10 Alternatives to Protein Supplements
There is no getting away from the fact the protein supplements market is massive! It is estimated that by 2017 the world will be spending a staggering £8bn on sport related protein products, such as bars, shakes and other drinks.
I have said on a number of occasions that protein products are not necessary, and believe it or not the vast majority of people can easily get the required amount of protein through their diet alone. Excess is simply excreted, meaning a lot of the powders you buy could end up just being expensive urine. It is also suggested that too much protein in the diet can put pressure on the kidneys and could lead to further complications.
So why are so many people drawn to taking these products? Well, to put it simply, companies are very clever at marketing. Look in any gym and you will see people gulping down a variety of different brands and flavoured shakes promising to help you achieve a variety of very similar goals. There has been a huge amount of money spent on advertising these products which many now feel are essential to help them get their desired body. Could it be that many people are more attracted by peer pressure, the desire to fit in or simply lacking knowledge?
Look at the latest advert from a popular protein supplement company. It shows professional boxer Amir Khan explaining his rigorous training regime. In the end there is the tag line “Protein that works as hard as you.” This advert strongly suggests that he couldn’t have got to where he is without the use of this product. Yes, boxers must undertake a very strict diet containing the right balance of all nutrients. However, it would be easy enough to get the required protein from food alone without the use of supplements. I found a story regarding the 4,500 kcal diet of British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua prior to his title winning fight and not a single protein supplement was taken.
The upper limit for protein for muscle building is around 2g/kg body weight a day which when you work it out for a male weighing 70kg that comes to NO MORE than 140g of protein a day in order to achieve muscle synthesis.
Here are 10 normal food items that are cheaper and have no risk of failed doping tests due to contamination.
If you buy a tub of protein powder from the shop you would expect to get around 30g of protein from it. When you see how much protein you can from normal foods you will see that it is very easy to achieve your protein targets. For more information about protein check out my quick guide
Milk is one the best sports drinks you can get. Containing an abundance of nutrients as well as containing 3.4g of protein per 100ml. By simply drinking a pint of milk a day you are looking at 19.3g of protein. When you consider you are paying about £40 for a tub of protein powder from the shop, you can get 4 pints of milk for only £1.
Fish is an excellent source of protein and especially good for convenience when you see what you can get from the tinned varieties. Tinned Tuna contains a staggering 23.5g per 100g. With a standard sized tin weighing 160g means you will be getting 37.6g of protein. Tinned Salmon is also rich in protein, containing 22.8g per 100g and a total of 36.4g per 160g tin. Having tinned fish such as tuna with a baked potato or pasta can be a great way to give your protein intake a boost.
A very cheap and versatile food, eggs are also rich in protein. With 1 boiled egg containing 6g of protein, this can be a great addition to your lunch or as a mid afternoon snack to help give you a protein boost.
Another very versatile ingredient which can be used in a huge variety of ways. Grilled chicken breast contains 31g per 100g with the average one weight around 130g meaning you will be getting around 40g per chicken breast. Cooking and shredding it makes a great addition to salads, wraps, baked potatoes etc and is good to have sitting in the fridge for when needed.
5. Peanut Butter
There is a huge variety of different nut butters on the market including peanut and mixed nut. All of which can be a very useful way to add extra protein to your diet. Meridian Peanut butter is one which only contains peanuts, nothing else! And with 29.5g of protein per 100g, it is also a great way to give yourself a good boost.
6. Greek yoghurt
Yoghurt is a great addition to a bowl of fruit as it contains 5.5g protein per 100g. Using the lower fat version also reduces the amount of fat and calories in your diet which is good if you are watching your weight. Greek yoghurt can also be used as a dip for vegetable sticks or fruit as part of a mid afternoon snack.
Another very cheap and protein rich food. Baked beans can be used for a number of different meals such as on a baked potato or as a quick lunch on some wholemeal toast. Containing 9.7g per 1/2 tin, be sure to remember them if you are needing to increase your protein intake.
8. Ricotta Cheese
Many people hear the words whey protein on supplements and think it must be essential but there are some foods out there that contain good amounts of it. Ricotta cheese is made using whey protein and contains 7.4g protein per 100g making it a great way to get additional protein in your diet.
9. Turkey Mince
Turkey is leaner than chicken and also has a higher protein content with 33.7g per 100g of cooked mince. Use it as an alternative to beef in a spaghetti bolognaise, or even make it into burgers for the BBQ as the summer months come in.
10. Nuts + Seeds
A very good snack idea mixed nuts and seeds are great to keep the mid morning/afternoon hunger at bay. Try sprinkling some seeds on your porridge for breakfast to give a good protein boost. Mixed nuts = 4.8g protein per 25g. Sunflower seeds = 5.2g protein per 25g . Pumpkin seeds = 7.6g protein per 25g