5 Common Protein Myths
Protein happens to be our favorite buzz word, and can you blame us? We are super passionate about healthy high protein snacks and have spent years creating the best protein snacks on the market. Well we think so anyways! This is why we get a little disgruntled when we hear the same misinformation and outright bologna when people talk about protein. So we’ve decided to clear the air and set the record straight on the top five common myths about protein and fuel your minds with the facts you need to consume protein responsibly.
You will also be better equipped to intelligently speak about your protein and diet choices if ever confronted with any of these misconceptions. We’re going to cover exactly what protein is, what it does in your body, how much you actually need, the best sources to get it, and how it stacks up against other macros in your diet. There will certainly be other myths we can dispel along the way, so we’ll share as much as we can.
Myth #1 Protein is 9 Essential Aminos That You Need to Consume Together
According to the dictionary proteins come from the different classes of nitrogenous organic compounds which are made of large biomolecules containing long chains of amino acids, and they are conclusively an essential part of all living things. If you are not an in depth researcher of proteomics, this definition means very little which is why we get confused. What you may have recognized were the words amino acids, and this is where the myth comes in.
There are around 500 amino acids that make up all the protein structures in the world. Twenty of those are found in the human body. Nine of the twenty are considered essential amino acids because it is essential that we give them to ourselves to survive. The other eleven amino acids can be created within the body on its own. Contrary to popular belief, we do not need to consume all nine essential amino acids together! We don’t need to consume them in one meal, in the same hour, and we won’t die if we don’t consume them all in the same day.
While getting all nine essential amino acids within a 24-hour time period is best for optimal health, there are no scientific benefits to having them all at once. If you eat a variety of whole, plant-based foods, you will get all the essential aminos your body needs.
Myth #2 You Only Need Protein to Build Muscles
Once more, every fallacy holds a grain of truth. That’s why these misconceptions can be so confusing. Protein is in fact the fundamental building block of muscles. If you are a weightlifter or into building muscles, you will need protein to repair the cellular damage after a training session. However, this is not the only role protein holds in the body, and your muscles need protein even if your favorite exercise is channel surfing.
Who doesn’t like stronger nails and healthier hair? The cells that make this happen are built by protein. Our tissues, organs, and bones all rely on protein to stay strong and healthy. In fact, every cell in your entire body contains protein, so we need all twenty amino acids to maintain every cell. Protein also causes necessary biochemical reactions that power digestion, blood clotting, muscle contraction, and the production of energy.
So yes, you need your protein even if you don’t plan on using your muscles for anything more than walking to your car.
Myth #3 Your Body Needs a Lot of Protein to Stay Healthy and Trim
Healthy is not your weight. It’s not your size, quantity of muscles, or any other external, physical factor. Healthy is how well your body is functioning. Do you have a strong immune system? Can you perform your daily tasks with ease? Are you pain free? Do you have a clean bill of health from your doctor? This is what determines whether you are healthy, not overconsuming protein in your diet.
People think eating more protein will keep them thin. This is simply not true unless you are cutting out calories from the other macronutrients. Calories in, calories out. If your body is slimmer with higher protein, go for it. However, you may have a body type that prefers higher carbs. This is a personal diet choice that varies person to person.
The recommended daily amount (RDA) for protein in the diet is 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight. This is the minimum based on a 2000 calorie diet of a sedentary person.
So use this formula to plan your protein consumption accordingly:
Myth #4 Protein is More Important than Carbs or Fats
How many times do we need to hear the words “balanced diet?” Your body needs fats, carbohydrates, and protein to function and to thrive. While it is scientifically proven that carbs and proteins are healthier for us than fats, that is as much of a fully concrete statement as anyone can make. You can find just as many studies showing carbs to be invaluable as you can protein. That’s because they are both essential and in varying amounts for each person.
Think of it like this, if protein is what makes up your body, carbs are what make your body function. Carbohydrates are the fuel for your heart, mind, and kidneys. They are also your fuel for movement, brain power, and basic daily functions. Carbs break down to glucose which feeds your body energy. If you don’t get enough carbs, your body can even break down your muscles for energy, and you will lose muscle mass! You need carbs, and you need protein.
Myth #5 If You Eat Plant-Based, You Won’t Get Enough Protein
This outright lie is one we are simply tired of hearing. Short of complete malnourishment and starvation, it is nearly impossible not to eat enough protein. If you are eating whole foods, you are eating protein. Beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, nearly every vegetable, and even most fruits have protein.
If you’re a bodybuilder or lifter and concerned about your protein as a plant-based eater, do a simple search for vegetarian and vegan athletes. The results may surprise you!
If you feel like you haven’t quite reached your protein needs, grab some protein based snacks to add throughout your day. Plant protein smoothies and shakes, nutty trail mix and Protein Granola Clusters, Vegan Protein Puffs, or some roasted chickpeas.
If you eat enough food, you will eat enough protein.