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ICMR warns against protein supplements: All about the potential health risks

May 12,2024

New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) has released the dietary guidelines for Indians in which it has shed light on the intake of protein supplements which is commonly in practice especially among youngsters.

In the 148 page guidelines, the ICMR has warned against the consumption of protein supplements to build body mass, a common fitness trend set by youngsters. Protein supplements have become increasingly popular among individuals looking to enhance their athletic performance, support muscle growth, or meet their daily protein needs.

ICMR guidelines on protein powder

It lays emphasis on whey protein, which is rich in branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs. These BCAAs are linked to higher risk of non-communicable diseases.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), including leucine, isoleucine, and valine, play vital roles in protein synthesis, muscle repair, and energy production.

Supplementation with BCAAs is popular among athletes and bodybuilders to enhance muscle growth, improve exercise performance, and reduce fatigue. Research suggests BCAAs may also benefit individuals with liver disease, improve insulin sensitivity, and aid in weight loss. However, excessive intake may lead to adverse effects such as insulin resistance and disruption of neurotransmitter balance.

Though protein supplements or protein powders are obtained from plant-based sources such as soybeans, ICMR warns against the additives used in them for marketing purposes. Added sugars, artificial sweeteners and flavorings reduce the health benefits given by the protein powders.

“Appropriate combination of cereals: pulses in a ratio of 3:1 or by substituting 30g of recommended level of pulses with 80g meat per day would improve the quality of protein to fulfill the needs of a normal person,” ICMR has said.

Source: Healthworld

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