Protein has never been more popular than it is now. Promising strength, better skin, hair and nails, and weight loss, proteins have become the byword of sorts for fitness. There is now a 'healthy halo' around the nutrient. But along with the positive chatter, there are a lot of fibs and myths that hold people back from consuming this super nutrient in it’s adequate quantity.
In this piece, Happy Jars endeavours to set the record straight on all sorts of popular myths related to proteins and what the real truth is behind what protein does for your body and why we should all be eating it.
Myth: Protein conspires to make you bulky
Truth: Protein makes you lean
One of the age-old pieces of misinformation and this is one that we can conclusively stamp on. We can assure you that protein is a key element in the building and maintenance of muscle tissue, and essentially, mass. In fact, a diet that’s low in fat and carbs and high in protein assists in toning and defining your body, helping to make muscles more visible and helping you to stay and look lean.
In short, if you plan on following a balanced diet, and have a workout routine tailored to your goals, we promise that you won’t balloon up overnight by eating protein!
Myth: Protein is mainly for gym goers
Truth: Everyone, including you, needs protein
Protein is made up of amino acids, which are a component of muscle, yes, but also an important part of bone tissue, tendons and ligaments, hair and nails, hormones and antibodies, enzymes, and even cholesterol. It’s also a source of energy.
Put simply, protein is far more than a muscle-builder. It promotes muscle growth, supports hormone function and nervous system function, aids in faster recovery during illness, and a lot more than meets the layman’s eyes. If you’re going to the gym, then yes you need protein. But if you walk for fitness, or do yoga, or if you’re a busy parent managing a chaotic home and work balance, you also need protein.
Myth: Too much protein is bad for the kidneys
Truth: Balanced sources of protein do not affect the kidneys in a negative way
This myth is false for the most part. As with all nutrients, protein consumed in excess will cause complications for someone battling underlying kidney or liver problems (since kidneys play a role in managing the extra nitrogen that comes with protein consumption).
However, for the average person, there is no pronounced risk in taking in the top end of your protein needs. If you’re worried about too much protein from red meat, or any other singular source, going for a more varied diet, with protein from fish and seafood, lean meat, pulses, beans, legumes etc. should take care of your worry.
Myth: Protein needs do not change with age
Truth: Protein needs increase with certain lifestages
Myth: Protein supplements are great alternatives to complete protein foods
Truth: Protein supplements cannot replace food
A common misconception today is that protein supplements are better at meeting daily protein requirements than food. We are in no way refuting that protein supplements are excellent sources of protein, especially if you have a very large protein target for a specific fitness goal. There’s a reason they are referred to as supplements, though.
Protein supplements would come across as a convenient (but expensive!) way to get protein. However, they cannot become sustainable substitutes for the protein that our bodies obtain from normal food sources along with the rest of the nutrients this food gives your body. Most people can meet their daily protein requirement from their usual meals by consuming protein-rich foods including eggs, yoghurt, lentils, meat, fish, soy, dairy products etc.
Myth: Vegetarian equals limited protein-rich food choices
Truth: Vegetarians have a tremendous list of protein-rich foods to choose from
Perhaps the most prevalent myth in the case of protein information is that vegetarians and vegans will inevitably suffer from protein deficiency due to a lack of high-quality protein options. Pound for pound, yes, animal proteins offer more protein than veg, but that doesn’t even begin to tell you the whole picture.
The options available for vegans will simply blow your mind away. From legumes to walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, quinoa, tofu, cottage cheese, flax, soy and many more, there’s a vegetarian protein for your taste! There’s plenty of go-to’s for you to incorporate in a robustly varied diet rich in protein.
If nothing else, getting some of your protein from non-meat sources goes a long way in reducing meat’s impact on the environment. Raising animals for meat and dairy generates enormous amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, requires much more land and water, and can pollute surrounding areas much more than their plant-based substitutes.
Myths busted, and now it’s time for our favourite source of protein. Happy Jars happily nominates Peanut Butter as the superfood best for all these scenarios – high in protein, value for money and easily accessible, saving the planet and animals, and all the while being just so yummy!
But even our beloved PB is affected by cobwebs of disinformation on the web - that peanut butter is fattening, does not provide adequate protein per kg, makes you consume additives and preservatives, you know, the usual.
But Happy Jars Peanut Butter is in stark contrast. The reason we nominate peanut butter (especially our own, of course) so staunchly as a foremost protein resource is because of its overall nutritional profile:
- 90% of peanut butter is pure peanuts, while the remaining 10% generally incorporates flavours and sweeteners. If we’re buying a brand off the shelf, here’s a list of the extras we need to watch - vegetable oil, palm oil, salts, dextrose, maltitol and corn syrup to improve flavour and smoothness. Happy Jars Peanut Butter aims to cut these extras out completely! What you deserve is a natural, old-fashioned peanut butter minus the s***. The Happy Jars Natural Unsweetened Peanut Butter has zero oil, zero preservatives and zero sugar. Basically 100% peanuts.
- Peanut Butter has a nutrient profile that boasts the equivalent of 1.5 eggs (loaded with 10.4 grams protein content per 32 grams). You’ll find a similar protein content in our Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, our Chilli Chutney (savoury) Peanut Butter, and our innovative Jaggery Peanut Butter. That’s because we use a high quality Java peanut, and our ingredients are minimally processed.
- Being plant-based is an added bonus!
So from dispelling falsehoods around protein and peanut butter’s pitch for being one of the best sources of the macronutrient in vogue, we hope to have educated you on how best to consume it. And how Happy Jars’ peanut butter army of flavours is here to defend your health and yumminess!