Misconceptions about Protein Supplements in India & the notions regarding Protein supplementation in The Indian Fitness Community”
The topic of dietary supplements divides the Indian Fitness community into 2 broadly defined categories:
The first group deems protein supplements to be an essentiality for muscle growth and maintenance while the other group strongly believes that supplements are useless and sometimes even harmful to the body. You might often see these groups clashing in the gym on this particular topic. All this debate does is spread misconceptions about protein supplements and their effects on the body, leaving the beginner confused about which route to pick. Here is an article that would help you clear your doubts about protein supplements in general.
To start off, both these groups are not entirely correct. Here are the respective explanations:
For the first group:
“You don’t necessarily need protein supplementation in the form of protein powders.”
How do you think old school Bodybuilders or Our Pehelwans, who had no access to refined protein supplements like we do, achieved their tremendous physiques? Your diet can be sufficient to meet your protein requirements, provided you increase your consumption of protein rich foods. Anyways, the protein supplements are derived from protein rich foods like soya bean, meat, milk and eggs. Therefore, consuming more of such foods is probably a smarter move, as they offer a better deal when compared to their refined products i.e. protein supplements, nutritionally speaking. There are no additives or preservatives and no matter what you can never really trust even the best supplement brands in the world with ingredients that are used in manufacturing these supplements. To enhance results, they may or may not use artificial or banned substances. This can lead to health complications.
That being said, supplements offer this basic advantage: They boost your protein intake hassle free. For example, a 30 g scoop of whey protein supplement offers the same amount of protein as 800ml of whole milk. So, you get the same amount of protein minus the additional carbs or fats that you would get from your milk. Hence, buying a protein supplement is economical, both calorically and financially. You can increase your protein intake by just mixing 1 scoop of the supplement in water and consuming this on a daily basis. Needless to say, it makes your life simpler so that you can track your calories easily. But is it ESSENTIAL? The answer is NO.
This debate brings us to the second group of fitness enthusiasts we discussed above: Those who despise the very idea of supplementing their diets with protein powders.
Here is a fact check on some of the most bigoted stuff we’ve heard and most probably you would also hear from your fellow lifter:-
” Protein ke dabbe aur powder nahi lena yaar.” It will make you super buff really quickly, but once you stop supplementing, your muscles will start to deteriorate.”
Fact: You would not lose the muscle mass you have already gained unless you stop consuming protein completely from your diet. That’s close to impossible, unless you just do not eat. Not supplementing protein in your diet will definitely hinder your chance to gain new muscle, but chances of loosing previously gained muscles are quite low. Once you stop getting your protein from the supplements, make arrangements to get it from somewhere else.
“They sell steroids in those protein dabbas.”
Fact: If you buy a supplement relatively cheaper than the market rates, chances are that it has been tampered with. Then, steroids might just be one of your problems along with other similar drugs. It is really important that you do not purchase cheaply available protein supplements.
“You’ll surely get health problems.”
Fact: This one is partially true. Over consumption of protein supplements might result in heart problems, digestive issues and liver and kidney problems. But rest assured that if you put them to a limited use, you shouldn’t find any difficulties.
“You’ll get fat.”
Fact: That can happen, only if you do not train at all. Ultimately the calorie count is incremented by the additional calories that your supplement provides in the form of protein. So, training is really important if you decide to use supplements.
“Women don’t need protein supplements. If a woman uses them, her testosterone levels would rise and she’ll look like a man.”
Fact: We need to understand the fact that protein supplements are not drugs. Hence they won’t have the similar effects as steroids. Testosterone levels don’t rise with increased protein consumption. If this would have been the case, men with low testosterone problems wouldn’t consult doctors. They would use supplements and get rid of their problems.
Anyway, as anyone who wants to become fitter and stronger needs additional protein in their diets, women are no different. Using protein could do nothing besides helping any female who wants to become better, physically.
Protein supplements, especially Whey and Creatine can be really helpful to your muscle growth rate and recovery rate. Buying high quality supplements can really give you a push towards your fitness goals. Minor misconceptions regarding supplements have spread like wildfire in the Indian fitness community. These misconceptions often leave people skeptical about buying supplements. Rest assured that these things are designed to promote your health and well being, not deteriorate it. But expecting a magic pill in the form of a supplement is also wrong. Don’t depend on the supplement to do the entire work.
Remember, your hard work in the gym is what really counts. Supplements should really be secondary on your list of considerations after your training and basic diet. If your diet does not fulfill your protein requirements, then buy a supplement.