Category Archives: Protein Shakes

Dieticians say extra protein can do more harm than good

, Monday, 3 September 2012 16:20 UK
By Rick Kelsey
Newsbeat reporter

There’s a warning that gym supplements are often doing more harm than good.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) says high levels of additional protein can cause side effects.

These can include nausea as well as kidney and liver damage.

It wants clearer warnings about what is in the powders and tablets.

Manufacturers say consumers are well protected with only 11 reported reactions in 11 years.

“The more protein in your diet the more you have to get rid of.”

Jane Griffin is a former British Olympic dietician and speaks for the BDA.

Continue reading the main story
I was shaking and I got angry. My girlfriend didn’t want to be around me.

Richard, 22
“People who have these high protein diets are now running into problems with their kidneys because of the amount of protein they must get rid of.”

The body needs protein for muscle growth and many gym goers use it to try to get bigger quickly.

Gym supplements come under food law so although they have to be labelled properly what is in them can vary.

They are different to medicines which legally have to ensure contents are more specific.

DMAA warnings
Euromonitor, which researches the market size of products, estimates that the sports supplement industry grew 15% last year.

It thinks one in five people who go to the gym more than twice a week use supplements that can come in the form of powders and bars.

The Department of Health advises adults to avoid consuming more than twice the recommended daily intake of protein (55.5g for men and 45g for women).

Most adults will take this in during their normal daily meals.

There have been warnings before, most recently from the Food Standards Agency, which advises people not to take gym supplements containing DMAA.

The stimulant was being sold in the UK in some pre-workout and ‘fat-burning’ shakes.

Creatine – helps to supply energy specifically to muscle
Protein – needed for muscle growth
Carnitine – helps with the breakdown of fats
Amino Acids – helps with making protein
The BDA argues there is now evidence to show excess levels of additional protein taken over a long time can cause health problems.

It believes people can get enough protein naturally from things like chicken and milk.

Bad reaction

Richard Cook is 22 and a student from Chesterfield. He has been taking supplements for four years but says he had a bad reaction to one of them.

“It felt like I was on drugs. I was shaking and I got angry. It also had an effect on my girlfriend who didn’t want to be around me when a had taken it.”

Although he still takes protein and creatine gym supplements he says he has cut down from seven to four shakes a day.

“I started thinking to myself, with this one product, why am I taking it when I feel terrible?”

The Health Food Manufacturers’ Association, which represents the supplement industry, says compared to other foods or medicines, gym supplements have an enviable record.

Many people commenting on Newsbeat’s Facebook page also defended the reputation of gym supplements.

James Reynolds wrote: “I take creatine and frankly I think that it does nowhere near the levels of damage that smoking and drugs do to people.”

Ollie Lizzard wrote: “People that are doing themselves harm on these shakes must just be consuming way more than the recommended amounts and have only themselves to blame.”

Dave Manning added: “Having worked in the sport nutrition industry I can confidently state that I have never heard of anyone suffering any kind of long term illness from using UK compliant supplements as long as they have followed the directions supplied by the manufacturer.”

The Truth About Protein

By: Adina Steiman

If you are what you eat, what does that make a vegan? A string-bean, milquetoast kind of a guy? Of course not—and renowned strength coach Robert dos Remedios, a vegan, is strong evidence to the contrary. Really strong.

But most men eat animal products. And we really do become what we eat. Our skin, bones, hair, and nails are composed mostly of protein. Plus, animal products fuel the muscle-growing process called protein synthesis. That’s why Rocky chugged eggs before his a.m. runs. Since those days, nutrition scientists have done plenty of research. Read up before you chow down.

You Need More

Think big. Most adults would benefit from eating more than the recommended daily intake of 56 grams, says Donald Layman, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois. The benefit goes beyond muscles, he says:Protein dulls hunger and can help prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

How much do you need? Step on a scale and be honest with yourself about your workout regimen. According to Mark Tarnopolsky, M.D., Ph.D., who studies exercise and nutrition at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, highly trained athletes thrive on 0.77 gram of daily protein per pound of body weight. That’s 139 grams for a 180-pound man.

Men who work out 5 or more days a week for an hour or longer need 0.55 gram per pound. And men who work out 3 to 5 days a week for 45 minutes to an hour need 0.45 gram per pound. So a 180-pound guy who works out regularly needs about 80 grams of protein a day.

Now, if you’re trying to lose weight, protein is still crucial. The fewer calories you consume, the more calories should come from protein, says Layman. You need to boost your protein intake to between 0.45 and 0.68 gram per pound to preserve calorie-burning muscle mass.

And no, that extra protein won’t wreck your kidneys: “Taking in more than the recommended dose won’t confer more benefit. It won’t hurt you, but you’ll just burn it off as extra energy,” Dr. Tarnopolsky says.

It’s Not All the Same

Many foods, including nuts and beans, can provide a good dose of protein. But the best sources are dairy products, eggs, meat, and fish, Layman says. Animal protein is complete—it contains the right proportions of the essential amino acids your body can’t synthesize on its own.

It’s possible to build complete protein from plant-based foods by combining legumes, nuts, and grains at one meal or over the course of a day. But you’ll need to consume 20 to 25 percent more plant-based protein to reap the benefits that animal-derived sources provide, says Dr. Tarnopolsky. And beans and legumes have carbs that make it harder to lose weight.

So if protein can help keep weight off, is a chicken wing dipped in blue-cheese dressing a diet secret? Not quite: Total calories still count. Scale down your fat and carbohydrate intake to make room for lean protein: eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt, lean meat, and fish.

But remember, if you’re struggling with your weight, fat itself is not the culprit; carbs are the likely problem. Fat will help keep you full, while carbs can put you on a blood-sugar roller coaster that leaves you hungry later.

Timing is Everything

“At any given moment, even at rest, your body is breaking down and building protein,” says Jeffrey Volek, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition and exercise researcher at the University of Connecticut. Every time you eat at least 30 grams of protein, Layman says, you trigger a burst of protein synthesis that lasts about 3 hours.

But think about it: When do you eat most of your protein? At dinner, right? That means you could be fueling muscle growth for only a few hours a day, and breaking down muscle the rest of the time, Layman says. Instead, you should spread out your protein intake.

Your body can process only so much protein in a single sitting. A recent study from the University of Texas found that consuming 90 grams of protein at one meal provides the same benefit as eating 30 grams. It’s like a gas tank, says study author Douglas Paddon-Jones, Ph.D.: “There’s only so much you can put in to maximize performance; the rest is spillover.”

Eating protein at all three meals—plus snacking two or three times a day on proteins such as cheese, jerky, and milk—will help you eat less overall. People who start the day with a protein-rich breakfast consume 200 fewer calories a day than those who chow down on a carb-heavy breakfast, like a jam-smeared bagel. Ending the day with a steak dinner doesn’t have the same appetite-quenching effect, Layman says.

Workouts Require Fuel

Every guy in the gym knows he should consume some protein after a workout. But how much, and when? “When you work out, your muscles are primed to respond to protein,” Volek says, “and you have a window of opportunity to promote muscle growth.”

Volek recommends splitting your dose of protein, eating half 30 minutes before the workout and the other half 30 minutes after. A total of 10 to 20 grams of protein is ideal, he says. And wrap a piece of bread around that turkey, because carbs can raise insulin; this slows protein breakdown, which speeds muscle growth after your workout. Moreover, you won’t use your stored protein for energy; you’ll rely instead on the carbs to replenish you.

One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, pinpointed 20 grams as the best amount of postworkout protein to maximize muscle growth. (See 5 Perfect Protein-Packed Gym Snacks.)

You’re doing this because resistance exercise breaks down muscle. This requires a fresh infusion of amino acids to repair and build it. “If you’re lifting weights and you don’t consume protein, it’s almost counterproductive,” says Volek. Protein also helps build enzymes that allow your body to adapt to endurance sports like running and biking.

Powders are for Everyone

Everyone—not just muscleheads—can benefit from the quick hit of amino acids provided by a protein supplement, bar, or shake. Your best bet is a fast-absorbing, high-quality kind like whey protein powder (derived from milk): “It appears in your bloodstream 15 minutes after you consume it,” Volek says.

Whey protein is also the best source of leucine, an amino acid that behaves more like a hormone in your body: “It’s more than a building block of protein—it actually activates protein synthesis,” Volek says. Whey contains 10 percent leucine while other animal-based proteins have as little as 5 percent.

Casein, another milk protein sold in supplement form, provides a slower-absorbing but more sustained source of amino acids, making it a great choice for a snack before you hit the sack. “Casein should help you maintain a positive protein balance during the night,” says Volek. Building muscle while you sleep? Thanks to protein, anything’s possible.


Poison Protein and Consumer Reports – Nutrition Expert Alan Aragon Speaks: You Should Listen!

Poison Protein and Consumer Reports – Nutrition Expert Alan Aragon Speaks: You Should Listen!

A few weeks back, I wrote a Blog post describing Consumer Reports claim of Poison Protein Shakes. In this post, I gave you the important bullet points on a recent research study Consumer Reports did on 15 of the most popular protein supplements sold on the market today.
At the conclusion of their study, Consumer Reports stated “All drinks in our tests had at least one sample containing one or more of the following contaminants: arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Those metals can have toxic effects on several organs in the body.”
Essentially, Consmuer Reposts told us that what we were buying was poison protein. I have to admit, this report of poison protein really had me questioning my own personal use of protein supplements. But, just the thought of cutting out my Bio-Test: Metabolic Drive and At-Large Nutrition: Nitrean was depressing because I love my protein shakes!
If it’s one thing I’ve learned about this kind of information given by Consumer Reports – It’s to always check other sources before coming to any personal conclusions. As they say “there’s always two sides to every story”. So, before I cut out my beloved protein shakes, I needed to consult with an expert in nutrition to get an informed opinion on the matter.
I called my good friend, fellow Men’s Health contributor and nutritional research expert, Alan Aragon. I read everything Alan writes, from his Blog to his Research Review. You won’t find a better resource for non-biased, evidence based nutrition information you can immediately use than what you’ll find at Alan’s website. You’ll also get to see from his picture below, Alan is the original bro-master of the Derrick Zoolander, Blue Steel bro-pose.
Now, without further delay – Here’s Alan Aragon’s exclusive article on the Consumer Reports claim of poison protein.
Consumer Reports Isn’t Immune to Sensationalism
By Alan Aragon
A lot of people have asked me for my opinion of the infamous Consumer Reports (CR) July 2010 article on the supposed dangers (and relative uselessness) of protein supplements. For the most part I’ve responded like, “The city air is worse for you, so either move to the country or just relax & don’t sweat the small stuff.” However, when I was contacted with this same question by Nick, I thought to myself, “Holy crap, this is Nick Fricking Tumminello…it’s time to get serious.”
Let’s take a look at the danger part first.
An important thing to consider is that Consumer Reports is not the end-all authority; it’s merely a single resource to be viewed as critically as any other. No information should be taken on blind faith (even mine!). An early example of CR’s fallibility was a dog food comparison in their February 1998 issue. Iams (one of the companies under CR scrutiny) presented proof that CR mismeasured various nutrient levels. Subsequently, CR published a correction the following month. There are other examples of CR’s mistakes in other industries, but suffice it to say that CR has steered clear of testing dog foods since this 1998 debacle. Assuming that they are the final word on food safety testing would be a hasty move.
In response to CR’s recent protein supplement article, Greg Pickett, founder of Cytosport (maker of Musclemilk), made the valid point that, “…it must not be overlooked that the substances tested by Consumer Reports are naturally occurring in the environment, and it would be uncommon, if not impossible, not to detect the trace amounts reportedly found in any agricultural product, such as dairy products, fruits and vegetables.” [1]
Also noted by Cytosport, CR slickly based its calculations of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) permitted daily exposure limits on a bodyweight of 50 kg or 110 lbs [2]. Using the extreme low-end of adult bodyweight makes it easy to cook up a gripping tale and claim that the amounts exceed safety limits.
Optimum Nutrition (maker of Gold Standard Whey & Platimum Hydrowhey) posted a response comparing the lead, arsenic, and cadmium content of more than 3-dozen ’regular’ foods with the protein powders tested by CR. The facts put things into perspective really quick. Many of these commonly consumed foods absolutely blow away the heavy metal content of the protein powders. Instead of selecting a few examples that stick out to me, I’d encourage anyone to have a look at the entire list, and then relax a little about your protein supps [3]. I personally don’t see any compelling reason to sacrifice the convenience of incorporating protein powder to meet your daily requirements.
Now, let’s take a look at another protein-related claim made in the same issue.
In an article titled, “How much protein?” CR quotes a nutritionist saying, “The body can only break down 5 to 9 grams of protein per hour, and any excess that is not burned for energy is converted to fat or excreted, so it’s a ridiculous waste to be recommending so much more than you really need.” In short, this is simply a load of bunk prone to misleading people into thinking that anything beyond 5-9 grams of protein per hour will go to waste. I have no idea where this figure was pulled, but my guess is from somewhere that the sun don’t shine. For an in-depth look at the topic of protein consumption per meal, I’ve provided a link to a recent article of mine [4].
Suffice it to say that the idea that protein dosing per meal should be limited to [insert your favorite mythical number here] is usually based on a gross misunderstanding of how the body works – combined with an unawareness of what’s been demonstrated in research. Those who choose to meet their protein needs with 2-3 meals will assimilate it just as effectively as those who get their allotment over 4-6 meals. Digestion/absorption is an efficient process whose duration varies according to the size of the dose (our digestive system is way smarter than we give it credit for). Therefore, individual preference should ultimately dictate protein dosing per meal. Don’t you love it when simplicity wins?
1) Greg Pickett [Statement by]. May 30, 2010.
2) Cytosport. Update: Information on the Consumer Reports Article on Protein Shakes. June 3, 2010.
3) Optimum Nutrition. How safe is your protein? May 2010.
4) Aragon A. Is there a limit to how much protein the body can use in a single meal? Wannabebig, Feb 22, 2010.
About Alan

Alan Aragon has over 15 years of success in the fitness field. He earned his Bachelor and Master of Science in Nutrition with top honors. Alan is a continuing education provider for the Commission on Dietetic Registration, National Academy of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, and National Strength & Conditioning Association. Alan recently lectured to clinicians at the FDA and the annual conference of the Los Angeles Dietetic Association. He maintains a private practice designing programs for recreational, Olympic, and professional athletes, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Alan is a contributing editor and Weight Loss Coach of Men’s Health magazine. Alan writes a monthly research review providing of the latest science on nutrition, training, and supplementation. Visit Alan’s blog to keep up with his latest shenanigans.


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