We all know that protein is a vital macronutrient for muscle growth and recovery. If we aren’t eating enough of it, our body simply can’t perform at its peak and going all out at your boot camp or gym sesh will prove all the more difficult. But how much protein is enough? Is every protein the same? And what happens if we consume too much? Naturopath and Strength Coach, Cliff Harvey, is lifting the lid on a few protein myths and some of them might surprise you!

Myth #1: Eating too much protein is easy

In reality it’s really quite difficult for a healthy person to eat too much protein unless they’re making a concerted effort to do so. Protein is important because it contains amino acids, which are the building blocks for all cells and tissue.  Nine of these are called ‘essential amino acids’ because they are compounds that our bodies can’t create.

The average person needs as little as 0.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day.  However, this is not enough if we’re active.  People who exercise regularly might want to consider upping their protein intake to around 1.4-2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.  This quantity of protein should also be consumed on a daily basis as we age to help maintain muscle tone.

Myth #2: All vegetable proteins are incomplete

The definition of a “complete” protein is one which supplies all nine of the essential amino acids.  While it’s true that most vegetable protein supplements on the market aren’t complete proteins, there are a few available that are offer the complete array of aminos.

One such product is Clean Lean Protein, made from pea protein, it supplies you with between 45% and 120% of the daily requirement for all nine essential amino acids per serve.

Myth #3: Soy is the best vegetable protein

All protein sources aren’t necessarily created equal. The thing that makes a protein source better or worse for you is the quality of the product, the ability for your body to absorb it and the other stuff that comes along for the ride.  Soy protein contains allergens and anti-nutrients like phytic acid, which can bind to minerals and prevent their absorption.

Myth #4: Our bodies need every essential amino acid at every meal

Those who follow vegetarian and vegan diets used to spend a great deal of time and effort balancing the recommended ratios of amino acids in every meal – but Mother Nature is one step ahead of us!  As long as we’re supplying our bodies with all of the essential amino acids over the course of a day, we don’t have to go to these lengths to be healthy.


Cliff Harvey (ND, Dip.Fit, HbT, Adv.Psych-K, Reiki lll) is a Naturopath and Clinical Nutritionist, and author and speaker specialising in holistic performance nutrition and mind-body-spirit lifestyle counselling. He teaches people how to give themselves the chemical building blocks of health (great nutrition) and how to integrate new patterns of behaviour and actions to achieve their life, health and performance goals.