The Rise of The Deinfluencer

Have you heard? We’re in a ‘deinfluencing’ era now. You read that correctly: influencers on TikTok are telling their followers what not to buy under the guise of critiquing overconsumption and saving money. The growing trend – which has mainly taken root in the beauty and lifestyle communities – comprises of videos in which popular products are labelled overhyped.

“I’m here to deinfluence you,” one user warns, in a video with over 56,000 likes. “Do not get the Ugg Minis. Do not get the Dyson Airwrap. Do not get the Charlotte Tilbury Wand. Do not get the Stanley Cup. Do not get Colleen Hoover’s books. Do not get the AirPods Pro Max.” If influencer marketing uses personal endorsements to sell products, in principle, deinfluencing should urge consumers to think critically about their purchases and evaluate their necessity.

‘Deinfluencing’ videos surfaced at the beginning of the year, as a sincere attempt to join the dots between trend cycles, unethical labour practices and excess waste. “We’ve all learned the impacts of the fast fashion industry,” Shelbi Orme, a sustainability content creator, weighed in under the deinfluencing hashtag, which at present has been viewed 100 million times on TikTok.

“We [know] about the human rights violations happening within the fast fashion industry, but honestly ‘fast make-up’ is very problematic as well.” Orme is right, but it’s not just the fashion and beauty sectors which revel in unethical production – almost all global industries do. Since 1970, human resource extraction has more than tripled, including a fivefold increase in the use of non-metallic minerals and a 45 per cent increase in fossil fuel use. To put plainly, none of this is sustainable.

Yet, as is often the case online, what started as an honest, user-led intervention into our collective consumer behaviour, has been co-opted by influencers to shill even more products. ‘Deinfluencing’ videos have metamorphosed into a viral video format in which influencers are slating products they didn’t like and redirecting followers to other products or their ‘dupes’. In essence, most ‘deinfluencers’ on the app are really influencers in sheep’s clothing.

Evidently, the same people who regularly shove products in our faces are not interested in stopping, especially when it’s a source of income for them. For most, ‘deinfluencing’ appears to be the latest ‘socially conscious’ marketing ploy loosely based around sustainability and the financial hardship consumers may be experiencing during a global economic decline.

Worldwide, people have tightened their purse strings to survive rising rents, utility bills and inflation rates. At the same time, saturation and increased competition in the influencing market mean the job is simply not as easy as it used to be. In a recent report, 71 per cent of marketing agencies, brands, and influencers admit to having increased the amount of content they produce and share, while 63.2 per cent are feeling the impact of 2023’s macroeconomic circumstances.

Influencer marketing has come a long way since it emerged in the form of celebrity endorsements. In the past, a small group of stars with millions of fans dominated ad campaigns, but their big audiences didn’t necessarily convert into sales. Today, there are influencers with audiences of all shapes and sizes. It’s not just the mega-influencers making the big bucks, but micro-influencers with smaller but highly engaged audiences are getting a slice of the pie too.

To stay on top of their game, influencers perform authenticity and swear honesty in their endorsements of products. Even their tepid political views matter to audiences too. When the tide against influencers turns, they’re forced to evolve. To survive people’s growing disinterest and inability to buy stuff, influencers – consciously or subconsciously – are fighting for people’s trust to differentiate themselves from the other, more blatant or vulgar salespeople.

So ‘deinfluencing’ is a perfect way to get followers onside by evoking images of overspilling landfills and floating bits of plastic in the ocean while recommending a few more products for their online baskets. What would a genuine wave of deinfluencing look like if it were to happen? Personally, I wouldn’t put my money on the anti-consumerist revolution materialising on the apps engineered to sell us stuff.

As well as the existence of influencers, social media platforms have features designed to encourage overconsumption, such as endless scrolling, auto-play videos, and algorithmically-developed recommendations. Instagram and TikTok offer users a stream of engaging content they can scroll through indefinitely, exposing them to an infinite array of products, services, and lifestyles they might not have otherwise encountered.

This continuous flow of product placements can pressure people to buy stuff they don’t need or can’t afford in order to keep up with the latest trends and maintain their social status. Though admirable, it’s naïve to think we can outsmart all the marketing devices deployed at us.

Conversations on TikTok and Instagram, like on any other public platform, can be meaningful, but lasting change will come from a significant economic overhaul needed to seriously tackle overconsumption. One such proposed idea is degrowth, which Jason Hickel, economic anthropologist and author of Less Is More, summarises as “a planned reduction of energy and resource throughput designed to bring the economy back into balance with the living world, in a way that reduces inequality and improves human well-being”.

Consuming less makes up a large part of the vision, but producers ought to be held responsible too, not just by social pressure but also through legal frameworks. In addition, we’d need systemic changes that would shift societies into circular economies and reduce the production and use of goods harmful to the environment and, ultimately, to us. Many intelligent thinkers have offered radical solutions to overconsumption, but in the meantime, remember that the next viral cream blush will only be as good as the other ones collecting dust in your drawer.

By: Diyora Shadijanova

Source: The rise of the deinfluencer | Dazed

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Plant-Based Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy

Some plant-based foods are high in calories and sodium content. Photo by Shutterstock

You may want to reconsider a plant-based diet if your motivation is health. When it comes to resolutions, many opt for getting healthy, cutting out drinking or starting a new hobby. These days, vegan magazines and organizations are pushing plant-based diets — calling it the “ultimate new year’s resolution.”

But plant-based meats are often high in sodium, ultra-processed and not any healthier than the meat they imitate. Meanwhile, nearly half of the consumers think they are more nutritious. So if your resolution is related to health, you may want to reconsider switching to a plant-based diet.

The Impossible Burger, for example, is an impressive meat-free mix of soy, potato proteins, coconut and sunflower oils. It even bleeds like the real thing. At the same time its calorie count and saturated fat levels mirror a McDonald’s quarter-pounder, and it has six times more sodium.

The global market for plant-based meat is projected to explode to US$85 billion in 2030. And grocery stores are taking note, featuring an array of burgers, sausages, nuggets, ground meat and seafood options all without any trace of animal products.

What’s the Nutritional Benefit?

According to one recent study, the nutritional benefit of plant-based foods is minimal. Researchers from the Singapore Institute for Food and Biotechnology Innovation modelled the outcome of replacing bacon, chicken, beef burgers and ice cream with animal-free versions.

Diets that substituted animal products with the plant-based alternative were below the daily recommendations for vitamin B12, calcium, potassium, zinc and magnesium, and higher in sodium, sugar and saturated fat.

Even with added vitamins and minerals, these products are not nutritionally interchangeable, says Stephan van Vliet, a postdoctoral associate at the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute. “Meat made from plants isn’t meat made from cows and meat made from cows isn’t meat made from plants,” he says.

Animal sources like meat, milk and eggs are complete proteins, meaning they contain enough of the nine essential amino acids we must get from our diets every day. Plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains often lack one or more of these amino acids and need to be eaten in combination.

Plant-based meat manufacturers argue their products contain similar amounts of protein that are comparable in quality to animal protein. But focusing on protein is too “simplistic,” says van Vliet. “Foods contain hundreds to thousands of compounds that are capable of impacting human metabolism and health.”

Van Vliet and colleagues compared 190 molecules in plant-based meat alternatives with grass-fed ground beef and found that 90 per cent of them were different. Plant-based meat alternatives lacked certain amino acids and derivatives, like creatine, taurine and anserine, “which can all have an impact on our health and potentially brain function as well as muscle function,” he says.

Other metabolites like polyphenols and antioxidants were found in greater quantities or exclusively in plant-based meats. He sees plant and animal source foods as complementary in our diet, where some nutrients are better obtained from animal sources and others from plants.

The Term “Plant-Based”

“People opt for a plant-based burger for a variety of reasons,” says Rosie Schwartz, a Toronto-based consulting dietitian, “including reducing meat intake.” But she argues that consumers should rethink their reasoning if it’s because of health.

“To substitute something plant-based as a substitute because it’s called plant-based is really steering us in the wrong direction,” says Schwartz.

According to nutrition scientists and Canada’s Food Guide, plant-based is the recommended way we should be eating. Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits, and the other half with whole grains and proteins.

But “plant-based” also refers to anything from meat to paint to pillowcases, as long as they were made mostly or completely of plants, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Just because it’s made from plants, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. “I do think it’s very confusing for the consumer,” says van Vliet. “It’s probably not the chicken, but everything else that comes with the chicken nugget that is probably detrimental to our health.”

The Future of Plant-Based Meats

Up until this point, plant-based meat companies focused on the taste, texture and appearance of its products. These companies targeted meat eaters by creating plant-based marvels meant to look, taste and feel like the real thing.

Impossible Foods, the creator of the Impossible Burger, says 90 per cent of their customers are still meat eaters. It isn’t in the business of converting salad and tempeh-eating veggie lovers into fake meat consumers.

“The whole mission of Impossible Foods is to create plant-based products that compete directly against animal meat,” said Esther Cohn, communications manager at Impossible Foods. “If you eat five beef burgers a week, we want you to swap, even just try swapping one out for an Impossible Burger.”

With a booming market and new animal-free proteins made from cells in a lab or fungi in fermentation tanks, the options are endless. Can they be adapted to be healthier as well? We’ll have to wait and see.

By: Meghan McGee, The Conversation

Meghan McGee is a nutrition scientist and Dalla Lana Fellow at the University of Toronto.

Source: Plant-Based Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy

.

Related contents:

Definition of a plant-based diet and overview of this special issue”. Journal of Geriatric Cardiology. Wolfram T (1 October 2018).

Vegetarianism: The basic facts”. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved 21 April 2019.

Plant-based diet”. British Dietetic Association. September 2017.Hemler EC, Hu FB (November 2019).

Plant-Based Diets for Personal, Population, and Planetary Health”. Advances in Nutrition. 10 (Suppl_4): S275–S283.

PLANT-BASED English Definition and Meaning | Lexico.com”. Lexico Dictionaries

What is a plant-based diet and why should you try it?”. Harvard Health. Retrieved 11 February 2022.

Plant-based diets and cardiovascular health”. Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine. 28 (7): 437–441.

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Tomatoes Gene-Edited To Provide More Vitamin D

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Now, a team of researchers have come up with a potential new and vegan source of vitamin D: tomatoes gene edited using CRISPR-Cas9 technology to contain a precursor to vitamin D.

If the process is adopted commercially by farmers and producers, these tomatoes could help address vitamin D insufficiency, which the study said affects 1 billion people globally.

“This exciting discovery not only improves human health but contributes to the environmental benefits associated with more plant-based diets — often linked with a challenge in securing some key vitamins and minerals widely found and bioavailable in animal products,” Guy Poppy, a professor of ecology at the University of Southampton, told the Science Media Centre in London. He wasn’t involved in the research.

Vitamin D supplements are widely available in many countries, but coauthor Cathie Martin, a professor at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, England, said that eating a tomato was “so much better than taking a pill.”

“I think that having a dietary source (of vitamin D) in the form of a plant also means that you can get added benefit from eating tomatoes. We don’t eat enough fruit and veg anyway. A tomato is a good source of vitamin C as well,” she said at a news briefing.The study published Monday in the scientific journal Nature Plants.

Sunshine vitamin

The main source of vitamin D for most people is dietary, but our body also makes the micronutrient when skin is exposed to UVB light — that’s why it’s sometimes called the sunshine vitamin. The scientists harnessed a similar process in tomato plants.

The compound in the skin that can make vitamin D is known as 7-DHC, or provitamin D3, and it’s also found in tomato plant leaves and unripe green fruit. The researchers blocked a gene in tomato plants that normally converts provitamin D3 into cholesterol, which enabled provitamin D3 to accumulate in the ripe tomato fruit. The tomato plant on the left is gene edited.

To convert the provitamin D3 into vitamin D3 that helps our bodies, the tomatoes were treated with UVB light. The study found that provitamin D3 in one tomato — once converted to vitamin D3 — would be equivalent to the amount of vitamin D3 contained in two medium-size eggs or 28 grams (1 ounce) of tuna.

A trial in the United Kingdom is assessing whether growing the tomato plants outdoors, where they would be exposed to natural sunlight, would automatically result in the conversion of 7-DHC to vitamin D3.

The first fruits are expected to ripen by the end of June, Martin said. The tomatoes could also be sun-dried once picked, removing the need for treatment with UVB light, she added. The UK Parliament passed new legislation earlier this year that is designed to facilitate trials of gene-edited crops.

Other vegetables

The gene-blocking technique, which the researchers are making freely available with the publication of the paper, could also be applied to other species of solanaceous plant such as bell peppers, chiles, eggplants and potatoes, Martin said.

Mushrooms can also be a source of vitamin D when treated with UVB light or wild grown, according to the researchers. However, these plants produced vitamin D2, which the paper said was “substantially less bioeffective” than vitamin D3, which comes from meat and dairy.

Also, vitamin D3 supplements typically aren’t vegan, said Susan Lanham-New, a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Surrey in the UK. She wasn’t involved in the study.

 “Lanolin, which is the main source (for D3), is extracted from sheep’s wool. The sheep is still alive so it is OK for vegetarians. But it is not for vegans and that’s one of the things that makes this study very extraordinary is that you have a D3 source (from a plant),” she said at the briefing.

The leaves of the gene-edited tomato plants also contained a substantial amount of provitamin D, the researchers said. They were looking at ways this waste material could be turned into vegan vitamin D supplements. The study team hoped this could act as incentive for producers to plant and produce the biofortified tomatoes.

The gene-edited tomatoes looked indistinguishable from and tasted the same as regular tomatoes, said coauthor Jie Li, a postdoctoral researcher at the John Innes Centre, and gene editing didn’t affect the plan’s growth, development or yield.

The scientists who devised the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology won the Nobel prize in 2020. The tool is having a major impact on biomedical research, clinical medicine, agriculture and farming. Like a pair of precision scissors, it can target predetermined sites in genetic material, knocking out a particular gene or inserting new genetic material.

Source: Tomatoes gene-edited to provide more vitamin D – CNN

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Scientists Must Speak Out Against Misinformation About Immune Boosting Supplements

The COVID-19 pandemic saw huge increases in searches for immunity boosters, including for things like supplements claiming to improve immune function. But even before COVID-19 scared people into their nearest supermarket aisle, “wellness” through supplements was a multi-billion dollar industry.

Celebrities and influencers across social media platforms regularly advertise and promote a myriad of supplements to improve health and the immune system. However, there are some major problems with these claims — namely, vitamin companies are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as drugs, and many supplements don’t work as claimed.

Unlike pharmaceuticals, which must undergo clinical trials that are reviewed by the FDA for the product’s safety and efficacy, dietary supplements have a less stringent path to market shelves. Even though they are most often found in or next to the store pharmacy, dietary supplements are regulated as food, not as drugs. This means that they have not been evaluated or proven effective.

Furthermore, while the manufacturer must prove the ingredients are “reasonably safe”, none of these products are formally “approved” by the FDA. But these supplements are not always inherently harmless options for people trying to live a healthy lifestyle. A 2015 study concluded adverse effects from dietary supplements caused an “estimated 23,000 emergency department visits in the United States every year.”misperception

Despite these risks, there has been an unfortunate absence of expert voices contesting supplement company claims with real data. “There needs to be a more robust response from the science community in the face of pseudoscience and misinformation,” says Tim Caulfield, a professor of health law at the University of Alberta, who has worked on studies and books examining ads and posts claiming to support the immune system on social media.

He explains that supplement marketing often builds on the common misperception that if the right amount of a vitamin is good for you, more is better. “That’s not the case at all,” he says. On the topic of supplement misinformation, Pieter Cohen, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance, says, “The main problem is that the law permits companies to promote supplements as if they have important benefits for health even if there has never been a single study in humans to study the product’s efficacy or safety.”

Indeed, dietary supplements are not required to be reviewed by the FDA before they are distributed because they are not considered medications. Vitamins say right on the bottle that their claims “have not been reviewed by the FDA.” Instead, they are predominantly regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, which monitors the claims the labels make; however, this is limited to ensuring that the supplement makers are not explicitly claiming the product can be used as a treatment.

The FTC does allow companies to suggest a range of benefits their products provide, which may be why up to 70 percent of adults in the United States take at least one dietary supplement daily, with the most common reason being to try to maintain or improve their health. While some individuals with specific vitamin deficiencies may benefit from these products (under a doctor’s supervision), most of us do not. However, those marketed as “immune boosters” or “immune boosting” are more problematic.

Despite suggestive labels, there is no way to “boost” the immune system. The immune system is a complicated and dynamic network of cells, proteins, hormones, and other biological components. Even if it were possible to ratchet up such a complex system, you wouldn’t necessarily want to, because the immune system operates primarily by inducing inflammation. This alerts various immune cells to mobilize and fend off danger.

In moderation, this is perfectly healthy, and the system has a braking mechanism all its own. But if a product were to truly “boost” the immune system, this mechanism would be amplified. We know what too much inflammation looks like: autoimmune disorders, inflammatory disease, and allergies.

Ironically, in some cases, products heralded to improve immune function can actually suppress it. Take vitamin D, touted for its ability to enhance “immunity.” While it may increase the inflammatory response, it has been shown to actually reduce the activity of other cell types—namely T cells, which are critical in forming long-term memory. The same is true of many other popular supplements, such as zinc, when a person takes substantially more than the recommended daily amount.

Supplements can be actively harmful in other ways too. Since supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, they aren’t evaluated for safety in the same way as pharmaceuticals. Of course, the manufacturers cannot knowingly use or include compounds that are known health hazards — legislation from 1994 dictates that ingredients used in supplement products must not have been shown to cause harm.

But that doesn’t mean these products aren’t without yet unrecognized risks. “I think one of the biggest things that gets overlooked is the potential for a drug-drug interaction,” says Dr. Kathryn Nelson, a medicinal chemist at University of Minnesota. Physicians need patients to disclose what supplements they are using, including multivitamins, because they might interact with prescribed medications.

From inactivating a pharmaceutical prescription, to dangerously exacerbating its effects, these products can have significant consequences. Yet many patients do not disclose or discuss their supplement use with their healthcare providers, due to their misguided perception that vitamins are safe or not worth mentioning.

Additionally, the active ingredient in vitamins must be either be purified from a natural source or synthesized in a lab, and both methods have the potential for carry-over from compounds used in these methods. Such contamination is called “residual complexity,” Nelson says.

This is particularly concerning when heavy metals are used and possibly present in the final product. In pharmaceutical drugs, these compounds would usually go to clinical trials, and any potential introductions of heavy metals removed in what’s called “process chemistry” to gain FDA approval. But the purification process of supplements are not reviewed by the FDA. This has opened the door for potential contaminants-heavy metals as well as other drugs and even pathogens-into these products.

Given all of this negative and even contradictory information about these products, why is the supplement market a multi-billion dollar industry? Much of the answer lies in its advertising. Companies often collaborate with social media influencers, who talk up how great the product is. And despite thousands of scientists across the country with expertise in nutrition and immunology, experts rarely publicly contradict these statements.

Science communication is an important part in the scientific process. However, more often than not, important conversations happen only with other scientists at scientific conferences, or in journals behind paywalls. As a result, the larger non-expert community is left in the dark. Daniel Pham, the associate director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Strategic Philanthropy, wrote an essay in 2016 which detailed the lack of support for science outreach by scientists, and an absence of communication training.

Almost five years later, he says, “The same issues have resonated with me even more in the times of COVID. I feel like there’s a bigger sense of the need for improved communication of science to the public. But the tools we’re using are just woefully inadequate.” The evidence of his statement can be seen in a recent study by Arizona State University, which showed the majority of scientists believe that it is important to inform and engage the general public about science topics.

However, when asked about their personal interest or intentions of doing this, the answers are less enthusiastic. Often scientists are not encouraged or even rewarded for public outreach, which doesn’t aid securing funding, publishing, or gaining tenure. One possible solution might be to reform the funding and promotion institutions so they reward researchers for this kind of public service.

However, scientists should also not anticipate their feedback will be immediately accepted based on their resumes. As Nelson points out, the first step in improving the public’s access to verified information is building trust with experts. That includes breaking down the stigmas surrounding what it means to be a scientist, and making expertise more accessible.

A recent example is the initiative Science on Tap, where a scientist describes their research in general terms to patrons at a local bar or venue. Pham has also started a similar effort at Johns Hopkins University, called Project Bridge, bringing small, introductory science demonstrations to public spaces such as farmer’s markets. Specific tactics to counter supplement marketers could also include partnering with influencers who are willing to share verified research, as well as lobbying for legislative reform.

The supplement industry is a prime example of the dangers of misinformation, which is damaging to both science and the public at large. Cohen notes that the next steps are to urge the FDA and FTC to enforce existing laws prohibiting the promotion of products with disease claims, in an attempt to get them off the shelves. In the long-term, he notes the existing law on these products needs to be reformed so that “all products [are] registered with the FDA.”

Scientists and researchers have the expertise to get information to the public and enact policy change. But it will require getting creative. “A lot of the misinformation really has become a social media story,” Tim Caulfield says, “so we need to go to where the misinformation resides.” Scientists, he adds, “need to find their own voice.

By Shelby Bradford

Source: Scientists must speak out against misinformation about “immune-boosting” supplements | Salon.com

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The genetics of vitamin C loss in vertebrates

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Intakes for Individuals

Selenium and a Reduced Risk of Site-specific Cancers

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Immunomodulatory Functions of Nutritional Ingredients in Health and Disease

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The Hidden Dangers of Protein Powders

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Adding protein powder to a glass of milk or a smoothie may seem like a simple way to boost your health. After, all, protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle, bone strength, and numerous body functions. And many older adults don’t consume enough protein because of a reduced appetite.

But be careful: a scoop of chocolate or vanilla protein powder can harbor health risks. “I don’t recommend using protein powders except in a few instances, and only with supervision,” says registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

What is protein powder?

Protein powders are powdered forms of protein that come from plants (soybeans, peas, rice, potatoes, or hemp), eggs, or milk (casein or whey protein). The powders may include other ingredients such as added sugars, artificial flavoring, thickeners, vitamins, and minerals. The amount of protein per scoop can vary from 10 to 30 grams. Supplements used for building muscle contain relatively more protein, and supplements used for weight loss contain relatively less.

What are the risks?

There are numerous risks to consider when using a protein powder. Among them:

  • A protein powder is a dietary supplement. The FDA leaves it up to manufacturers to evaluate the safety and labeling of products. So, there’s no way to know if a protein powder contains what manufacturers claim.
  • We don’t know the long-term effects. “There are limited data on the possible side effects of high protein intake from supplements,” McManus says.
  • It may cause digestive distress. “People with dairy allergies or trouble digesting lactose [milk sugar] can experience gastrointestinal discomfort if they use a milk-based protein powder,” McManus points out.
  • It may be high in added sugars and calories. Some protein powders have little added sugar, and others have a lot (as much as 23 grams per scoop). Some protein powders wind up turning a glass of milk into a drink with more than 1,200 calories. The risk: weight gain and an unhealthy spike in blood sugar. The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 24 grams of added sugar per day for women and 36 grams for men.

A new risk revealed

Earlier this year, a nonprofit group called the Clean Label Project released a report about toxins in protein powders. Researchers screened 134 products for 130 types of toxins and found that many protein powders contained heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury), bisphenol-A (BPA, which is used to make plastic), pesticides, or other contaminants with links to cancer and other health conditions. Some toxins were present in significant quantities. For example, one protein powder contained 25 times the allowed limit of BPA.

How could protein powder contain so many contaminants? The Clean Label Project points to manufacturing processes or the existence of toxins in soil (absorbed by plants that are made into protein powders).

Not all of the protein powders that were tested contained elevated levels of toxins. You can see the results at the Clean Label Project’s website (www.cleanlabelproject.org).

Daily protein goals

Aim for the Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein intake: 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams for men. For example:

  • an egg for breakfast (6 grams)
  • 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt at lunch (18 grams)
  • a handful of nuts for a snack (4–7 grams)
  • a cup of milk (8 grams) and 2 ounces of cooked chicken for dinner (14 grams).

What you should do

McManus says that in certain cases, chemical-free protein powders may be helpful—but only with medical supervision. Such cases could include

  • difficulty eating or an impaired appetite (as a result of cancer treatment or frailty from older age)
  • a surgical incision or a pressure wound that is not healing well (your body needs protein to repair cells and make new ones)
  • a serious condition requiring additional calories and protein in order for you to get better (such as burns).

Otherwise, get protein from whole foods: nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy products (yogurt, milk, cheese), legumes (beans, lentils), fish, poultry, eggs, and lean meat. “You’ll find,” McManus says, “that there are many ways to get protein without turning to a powder.”

Source: The hidden dangers of protein powders – Harvard Health

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Critics:

Bodybuilding supplements are dietary supplements commonly used by those involved in bodybuilding, weightlifting, mixed martial arts, and athletics for the purpose of facilitating an increase in lean body mass. The intent is to increase muscle, increase body weight, improve athletic performance, and for some sports, to simultaneously decrease percent body fat so as to create better muscle definition.

Among the most widely used are high protein drinks, pre-workout blends, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), glutamine, arginine, essential fatty acids, creatine, HMB, whey protein, ZMA and weight loss products. Supplements are sold either as single ingredient preparations or in the form of “stacks” – proprietary blends of various supplements marketed as offering synergistic advantages.

While many bodybuilding supplements are also consumed by the general public the frequency of use will differ when used specifically by bodybuilders. One meta-analysis concluded that – for athletes participating in resistance exercise training and consuming protein supplements for an average of 13 weeks – total protein intake up to 1.6 g/kg of body weight per day would result in an increase in strength and fat-free mass, but that higher intakes would not further contribute.

In addition to being potentially harmful, some have argued that there is little evidence to indicate any benefit to using bodybuilding protein or amino acid supplements. A 2005 overview concluded that “[i]n view of the lack of compelling evidence to the contrary, no additional dietary protein is suggested for healthy adults undertaking resistance or endurance exercise”.

In dispute of this, a 2017 meta-analysis concluded that for athletes participating in resistance exercise training and consuming protein supplements for an average of 13 weeks, total protein intake up to 1.6 g per kg body weight per day would result in an increase in strength and fat-free mass, i.e. muscle, but that higher intakes would not further contribute. The muscle mass increase was statistically significant but modest – averaging 0.3 for all trials and 1.0 to 2.0 kg, for protein intake ≥ 1.6 g/kg/day.

See also

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