Proteins are responsible for repairing cells and making new ones — an essential process involved in working out. Many students that work out, especially athletes, turn to protein powders as their protein source.
According to a research study by Dr. Robert Wolfe and Dr. Sharon Miller, published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association,” the acceptable amount of protein to take every day is between 10 to 35 percent of one’s daily energy intake. A sedentary 19-year-old who is 5’9” and 167 pounds and needs 2,872 total calories/day would then need to take between 72 to 250 grams of protein.
The amount of protein needed for an active teenager is slightly more than a sedentary one but the exact amount varies with age, level of physical activity and weight.
According to Dr. Scott Miller, in an article published on MedlinePlus, consuming more protein than needed doesn’t usually cause harmful effects — the harm comes from calorie intake, existing problems and protein source.
Excessive protein could contribute to weight gain if the resulting calorie intake is greater than one’s calorie needs. For individuals with existing kidney problems, consuming excess protein can impair their kidneys’ ability to function properly, as their kidneys are under intense stress due to the need to remove more nitrogen waste product. Animal sources with saturated fat and thus low-density lipoprotein, a protein linked to cholesterol, can lead to heart disease.
The source of protein is also important. Every athlete can get all the necessary protein from protein-rich foods such as meat, peanut butter, eggs and beans, but these items can be harmful in excess.
Protein shakes are an easy, convenient source that contain little to none of the fat and cholesterol in high-protein foods.
“It’s just easier to get straight protein,” senior Lindsay Merseth, who works out to tone her body, said.
Additionally, protein shakes are often more affordable than other sources of protein.
“Protein shakes are a good alternative if you don’t have the money to buy meat all the time since protein is pretty cheap,” senior James Luyen, who is trying to bulk, said.
At Walmart, two lbs of the Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein Powder in vanilla costs $17.98, which is $0.02 per gram. Taking 72 grams per day, this amount of protein would last 12 days.
Students often use protein powders in addition to protein-rich foods.
“I take shakes in addition to eating protein-rich foods like brown rice, eggs, chicken, steak, fish and peanut butter,” senior Phong Do, who is toning, said.
“Protein shakes give me an additional amount of protein that I get from eating meat,” junior Mason Aguila, who takes protein shakes two times every day, said.
Protein powders come in a wide variety. The three most common are whey, soy and casein.
According to a research study by scientist Jason Tang published in the “Journal of Applied Physiology,” whey protein powders are the most effective in muscle protein synthesis as whey is digested the fastest.
The best time to take protein is one to three hours after exercise as opposed to drinking a protein shake pre-workout, according to a scientific study by scientist Blake B. Rasmussen published in the “Journal of Applied Physiology.”
Proteins are essential in working out, and for those looking for optimal results, protein powders and shakes are a good source.