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When a person thinks of protein powder, the image of a shredded adult with monstrous muscles comes to mind. Protein powder is often mistaken to be something that gym-going people consume in copious quantities, in order to build their muscles quicker. However, protein powder may be necessary for your children, too- it can play a huge role in the development of the body of your child.
What Is Protein Powder?
Protein powder, as the name suggests, consists mainly of proteins which are an essential requirement for the human body. Protein powder for children mainly comes in three types, which are whey, soy and casein protein. While all three of these can be consumed by children, whey protein is mainly recommended by doctors. This is a water-soluble milk protein, which has the essential amino acids which play a huge role in the development of the child and also helps your child in his intake of the required amount of protein.
How Much Protein Do Children Need?
Obviously, children need much less protein than their adult counterparts- they do not need to go to the gym to work out, after all. Protein does help in the growth of children, so it is a necessary cog in their diet. The amount required by children varies according to their age. For children younger than three years, around ten percent of their calories must be derived from proteins. This figure rises to between ten and thirty percent for children older than the age of 4. For adults, the figure lies at a lofty 35%- this highlights how essential proteins are to the child.
The exact amount of protein required for the child also depends upon the weight of the child. However, around 15 grams of protein is required for the healthy development of a child.
Is Protein Powder Good for Kids?
This question is one of the most frequent ones that parents ask, before buying protein powder for their children. The stigma around protein powder has grown to such a level that consuming it is considered almost akin to taking steroids, as the powder is consumed mainly by gym-going muscle-bound guys. However, protein powder is definitely safe for children although the intake should be controlled.
In a normal scenario, your child might be getting the amount of protein he requires from the daily diet that he consumes. Fruits, nuts and vegetables are rich in protein; soy protein shakes are not required if your child consumes enough of those. Protein shakes may contain an excess amount of protein, which the body will turn to fat and this can contribute to obesity in the child. Also, a large amount of protein being consumed frequently can result in kidney damage and dehydration in the child, so the amount needs to be controlled with extreme care.
Types of Protein Powder for Children
There are three types of protein powder for children, which are:
1. Whey Protein Powder
This type of protein is also called the ‘complete’ one, as it has all the essential amino acids which play a huge role in the development of the child’s body. Whey protein powder for kids is derived from cow milk, therefore, is best suited for small children. The production of leucine, an amino acid starts as soon as this protein enters the bloodstream of the child.
2. Casein Protein Powder
Casein protein powder is also derived from milk, but it does not have all of the amino acids mentioned above. Casein is also harder to digest, especially for children- your child may feel full for longer than usual after consuming casein powder.
3. Soy Protein Powder
The third type of powder, soy protein powder has been touted to have great benefits for children- however, there is no conclusive evidence about this. In fact, soy milk is one of the eight major foods that many children are allergic to. Children who have allergies to dairy products usually are allergic to soy too, and soy milk is not necessarily better than dairy in any way. Therefore, you are better off avoiding soy products unless the doctor recommends them.
How to Choose Kids Friendly Protein Powder?
Choosing the best protein powder for kids can be difficult, here are some tips you a use:
- Ensure that whey isolate is present in the powder if you are looking to buy whey protein powder for your child.
- Buy powder with fewer amounts of artificial sweeteners, as they can contribute to obesity in the child.
- Choose a flavour that is easy to consume for children.
- Choose protein isolates over concentrates, as the former is better and purer compared to the latter.
- A high-sugar content in the powder can be counterproductive, as it only gives a short-term energy boost for the child.
Protein powder may become a necessity for your child if he is not getting enough of it through his diet. If you choose to give your child protein powder, do not forget to consult a dietician regarding the recommended intake and the downsides to the powder you choose!