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Protein Supplements: Do You Need Them?
June 27, 2011
We also know what foods contain protein: meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy foods, beans, tofu, nuts, peanut butter… even grains and vegetables have some protein. It’s pretty hard to not get enough protein in your diet, although in some cases, it’s possible. Most of us consume far more protein than we need. On average, Americans eat about 12% to 15% of calories from protein (that’s if you’re not following a high-protein diet).
Those at risk for not getting enough protein include older adults, vegetarians (although when properly planned, vegetarian diets are perfectly adequate), low-income folks, and pregnant and lactating women. There’s no good evidence that people with diabetes need any more protein than people without diabetes. While some people with diabetes may find that a higher-protein eating plan helps them with their glycemic control, that’s really not an indication that your body actually requires more protein.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
Do you need to eat more protein? You may if you’re very physically active or if you happen to be an athlete. Physically active adults may need 1.0 gram of protein per kilogram body weight, while strength and endurance athletes may need anywhere from 1.4 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of weight per day, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN). Most of us likely don’t fall into this category, however.
What About Protein Supplements?
In general, protein supplements aren’t harmful as long as your kidneys and liver are working as they should. (Anyone with diabetic kidney disease should avoid taking protein supplements without checking with their health-care provider.) But, it’s understandable that you might be curious about that canister of whey protein sitting on the shelf, for example. Muscle Milk, Met-Rx, and PowerBars are all examples of products that contain protein. It can be confusing trying to figure out what’s best. It’s also important to know that protein supplements may contain different types of protein, such as whey, casein, egg, and soy.
Next week we’ll look at the types of protein that are commonly found in these products.
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