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Do proteins make you slim? Myths about the macronutrient protein

If you stroll through the supermarket these days, you can't avoid the term 'high protein'. Protein bars, protein shakes, even protein pudding can now be found in countless versions in the refrigerator section.
As an athlete in particular, you value rapid regeneration, want to support muscle building and become more efficient.
Proteins are actually one of the energy substrates that can do a lot in the body. We also consist of up to 17% of a protein structure.
But do 'proteins' deliver what the advertising promises? Or do lots of proteins mean lots of problems?


You are what you eat isn't entirely true.

You are what you can metabolize.

Proteins make you slim, carbohydrates make you fat. Real?

No food or macronutrient (= protein, fat, carbohydrates) actively helps us lose weight. Unfortunately, this is just wishful thinking and a nice hook for many marketing agencies.
All macronutrients are energy sources and therefore also contain calories. You will only lose weight if the energy you consume and the energy you consume have a negative balance.
You have to consume less energy than you ultimately use.
If you grab a snack in everyday life, your attention should not necessarily be on the protein content, but rather on the calorie density.

Protein myth

In fact, there is something to the protein myth...
One gram of protein contains 4 kcal, while one gram of fat contains 9 kcal. And protein is also one step ahead as a filler. Short-chain carbohydrates in particular cause blood sugar to rise and fall quickly, which can lead to constant hunger. A protein-rich meal, on the other hand, keeps blood sugar relatively constant.

Some studies also show that diets based on a particularly high protein density can show better muscle retention with the same reduction in body fat.
So let's summarize: Proteins can make a positive contribution to losing weight - but they won't actively help.

Protein source, but which one?

Basically there are 2 different variants of manufactured protein sources. Plant-based products, for example those based on rice, peas or hemp, and products that consist of milk proteins such as whey protein and casein.
There isn't a big difference here. However, the biological value of a product or food is crucial for the usability of protein in the body.
The biological value indicates how efficiently a dietary protein can be used to form the body's own protein. A chicken egg with a biological value of 100 represents the reference value.
There are now many products whose value is over 100.
The biological value can increase even further when combining several foods. For example, the combination of potato and egg in a ratio of 35:65 results in a value of > 135.

The other side of the coin

For many people, a high-protein diet and especially protein shakes cause symptoms such as bloating or digestive problems.
The explanation for this is relatively simple.
Proteins have a very complex structure due to their long amino acid chains and are therefore not easy to digest. In order to be able to absorb the proteins in the small intestine as best as possible, it is important for the body that pre-digestion has already taken place in the stomach. But where exactly does digestion actually begin? In the mouth, when chewing. The chewing process signals the body to produce stomach acid, which is essential for digestion. However, with a protein shake, nothing usually needs to be chopped up. Accordingly, these very long amino acid chains end up in the stomach without “preparation”.
Without stomach acid, the proteins can hardly be pre-digested and slip further into the small intestine where 95% of the absorption takes place.
The small intestine also has great difficulty absorbing the complex protein building blocks, which is why the amino acid chains, which are still too long, continue their journey into the large intestine.
This is where the problem begins. The long chains serve as a substrate for the probiolytic microbiota (= totality of microorganisms) in the large intestine, which does not occur under normal circumstances. This leads to a strong proliferation and overgrowth of the probiolytic microbiota. However, these also produce bad substances and toxic gases, which can cause problems in the gastrointestinal tract and ultimately harm the entire system.
Basically, it should be noted that proteins can be metabolized quickly by the body and absorbed relatively well. The basis for this is a healthy intestine, a healthy microbiota, optimal enzymatic production and sufficient acid.

Is a high protein diet bad for the kidneys?

Protein in normal amounts of around 0.8-1.2 g protein per kilogram is generally not harmful to the human body. The increased need for athletes and older people of 2 g of protein per kilogram is not a problem for a healthy person.
However, if you consume over 2 g of protein/kg, this is usually more than your body needs. The excess protein is converted into carbohydrates and made available to the body as energy. This conversion creates metabolic processes that have to be broken down by the liver and kidneys. At a certain level, this is too much work for our kidneys, which can lead to damage.


Conclusion / Our solution approach

In order to ensure the best possible absorption in the intestine, we recommend primarily consuming natural macronutrients through the basic diet.
A protein shake or bar is certainly ok as a snack every now and then. However, the more natural the diet is, the fewer problems you can expect.
Especially people who have been on a high-protein diet and complain about problems in the digestive tract should pay a little more attention to their intestines.
For example, the intestines can be relieved and rebuilt with a treatment. The products from OMNi-BiOTiC® can provide support here. Simply find out more about this on our website or get advice from your trusted pharmacy.

Our experts

about the author

Julia Skala in Magenta OMNi-BiOTiC Power Team Anzug läuft Triathlon

Julia skala

Professional triathlete
Content Creator OMNi-POWER®