15% off £30

000000s
Code:OFFER
 

15% off £30

000000s

Code:OFFER

Buy 1 Get 1 Half PriceSummer ShopOffersOffers HubBuy one get one 1/2 price25% off or moreOnline only 25% off or moreOutletGreat SavingsBuy 1 Get 1 FreeBetter than 1/2 price2 for £18 Mix & MatchLast chance to buy1/2 Price3 for 2 Mix & MatchVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubJoints, Aches & PainsImmunityGut HealthEnergyChildren's HealthLow Mood & DepressionStress & AnxietyHealthy HeartWeight ManagementExercise & RecoveryVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBD Vitamins & SupplementsShop all CBD Vitamins & SupplementsCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaMuscle Support & Joint PainHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPDigestive EnzymesSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionCholesterolAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesRescue RemedyAshwagandhaMilk ThistleGinseng & GuaranaHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & SupplementsCBD Homeopathic Buy one get one 1/2 price25% off or moreOnline only 25% off or moreBuy 1 Get 1 FreeOutletLast chance to buyGreat SavingsShort DatedHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarNew NordicWeledaBioglanBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Nature's WayDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubImmunityExercise & RecoveryGut HealthEnergyJoints, Aches & PainsWeight ManagementDental HealthFood & Drink Shop AllDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsNutsDried FruitSeedsMixesHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyNut ButtersJams & ChutneysSyrupsSpreadsPateDrinks & JuicesShop all Drinks & JuicesNatural Energy DrinksKombuchaJuices & Health ShotsSoft DrinksWaterProtein ShakesAlcohol Free DrinksTeas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesCoffee & Coffee SubstitutesMushroom DrinksTeasSuperfood TeasMatcha & Green TeaSleep & RelaxationPeppermint TeaSlimming TeaSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMoringa PowderMaca PowderChia SeedsFlaxseedSpirulinaGoji BerriesBaobabSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsCrisps & ChipsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsFlapjacksPopcornVegan FoodShop all Vegan FoodMeat-Free AlternativesDairy AlternativesEgg SubstitutesVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsTinned FoodsBreakfast CerealsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesMeat-Free AlternativesSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksNutritionally Complete FoodBuy one get one 1/2 price25% off or moreOnline only 25% off or moreBetter than 1/2 priceGreat SavingsOutletBuy 1 Get 1 Free3 for £3 Mix & MatchHolland & BarrettNaturyaGrenadePukkaHeath & HeatherHuelPhDNakdTwiningsMeridianGluten FreeDairy FreeWheat FreeEgg FreeSugar FreeMilk FreeSoya FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeFish FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubExercise & RecoveryEnergyWeight ManagementLow Mood & DepressionStress & AnxietySports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinWhey ProteinClear ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneElectrolytesEnergy GelsSports CollagenPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutCaffeine-free-pre-workoutAmino Energy PowdersBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderCreatine CapsulesVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight Loss25% off or moreGreat SavingsBuy one get one 1/2 priceLast chance to buyOnline only 25% off or more2 for £6.50 Mix & MatchFree PE Essential Amino AcidOutletOptimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNGrenadePhDApplied NutritionHuelSiSFoodspringYfoodGluten FreeDairy FreeSugar FreeSoya FreePalm Oil FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubSkin Health - by skin concernDental HealthWomen's Health - Cycles & MenstruationSexual HealthJoints, Aches & PainsWomen's Health - PregnancyChildren's HealthExercise & RecoveryImmunityLow Mood & DepressionNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautySun CareShop all Sun CareSun Lotion SPFMineral Sun CareFace SPFAfter SunHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesElectrical WellnessSexual WellnessBuy one get one 1/2 price25% off or moreOnline only 25% off or moreOutlet2 for £18 Mix & MatchBuy 1 Get 1 Free3 for 2 Mix & MatchGreat SavingsDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandMiaromaSukinQ+AEthiqueSo EcoAlcohol FreePalm Oil FreeParfum FreeGluten FreeMicroplastics FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDShop all CBDExercise & RecoveryLow Mood & DepressionStress & AnxietySleep & RelaxationCBD Vitamins & SupplementsShop all CBD Vitamins & SupplementsCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCBD Food DrinkCBD BeautyBuy one get one 1/2 price25% off or moreOnline only 25% off or moreBuy 1 Get 1 Free1/2 PriceGreat SavingsOutletLove HempGrass & Co.CBDfxfourfiveTRIPHolistic HerbCannaray CBDReakiroHolland & BarrettBody & Mind BotanicalsDairy FreeAlcohol FreeGluten FreeNew inWeight ManagementWeight Management HubExercise & RecoveryWeight ManagementEnergyHealthy HeartWeight Management Shop AllFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsSlimming TabletsWeight Management Shakes Shop all Weight Management Shakes Meal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein BarsBuy one get one 1/2 price25% off or moreGreat SavingsOnline only 25% off or moreBuy 1 Get 1 FreeOutletGrenadeOptimum NutritionHolland & BarrettPhDUSNPulsinEat WaterNew NordicSlimExpertApplied NutritionGluten FreeSugar FreeDairy FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints, Aches & PainsGut HealthSkin Health - by skin concernEnergyWomen's Health - Menopause & PerimenopauseLow Mood & DepressionStress & AnxietyExercise & RecoveryWomen's Health - Hormonal HealthImmunityJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & RelaxationBuy one get one 1/2 price25% off or moreOnline only 25% off or moreBuy 1 Get 1 FreeOutlet2 for £18 Mix & MatchGreat Savings1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettVitabioticsWeledaSolgarDr OrganicNaturtintOptimum NutritionBetterYouNew NordicBioglanDairy FreeGluten FreeAlcohol FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeSoya FreePalm Oil FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeNew inShop for your WellnessJoints, Bones & MusclesWomen's HealthMenstrual HealthMenopauseSkincareGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessJoints, Bones & MusclesWomen's HealthPeriods & Cycle HealthMenopauseImmunityGut HealthFood & DietSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsArticlesAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast

Explore related topics

How much protein do you really need?

With protein present in many of the foods we consume including powders and bars, it’s easy to eat more than you need. Here’s how much protein you need.

From protein powders to bars and high-protein diets, we’re eating more protein than ever. But do we really need to be consuming quite so much?

Protein shakes and bars were once the domain of fitness fanatics. But with the rise in the popularity of high-protein diets, the sports nutrition market has exploded – it’s estimated to have nearly doubled in size since 2012.1

Today, many of us see high-protein foods as a simple way to support a healthy, active lifestyle, so we’re sprinkling protein powders into our smoothies, tucking into protein-rich ready meals and high-protein energy bars.

What is protein?

Protein is a macronutrient, needed by our bodies for a number of essential functions, including the growth of cells and tissues. Indeed, much of the body is made up of proteins, including muscles, bones, ligaments, blood and skin.

Our enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters are all made of proteins too, so the protein in your diet is crucial for fueling cell communication inside the body.

Twenty different amino acids form the building blocks of protein. Some of these amino acids are created inside the body, while nine can only be found in foods.

The latter are called ‘essential amino acids’ and include tryptophan and lysine.

Foods that offer all nine essential amino acids in roughly balanced proportions are called ‘complete proteins’ and include eggs, fish and dairy.3

What does protein do?

Protein is just one of a complicated set of molecules that do all kinds of jobs in your body. In many ways, protein is one of the many building blocks that make you into who you are.

These molecules make up your hair, nails, bones, and muscles. Protein gives tissues and organs their shape and also helps them work the way they should.4

What are the different types of protein powder?

Protein powders are condensed sources of protein which commonly come from animal or plant foods, such as dairy, eggs, rice or peas.

Whey proteins are commonly broken down into three common protein powder formulas. Those forms are:5

  • Protein concentrates

Protein concentrates are produced by extracting protein from whole food using heat and acid or enzymes. Typically, these supply between 60–80% protein, with the remaining 20–40% being made up of fat and carbs.

  • Protein isolates

Protein isolate powders contain around 90–95% protein. This is because there is additional filtering process that removes more fat and carbs, which further concentrates the protein.

  • Protein hydrolysates 

Hydrolysates are absorbed more quickly by your body and muscles. Protein hydrolysates are produced when acid or enzyme structure is heated further, which breaks the bonds between amino acids.

What protein is used in protein powders?

Whey protein

Whey protein is a mixture of milk proteins and is produced as a by-product of the cheese making process.  

It contains a complete set of amino acids and is especially rich in leucine, isoleucine and valine that are important for muscle growth and maintenance. It is also a good source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

Casein protein

Casein is a high-quality, slow-release protein that contains a lot of Essential Amino Acids (EAAs), which your body can’t produce on its own.

Like whey protein, casein comes from cow’s milk. You can usually naturally find it in milk and cheese products.

Egg protein

Egg-based protein powder is a popular choice as its packed with protein, fat free and contains little to no sugar. Generally, egg-based protein powders are made from the egg white.

It’s a common misconception that the egg white contains all the protein, but there is also lots of protein also contained within egg yolk.

In fact, its around a 50/50 split between egg white and egg yolk. However, the yolk does contain more fat and calories.

Pea protein

Pea protein is a good way getting the protein your body needs whilst being on a plant-based diet.

Not only is it good for protein, it’s also high in fibre and low in sugar, which is ideal to support a balanced diet.

Brown rice protein

Brown rice protein is a popular choice for vegans and vegetarians because it is free from gluten, dairy, soya, wheat and eggs.

How much protein do I need per day?

Adults typically need 0.75g of protein per kilo of body weight each day. So as an example if you weigh 80kg, you would need 60g of protein. For the average women, the daily protein requirements are 45g and for the average man this is 56g.6,7 Some people will need more than this for example athletes, older people and if you are pregnant. 

 If you are unsure how much protein you should be having, speak to a registered nutritionist or healthcare professional.

How often should we eat protein?

You should aim to eat protein two to three times a day.

This means it should be easy to get all the essential amino acids you need, just by eating a wide range of protein-rich food.8

When should you take protein supplements?

Protein shakes are good to have between meals or as a pre or post-workout snack. You can find out more about this in our When is the best time to have a protein shake article.

What happens if you don’t get enough protein?

Symptoms that indicate low protein can vary drastically due to the vital role it plays in so many aspects of a healthy body.

The most common symptom is oedema, or ankle swelling.

Other symptoms include:9

  • Bruising
  • Muscle loss
  • Fatigue
  • Cramps
  • Brittle or ridged nails

People who experience low protein due to liver problems may also experience fluid collecting in the abdomen. Protein is needed for every function of the body, and low protein can be a sign of other problems such as liver, kidney or heart problems.

In severe cases, protein deficiency can cause a type of malnutrition called kwashiorkor. It’s more common in developing countries and is very rare in the UK.

However, it can occur in extreme circumstances, such as in people who are coping with severe long-term illnesses or eating a very restricted diet.10

Symptoms include:11

  • a swollen stomach
  • muscle wastage
  • stunted growth in children
  • irritability
  • brittle hair
  • more infections than normal

What happens if you eat too much protein?

Experts have pointed to potential health issues that can be caused by excessive protein intake, such as:

  1. Bone loss

A 2013 review of studies published in ISRN Nutrition found that a diet with too much protein can lead to a build-up of acid in the body, triggering calcium to leach from the bones.12

  1. Kidney stones

The same study also reported a raised risk of kidney stones from a diet that contains excessive amount of protein and low in fluids – particularly for diets rich in animal protein, like meat, dairy and fish.13

  1. Extra pounds

A 2016 study in Clinical Nutrition reported that the extra protein in a low-carb diet was linked to gaining weight in the long term.14

Make sure you also check the food labels on protein shakes and supplements, as they may contain added fat and sugar – so more calories.

What are the best sources of protein?

If you’re struggling with your appetite, perhaps due to age or illness, a protein shake or bar could help, but experts agree that most of us should be able to get all the protein we need from a balanced diet.

Eat a range of lean proteins, including plant proteins , like tofu, beans, pulses, fish, eggs, seeds, nuts, quinoa, seaweed and soya – and that way you’ll be meeting not just your protein requirements, but getting your fill of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, too.

A summary of protein

Even though a higher protein intake can have health benefits for many people, it is not necessary for everyone.

People choosing to use protein powders and other sports supplements should only buy them from a reputable source and should always follow specified guidelines on maximum daily amounts.

They should also be aware that protein sports supplements are not a suitable meal replacement as they do not contain all of the other nutrients and vitamins that a balanced meal should contain.

Evidence for the risks of high-protein diets is inconclusive and more research in this area is needed given the increased use of these supplements.

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 14 June 2021

Sources

  1. https://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Article/2017/11/23/
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/196279.php
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/196279.php
  4. https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-what-protein-does-for-your-body
  5. https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-what-protein-does-for-your-body
  6. https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/protein
  7. https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritional-information/protein/
  8. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-protein.htm
  9. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/
  10.  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/kwashiorkor/
  11.  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/kwashiorkor/
  12.  https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2013/126929/
  13.  https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2013/126929/
  14.  https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(15)00091-6
 

Explore related topics

Related Articles

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2024. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.com is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.