Protein powders are not completely natural forms of protein
In a recent incident, a 16-year-old boy died after consuming a protein drink in order to gain muscles. Rohan Godhania from London fell ill after consuming a protein shake. He suffered from irreversible brain damage. After the incident, a UK official had said that health warnings should be added to protein drinks.
Protein is an essential macronutrient. People who aim to gain muscle mass often drink protein drinks on a regular basis. However, your body requires some amount of protein for various functions. Many are dependant on protein drinks, shakes and powders to meet the daily requirement. However, there are several natural sources of protein available. To understand whether you should drink protein drinks or not, we spoke to Dr. Tushar Tayal from the Department of Internal Medicine at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram. Let's check the details.
Are protein drinks/powders/shakes harmful?
"Protein powders are not completely natural forms of protein. They are powdered forms of protein sources such as soybeans, peas, rice, eggs or milk but include artificial ingredients such as added sugars, artificial flavouring, thickeners, vitamins and minerals," Dr. Tayal said. The protein content also varies from 10g to 25 gm per scoop.
Dr. Tayal explained that an adult requires around 0.8 gm per kg of body weight of protein in a day. But consuming more than the recommended dietary allowance puts an additional load on the kidneys and may cause renal failure and kidney stones. Additionally, some may experience an allergic reaction to certain ingredients.
He also gave an example that soy-based supplements have high amounts of phytoestrogen which can interfere with the hormonal balance of the body. It can also trigger hair loss and acne.
"Lastly, protein supplements may contain a lot of heavy metals which may affect kidneys and liver," he added.
Should the young population avoid protein-based drinks and supplements?
"There are no specific guidelines in terms of age for consumption of protein supplements. However, there are plenty of commercial food supplements available with a lot of sugar and synthetic additives that specifically target the younger population. Consumption of these can cause unnecessary weight gain and predispose to diabetes and hormonal issues," Dr Tayal answered.
He also stressed on the consumption of natural sources of protein.
Muscle-building and protein supplements
Gym-goers keep protein drinks and shakes handy. In order to gain muscle mass, many consume these drinks as pre or post-workout meals. So, what should one keep in mind while selecting one?
The expert explained that there are many types of protein supplements available in the market for fitness enthusiasts. One can consider several factors like taste preference, food allergies, underlying diseases and health targets.
"Whey protein is one of the most commonly used proteins and contains all of the essential amino acids and is easily digestible. One can also choose a plant-based protein. Some options are soy protein, brown rice and pea protein if the person is vegetarian or vegan," Dr Tayal added.
He also mentioned that one should avoid protein supplements with added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Some natural sources of protein
The expert also suggested that one should take supplements only under the guidance of their doctor.
However, protein should be consumed in natural form for maximum benefits. Some rich sources of protein are eggs, lentils, curd, paneer, cheese, chicken, tofu, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, beans and fish.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.