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The Protein Myth

Luke Coutinho

Why is everyone chasing after more protein? Even when it is a known fact that too much of anything is not healthy for your body. It doesn’t matter if you purchase your protein supplements from the US or London, or some ‘body builder’ or ‘actor’ has recommended the whey protein. Your body will use only what it needs and it will only use the protein when your body is ‘healthy’ enough to break it down and absorb it.

Most conventional whey protein gets lost in the body and is excreted without actually breaking down into the right amino acids that the cells need. An unhealthy gut will prevent assimilation of protein, rendering your expensive purchase useless.

Yes, it is true that when we’re down with certain illnesses we do need to increase our protein intake. Especially to supplement ourselves when we faced with side effects of certain treatments like   chemotherapy or other such medicines, we need to increase proteins in our diet. We also need to increase protein intake in cases of malnourished people and children.


But again, why is there a craze among the others for more protein?

l Extra protein does not help you lose weight.

l Extra protein again will not build a muscular body. Discipline, balanced nutrition, the right exercise in terms of quantity and quality and good sleep are the ingredients for a lean and muscular body.

l Extra protein does not make you look younger, Collagen does.

l Extra protein does not make your joints tougher, exercise does.

We need to break away from the whole protein ‘quantity’ game. The body cannot absorb more than 13 to 16 grams of protein at one given time, so all that the protein companies promise you with 35 to 50 grams per scoop is a plain marketing gimmick. The best way to consume any protein would be to split the scoop and space it over the day for better results.

But why even get into protein supplements? Our natural foods can supply the body with sufficient protein (unless you are an athlete or training for a competition)!


Here is what you need to know about protein:

Our bodies build their own protein from the food we eat. Whether animal products or plant products are consumed, our body first has to break it down into amino acids, which will then be used to produce human protein.

There are 23 kinds of amino acids — 15 of which our body can produce. The other eight, also called ‘essential amino acids’ must come from our diets. If you eat any fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds or sprouts on a regular basis, you get all the amino acids necessary to build the protein that your body needs.

The real key is not how much protein you are getting but the amount of amino acids available in the food you eat. It is virtually impossible to get a protein deficiency, even on a strict vegetarian diet, provided you eat balanced meals and less of junk and processed foods. Most people don’t even get their diet right. There have been Olympic gold medalists and professional body builders who have achieved success being completely vegetarian.

I’m not against meat, but make sure the meat you eat is not pumped with hormones and antibiotics which are quite commonly used today.

The following foods contain all essential eight amino acids that you need: Bananas, beans, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, okra, peas, potatoes. Get them in your diet and keep in mind that your body needs everything in small amounts. Eat the right way and the right quality and your body should be healthy enough to accept and break it down into powerful nutrition that really contributes towards a great body and immunity.

That’s all you need to know about protein! So all you vegetarians continue to enjoy your staples in a balanced manner and the non-vegetarians eat lean meat and veggies and the above foods and don’t do anything in excess.

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