- You can get sufficient protein from foods rich in protein
- You may need supplements if you travel frequently
- Those with a more than usual active lifestyle also need supplements
The very mention of protein supplements makes one feel as if it is meant for body builders and weight lifters. For improving your health and body composition, both high protein and low protein diets fail. A good health and body composition involves reducing weight and increasing lean body weight. In this article, we are going to talk about protein supplements, and whether one needs them or not. The protein requirement of the body stands roughly around 1 gm per kg of body weight.
When do you need protein supplements? Nutritionists explain
A person who weighs 60 kg needs around 60 gm of protein in a day. Protein requirement varies at different stages in your life. "Young and adolescent children, pregnant and nursing women, ageing and/or stressed individuals actually need more than this stipulated 1 gm per kilo of body weight," celeb nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar writes in her book Don't Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight.
She goes on to add that your protein requirement also increases with factors like regular exercise and frequent travelling.
"The body wastes about 40% protein in just a few days of experimenting mental stress, surgery, prolonged sickness and starvation. During these times, not just protein but even the total number of calories consumed need to go up," Diwekar writes.
Getting adequate protein makes you feel strong, helps you sleep well and you also end up looking great. "If you are working out and travelling a lot, then I would recommend you go on a protein supplement," says Diwekar.
Delhi-based nutritionist Nmami Agarwal agrees and says that the amount of protein you need depends on your lifestyle, level of physical activity and underlying medical condition, if any. "The more strenuous workouts you do, the more repair and growth your muscle needs, and the higher your protein requirements will go," she tells DoctorNDTV.
A lot of us lead a moderately active lifestyle that can be maintained with a dietary supply of protein without having the need to consume supplements.
"It is absolutely possible to consume the required protein through natural foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, lentils, legumes, soy, and whole grains. But, if you are into athletic training or a sports person with active field hours- you might require an add on of protein supplement."
Having said that, protein supplements must be treated just as a supplement and not as a replacement for dietary protein. As mentioned above, both high and low protein diets fail. "You should not overload yourself with protein after a workout as the body cannot handle too much in one sitting," says Agarwal and add, "If you are struggling to get enough protein through diet, the addition of protein supplements might be helpful for a short duration, but it should be strictly taken under medical or nutritional guidance by an expert."
A healthy way to ensure adequate intake of protein is to eat proteins in all 3 major meals. "If you are into intense workouts, consider consuming your protein shake/ protein meal 15-30 minutes post-workout in addition to having protein with major meals," Agarwal recommends.
(Rujuta Diwekar is a nutritionist based in Mumbai)
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.