Protein is one of the most important nutrients people should get in their diet each day. It provides nutrients for hormones, brain cells, enzymes and muscle tissue. Every cell in the body needs protein in order to survive and function as normal. Since protein is so important, consumption of it for dietary reasons is a hot topic.
Since so many people talk about this, there are a lot of myths that the public has come to believe. Some of the most common misconceptions include:
Misconception #1: High Protein Diets Cause People to Become Overweight
There is some truth in this myth, which is that too much protein will cause anyone to become overweight. The difference is, too much of anything is going to make anyone overweight. A person who eats more calories than they burn is going to see more fat accrue all over their body.
It isn’t specifically protein that makes someone fat; it’s too many calories from a variety of different foods. Something many people don’t know is body creates more heat digesting protein than other foods. This heat requires energy(calories). In fact around 25% of calories from protein are burned during digestion, while only 15% are burned from carbohydrates.
Insulin inside the body is what is responsible for transferring fat into the fat cells and neutralizing blood sugar. It is produced by the pancreas when it needs to get rid of blood sugar in the circulatory system of the body. When someone consumes carbohydrates, their insulin will spike and more fat will start to be stored. When protein is consumed, there is normally only a very small response and the insulin does not react.
Fat storage with foods that are high in carbohydrates is guaranteed because of the reaction it causes. Protein will not affect insulin much, so it doesn’t cause fat storage at all. Protein actually triggers glucagon to increase in production. Glucagon is something that burns fat in the body, which means protein triggers fat loss rather than gain.
Misconception #2: Diets High in Protein Will Damage the Kidneys
When the body digests food, it breaks it down into different amino acids. When protein is broken down, one of the amino acids it creates is ammonia, which is toxic. Too much of this can cause damage to the kidneys, so this myth does have some truth to it. What this myth doesn’t look at is that a high protein diet is generally only harmful to individuals that already have existing kidney problems.
\There isn’t any evidence that a high protein diet is bad for someone who has healthy kidneys. Constant hydration is something that is important when on this diet since it will help flush out toxins. As long as a healthy individual is getting other nutrients, they should be healthy and successful eating a high protein diet.
Misconception #3: High Protein Diets Have too much Saturated Fat
This is only true for individuals who eat foods that are full of saturated fats, like bacon and cheese. There are tons of other choices of foods that are high protein and low in saturated fats. Egg whites, chicken breast and beans are all examples of these foods. In addition to this, foods like fish are high in Omega fatty acids, which are beneficial to most vital organs of the body.
Misconception #4: Athletes Don’t Need High Protein Intake
There have been a lot of studies done that show athletes need more protein than most people because it provides nutrients for muscle growth and energy. This doesn’t mean an athlete should eat a ton of protein, just more than the average person does each day. Some bodybuilders believe they have to eat thousands of grams of protein per day to build muscles, which is something nobody should do.
The body can only take so much protein to utilize each day. Too much will not magically promote muscle gains, it will only provide the muscles with the nutrients they need after intense strength training.