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Myths on Myths About Protein: What You Need To Know

Sometimes I love an article so much, I just add the link to MY FAVS page so you can read it directly. Other times, I need to break it down and remove the content I either don't agree with, needs more context or I think it just plain wrong. In this case, that article is titled "5 Pervasive Myths About Protein a Functional Medicine RD Wants To Put To Rest" by Michele Ross. I'll be going through each of her myths she listed and provide my insight!

Myth # 1: You can’t get enough protein on a plant-based diet

I agree, this is a myth because you can actually get enough protein from plant-based foods and I've personally tracked my own macros and have reached 100-120g protein daily eating only plant based foods.... BUT, this needs more context.

I had to use a protein powder to help meet my personal protein needs. This also helped keep my fat and carbohydrates in check as protein powder is generally void of carbs and fats. With that said, it's very hard to eat lower carbs on a plant based diet because the majority of plant proteins contain a good amount of carbohydrates. For example, 1 cup of canned black beans (a common food notably high in protein) has 16g of protein but also 43g of carbohydrates. Whereas 3oz. of cooked chicken breast has 26g protein and 0g carbs. Not saying carbohydrates are 'bad' but for those that are concerned about their weight and trying to manage their caloric intake, this is something to consider.

Myth # 2: All protein bars make for a healthy snack

I don't think this is necessarily a myth because there are quality protein bars out there with good ingredients (with gut health and adequate protein in mind)! A few that I like- Legion protein bars, the Perfect bar (higher in fat), Go Macro bars (good ingredients, lower in protein), and Power Crunch Bars (higher in fat, lower in protein, no gums or sugar alcohols).

Protein bars I don't like based on ingredients and/or gut health concerns- RX bars (great ingredients, not high in protein), Fit Crunch bars (high in vegetable oils and preservatives), Clif builder bars (lots of added sugar and syrups), Quest bars (poor ingredients, high in sugar alcohols and gums), and Think protein bars (high in sugar alcohols and palm oil).

Myth # 3: You need protein shakes to meet your health goals

This is definitely a myth, you don't need a protein shake to meet your nutrition goals but sometimes it can really help if you're current macro set is low with high protein, if you're appetite isn't the best but you need to get in calories and protein, or if you truly enjoy a protein shake/smoothie!

My recommendations when choosing a protein powder-

  1. avoid gut-irritating thickening agents, not sure what these are? I made a blog post on the best vs. the worst ones, see that HERE!

  2. find a protein powder with at least 20g protein or more per scoop/serving, OR you can add multiple servings to reach ~20g knowing you're also adding carbs and fat based on the serving size you are using.

  3. vegan protein powders will always taste chalky and poorly mix with other ingredients, take my word for it! I've tried MANY brands and it's unavoidable with plant protein powders.

Myth # 4: You have to eat protein right after a workout

I made a fun video with a good caption endorsing this as a myth as well, you can see that here on my Instagram! But if you do truly like having a protein shake after your workout, that's fine too!

Myth # 5: You need tons of protein to build muscle

Everyone's protein needs are going to be a different, but what's very true is you do need protein to build muscle. I made a blog post called "Everything You Need To Know About Protein" and you can read that here . The RDA for protein for both men and women is way too low. My general recommendations are 1-1.2 (up to 1.5-1.8 depending on your activity levels) g per kilogram of body weight BUT that also depends on your weight which is why it's helpful to chat with a nutrition professional to get your customized protein needs!


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