Protein powder is used by professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts the world over to help them build lean muscle and provide their body with the protein it needs to operate at its best. Teenagers also need to fuel their body and muscles as they grow, and many teens are training hard to play sports and grow strong. But is protein powder safe for teenagers to use while their bodies are still growing? The short answer is yes. Protein powder is as safe for teenagers as it is adults. However, education about protein powder is important for teens to use it correctly and avoid consuming any banned substances in accordance with sporting regulations.
Learning Not To Overdo It
Some teens have a tendency to go all in when starting something new, so proper advice is definitely needed when starting to use protein powder. It’s important to have a balanced diet so factoring in new protein intake is necessary. The recommended daily allowance for protein is around 52 grams for male teenagers aged between 14 and 18. For females of the same age, it’s 46 grams, and if either sex is an amateur athlete they could benefit from increasing this daily allowance of protein, as they will be exercising much more than an average teenager.
Make Sure You Combine it With Exercise
When teenagers start adding protein powder shakes to their diet they need to be exercising regularly. Teenagers have a higher metabolism than adults so burning off calories comes easier. However, if that extra protein is going to do its job muscles need to be worked out. A protein shake straight after a workout helps to feed tired muscles the protein they need to grow stronger. On the other hand, drinking a protein powder shake just before you go to sleep isn't going to have much effect.
Watch Out for Allergies
Teenagers can often suffer from allergies that are not even known to themselves yet, so they should be cautious when using whey protein powder. There are hundreds of different whey protein manufacturers out there and some are better than others, so do some research to see if any particular brands are causing problems for teenagers. Some protein powder contains lactose and gluten, which some individuals can suffer an intolerance to. The real test is to try your chosen protein powder and see if you experience any adverse effects. If no then stick with that product, but if yes then try something else, the more natural the better! This is why we formulated our New Zealand Whey Protein Isolate which is gluten free, lactose free, and only uses natural flavours and sweeteners. Read more on why New Zealand Whey Isolate is a preferred and cleaner protein source here .
Read the Label!
Food and Drug Administration regulations are pretty loose when it comes to dietary supplements like protein powder, and there have been cases of banned substances being ingested by teenage athletes who simply didn’t know their whey protein contained it. With so many different dietary supplements coming out of the same factories ingredients can crossover. Teenagers need to make sure they know exactly what their whey protein contains and read the label, checking with the governing body of their sport to see what is on the banned list. Watch out for low quality or cheap whey protein from untrusted suppliers too. Banned substances could be inside and not even labelled on the ingredients.
For Losing Weight
Protein powder can also be an effective way for teenagers to lose weight if used correctly. Meals can be substituted for protein powder and fruit or vegetable smoothies to limit fat and carbohydrate intake. Research has revealed that a diet enriched with whey could aid weight loss, and the essential amino acids contained in whey protein are instrumental in burning calories and fat. Of course, the weight isn't going to fall off by itself so regular exercise is needed alongside a whey-enriched diet for the best results.
Where to Start
One of the best whey proteins teenagers can start with is New Zealand whey protein isolate. It contains a higher quantity of protein when compared to regular whey protein concentrate and just a trace of fat and cholesterol. New Zealand whey protein isolate is derived from grass-fed cows milk, which contains no growth hormones, antibiotics, or chemical residue. It’s one of the more expensive whey protein powders on the market, but the extra benefits outweigh the cost.
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