Bulking up on protein could mean you have an eating disorder
Experts say we don’t feel manly unless we’re ripped
Our obsession with chugging protein drinks to get hench could mean we’re secretly suffering from eating disorders, experts warn.
Not feeling manly enough, low self-esteem and being unhappy with our bodies all play a part in our dependence on protein supplements.
Anorexia, bulimia and pressure on girls are usually the main priorities for scientists studying body image.
But now top doctors are warning the boys to cut down on the gym powder.
According to manufacturers, protein powder helps to boost muscle growth, aid metabolism, help reach peak physical performance and gives users more energy.
But in the new study, Dr Richard Achiro from Alliant International University said our dangerous protein misuse is down to a number of factors.
Dr Richard said: “Body-conscious men who are driven by psychological factors to attain a level of physical or masculine ‘perfection’ are prone to use these supplements and drugs in a manner that is excessive and which was demonstrated in this study to be a variant of disordered eating.
“As legal supplements become increasingly prevalent around the globe, it is all the more important to assess and treat the psychological causes and effects of excessive use of these drugs and supplements.
“These products have become an almost ubiquitous fixture in the pantries of young men across the country and can seemingly be purchased anywhere and everywhere – from grocery stores to college book stores.
“The marketing efforts, which are tailored to addressing underlying insecurities associated with masculinity, position these products perfectly as a ‘solution’ by which to fill a void felt by so many men in our culture.”
Researchers recruited 195 men, aged 18 to 65, to take part in the study who had consumed a protein product in the pst 30 days and worked out at least twice a week.
22 per cent admitted they skipped regular meals to take protein supplements which are not intended to be meal replacements.
Surprisingly 29 per cent said they were concerned about their own supplement use and a worrying 8 per cent confessed their doctor had told them to cut back on protein powder.
What’s more, three per cent had been hospitalised for kidney or liver problems that were related to the use of supplements.
Azmina Govindji from the British Dietetic Association told NHS Choices: “Users may choose to take them before, during and after training to enhance performance and improve recovery, add them to meals to boost their protein or drink them between meals as a high-protein snack.
“And although protein shakes are convenient, not all of them are suitable to be used as a meal replacement, because they don’t have all the vitamins and nutrients that a balanced meal would contain.