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Background on Protein Powders

by Gary F. Zeolla

The general consensus among powerlifters and other strength athletes is that engaging in heavy strength training increases a person's need for protein. The nutritional establishment at one time disagreed with this notion, but now the weightlifters are being proven correct. It has now been shown that weightlifting does in fact increase protein needs. But there is still a disagreement on how much needs are increased. The nutritional establishment recommends 1.5-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. That works out to 0.68-0.94g/ pound, while the consensus among weightlifters is that at least one gram per pound is needed. Some weightlifting authorities even recommend as much as 2.0 grams/ pound, or even more.

Personally, I believe 1.0-1.5 grams per pound is best. This level provides sufficient protein without being excessive, so that is what I try to consume in my own diet. However, depending on one's caloric needs, a person may or may not be able to consume that much protein from whole food sources alone. I know that I did so when I powerlifted in college, so I never used protein powders back then. But my caloric needs were much higher in college than they are now that I'm in my 50s. As such, trying to consume that much protein now from whole food sources alone could lead to overeating. But that is where protein powders come in. High-quality protein powders will provide protein with very little carbohydrates or fats, so they are a calorie conservative way to attain ones protein.

But even if a lifter is consuming enough protein on a daily basis, it would still be wise to use a protein powder in a pre- or post-workout drink or meal. The consumption of protein immediately pre-or post-workout can be beneficial, with protein powders being especially beneficial at these times as they are digested rather easily. As such, they will not disturb the workout if consumed pre-workout, but will be there to prevent muscle breakdown during the workout. And if consumed post-workout, they will quickly provide amino acids to the muscles to aid recovery.

There are many different protein powders available. But they vary widely in quality. And quality is important as I found out the hard way. In an effort save some money, I switched from the high quality protein powders described on these pages to cheaper alternatives, and I paid the price both in my health and my training progress, having a flare-up of my stiffness from Stiff Person Syndrome, while not progressing in my training. I therefore learned my lesson and intend on sticking with protein powders that I know are of high quality.

But the problem is, protein powders can be rather expensive. But a couple of rather inexpensive places to purchase them is Amazon and iHerb. These online stores offer the discussed and other protein powders at greatly reduced prices. For iHerb, use coupon code HOP815 to get $5.00 off your first order. For a discussion on each of the protein powders I have used, see the items listed at Protein Powders.

Australian bodybuilder with rare disorder dies eating high-protein diet


Rush Limbaugh was ranting about his story on his radio show yesterday (8/15/17). He was using it as “proof” that his claims are correct that people who try to follow a healthy diet are doing themselves more harm than good. He especially used it to slam a high protein diet and protein supplements. And I gather many others have been using it to do the same.

Knowing that Rush has made a fool out of himself before when he tries to talk about nutrition issues, I knew there had to be more to the story. Sure enough, why the woman died is she had a very rare and undiagnosed congenital condition known as Urea Cycle Disorder. This disorder keeps her body from processing the nitrogen in protein. To make matters worse, when she went to the hospital in serious condition, it took the hospital two days to diagnose her condition. It was that delay that ultimately led to her death.

The point is, it was not a high protein diet nor protein supplements that killed her but a rare disorder and the incompetence of the medical establishment in diagnosing that disorder. That is the story. But for the vast majority of people without such a rare disorder, there is nothing wrong whatsoever with a high protein diet or using protein powders.

To put it another way, for Rush and others to use this story to claim no one should follow a high protein diet or use protein supplements would be like using a story of someone dying of a nut allergy to say no one should eat nuts. The one condition is just as rare as the other.

Rush should really stick to politics and stay out of nutrition, as he just makes a fool of himself when he does. The same goes when he veers in to theology. He once did not seem to know the difference between atheist and pantheism.

Background on Protein Powders. Copyright 2004, 2014, 2017 by Gary F. Zeolla.

Disclaimers: All company and products names are registered trademarks of the respective companies.

The above article was posted on this site June 10, 2004
and last updated June 21, 2017.
The CNN story comments were added August 16, 2017.

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