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Special Diets/Whey Protein and its effects on body.

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Question
Respected Sir,
I am a 20 year old guy with a height of 172 cm and weight of 54Kg. I am planning to take Whey protein to gain weight as my BMI is not good and I am too lean. But I am really worried about the effects of whey protein.

1) Is it safe to take whey protein at this age?
2) Is there any side effects?(..like whether it will create any hormone imbalance, hair loss, liver and kidney failure etc??)
3) Should I take any other precautions before taking this?

Please help me. I am confused.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration

Answer
Dear Mr Singh,

I cannot answer your question from a completely physical perspective alone. I need to present you with a larger context. I don't think whey protein as a single product can help you gain weight,but it can be one component providing you with a little protein boost. Protein is especially required for brain activity and to help build muscle. But exercise is also required to stimulate such growth.

As such it is safe to use a couple of tablespoons a day in a (raw) smoothie, perhaps, which must contain other nutrients, including fruit or vegetables alternately, coconut, other nuts, oats perhaps (very good for adding weight). Often we see body-builders live off huge amounts of such products, which is not healthy to be sure, and quite nauseating on many fronts (it tastes foul and that corrupts your taste buds, it abuses resources, and is often combined with steroids).

It is always crucial to eat a varied diet to ensure health, especially when still maturing (which your brain is until around age 24, and this is the greatest consumer of protein). You could alternate whey with soy, rice, almond, or pea protein. They all have slightly different mineral and amino acid contents. There is no point in taking more than a supplementary amount of such products, they will only disrupt your digestive and metabolic system and could, in effect, cause you to lose more weight! (Diahoerrea or corruption of organ systems etc).

You are very right to be cautious in trying out any product for a specific effect. Physical health and shape/size is subject to an intricate and refined dynamic. Nothing can replace three square and balanced meals a day. If you are unable to obtain protein from animal sources (meat/chicken/fish/eggs) then there is always pulses, but cereals also can be sources of protein (quinoa notably). The body might not always necessarily convert raw protein into muscle tissue, though. First, a calorific intake must be assured. So make sure you get a very minimum of 2000 cals a day if you lead a normally active life.

It is also important to bear in mind that hereditory factors may prevent the kind of weight gain you are ideally looking to achieve. You can still be perfectly healthy with a lower BMI than charts prefer for you. If you are low on energy, suffer with ailments chronically, have memory failure, fertility issues etc, then you should start to get worried about being TOO lean. You will then also need to consult a dietician who supervises you regularly.

Realise also that nervous over-activity (tv, pc, long hours of cerebreal work)will drain your energy too, leaving little to spare for your physique. Sleep and fresh air also work upon building up the body. Also, often it takes for men to age well into their twenties before they begin to "set" a bit. If you gain weight unnaturally fast, now, you'll be sorry, for your body will become confused and you could also end up too podgy by age 40 or indeed damage organs or develop diabetes.

Make sure you include carbohydrates for calorific value in your diet, add healthy (non-saturated) fats (nuts, oily fish, vegetable oils etc) and plenty of vegetables for vitamins and minerals to keep your hair, skin and eyes radiant, and your overall performance optimal.

So, in sum: you could try a VERY HIGH QUALITY whey powder and see how it goes for a couple of months, using a small (normal) dose as a SUPPLEMENT to a proper sturdy diet and good-sized portions for a man your age. Use other protein products aswell - from other (plant) sources (whey is milk based).

If you eat an overall healthy diet you are sending a message to your body to enjoy your physical self and the body will want to feel itself more and this promotes a dynamic of natural "body building". It is a way of grounding and this connection to substance will fill you out better. That is why sports actually work too. Try to tap into the fact that there is a soul and/or mental aspect to this leanness of yours.

Wishing you much joy in your physical development,
Mrs. Evelyn Alexander  

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Evelyn Alexander

Expertise

I can supplement your knowledge on health food and alternative remedies. I take a dynamic (energetic) approach to health and discomforts. My sources and references for my advice and ideas are predominantly Anthroposophic. I am not medically trained. I have done 25 years of critical research (metaphysics and alternative medicine) and been an expert on About for over eight years. Two great ills I can help combat are ignorance and neglectfulness. In matters of healthy living I encourage discipline, respect and self-belief. My life-philosophy is fundamentally based on ANTHROPOSOPHY, which in a nut-shell, is a western metaphysical science and modern alchemical way of looking at the meaning of life. I also draw on Taoist and Ayurvedic systems. I am a mother of a boy with an Autistc Spectrum Disorder, whom I have raised on a bio-dynamic diet and homeopathic remedies. I have been a vegetarian for 25 years. I am currently researching ways to understand and treat Autism from an alternative perspective.

Experience

My direct nutritional and health care experience stems from 25 years of vegetarianism, 15 years of bio-organic cooking and 10 years as a single mother of an Autistic boy. I have read widely on nutrition and (alternative) medicine. My main focus over the past 20 years has been on Anthroposophy. I take a critical stance of modern New Age spin-offs, but generally support the hard core theory of man as a four-fold spiritual being. I have studied the following topics: Yoga, Astrology, Meditation, Tarot, Reiki, Taoist Five Element Theory, Colour/Painting Therapy, Herbology, Aromatherapy, Flower Essences, Crystals, Ayurveda, Acupuncture, Shiatsu, Macrobiotics, Ortho-Molecular science, Touch For Health, Natropathy, Music therapy, Eurhythmy, various forms of Shamanism, Palmistry, Numerology, Alchemy, World Religions, Metaphysics, Mythology, Cabala, Angels and Elementals. My interests extend into the fields of biology and especially plant morphology.

Education/Credentials
I have an academic background in linguistics. I translate and edit. I teach English. But I seem to be better at imaginative and creative thinking than logic and reason.

Past/Present Clients
Intelligent and sensitive people who are interested in gathering more information on alternative options in medicine and nutrition, which may lead to emotional, physical or spiritual healing. I have been unable to help people with weight issues lose specific amounts of weight within specific amounts of time - since this does not fall within my holistic aims.

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