?
The simple answer to this question is NO.
What is protein?
Protein is one of the three macronutrients required by our body in a large amount. It is made up of long chains of 20 amino acids that are arranged in a specific order to determine the function of each protein.
Out of the 20 amino acids needed for forming protein, nine essential ones are not synthesized by the human body. So, they come from the food we eat in a day.
There are two main types of protein- complete (contains all amino acids) and incomplete (lack some amino acids). Animal products, soy, and quinoa are complete proteins, while most plant-based foods are incomplete.
The role of protein in the body?
A sufficient amount of protein intake is essential for health as they help your internal organs work better. It is needed to keep the muscles, bones, and tissues healthy, prevent blood clotting, balance fluid, boost immunity, enhance vision, and activate various hormones and enzymes in the body. It is the building block of the cells. So, taking a sufficient amount of it while building muscles can increase muscle mass and strength.
This macronutrient is required particularly during childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy for growth and development.
How much do you need it in a day?
Our body cannot store protein, like other nutrients. Once the demand of the day is met, all the extra protein is used for energy or stored as fat. You need to take a sufficient amount of it daily. According to the Dietary Reference Intake report for macronutrients, every adult living a sedentary life must consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of their body weight. But the intake level changes as per your activity level. If you workout regularly then your daily protein intake level goes up to 1 to 1.2 grams of protein daily.
What is a protein shake?
Protein shakes were generally consumed by athletes and fitness enthusiasts who want to improve their performance and gain muscle mass. Having a glass of protein shake right after the workout can provide you with the right amount of nutrients for fast recovery.
Protein shakes are nothing but a dietary supplement that helps to complete or enhance your diet if you need an extra dose to meet your daily protein target in a day. There are several types of dietary supplements available in the market. that either comes from plants or animal-based sources like cow milk soy, pea, hemp, or rice protein.
In general, taking protein shakes is beneficial when you are not getting quality protein from your regular diet or can’t fulfill your daily protein needs through food alone.
What types of protein shake you must choose?
The market aisle is filled with different kinds of protein shakes that mostly vary in protein content. If you are trying to build your body, then get the one that contains more protein. For increasing endurance, the one with more carbs is a better option, while for weight loss, the one with high protein, fewer carbohydrates, and only a little bit of fat is the best.
Are protein shakes necessary?
Like mentioned earlier, protein shakes are just dietary supplements that help to balance the intake of protein in a day. It is not absolutely necessary for people trying to stay fit or gain muscle mass. It is recommended only if your requirement for protein is not met by the food you eat daily. If it is met by your normal food habit, then taking shakes are completely unnecessary as all the extra protein will be stored in the body as fat. Besides, protein shakes do not work for all. One with lactose intolerance cannot have casein and whey protein as they are made from cow’s milk. So, if you need it and it suits you well and good, else include more protein-rich food in your diet. Eggs, milk, meat, fish, poultry, beans, lentils and soy contain high-quality protein and you can easily add them to your diet.