There is no doubt that protein has an indispensable role in our diet, and that we need it to strengthen and maintain our muscles, but this does not mean that we must add protein to everything we eat but may lead to the opposite of what is required from a health point of view.
The most important misconceptions about proteins
We explain below the most important fallacies that people fall into when they talk about this fundamental pillar of food.
- Protein is an excellent source of calories better than other food items
This is not true, metabolizing (burning) one gram of protein provides us with 4 calories, just like sugars and starches, while burning one gram of fat gives us 9 calories, and in any case, who said that the benefit of food is proportional to the number of calories that result from burning it Some of the best foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants, which are essential to us, provide almost no calories.
- We need more proteins to grow our muscles
We can not-indeed-generate new muscle fibers or grow or restore the old without the presence of protein in our diet, but protein alone is not enough for this task, but we must involve its presence in muscle exercises, whether aerobic (aerobicr), such as walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, or resistance exercises, such as weight lifting, and if we rely on eating large amounts of foods rich in protein only, we will upset the nutritional balance that guarantees us safety and health on the one hand, and may harm us if we have an obstacle in the digestion of protein (such as a degree of renal failure).
- The more protein you eat, the better for your health
The recommended amount of protein per day by official medical organizations is 40-50 grams for adults (0.8 g per 1 kg of weight), but most people – especially in affluent communities – consume more than twice that amount, and some of the reasons may be related to the media propaganda about protein these days.
Experts believe that if you are one of the people who eat from mixed animal and plant sources, you will get what your body needs from essential amino acids without the risk of protein deficiency, no matter what you eat, and perhaps the only ones who may benefit from a high-protein diet are obese people who are used to eating sugars and starches and want to lose weight, the additional protein in these conditions helps them to feel full, and the consumption of large amounts of protein benefits those who practice bodybuilding.
But experts advise those who want to eat more than their daily protein intake to distribute their protein to meals so that one meal does not contain most of the protein they eat during the day, and so that one meal does not exceed 25-30 grams of protein (the equivalent of two eggs or 100 grams of meat).
We must not forget that increasing protein in our food may expose other important nutrients to deficiency, and that animal protein sources, such as red meat, often also contain high levels of cholesterol, which may expose us to problems of high pressure and heart disease in the future, and that increased protein is associated in some reports with osteoporosis, cancer, and not suitable for those suffering from kidney function disorder.
- You need protein-rich food or drink after exercise
This belief is especially true among athletes of young ages who think that eating protein immediately after a stressful exercise increases the benefit they gain from exercise, and the fact that the proteins that most of us eat in our meals is quite enough to achieve the desired benefit to our muscles.a recent study published in the Journal of the world Society for Sports Nutrition showed that the benefit of protein immediately after exercise is no different from the benefit we gain from the same amount of protein if we eat it during our meals at normal times.
- All proteins (whatever their source) are equally useful
This is also not true. Protein is a compound of small chemical units called amino acids, and these differ in their structure and usefulness from one to the other, and necessary for the health of cells and maintenance of muscles called essential amino acidsll, which are found in sources of animal proteins such as wild meat, fish, eggs and milk, while not contained in all vegetable proteins, but some proteins in plants are indigestible because they exist with fibers that prevent their absorption.
Experts advise plant-based people to combine legumes (such as beans, lentils, and pistachios) with whole grains (such as wheat with its husk, oats) to get the amino acids they need in their diet.
- If you want to lose weight, you must eat more protein
It is true that protein provides a sense of satiety, but the benefit of this is conditional on not being protein in excess of our share of recommended calories to reduce our weight, otherwise adding more protein will cause us to gain weight (instead of losing it), so we should – if we increase protein for the purpose of weight loss – replace a share of carbohydrates (sugars and starches) with added protein, meaning that if you are used to eating a plate of starch in your morning breakfast (such as cornflakes, for example), do not eat eggs in addition to it in order to lose weight, but replace some of it with eggs.
- If you feel tired most of the time, you don’t take your protein intake
The feeling of chronic fatigue doctors attribute most often to a weakness in the immune system, or viral injuries, or a disorder in hormones, and has nothing to do with the type of our food, and in order to be the lack of protein is the cause of the feeling of fatigue, it must be very severe, and the person who complains of fatigue eating most of his food from plants, and that this person has appeared to show slenderness and muscle weakness.