There's a lot said about protein, so today we're looking at 4 myths worth setting straight.
If you talk to a few different people about protein, you're bound to leave the conversation in a state of utter confusion.
There's so much conflicting information out there on this macronutrient, and many myths have surfaced over the years.
Required for the structure, function and regulation of the body's tissues and organs, protein plays an integral part in the creation of enzymes, hormones, vitamins and neurotransmitters.
In addition to keeping our bones, connective tissue, skin and hair strong and healthy, protein is best known for its role in muscle growth and exercise recovery.
So - are you ready to bust 4 myths about protein?
1. You need animal protein to build muscle [wrong]
Have you heard that saying, ‘as strong as an ox'?
Have you ever thought about what an ox eats? Like elephants, cows and horses, the ox is a big, strong animal that eats a totally plant-based diet.
Here’s the thing - when we digest food, we don't actually absorb the protein itself. Instead, it gets mixed with pepsin, hydrochloric acid and pepsinogen in the stomach, which break the protein down into its building blocks - amino acids.
Once the amino acids reach our small intestine, they are available for absorption into our bloodstream, where they are used for numerous functions, one of which is reassembly to create the specific proteins we need.
Amino acids are the same, whether they came from beans or beef, and our bodies don't know the difference once our food has been digested. When we get our protein from plant sources, we're also getting minerals and phytonutrients, making the choice in plant-protein even better!
Want more inspo? Check out these strong, plant-based athletes who rely on plants for their energy and protein needs!
2. Protein from plants is ‘incomplete’ [wrong]
There are 20 different amino acids, but our body can only make 11 of them. The remaining 9 are known as essential amino acids, which we must get through our diet.
A complete protein has all the essential amino acids that we need in one source, and there has long been a myth that only animal proteins could supply all of the essential amino acids.
This is simply not true, as quinoa, hemp and many other legumes are complete proteins on their own…and of course the Tropeaka Lean Protein range!
It's a myth that various plant foods need to be eaten together to get complete proteins on a plant-based diet. We now know that intentional combining is not necessary to obtain all of the essential amino acids.
A variety of grains, legumes, and vegetables can provide all of the essential amino acids our bodies require, so as long as we're eating enough calories on a whole foods plant-based diet, there's no need to worry about combing specific protein sources.
3. Protein will make my muscles huge [wrong]
Protein or better yet amino acids are the building blocks of muscles tissue. The growth of your muscles is a combination of your muscles fibers detecting the presence of mechanical loading (working out) and your body subsequently repairing and strengthening itself post workout through adequate dietary intake of protein.
With adequate protein intake, the size of your muscles and the growth of your muscle will be a result of the load that you put on your muscles during a workout session along with the consistency of how often you put this load on your muscles over a period of time.
In basic terms, you won’t grow huge muscles by purely consuming lots of protein, huge muscles come from the style of workout you perform and how often you do it, along with more personal factors such as your gender, age and genetic makeup.
If your desire is to tone and build lean muscle (rather than building big muscles), then simply following a training regime that is designed around this goal, while ensuring adequate protein intake, will ensure you don’t grow huge muscles.
4. Whey is the most effective protein supplement [wrong]
While whey protein has been shown to increase lean muscle mass when supplemented alongside a resistance training program, plant-based protein powders are a better option in many ways.
Have you ever experienced poor digestion, headaches or low energy when taking whey protein? This is no surprise, as the lactose (milk sugar) found in whey is a widespread cause of food intolerance.
By contrast, plant-based protein powders are hypoallergenic and have fantastic bioavailability. Both pea and brown rice protein have shown to be very effective in helping tone, build, and repair lean muscle.
Most importantly, they are easily digested, absorbed, assimilated and eliminated. This means you will actually be absorbing and benefiting from your protein supplement.
Remember to evenly distribute your intake of plant-based proteins throughout the day to best support your training, maintain your muscle mass and stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
Did you believe any of these protein myths? Or perhaps you know some people who still do? If you'd like to help us in setting the record straight, feel free to share this post on social media!