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Medical Protein Powder

  1. Apr 18, 2010 #1
    A biochemistry major said protein powder is bad for you but never gave the reasons, so I was disappointed in that.

    Would anyone explain why?

    Those of religious faith also say its bad for you but their reasons aren't so rational.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 18, 2010 #2
    I don't know what powder the bio major had in mind -- eg was it any particular powder? I know some protein powders of which one mouthful could in principle wipe out a city. Others would be completely nutritious.

    Conversely, there are reasons to be sensibly cautious about such things. Protein powders could involve all sorts of problems even if they are nutritious in principle; it is hardly a balanced diet for one thing, and flooding your system with protein can be quite harmful, for example your body cannot in general assimilate them for instant use, so you break a lot of it down fast, and the nitrogenous products have to get processed by the kidneys, which can be harmful. Also, if it is a dry powder you are very likely to breathe some in, and risk developing a troublesome or dangerous allergy.
    There also is no earthly reason for any such thing. You want the equivalent of a mouthful of protein powder, drink a glass of milk, eat a steak, or a plate of any balanced food, even a <shudder> vegetarian one. A teaspoonful might do no harm, but unless it happens to be rich in some essential amino acid that your normal diet is short of, there is no point. Just eat sensibly and forget about it. Especially if you are contemplating some nutty, money-grubbing sports supplement...

    As for fringe or freaky views on it being bad <siiigh> if you listen to them, I hope you have a lot of time and patience to spare. I don't.

    Bon appetite

  4. Apr 18, 2010 #3
    Does anyone else have a thoughtful opinion?
  5. Apr 18, 2010 #4
    I drank a glass of Muscle Milk after soccer practice every day for four years in HS. It definitely helped me get quick protein intake. It should never replace quality normal food intake, but immediately after a workout it is the best. Research quality brands, they aren't all made the same.
  6. Apr 18, 2010 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    My father recently had surgery and was not tolerating food well. His nurse suggested whey protein powdered drinks as a supplement to his meager diet. He said this is preferred because it is easily digested. Something else that he mentioned is that, even for him, some of these intense vitamin supplement drinks can cause stomach problems. He sees it with his patients and has experienced this himself.

    Whey protein was also recommended [for me] by friends who are really into the health food scene.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  7. Apr 18, 2010 #6


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    "Both GT and PL groups demonstrated a significant (p = 0.028) increase in VO2max from pre- to post-training resulting in a 10.3% and 2.9% improvement, respectively. CV increased (p = 0.036) for the GT group by 2.9%, while the PL group did not change (p = 0.256; 1.7% increase). ARC increased for the PL group by 22.9% and for the GT group by 10.6%. Training volume was 11.6% higher for the GT versus PL group (p = 0.041). %BF decreased from 19.3% to 16.1% for the GT group and decreased from 18.0% to 16.8% in the PL group (p = 0.178). LBM increased from 54.2 kg to 55.4 kg (p = 0.035) for the GT group and decreased from 52.9 kg to 52.4 kg in the PL group (p = 0.694). CONCLUSION: These results demonstrated improvements in VO2max, CV, and LBM when GT is combined with HIIT. Three weeks of HIIT alone also augmented anaerobic running performance, VO2max and body composition."

    "Emerging evidence shows that consumption of different types of proteins can have different stimulatory effects on the amplitude and possibly duration that MPS is elevated after feeding; this may be particularly significant after resistance exercise."

    "Consequently, protein and amino acid supplements can serve as a convenient way to ensure a timely and/or adequate intake for athletes."

    "These organizations recommend appropriate selection of foods and fluids, timing of intake, and supplement choices for optimal health and exercise performance. "
  8. Apr 18, 2010 #7


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    Don't jump to supplements as an easy way out, always try to meet your dietary needs with a good diet.

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    It says
  9. Apr 18, 2010 #8
    I agree with everything that Evo has just stated. Supplements are great, if they are used properly. So maybe this biochemist was speaking of you in particular not needing to use protein supplements??? Or maybe they were just referring to using protein supplements as meal replacements for extended periods (you shouldn't use them for all meals every day. natural foods = much better for you)
  10. Apr 19, 2010 #9
    I agree with most of what everybody said. The question of course was rather unclear; "protein powder"? I took it at face value, not as a protein supplement that one first reconstituted in liquid or other foods before eating it. Obviously one would be at less risk of say, allergies if one could not inhale the powder. But then one could get the same effect by drinking a double-thick. Remember, there is a strong placebo effect when one takes stuff out of a pharmaceutical-looking canister covered with tables and statistical claims, when a slice of pizza would contain the same and more.
    As long as the material is a clean, typical, nutritious protein, consumed as a normal food, and not in quantities calculated to upset a balanced diet and strain one's metabolism in the ways I mentioned, it should do no particular harm. But then how does it differ from consuming a glass of buttermilk or a tuna and cheese salad?

    As for the publications quoted, that is all OK, but it is interesting to check on the details in context. Protein is one thing; "caffeine, creatine, and amino acids" (a fairly typical combination) is not the same. For my money you could do as well or better with a carefully considered regimen of normal food, nothing particularly "organic" (as opposed to inorganic food of course!) or "natural" (or unnatural??) -- just suitably chosen food in suitably chosen forms and quantities at suitably chosen times. Simple!

    'Scuse me, breakfast calling!

    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  11. Apr 19, 2010 #10
    You must not work out much Jon :tongue:.
  12. Apr 19, 2010 #11
    Of course not, I'm an old, old man.
    Be reasonable! I haven't had any reasonable exercise since I gave up fencing some twenty years ago.
    All I do now is about an hour a day on weekdays, alternating cardiovascular with musculoskeletal.
    And to keep fit I sit in my rocking chair and tell them all-fired youngsters how to do it.
    And eat balanced home cooking!
    Now HOP TO IT!!! GO ! GO!! GO!!!
  13. Apr 19, 2010 #12
    I never understood this supplement thing. As Jon intimated, it's a matter of preference, comfort and belief that taking a pill or shake is somehow different from eating some peanut-butter.

    I eat Odwalla bars sometimes, but for convenience. Then again, if you're REALLY trying to bulk up (bulk, not strength), then supplements along with a VERY strict regimen is clearly effective. The thing is, most people aren't hardcore bodybuilders who need to slam a thousand calories in a gulp.

    If you don't NEED supplements, it's just more work for your kidneys, and your wallet.
  14. Apr 19, 2010 #13
    They help everyone gain muscle mass and strength and other aspects of the body, not just with body builders. There is a point I'd say for sure though where you don't need them... but that doesn't mean they wouldn't work, they just wouldn't be efficient any longer.
  15. Apr 19, 2010 #14
    Yep, that's what I'm saying, as well as the fact that unless you DO need them, you can get the benefit from normal foods or just working out more. Most people aren't aiming for serious bulk.
  16. Apr 20, 2010 #15
    Zom, you aren't serious, are you? If you are, then we cannot possibly be on the same wavelength. Please elaborate. I assumed that the subject under discussion was nutrient supplements, not anabolics, not drugs (pharmaceuticals, as opposed to recreational). If we parted company on that point, then how come we started out talking about protein powder? Granted, protein powder could technically be somatotropin, or even abrin, either of which could have dramatic effects, but that was not the sort of thing that Nusc seemed to have in mind!

    So, anticipating a favourable response to that question (please pull me up if I presume too far) you are saying that if a couch potato eats protein extracts and the like, he will "gain muscle mass and strength and other aspects of the body"?

    You really didn't mean that, did you?

    OK, so maybe you meant that someone who was eating a good, balanced diet with plenty of protein, plenty of vitamins, plenty of creatine, plenty of all the (theoretically) good stuff that (theoretically) goes into the supplements will "gain muscle mass and strength and other aspects of the body"? The good healthy principle that if a little is good, a lot must be a lot better? Even if that "little" was about as much as the body could handle?

    No? Somehow I am reminded of Jack London's story "A Piece of Steak". Why, I wonder? If you would like to see whether I am having an idiosyncratically characteristic moment, you might like to find the story in google. (http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/steak.html) But do not do so if you are feeling sympatico or generally fragile.

    Well then, what? That it is good to take a little extra of whatever is good, just in case it can't do you much harm? Like some people take a multivitamin once a week instead of, as recommended by the marketeers, daily?

    Here I reckon that I side with FD's: "If you don't NEED supplements, it's just more work for your kidneys, and your wallet."

    In general man, give me a hint! What are you on about?


    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
  17. Apr 20, 2010 #16


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    Exactly. If your goal is to work out and build up a "healthy-looking figure" (and I assume we all know what that means), the difference between a person with a normal and balanced diet and a person with a normal balanced diet and additional supplements (let's stay on protein powders) is neglible. Seen it a bunch of times.
  18. Apr 20, 2010 #17
    Very true... yet everyone thinks they need an edge. *sigh* Oh well.
  19. Apr 20, 2010 #18
    Do some research on protein powders and other nutritional supplements prior to your sarcastic remarks.
  20. Apr 20, 2010 #19
    Whoa... easy man. Jon's always playful from what I've seen, and not a mean or petty guy. He's making some good points, but if you have something to refute them, I think he'd be open to hearing about it. I would be as well.

    This isn't a fight... or at least, it doesn't NEED to be. I've seen you be hot-tempered (and I know how that goes myself), but you also seem like a decent sort. I don't believe you and Jon can't have a meaningful dialogue on this point... maybe one the rest of us could learn from? That's the point of this site after all.
  21. Apr 21, 2010 #20
    Thanks FD; very kindly put!

    Please take a good long pull of whatever relaxes you best, think nice thoughts, re-read what I said if you don't think it will harm your blood pressure, and tell me exactly what you read sarcasm into. I will try to rephrase it so as not to raise dander. It might help if you bear in mind that factual statements with obviosities elided can seem to be abrasively intended when they make uncomfortable points, however dispassionately.

    Then make a list of the points that you think I messed up on, and let me know. I promise not to savage you for being sarcastic. In fact I'll happily explain anything that you didn't or wouldn't follow. And if you identify apparent booboos, I'll happily "research" them till they go away.

    After all, I can hardly research the entire field in search of whatever it was that you took exception to if I don't know what that was, could I?

    Could hardly say fairer than that, could I?

    As a starter, do you suppose that you could elaborate on "Do some research on protein powders and other nutritional supplements prior to your sarcastic remarks"? As it stands it seems just a hint uncritical. You surely meant something like: "...good protein powders and other nutritional supplements..." didn't you? Please don't tell me that you think that the majority of the garbage in fancy packaging is worth an honorable place in the garbage dump? What I was writing about (without much inkling of how to know which were adequately rich in melamine or hogwash) was reputable formulations with reasonable rationales. If you were writing about the same, then I hope you can explain your criteria for separating the Good Stuff from that which has an FDA stamp of approval and a beefcake pic on the label. In my circles the likes of that will butter no parsnips (which are quite a healthy dietary component btw...) :smile:

    BTW, how did you like "A Piece of Steak"?


    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
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