Busting the myths over protein and power – how supplements could help you tone and lose weight

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Whilst attitudes to weight training and women have changed in recent years, there is still a lot of uncertainty over protein and supplements.This is paid for content, readers are encouraged to seek NHS advice before taking any supplements.

These days 67 per cent of women are more likely to lift weights in the gym than a few years ago.

But, whilst over half of Brits in a recent survey say there has been a change of attitudes towards celebrating stronger women, there are still some worries that protein means ‘bulking up’.

The same survey showed 27% of those asked took more notice of protein in the diet (33.82% in Leeds) and yet 55.88% of those surveyed in the city, were not taking any form of protein powder, according to this new research from SCI-MX.

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Around one third of women lift weights as part of their exercise regimes but, the misconceptions about protein powder and its impact on women’s bodies, puts some off using it. In fact, more than a quarter (28%) of women have avoided or hesitated using protein powder because they’re concerned about gaining too much muscle mass.

The results come from a survey carried out in October last year of over 1,000 people, and was carried out by Censuswide Research Consultants.

But, when the nutrition brand behind the survey spoke to nutritionist Kate Withington about the benefits of a high-protein diet, she said this:

“In the past, protein powders and high protein snacks have very much been targeted at those looking to bulk, but even for people who want to lose weight and tone up, protein is so important.”

Nutritionist Kate Withington

 “It’s amazing to see that so many women now feel comfortable using weights within the gym – it’s been a long time coming! I think the societal shift in celebrating physically strong women has really helped with this change, although we clearly have more work to do when it comes to nutrition given the research from SCI-MX reveals a clear gap in knowledge when it comes to protein.

Protein-rich diet for a day

Kate recommends including protein-rich foods in every meal and protein-based snacks too. She set out what a typical days diet could look like:

Breakfast: protein smoothie made with one scoop of strawberry protein powder, frozen berries and milk.

Lunch: tuna and sweetcorn baked potato with salad. I love to use Greek yoghurt instead of mayo to increase protein content further and reduce calories.

Afternoon snack: cottage cheese on rice cakes with some mixed seeds.

Dinner: salmon goodness bowl. Salmon fillet with quinoa, broccoli and edamame beans.

Evening snack: Greek yoghurt with berries.

Kate said: “Consider using a protein powder – whey is one of my top supplements as it’s such a quick and convenient way to increase protein intake. Try to stick to snacks which are high in protein – these could include hard-boiled eggs, tuna lettuce cups, cottage cheese, edamame beans and beef jerky.”

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Matt Durkin, product developer at SCI-MX, added: “Placing more importance on protein intake is a good recommendation for most adults, no matter their gender, because we become less receptive to protein intake as we age. This means we need a relatively higher protein intake to maintain muscle. This is one of the reasons why we see a steady decline of lean mass every decade following our thirties.

“Current protein recommendation for the general population is to consume 0.8g per kg of body mass, but I would suggest increasing this to around 1.2g/kg to help preserve muscle mass. But protein is only one part of the equation, everyone should be performing muscle-strengthening exercises frequently to stimulate the body to build or maintain muscle. For those engaging in regular exercise and looking to build or maintain muscle then a significantly higher amount of 1.6-2.0g/kg is recommended. Getting this amount of protein requires a conscious effort and good planning and this is where protein supplementation and working with a nutritionist can help.”

Find out more

To find out more about SCI-MX and its range of high-protein products visit the website here