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08 Health Benefits and 06 Side Effects | Protein Powder

Hey there readers! If you go to the gym, you’ve probably heard the regulars talking about protein shakes they drink after a workout. Protein powders, made into a shake or however you like are becoming more popular as a nutritional supplement. You can buy them in every nutrition store and all over the Internet. You can even find pre-mixed, ready-to-drink protein shakes. It’s a quick way to ensure that your body is nourished and satisfied. Apart from helping you bulk up, protein powders have a wide range of health benefits, plus a few side effects too. And in today’s post, we will tell you what they are. From benefits like muscle growth, lower blood sugar levels, improved energy to side effects like kidney problems, liver damage, and more, read till the end to learn about all of them.

Photo by Olga Kudriavtseva on Unsplash

Health Benefits Of Protein Powder: 

01. Muscle Growth: 

Muscle mass naturally declines with age. This usually leads to fat gain and raises the risk of many chronic diseases. However, this adverse change in body composition can be partly slowed, prevented, or reversed with a combination of strength training and an adequate diet. Strength training coupled with protein powder has been shown to be an effective preventive strategy. Protein powder contains a compound called leucine, effective for the prevention of age-related muscle loss. It can also improve strength and give you a better-looking body. For muscle growth, whey protein has been shown to be slightly better compared to other types of protein, such as casein or soy. What’s your favorite protein powder? Is it casein? Whey? Pea? Tell us quickly down below in the comments section! 

02. Weight Loss: 

Protein powder is more satiating than either fat or carbohydrates. It helps maintain fullness, and feeling full results in smaller portion sizes and less snacking. This makes weight management easier. A study found that supplementing protein powder might reduce body weight and total fat in overweight and obese people. It also decreases blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and the risk of heart disease. 

03. Lower Blood Pressure: 

High blood pressure levels, which are one of the most common causes of heart disease, can be managed easily by upping your protein intake. According to studies, consumption of dairy-based protein, such as whey, has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels. This is because whey protein contains helpful enzymes, which work to tame blood pressure levels. Eating moderate amounts of whey protein can cut inflammation risk, reduce blood clots and promote healthy living. 

04. Provides Added Nutrition: 

People who find it challenging to meet daily protein requirements may find protein powder as a healthy alternative. Athletes, weight lifters, older adults, and people with a chronic illness may need to exceed the general protein intake recommendation. Research shows that athletes with strenuous exercise training may benefit from having about twice the daily recommended protein. This can range from 1.5 to 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight. 

05. Strengthens Antioxidants: 

Antioxidants are an important component of the body. They fight off toxins, oxidative stress and promote regeneration and growth. Of all, glutathione is one of the most critical antioxidants we need. Now, this antioxidant, unlike others, is made naturally by the body. This is possible when we take in all amino acids through adequate protein consumption. So, regular intake of protein powder may benefit glutathione production and strengthen antioxidant function in the body. Antioxidants help fight off disease, keep infections at bay and eliminate harmful free radicals from spreading. There are benefits for the skin and hair too.

06. Regulates Blood Sugar: 

For diabetics, cutting down on carbs and including more protein is one way to manage diabetes. Including protein powder, according to studies, can help moderate blood sugar. It does this by increasing insulin levels and sensitivity. Protein powder carries the most benefits for diabetics, like stabilizing blood sugar, compared to other forms of protein, like non-vegetarian and poultry products. 

07. Boosts Metabolism: 

Along with reducing appetite, protein powder boosts metabolism. The body uses energy to digest and make use of the nutrients in food. This is called the thermic effect of food or TEF. and protein’s thermic effect is much higher than carbohydrates and fat. Whether you’re an elite athlete or just someone trying to lose a little belly fat, consider replacing some of your carbs and fats with protein in your daily meals and snacks. 

08. Improves Energy:

Protein powder increases glycogen levels. This compound is a source of energy during exercise or heavy activity. And it enhances the effect of leptin, a hormone that affects energy balance. Plus, because protein is easily digested and accessed by the body, it is converted into energy quickly naturally boosting energy levels. A study found that participants experienced an increase in performance when they consumed protein powder after resistance training. This included agility running, vertical jumping, and muscle endurance. This is all due to the amino acids present in protein powder. When the body lacks sufficient levels of amino acids, that’s when you experience muscle wasting and delayed exercise recovery after a workout. 

Ok, now let’s talk about a few possible side effects of protein powder: 

Side Effects Of Protein Powder:

01. May Cause Digestive Issues: 

Most of whey protein powder’s side effects are related to digestion. Some people have problems digesting protein powder and experience symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. But most of these side effects are related to lactose intolerance. If you are lactose intolerant, try switching to a whey protein isolate powder. This powder is more refined, with a significantly smaller amount of fat and lactose than regular whey protein concentrate. Alternatively, try a non-dairy protein powder, such as soy, pea, egg, rice, or hemp protein. 

02. May Cause Unhealthy Weight Gain: 

This side effect beats the very purpose of inventing protein supplements in the first place. If taken in excess, protein supplements can cause you to gain weight. And by weight, we mean fat. When your workout regimen does not match up to your protein intake, the unutilized calories get converted into fat. This fat piles up day by day, causing you to gain weight rapidly. 

03. Might Affect Kidneys: 

As protein is utilized by the body, it produces ammonia as a by-product. The ammonia is then converted into urea, which is eliminated from the body through urine. The logic is simple. If a person takes high amounts of protein, they produce large quantities of urea. It puts higher pressure on the kidneys as they filter out copious amounts of urea and calcium from the blood. When large quantities of protein supplements are consumed over a long period, there is an increased risk of developing renal disorders. Impairment of kidneys, kidney stones, and renal failure are the probable side effects of taking protein supplements in excess. 

04. May Cause Liver Damage: 

Having a diet of protein supplements, with no carbs, can push the body to the state of ketosis. This is where the body utilizes fat as the primary source of energy. This leads to high blood acidity levels. Consistent high blood acidity is known to impair liver function and may result in severe liver disorders. Also, taking excess protein powder without exercising can lead to liver inflammation and increase the risk of serious liver injury. 

05. Bad Gut Health: 

Many people use protein shakes as meal replacements. While low-calorie, high-satiety protein drinks can be useful for reducing calories, they can force you to unwittingly avoid important nutrients that you might otherwise get from the foods being replaced. These include vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Many protein powders lack fiber, which can cause a gut microbiota imbalance, and affect your immune system. 

06. Hair Loss:

Our hair is made of keratin, which is a protein. So, it only makes sense to have more protein, right? Well, maybe not. This is because whey protein is also known to boost testosterone levels. This produces a chemical called DHT in the bloodstream, which can often cause hair loss. It is not protein but the chemical that is produced in the process that causes hair loss. Even lifting excess weights can lead to an increase in testosterone levels and subsequent hair loss. 

While protein powder is a good way to get your daily protein, one of the best ways is through eating the right kinds of foods. Learn more by reading: Top 10 High Vegetarian Protein Sources to Include in Your Diet

What’s your preferred way to meet your protein needs? Is it through powders or food? Let us know in the comments section below! 

The information I provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. You should never use content in my writing as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another qualified clinician. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if indicated for medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. I am not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information in this blog. Thank you.

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