Is protein powder safe? What every athlete should know

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Theres whey protein, soy protein, pea protein, and more. Do these protein powders legitimately help with weight loss and muscle building? We chatted with the experts to find out.

What are the benefits of protein gunpowder?
Heres how protein powders could assistance weight loss and toning: Protein powders contain, well, protein. And everyone requires protein. How much depends on things like your gender, age, activity level and health. Someone who is regularly exercising, whether its an activity like running or strength training( or both ), requires extra protein. Protein before a workout helps make amino acids available to your body so it doesnt use the protein in your muscles to fuel a workout and protein post workout helps repair damage to your muscles that occurred during the course of its workout, helping to prevent injury and also helping to make those muscles bigger and stronger.

But does that protein need to come from a gunpowder, versus a food? Nope. Protein powder doesnt have any magical powers when it comes to weight loss or muscle building, Mandy Enright, MS, RDN, a registered yoga educator and creator of the couples nutrition blog Nutrition Nuptials, told Fox News.

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But it can make it easier to get the proper sum of protein for people who need extra, like athletes, or who have dietary rules, like vegetarians or vegans. I am a disciple! Tara Collingwood , MS, RDN, team dietitian for Orlando Magic and official nutritionist for runDisney, told Fox News. I like the versatility of protein powders and the fact that you can get so much protein at one time.

Can using protein powders genuinely help you lose weight? And construct muscle?
The science is slim when it comes to connecting protein powders and weight loss, Angie Asche, MS, RD, a athletics nutritionist and proprietor of Eleat Athletics Nutrition , told Fox News. If weight loss occurs after person begins using a protein gunpowder as a meal replacement, it would more likely be the result of an overall reduced calorie intake, she said.

On the other hand, there is science to connect protein powders with muscle building. Most protein powders whether milk, whey, or plant based are considered complete proteins, Asche said. This means protein powders typically contain all the essential amino acids your body needs to mend tissues, and build and preserve muscle mass. And complete proteins contain branched-chain amino acids( BCAAs ), which work to help fuel working muscles, stimulate protein synthesis, and promote muscle recuperation, Asche said.

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Much of that research is tied to whey protein powders. I typically recommend whey-based protein powders to my clients, especially athletes, because research shows they are most effective for replenishing tired muscles, Collingwood said.

Is protein powder risky?
Protein in excess of what your body needs isnt automatically stored as muscle. It might be stored as fat. In addition, too much protein sets strain on the kidneys, can lead to dehydration, bloating, nausea, osteoporosis, and more, Collingwood said.

And, of course, protein gunpowder on its own is not a meal. Mix it with a carbohydrate like oats, a healthy fat like peanut butter, and a fruit or vegetable for a balanced meal. Mix the powders into smoothies, flapjack mixes, oatmeal and more, Collingwood said.

And while its not a risk, protein gunpowder is processed. If you crave fewer processed foods in your life, then try to get all of your protein through natural food sources, Collingwood said. Try eggs, chicken breast, salmon, milk and more. You can also make your own protein powder from whole ingredients like dry milk gunpowder, oats, and almonds try this Homemade Protein Powder recipe from Serena Ball, MS, RD, co-owner of Teaspoon of Spice .

How do you choose a safe protein gunpowder?
All protein powders are not created equal. A big reason: Supplements such as protein powders do not require FDA approval for marketing. Because of this, they may contain less protein, more carbohydrate, and differing sums of other ingredients versus what they label allegations. You run into the risk of not actually knowing what youre consuming, Asche said. Look for one thats NSF Certified for Sport, which means a product has undergone third-party testing to assure that whats listed on the package is actually in the product. Even if you arent an athlete, I still highly recommend attempting out a protein gunpowder with this certification because its gone through rigorous testing to ensure it is legit, Asche said.

Amy Gorin is freelance novelist and proprietor of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ. Connect with her on Facebook , Instagram , Twitter , and Pinterest .

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