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What are the benefits of Protein Powder?

Updated on May 9, 2011

Most of us already know that protein is an extremely important nutrient for the body. What most of us don’t know is what exactly protein does for the body and what the benefits of protein powder as a nutritional supplement specifically are.

One of the primary functions of protein (taken in any form including protein powder) is to boost the growth and maintenance of the body. Most people don’t realise it but protein really helps to keep us feeling energised and to an extent looking energised as well. This is because apart from protein being a considerable component of our muscles, it affects the growth and texture of hair and skin as well.

It is these functions of protein that result in it being a highly sought after nutrient by body builders and sportsmen. Protein also has the characteristic of repairing damaged tissue.

It should be pretty clear by now that protein is an absolutely essential nutrient with several benefits. Our normal intake of protein comes from foods like milk, egg, fish and meat and certain pulses but most people fail to consume as much protein as is required.

Although the protein intake requirements vary from person to person depending on the level of physical activity that the person is involved in, an average person needs to have anywhere between 45 and 55 grams of protein a day. It often becomes difficult to consume enough regular food to attain that level of protein consumption. This is where supplements such as protein powder help individuals meet up to their nutritional requirements.

Protein powder is available from several food supplement companies and is often tasteless, although flavoured brands are also available. One of the important points to note while looking to purchase any brand of purchase powder is protein quality.

One of the most trusted quality scoring methods is followed by the U.S Food and Drug Administration and is called the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acids Score (PDCAAS). The quality score seeks to indicate to customers the extent of digestibility and ease of assimilation a particular brand of protein powder has with the body. The PDCAAS value of protein powder is rated from 0 to 1. 1 being of the highest quality and 0 being of the lowest. Apart from the PDCAAS score, brands also mention the percentage of protein per gram of contents is actually digestible. Obviously the higher the digestibility ratio, the higher the value for money.

Although there are several benefits to protein powder, excess consumption could lead to the excess protein in the body being converted to fat. People with kidney diseases are also to refrain from protein supplements as an excess of protein intake leads to a higher secretion of urea which needs to be flushed out of the body through the kidneys. This could cause an excess burden on already unhealthy kidneys.

A lack of protein intake though is known to cause a reduction in intelligence a reduced effectiveness of the immune system.

Considering the hectic schedule that most of us experience throughout the week, paying attention to the nutritional value of food seems to always take a backstage. We are more worried about the calories we take in but totally ignore the nutritional value of the foods we take. Although all nutritional supplements can help us one way or the other, protein powder is one simple, easy to take alternative to having to have meat or eggs in excessive quantities. We end up getting the protein less the fat and cholesterol. Except for those people who suffer from chronic fatigue, most young healthy people aren’t necessarily going to feel a significant difference or improvement in their energy levels. But it ensures that the body remains healthy longer and gets all the nourishment it needs. It’s a matter of doing it today, for a better tomorrow.

But protein isn't the only nutrient that can make a world of difference for us. Infact nutritional medicine is an entire field of study in itself. My first education on the power of nutrition came through the story of Ray D.Strand M.D. and his wife in his book What your doctor doesn't know about nutritional medicine may be killing you. The book really made me think about what I put into my body everyday.


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