Bodybuilding and weight lifting were confined to a certain set of people who wished to showcase their skills to the outside world decades back. But surprisingly, this world has a number of takers who would love to become an Arnold Schwarzenegger or a Jay Cutler showing off their muscles and brimming with satisfaction. Protein supplements were confined to giant bodybuilders sometime back but now they are marketed to everyone in the world. A billion-dollar industry currently these supplements boast of helping us gain muscles and preventing them from wasting away as we age. The hype and hoopla surrounding this industry is not wrong considering that one in every 20 individuals rely on these supplements after middle age, but the lingering question is that do we need more proteins in our diet?
Falsifying the Claim
Our muscles are made of proteins and logically when you eat more proteins it must result in bigger muscles. Whey protein, the highest form (as it contains all amino acids) of protein has been a craze among bodybuilders and weightlifters, and also among gym goers and older individuals worried about declining muscle strength. When one of the studies tried to find if protein supplements do work really, they tested it on 24 participants of which half of them were given protein supplements and the other half was given a placebo. Each of them was measured of their lean mass, maximum lifting capacity, knee strength and thigh muscle thickness at the beginning of the study and again at the end of the study. Results showed that all participants became stronger but no significant difference in values was observed between the two groups. While there are a couple other studies whose result align with this study’s result there have also been other researches that show that protein supplements do ‘have’ an effect on muscle building.
Despite such confusing results the protein supplements market survived to thrive and grow into a billion-dollar industry. This has been possible only because of a strong customer base. People want results without hard work, success without efforts and popularity without earning it. Likewise, some individuals want a toned and well-built body without facing major hardships or subjecting the body to a rigorous fitness routine. They rely majorly on supplements to achieve their results. While there have been much debates and controversies surrounding the use of protein supplements in improving muscle strength in weight lifters and body builders the latest study has brought an end to all such speculations as they indicate clear results. Protein supplements are the winner!
The latest study published in the journal shows that benefits of protein supplements increase with resistance training, but these supplements become less effective in older adults raising the need for greater supplementation for optimal results as we age. These protein supplements too have an upper limit measured at 1.6 grams of dietary protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day beyond which it doesn’t appear to be beneficial on the body. The researchers involved in the study have always seen that protein supplements have faced a mixed response until now even among dietitians, nutritionists and physicians. The latest research is the combined effort of various other studies thereby arriving at 49 high-quality individual studies which included 1863 participants. Review showed that beyond equipping human with muscle mass and strength gains the intake of protein supplements remains unaffected by the source of the supplement. You consume proteins in the form of steak or whey protein supplement, consume it during any time of the day or after a workout. One thing common across the studies was the fact that effectiveness of protein supplement diminishes as the person grows old.
There is a mounting need for adding protein to your body as researchers are convinced that the recommended 0.8 g protein per kg per days is too low. Apart from relying only on food sources for protein supplementation one must also ensure to exercise to build more muscles. Too much of protein consumption beyond the suggested limits don’t get stored as muscles but get converted to fats. Read more about how young adults perceive body building from the website www.firsteatright.com and also you’ve got your options to read more about the various food sources that are stacked with proteins and of use to your body.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.