The Truth Behind Protein Supplements

Packing protein into your diet with supplements can help you reach your fitness goals, but, like everything else, moderation is key

Consuming too much protein can mean extra work for your kidneys, among other drawbacks

Protein supplements may seem like a fitness fan’s best friend, but they aren’t a cure-all for every health issue

Advertising claims on the wide variety of protein supplements would have us believe that if we use them we will lose weight, feel, look and sleep better, build muscle mass and prevent and treat illnesses.

In reality, the research to support these claims is insubstantial.

How Much Protein is Too Much?

While it’s true that proteins (assembled from amino acids) are the building blocks for our body, too much protein can result in extra work for your kidneys, and may give you an upset stomach. Extra protein will not be stored as muscle and instead be converted into glycogen and stored as fat.

Experts advise to read the ingredients on the protein bar or supplement, and to check how many calories you will be consuming. In addition, check for ingredients you may be allergic to as it is common for them to be made from whey or casein (both dairy products), soy or egg, all good sources of protein and well-known allergens.

To get the 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight your body requires, it’s probably safer, easier and cheaper to consume protein-rich lean meats and alternatives.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.