An adequate supply of protein is the key to successful muscle building. In our blog post, you will find twelve protein-rich foods that are available in every supermarket.
How much protein does the body need?
Protein is present in many foods: for example, in poultry, tofu, cheese, almonds, mushrooms or oatmeal. A healthy adult person needs a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, seniors, children and adolescents need slightly more. For a person weighing 70 kilograms, this corresponds to a consumption of at least 56 grams per day.
A chicken breast has about 30 grams of protein (see chart). If you also eat some cheese and whole-grain bread, you have already covered your daily needs. For young, health-oriented athletes, protein intake via healthy food is usually sufficient.
Increased demand for competitive athletes
For competitive athletes who train intensively several times a week and want to maximize muscle growth, the recommendation is 1.6 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight. This would be 160 grams of protein for an 80-kilogram athlete. In principle, even in this case, the protein can be largely covered by normal (protein-rich) foods. However, shakes can help to optimize the timing of protein intake. A meal should provide at least 20 to 30 grams of protein, and this can be in the form of a shake, bar, food, or a combination thereof.
With increased energy requirements, a protein drink can also make sense as regeneration after training or competitions. A recovery shake is enriched with carbohydrates in the form of sugar and amino acids so that the body can recover faster.
Regardless of whether recovery or pure protein shake, it makes sense especially if you drink it for regeneration directly after training. If you wait an hour until you get home, you’ve let your body suffer for an hour. An immediate supply before the journey home can work wonders. Instead of a shake, however, a ham sandwich or a chocolate drink can be consumed.
Animal or plant-based?
Taking protein powders is basically not unhealthy. Protein isn’t harmful to the body, even if large quantities are consumed. The problem lies more in the fact that athletes no longer get a balanced enough diet from bars and shakes. Suddenly, the focus is only on proteins and other nutrients or fresh, unprocessed foods are displaced.
A protein source such as meat or fish includes carbohydrates, healthy oils, salad and vegetables on the plate. Whether the protein is of animal or plant origin also plays a certain role.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that sugar consumption be limited to no more than 10% of energy intake. For an intake of 2000 kcal per day, this means 50 g of sugar.
With plant proteins, it takes more in terms of quantity to achieve the same effects – animal proteins are more efficient.
A protein shake can be a good supplement for athletes. But caution is advised, especially for young consumers. The international supplement market is poorly regulated. Impurities still occur. Sometimes undeclared stimulants and hormones are added, or products do not contain what is stated on the packaging. So, anyone who orders on the internet runs the risk of unintentionally falling into the doping or health trap. Even if protein shakes aren’t among the riskiest products, experts recommend buying protein products from sports retailers. Products ordered on the internet should be certified by anti-doping labels.
Protein shakes for pensioners
For older people, maintaining healthy muscles is an important factor in preventing falls and resulting fractures. However, since appetite decreases in old age and at the same time the demand noticeably increases, protein supply is often a problem in the elderly population. For pensioners, it makes perfect sense to use protein shakes specifically as a dietary supplement. Proteins have an influence on metabolic health. Those who maintain their muscles can move better and remain independent longer.
The daily protein requirement varies depending on factors like age, sex, activity level, and overall health. On average, adults need about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Athletes and individuals looking to build muscle may benefit from a higher protein intake, ranging from 1.6 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Protein shakes can be useful for people who struggle to meet their protein needs through regular diet alone, such as athletes, bodybuilders, or those with increased protein requirements. They can serve as a convenient and quick source of protein, but whole foods should generally be the primary source of nutrition. It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional or a nutritionist to determine your specific protein needs and whether protein shakes are appropriate for your individual circumstances.