Jun 17, 2013

    Protein shakes: Take them or leave them?

    THERE'S a perennial question when it comes to training: Do protein shakes really help us to lose weight, gain muscle and improve sports performance?

    Essentially, proteins are the body's main building blocks for muscle, skin and hair, so adequate protein intake can assist with muscle recovery and growth.

    For many, protein shakes or bars are useful as they are a convenient source of complete, high-quality protein.

    But most people - even those who have a regular workout schedule - can get almost all the protein they need by consuming natural sources of lean protein, such as meat, fish, chicken and dairy products.

    The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a daily protein intake of about 0.8g per kg of body weight for the average adult.

    Athletes doing strength training would require about 1.4-1.8g per kg of body weight per day, while endurance athletes would need about 1.2-1.4g per kg for optimum performance and recovery.

    Some common protein sources are chicken breast, which contains 21g of protein per 100g; boiled eggs, with 6g of protein per egg; almonds, with 6-8g of protein per handful; and peanut butter, with 24g of protein per 100g.

    In comparison, one scoop of whey protein will give you about 25g of protein, said dietician Yeoh Ee Ling.

    She added: "If you work out only once in a while, you don't really need the extra protein. However, if you tend to experience muscle soreness after your workouts, taking protein shakes immediately afterwards will help to enhance muscle recovery."