Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

8 protein myths put to the test



  • 1. Muscles only grow with sufficient protein intake
  • 2. The body can only use 30 grams of protein
  • 3. Chicken egg has the highest biological value
  • 4. Animal protein is better than plant protein
  • 5. Proteins help you lose weight
  • 6. Too much protein makes you fat
  • 7. Protein powder is better than protein from food
  • 8. Too much protein damages the kidneys
  • Conclusion: Don’t believe all protein myths

There is a lot of information about protein. Google finds a whopping 563 million hits within 0.41 seconds. But underneath all the pages there are many half-truths and myths. With the flood of information, how are you supposed to know what is true and what is not? So that you can shine in every protein discussion from now on, here is the explanation of the 8 biggest and most widespread protein claims.

1. Muscles only grow with sufficient protein intake

Nope. The fact is: Protein is the most important building material for your muscles. The amino acids (each protein consists of many small amino acid individual parts) not only form the basis for building new muscle fibers, but are also indispensable helpers in the repair and regeneration processes of the muscles. But in order to build muscles or muscle mass, it is not enough to simply eat (more) proteins. Because without appropriate stimuli – in the form of sport – the muscles do not start to grow. So: Proteins are essential for building muscle, but you will only see success in combination with strength training.

Protein is the most important building material for your muscles

2. The body can only use 30 grams of protein

Anything more that is eaten is excreted. However, that is not true. It is true that no more than around 30 grams of protein can be transported from the stomach to the intestines within 60 to 90 minutes. The rest simply stays in the stomach longer, but is definitely not excreted. The body regulates protein intake according to its own needs and the more protein is consumed, the slower absorption occurs. In addition, individual protein intake depends on your own metabolic type and body weight. Because even if the 30 gram myth is not true, everyone has an individual protein requirement per day, and it depends on body weight and fitness level:

Simply multiply your body weight by the corresponding values, for example 80 x 1.2. A regularly training hobby athlete weighing 80 kilos can therefore consume a total of at least 96 g of protein every day. This is how much there is in 2 eggs (14 grams), 200 grams of chicken breast (48 grams), 100 grams of tuna in its own juice (24 g) and a protein shake made from 300 milliliters of milk and 30 grams of whey protein (32 grams). By the way: The body can also “withstand” maximum values ​​of 3 grams of protein per kilo of body weight, but this is not recommended over a longer period of time.

3. Chicken egg has the highest biological value

The quality of a protein can be determined based on its biological value. The biological value indicates how well your body can utilize protein from food and build muscle mass from it. The more the body’s own protein can be formed from 100 grams of protein consumed, the higher the biological value. The whole egg (protein and yolk) is considered the highest value with a biological value of 100 and sets the golden standard – so the “myth” is true – at least theoretically.

Because the 100 can definitely be topped: If you cleverly combine plant and animal protein with each other, the value increases – even beyond the 100. For example, the combination of potatoes and eggs is 136, potatoes and quark have a biological value of 113, corn and eggs have a biological value of 114 and beans with eggs still have a biological value of 108.

4. Animal protein is better than plant protein

Animal protein is not generally better, BUT it can be better absorbed by the body. The more similar the dietary protein is to the body’s own protein, the better it can be utilized. And since humans are more similar to beef than to legumes, animal proteins can be better used by the body. Animal foods also perform better when it comes to biological value (see point 2). But vegetable protein also provides you with all the essential (vital) amino acids and is therefore far from being a “second-class protein”.

Simply eat as variedly as possible: the more different, protein-rich foods you combine, the higher the chance that you will absorb all the important amino acids for optimal muscle building. Plus: Animal foods often contain a lot of fat (unhealthy saturated fatty acids) and cholesterol. Vegetable proteins in vegetables or grains, on the other hand, are naturally accompanied by more healthy unsaturated fatty acids and are cholesterol-free. They also provide a good portion of fiber, which fills you up and aids digestion.

5. Proteins help you lose weight

Protein is the slimming macronutrient

Yes, this claim is true. Proteins are good allies in the fight against excess kilos. But: Just because you eat a protein-rich diet doesn’t mean you’ll automatically lose weight. When losing weight, it always depends on the energy balance and at the end of the day it should be negative, i.e. you have to consume more calories every day than you take in. You can only lose weight if your calorie balance is in the red. Proteins can help you on the way to your dream body: Protein-rich foods such as fish and poultry, legumes and low-fat dairy products not only keep you full for a long time, but also keep your blood sugar levels stable. This means that cravings while losing weight are a thing of the past.

6. Too much protein makes you fat

Wait, didn’t we just clarify that proteins help you lose weight? And now they’re suddenly supposed to make you fat? Yes, this myth exists. There is actually something to this claim, even if it seems nonsensical at first. However, here too, the calorie balance at the end of the day is crucial: And since proteins – just like carbohydrates and fat – provide calories, you can of course consume too many calories if you eat too much protein.

7. Protein powder is better than protein from food

Protein powders are convenient, but are they better than natural protein from foods?

It is true that with a good protein shake you absorb the protein in a very high-quality form that can be easily utilized by the body. Protein powders are manufactured in such a way that the body can digest them easily and make optimal use of the amino acids they contain for building muscle.

However, you should not forget that protein powder is not a food, but merely a dietary supplement. The word “supplement” describes it very well: you don’t necessarily need such products, but you can supplement your diet with them if necessary. Because a healthy, balanced and varied diet is the be-all and end-all for your body, and this also applies to building muscle. For maximum success in muscle growth, you should eat protein-rich foods every day and cleverly vary animal and plant proteins. This is how your body gets all the essential amino acids. So protein powders are no better than natural, protein-rich foods – but they can definitely supplement your diet because they provide high-quality protein.

8. Too much protein damages the kidneys

The classic among protein myths. The fact is: If you have two healthy kidneys, you don’t need to worry about possible kidney damage caused by too much protein. Various studies have already shown that high protein consumption (of up to 4 grams per kilo of body weight, so really HIGH!) in a healthy person has no negative impact on kidney health. However, anyone who has a known kidney disease or may have a hereditary predisposition should clarify with their doctor what their optimal daily protein requirement should be.

Conclusion: Don’t believe all protein myths

Not all claims circulating about protein are true. In fact, protein is important for building muscle, but only if you provide the necessary stimulus with strength training. And protein powder is no better than natural, protein-rich foods. It is true that protein can help you lose weight if you pay attention to your energy balance. And don’t worry: if you’re healthy, high protein consumption won’t harm your kidneys.


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