For pregnant women, proper nutrition is the utmost priority. Women are recommended to consume a set amount of calories, at least 340 calories per day, from the second trimester. Various supplements are used to fulfil nutrition needs. Among them, using protein powder for pregnant women has been a topic of discussion. Read to know the numerous benefits and protein powder side effects.
What is Protein Powder?
Protein is in powdered form. It is made from plant sources generally. However, it can also be made from animal-based sources. The average protein powder scoop contains around 15 to 30 grams of protein.
It is important to note that the protein powder is a dietary supplement, hence is not evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The powder is also used for enhancing muscle building and nutrient boost.
Is Protein Powder Safe to Take During Pregnancy?
No research or conclusive studies suggest any harm due to the consumption of protein powder for pregnancy. Professionals have answered the question, ‘is protein powder safe’ that it does not pose any potential harm in an appropriate dosage as recommended by your medical expert.
Although the amount varies based on metabolism and weight, the average protein intake for a pregnant woman is recommended to be about 70 grams per day, while the calorie intake is about 280-300 grams per day. However, pregnant women should consult experts before consuming protein powder in large amounts, and it is because an excessive amount of protein powder during pregnancy can impair fetal growth.
Is Protein Powder Good for Health?
Protein is a widely known muscle-building macro-nutrient, and it also sustains health by regulating hormones and maintaining fluid balance in the human body. It plays a significant role in supporting the skin, hair and muscle health and sustenance.
Benefits of Protein Powder During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, a lot of women prefer supplements such as protein powder. It affects the baby’s growth by supplying them with the necessary nutrients. A proper amount of protein powder during pregnancy contributes to the development of the baby’s growth. Protein powder has many benefits for pregnancy, some of which are listed below.
1. Maintains Muscle Mass
An appropriate amount of protein powder consumed during pregnancy helps maintain muscle mass at an appropriate amount. It is important because pregnancy causes loss of muscle mass while you may gain fat and water notably.
Due to this, the metabolism gets significantly affected. However, maintaining muscle mass through protein powder intake will ensure the metabolism rate stays up. Maintaining the muscles will allow you to quickly increase your metabolism levels after pregnancy, unlike when you do not have sufficient muscle mass.
2. Helps Grow and Repair Tissues
It is a known fact that pregnancy can be hard on your tissues. Before, after and during pregnancy, you would need to stay on top of your health. For this, the protein powder helps enhance the damaged tissue repair rate and increases recovery.
3. Satisfies Your Hunger Pangs
Pregnancy and hunger cravings go hand-in-hand. To satisfy them, protein powder during pregnancy helps to lessen the sugar, fats and oil cravings. It quickly fills the stomach and reduces the sudden and unbearable hunger pangs.
4. Lead to More Healthy Habits
Consuming protein powder during pregnancy helps to keep your stomach full, which in turn uses to regulate metabolism. The answer is affirmative to the question, “is protein powder good for weight loss”. It reduces the hunger pangs, eventually allowing one to manage weight. It also helps manage mood swings by producing hormones and enzymes.
5. Helps to Develop Your Baby
Protein is the basic building block of your body. Consuming protein powder during the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy helps nurture the baby with sufficient nutrients. If consumed appropriately, the protein powder suits you and your baby’s health.
Best Protein Powder for Pregnant Women
The market is still looking for the best protein powder for pregnant women. Among the many, the BeBodywise Vegan Plant Protein Powder is a significant element to curb hunger cravings and build muscle blocks. It also helps in weight management. The Bebodywise protein powder benefits the human body by:
- Enhancing bone density and health
- Boosting metabolism
- Keeping you immune and making digestion easy
How Much Protein Do You Need During Pregnancy?
Pregnant women's average daily protein intake should be about 80 - 100 grams. It means that consuming an egg has about 10 grams, a skinless chicken breast has about 30 grams ,while lentils have around 10 grams of protein. To fulfil the need for proteins, one must follow this:
- Boiled eggs - 6 grams
- Cup of cottage cheese - 26 grams
- Nuts - a handful - 6 grams
- Lentils/baked salmon - 20 grams
High Protein Diet in Pregnancy
A protein diet during pregnancy will allow you to fulfil your vitamin A, vitamin D and iron requirements. It has many other benefits based on protein content. Some of the foods that contain a high protein diet in pregnancy include:
- Cooked Chicken breast - 25 grams per 3 ounces
- Eggs - 12 grams per 2 eggs
- Greek Yoghurt Plain - 17 grams of protein per 6 ounces of raw original
- Cooked Lean Ground Beef - 22 grams of protein per 3 ounces
- Salmons - 22 grams of protein per 3 ounces
- Legumes - 25-30 grams of protein
- Nuts - 9 grams per ounce
Always consult the medical expert beforehand to know if protein powder consumption is good for you.
Protein Powder Side effects
Although there are no conclusive studies that suggest there is any potential harm of protein powder intake, there are some side effects you should consume. Some of the side effects include:
1. Slow Growth in Babies
It is important to remember that your body needs a wholesome diet. By using protein supplements for an extended period, your body may lose the opportunity to fulfil the rest nutrient requirements. According to a study, the high-protein and low-carb content leads to slow growth in babies.
2. Consumption of Toxic ingredients
The protein in protein powder is seen as a dietary ingredient, so it is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It could be a significant threat to health since there is no guarantee that the ingredients do not pose any potential harm. The presence of heavy metals or pesticides, or preservatives may or may not be harmful to pregnant women. The final decision is, therefore, to be considered after consultation with the medical expert.
3. High Sugar Content
Some protein powders are often criticised for having high sugar levels. This is not a great sign, especially for pregnant women. One of the reasons for this is that protein powder may cause unhealthy weight gain, thereby reducing metabolism. This may further lead to slower recovery post-pregnancy.
Summing Up on Protein Powder for Pregnant Women
Protein is one of the most critical nutrients for the human body, and it is even more important for pregnant women, so it is vital to consume the correct amount. The increasing use of protein supplements has made it necessary to know better about protein powder.
An appropriate amount could help your child develop well and properly supplement your body. However, always consult your professionals before starting a notable amount of protein intake.
Excess protein may cause weight gain, slow metabolism and unbalanced recovery post-pregnancy. Hence, always gain proper knowledge before you begin any such course.
Is Protein Powder Good for Weight Loss?
There are no conclusive studies that suggest weight loss due to the intake of protein powder. However, some observations suggest that it may affect weight management.
Is Whey Protein Ok When Pregnant?
It is advised to avoid Whey protein-based powders as they contain traces of rBGH, a bovine growth hormone. The hormone poses a threat to fetal growth. So avoiding the intake of whey protein powder or related products is recommended.
How Much Protein is Safe in Pregnancy?
An intake of about 60 to 70 grams of protein per day, which is nearly 25% of calorific content, is considered safe for pregnant women. It could help in the baby's development and fetal growth.
Can Protein Increase Fetal Weight?
Yes, when protein is supplemented in the appropriate amount, it improves fetal growth. Studies show that there is also a significant increase in the newborn’s birth weight.
Michelle L Blumfieldl, October 2014; High-protein diets during pregnancy: healthful or harmful for offspring? - https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/100/4/993/4576606
Selma C. Liberato, November 2013; Effects of protein energy supplementation during pregnancy on fetal growth: a review of the literature focusing on contextual factors - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3827488