Protein powder is a highly debated supplement, and there is often advice thrown around with no evidence behind it. Google can often be our saving grace; however, it can also be the source of inaccurate and dangerous information. This article will explore and counter 6 of the most common myths about protein powder that you may have come by before.
Myth 1: Dairy-based proteins are bad for you.
Some people can experience gastrointestinal issues after consuming whey protein. This is commonly interpreted as whey protein being 'bad' for you. However, this discomfort is actually linked to lactose intolerance. Whey protein is derived from milk and is a by-product of the cheese-making process. Therefore, when eating other dairy products like cheese or milk, people who get an upset stomach are likely to experience discomfort after consuming whey. For those that don’t tolerate dairy well there are plenty of plant-based protein options, however whey protein is completely fine to consume if you do not have lactose intolerance.
Myth 2: Plant-based protein is less effective than whey.
Whey protein is considered a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. On the other hand, plant-based protein powders are not always complete, and this is where the myth that they are not as effective as whey comes from. The protein content of a plant-based protein will depend on where it is derived from, with only soy protein being considered complete. The other option is blending multiple plant proteins to ensure the powder contains all nine essential amino acids. True Protein's Plant Protein is a complete protein that combines pea, pumpkin and brown rice protein to make it superior to that of individual non-dairy proteins.
Whey proteins are often seen as the ultimate tool to help you reach your fitness goals. However, studies suggest that plant-based and whey proteins are equally effective. In terms of muscle hypertrophy, research proposes that as long as the powder contains similar amounts of protein and BCAAs, both whey and plant-based powders will help you build muscle. Both types of protein powder also promote feelings of fullness and, therefore, can help encourage weight loss.
Myth 3: Protein powder makes you bulky.
This is one of the most commonly misunderstood facts about protein powder. Protein does, in fact, aid muscle growth when combined with an appropriate exercise regime and calorie surplus. However, protein powder alone will not make you bulky. Bulking occurs when you eat in a calorie surplus, meaning you consume more calories than your body burns in a day. If you maintain a healthy, balanced diet and eat the recommended amount of protein, you are unlikely to experience any bulking.
Myth 4: You need protein powder to build muscle.
You do not necessarily need to consume protein powder to build muscle; however, it is a convenient way to meet your protein goals. Protein contains amino acids which are the building blocks for muscle growth. Protein powders provide your body with easily digestible amino acids that trigger a more significant response for muscle synthesis with increased consumption. Protein powders have a high protein content in a considerably small serving size. True's WPI90 contains 25g of protein in just a 30g serving. If you consume the recommended amount of protein in your diet without protein powder, you will still experience muscle growth when combined with resistance training. Protein sources include lean meats, poultry, eggs, dairy products, nuts and seeds, legumes, and beans. Read our Guide to Protein and Protein Supplements to find out how much protein you should consume to build muscle.
Myth 5: Protein powder is only for people who go to the gym.
Protein is a crucial macronutrient regardless of whether you go to the gym or not. It has several functional and structural properties that are not just related to exercise, such as:
Normal growth and development throughout life stages
Adequate skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscle for normal functioning of the body and its organs
Skeletal muscle contraction, growth, recovery and adaptation from physical activity and exercise
Building joint cartilage, hair, skin and nail cells
Building other functional and cellular components, including hormones, enzymes and antibodies
Transportation of small molecules within cells and around the body
While one's recommended protein intake may be higher if they have specific fitness goals, protein is still crucial for those who don't. Protein powder may be consumed if you are after a convenient way to meet your protein intake, which is necessary if you want your body to function optimally.
Myth 6: Heating or cooking protein powder destroys it.
Protein powder is not destroyed when put into baking and acts as any food would when heated. The protein in chicken isn't destroyed when we cook the chicken, and therefore, neither does the protein in protein powder. In fact, it can make the perfect addition to any baked goods to bump up your protein intake and add some delicious flavour. Check out our True Recipes for ways to use your protein powder in cooking.