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Health: Do athletes really need foods with extra protein?


Protein trend in food: does the extra portion of protein really make sense?

The human body cells are constantly renewed and are therefore dependent on regular protein intake. But how much protein do we need per day? Some people think that you can hardly eat enough of it and use “protein-rich” foods. But do these trend products really bring anything?

Protein-rich foods are the trend

Whether bread, muesli or milk drinks: Food with an extra portion of protein has been in vogue for a long time. According to the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK), such products have achieved an average increase in turnover of more than 60 percent in the past four years. The manufacturers are not only addressing health and fitness-oriented buyers, but also “the general public”. Because protein-rich foods are said to quickly fill you up and make you slim and help you build muscle. But is that really true?

A high protein diet helps with weight loss

According to health experts, a protein-rich diet can help you lose weight.

Because proteins are used more slowly by the body and the stomach emits feelings of satiety more quickly. In addition, protein-rich foods can reduce food cravings and boost fat metabolism.

They also keep you full for longer. Some proteins contain amino acids (tryptophan and tyrosine), which are involved in sending satiating messenger substances to the brain.

But how much protein should you eat? The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends the daily intake of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight for adult men and women.

A person weighing 70 kilos therefore needs 56 grams of protein a day. For adults over 65 years, the DGE gives an estimate of one gram per kilogram of body weight.

Required amount of protein through balanced mixed food

Fitness experts usually advise a higher protein consumption. Strength athletes are often recommended to use a quantity of 1.3 to 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. In individual cases, however, the quantities could also be higher.

The access to protein bars and shakes is usually not necessary. In most cases, a natural protein supply is sufficient.

The Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE) also explains on its website that the required amount of protein can be easily achieved with a normal, balanced mixed diet.

The experts have selected a few examples of protein-rich foods and describe what they are really made of.

Protein bread contains more calories

Most consumers will have noticed at the bakery or in the supermarket that protein bread is often offered.

Part of the flour is replaced by vegetable protein, especially from wheat and legumes such as peas, field beans or soy. But animal protein such as whey protein can also be included.

According to the BZfE, protein bread with 20 to 22 grams per 100 grams (approx. Two slices) contains about three times as much protein as a classic whole grain bread.

In addition, with nine to 13 grams, it provides a multiple of fat compared to conventional whole grain bread (one to three grams). No wonder that protein bread contains 20 percent more calories depending on the variety.

As already mentioned, proteins contribute to saturation. You don't lose weight automatically. Ultimately, the relationship between energy intake and energy consumption determines whether you lose weight.

Products can contain a lot of sugar

In protein muesli, for example, soy flakes ensure a high protein content, sometimes including whey protein concentrate, skimmed milk powder, wheat, pea, soy protein or isolated proteins. The latter are "detached" from their original sources by chemical processes.

Added sugar, additives such as stabilizers and flavors can also be used in the muesli.

And protein bars, for which milk, soy and whey protein and cereals, among other things, are often used in combination with nuts and chocolate, can also contain a lot of sugar.

Expensive specialty products sometimes contain less protein

Dairy products such as quarks, yoghurts, drinks and desserts, which are advertised as "high in protein", have also become established on the refrigerated shelf. For example, additional milk protein or whey powder was added to these.

According to the BZfE, however, the expensive special products may contain less protein than a normal low-fat curd cheese:

While the latter provides twelve percent protein, the nutritional information of a fruit curd with the inscription "high protein content" can sometimes contain "only" six to ten grams of protein.

Protein-enriched pasta

Classic noodles are usually made from durum wheat semolina and water, some types also contain eggs. There are already ten to 14 grams of protein in 100 grams of uncooked pasta.

Novel pasta made from ground legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, soybeans or mung beans can boast about twice as much.

In addition, protein-enriched noodles with 40 to 60 percent protein are also available in online shops and in some fitness studios.

The ground legumes, such as those used for the production of protein-rich pasta, are also available as flour.

The flours made from soybeans, chickpeas or red lentils provide between 20 and 40 percent protein. A Type 405 wheat flour, on the other hand, contains only ten grams of protein per 100 grams.

Flours made from raw legumes such as chickpea and lentil flour are not suitable for raw consumption due to their phasin content. Soy flour, however, is also suitable for cold dishes.

Flour from sweet lupine seeds as well as almond, coconut, hemp, sesame, peanut and pumpkin seed flour can also be found in organic or natural food stores. They are all naturally gluten free.

The BZfE also points out that such products are not entirely inexpensive.

Concentrated nutrients

Even some manufacturers of meat and sausage products now offer protein sausages made from smoked beef, pork or turkey meat in the Landjäger style - as a snack in between.

For such products, protein-rich pieces of meat are smoked and dried so that all nutrients are "concentrated" due to the loss of water.

The protein content is around 40 percent, protein additions are not necessary. Also relatively new on the market are chips made from air or freeze-dried meat - a snack item without "foreign" protein additives.

Protein supply in Germany

The wide range of protein-rich foods gives the impression that the population in this country has a problem with the protein supply. According to the BZfE, this is not true.

On the contrary: According to the National Consumption Study, a large nutritional survey, both men and women in Germany ingest more protein with their meals than is recommended by scientists.

For most healthy people, it makes little sense to eat protein-enriched products because they are adequately supplied with protein.

In addition, foods with added protein are not automatically healthier. They often contain a lot of fat or sugar and / or various additives. It is therefore advisable to look closely at the list of ingredients to find out what is in the product.

Too much protein can harm your health

Anyone who falls back on such trend foods should keep in mind that too much protein can be harmful to some people's health.

According to information from the German Nutrition Society (DGE), an increased protein intake can further worsen kidney function in adults with impaired kidney function.

To date, according to the DGE, there is insufficient data on whether increased protein intake can impair kidney function in healthy adults.

According to experts, it is also true that people whose protein intake is significantly above the need, should pay particular attention to an adequate hydration. The reason: When protein is broken down, urea is produced, which must be excreted in the urine. (ad)

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