The 5 biggest myths about protein and muscle building

Fitness Busters: The 5 biggest myths about protein and muscle building

Extra protein for extra muscles, or are dietary supplements unnecessary? Our “Fitness Busters” series dispels five common myths about proteins.

If you want muscle, you need extra protein – in large quantities. Or maybe not, and you can save on the dietary supplements? When it comes to muscle building and protein, opinions differ. We asked the nutritionist and sports trainer Nadia Bächli.

The more protein, the better for muscle building

No proteins are indispensable if you want to build muscle. Fitness expert Nadia Bächli recommends: “A rough guideline is one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. So if you weigh 80 kilograms, you should consume 80 grams of protein daily.” The body can use the protein better if consumed throughout the day: “So it makes little sense to simply eat a large piece of meat every evening.” For example, eating a protein snack immediately after training is worth eating, so the muscles are well supplied.

But you can also eat too much protein, leading to kidney problems. “But you have to eat a lot of protein for that to happen,” explains Bächli. If you consume excessive protein supplements, for example, in the form of shakes, the risk is greater.

All protein products are healthy.

No. Because: A high protein content does not automatically mean a product is also healthy. “Although proteins are relevant for successful muscle building, healthy ingredients are generally more important for health and body weight,” says Bächli. Therefore, other ingredients, such as sugar or a high-fat content, must also be paid attention to.

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In addition, shakes, protein bars or puddings often contain a lot of sweeteners and can cause digestive problems such as flatulence. The more natural the protein source, the better tolerated by the digestive system.

Vegan protein is just as good as animal protein.

“It’s possible to get enough protein from purely plant-based sources,” says the expert, “but it requires a little more attention.” Vegetable protein usually has a lower biological value than animal protein so it can be used by the body a little less efficiently. The biological value can be increased by combining different vegetable protein sources – such as tofu and rice.

Many vegan protein powders, therefore, contain a combination of different types of protein, such as sunflower protein, rice protein and soy protein. “However, other factors such as nutrient density, environmental impact and ethical considerations should also influence the decision for or against a particular protein source.”

Dietary supplements are imperative for successful muscle building.

No. “There are many natural foods that are high in protein, such as eggs, fish, meat, cottage cheese or ground sunflower, legumes and seeds, seeds and nuts, to name just a few,” says the expert. The advantage: These foods offer protein and a variety of other important nutrients.

However, for people who are vegan and don’t have much time to cook, it can make sense to turn to supplements like protein shakes to ensure they’re getting enough protein. “But it is important to note that dietary supplements are not a substitute for a balanced diet,” says Bächli. “They can only be a practical supplement.”

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Protein helps you lose weight.

Yes, because protein supports muscle building and can also promote fat burning. “But only if it is part of a calorie-conscious diet,” emphasizes Bächli. And it must be noted that not all protein sources are created equal when trying to lose weight: some are also high in fat or carbohydrates, which can get in the way of weight loss. “It is therefore advisable to pay attention to lean proteins, such as chicken,” explains Bächli. “Other sources such as nuts, seeds and kernels are high in fat and should be consumed in moderation to achieve a calorie deficit.” Cheese is also a source of protein but is also high in fat, so it should be treated as an exception when trying to lose weight.

By the way, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body burns, even at rest. You should eat a high-protein diet and do regular strength training to be slim.



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