If you've been around the health and fitness world for any length of time, you doubtlessly know how important protein is, regardless of your goal.
The truth, though, is that it can be difficult to meet your daily protein needs. Sometimes, it just equates to a ton of food. So, in an effort to ease the process, many people turn to protein supplements for help. Is this safe, though? How much of your daily protein should realistically come from supplements?
Check Your Ingredients
When deciding how much to depend on your protein supplement, the first thing you need to do is take a close look at the supplement itself.
Many protein powders and drinks are full of artificial flavors, sweeteners, dyes and preservatives. Often, these products are also made with the aid of harmful farming practices and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Studies have also found potentially dangerous levels of heavy metals like arsenic in some of these products.
Throwing back these protein supplements several times a day, then, is going to overload your system with some... undesirable substances. To be safe, make sure that your protein supplement is free from any of these ingredients.
Naked Nutrition, for example, uses all organic, GMO-free materials for all of our protein powders.
It's About More Than Protein
It's also important to remember that a proper diet is about a lot more than protein, or even macronutrients. In the current dietary climate, though, people tend to focus most of their nutritional strategies around these three primary fuel sources.
The reality, however, is that food contains tons of highly beneficial micronutrients, phytochemicals, enzymes and other substances. While protein supplements will often contain some of these useful nutrients, they're really just sort of an after-thought; the real focus in these supplements is the protein.
The Bottom Line
So, let's get back to the main questions: how much of your daily protein should come from supplements? It's hard to pinpoint an exact number.
But, remember that these products are considered “supplements” for a reason – they are intended to add to your diet, not replace it. The majority of your nutrition, including protein, should be coming from whole, natural food sources.
As a general rule, your goal should be to eat your standard meals and use protein supplements to help boost your protein intake slightly just to get your numbers in the right spot.