The main problem with the modern population that is concerned about fitness is ignorance. This section often treats food supplement as an essential part of its daily diet and also there is a tendency to think that the positive effects of these supplements will get amplified if they are consumed a lot more than is actually recommended and for a longer period of time.
The fact that food supplements are merely used to make up for the essential minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that are deficient in a person’s daily diet, is often ignored. When these supplements are used to enhance certain developmental procedures in the body such as growth and development of muscles, hair, bones, teeth, concentration, etc. they must be consumed in quantities in accordance to a prescription by an experienced and trusted dietician.
Protein powder, sometimes used interchangeably with whey protein is one of the most popular and highly consumed food supplements in the world. It has become common nowadays to feed children with this supplement. But the long-term and even the short-term consequences are often overlooked as all that is desired is the fast and proper growth of children. But subjecting the young ones to protein powder at an early age instead of fresh fruits, vegetables and proper sources of proteins such as pulses and meat makes the growth process far from being proper and of course, sometimes the effects prove to be counterproductive.
Protein Powder for Kids: 5 Major Side Effects
The side effects maybe personal and vary from one individual to another while some may arise due to an improper dosage of the protein powder. Here are 5 serious side effects of protein powder on kids.
The most common forms of protein that are present in protein powder include whey and casein both of which are obtained from milk. These proteins play an important role in the development of healthy muscles and tissues but the problem arises when these are consumed in excess. The sugar present in these protein supplements is lactose which is known to harm the process of digestion beyond certain levels of consumption. This effect is especially true for children below 12 who have developing organ systems and some of whom may even be lactose intolerant. The consequential sufferings include diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, bloating and other related problems.
Unprecedented weight gain
Every parent desires that their children have a healthy body and overweight and obesity is the last thing that they want them to be affected by. But giving the children protein shakes for this purpose can bring these fears back to life. It has been observed that consumption of protein powder for longer periods of time and in quantities that are way past the recommended amount, can lead to unprecedented deposition of fat in the body and hence gain in weight. So, the very purpose for which the protein powders were introduced into the diet will be compromised. If the child is involved in enough activities throughout the day then limited amounts of supplements can be allowed but if not so, then the results can be quite the opposite of what is desired.
Excessive pressure on the kidneys
It is strongly recommended not to harm the system of the body during its developing phase. The excretory system is subjected to large amounts of stress when an excess of protein supplements is consumed. This is because ammonia is formed as a byproduct when these are assimilated in the body. This ammonia is then excreted out with urine. Hence, if large amounts of protein powders are consumed it can be guessed that this stress in the kidneys will get intensified leading to failure in its functioning. In children, the renal disorders may take serious form and can permanently damage the excretory system. Kidney stones may also develop if the habit of improper protein supplement consumption is not eradicated soon enough.
Weakening of bones
This may seem to be quite impossible considering the claim that protein powder does make the bones and muscles strong. But that is true only if it is consumed in quantities that are needed by the body. Excess consumption of protein powder can lead to the weakening of bones. This effect has been linked to the source from which protein powders are derived – the animal sources such as eggs and beef that are acidic in nature. When the assimilated supplement is taken up by the blood the acid level increases, sometimes to excessively high levels. Now, to establish stability in the bloodstream the body releases countermeasure chemicals that are alkaline in nature. These chemicals are mostly released from the bones leading to the consequential reduction in the bone mass. The skeletal structure in children is weak and is not ready to take on this effect at such an early stage of development.
Hormonal balance is one of the most important things that need to be maintained in the body when it enters the adolescent phase. If this becomes offset in some way or the other then the rest of the life can prove to be a suffering. Soy-based protein powder is consumed by a large portion of the population including some children too. Soy is beneficial in that they contain a variety of important amino acids. However, these protein supplements contain a chemical called phytoestrogen that can act as a mimic of the estrogen hormones. This sets the entire endocrine system off balance leading to huge problems in the puberty stage. The soy-based proteins are usually genetically modified. These genetically modified chemicals can have adverse effects on the hormonal balance and can give rise to birth defects. Although the last side effect is not related to consumption of protein powder by kids but more to the effects of protein powder on newborns.
Protein powder can prove to be beneficial for the kids only is it is consumed in quantities that the dietician approves of. It does lead to a healthy growth of tissues and muscles and strengthening the bones. The development process at the early stage also takes a better and more wholesome pathway with the inclusion of a proper amount of protein supplement in the diet. However, the allergic reaction of the body to certain types of chemicals in these products need to be taken care of before proceeding with its consumption. It is always recommended to take the advice of a dietician or child specialist before giving the children protein powder.