A girls’ guide to protein

No, it won’t make you look bulky if you don’t want to


Most people assume protein is only thing for people who want to bulk up. The skinny boys you lived with in first year desperately and ostentatiously guzzling shakes in an attempt to get big or the enormous rugby boys on their way to the gym.

However, protein is undergoing an image overhaul. Famous health-goddess bloggers posting photos of themselves sipping protein shakes and putting it into all sorts of pancakes or energy balls, looking all the more fabulous for it. We asked Sophia Hall, a qualified nutritionist, whether we could all do with some extra protein in our lives.

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Protein supplements are usually associated with boys drinking them in shakes ‘trying to get big’ but should girls be taking them too? Why?

Protein supplements were first used to help bodybuilders easily intake a higher amount of protein nonetheless they are functional foods i.e food supplements that can be used as an alternative to food. A protein shake is an equivalent to eating chicken, turkey or any source of lean protein however protein supplements can help save cost and are convenient.

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When and how should we be taking them?
Protein shakes should be used as a food supplement but not to replace meals. They are great as a on-the-go breakfast, as protein reduces satiety or as a post workout!

One worry that I think girls often have is that it might make them bulky and manly looking, is this a reasonable anxiety?

No it isn’t – Females do not have the hormones to become ‘bulky’. The only way to become very bulky as a women is to take illegal anabolism steroids. At the end of the day if you want to lose weight you simply need to intake less calories than you burn so if you are adding protein shakes into your diet then great but maybe take out any processed snacks.

So how will it make them look?
Utilised in the right way – protein helps tone and rebuild muscle.
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Is it true that taking protein can help with weight loss?

Protein shakes are a great low calorie snack to have instead of processed or sugary foods – the main thing is that you research the right protein powder for you. I personally take the Myprotein Active women Vegan blend.

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Is it more important for vegetarians to take protein than for a carnivore following a similar training regime?

Vegetarians, especially those who exercise, often become deficient in B12. Protein shakes are a great way to heighten your intake of b12 and other important vitamins.

What kind of protein should we be taking?

It’s totally dependent on your goal, lifestyle, gender and food intolerances or preferences.
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What are protein balls and protein pancakes, will they have the same impact as the shakes?

These are just examples of recipes using protein. Many protein powders can be utilised in baking, cooking and combined with other products such as yogurt to make healthy snacks.