It has become quite fashionable to consume protein shakes, if you are trying to lose weight, or build muscle, or are following your favorite movie star who just got six pack abs. What's dangerous is that young people are simply replacing their meals with packaged protein powders or supplements. The problem arises when these supplements are prescribed carelessly to anyone from teenagers to new mothers and of course, body builders. It is very important to understand that there is no supplement that can match a whole food balanced diet. Also, note that most of these supplements and protein powders that are imported from foreign countries are not monitored for safety by the US Food and Drug administration. So, choose carefully because your health is your business. There are three important aspects to look at before you decide to take protein shakes and supplements. (Also read: 6 Excellent Sources of Vegetarian Protein for Your Daily Diet)
1. How much protein does your body actually need? 50 to 100 grams per day of protein is sufficient even for serious athletes or weight lifters. Excess protein in your body will increase the uric acid levels, which in turn will effect your bone health. An international scholarly research showed the effect of daily protein intake of 47 grams, 95 grams and 142 grams. It was found that with each increase in protein consumption, there was a significant increase in the loss of calcium through urine. This is because the body tends to alkalize itself and calcium being alkaline in nature is depleted from your bones to minimize the acidity caused by excess protein intake, as a result your bone health is at risk.
2. The problem of over-burdened kidneys: Kidneys are your super filtration systems. They throw out waste products and toxins from your body. Excessive consumption of protein shakes can pose a serious threat to your body's cleansing organs. You could develop stones as a result of crystallization of calcium compounds depleted from your bones. Another problem is that the kidneys have to work extra to flush out excessive uric acid which creates too much load on them with harmful side effects.
3. Metal contamination: A certain study tested 15 protein powders in the market and most samples contained heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. So, imagine the toxicity in your body if these products are used in place of real and healthy meals. We really have to make wise choices, this is our body and we are responsible for it.
Make Your Own Protein Shakes
You should focus on superior and natural protein sources as well as the timing of consuming protein. You have a two-hour window for muscle recovery after your exercise session or workout, so load up on protein during this time.
(Also read: What to Eat After a Workout at the Gym)
Here is the recipe for a natural post-workout protein shake that includes chia seeds which are packed with amino acids, calcium, omega 3 fatty acids and plenty of nutrients.
Robust Protein Shake Recipe
200 gms of full fat yogurt or coconut milk
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 Tbsp honey (optional)
1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
Method: Simply blend all these super ingredients and drink up.
About the Author:
Shilpa Arora ND is a renowned Health Practitioner, Nutritionist and certified Macrobiotic Health Coach. She has to her credit Doctorate in Natural Medicine. She is currently based in Delhi NCR region, successfully running her Nutrition Studio with individual consultations, offering life style programs supported by the most up-to-date clinical research.
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