I love my morning protein powder. It helps me feel like I am starting the day off right and since I have found one that I like the taste of, it actually tastes good. It’s also a good complement to my complex carb-heavy oatmeal. My kids are at the age now where they can see that I like this protein powder and have asked for a taste. No big deal, sure try a small taste – its a healthy supplement after all . To my surprise, they really liked it and started asking for their own small cup. That got me wondering is protein powder safe for kids?
Sure, I put protein in my own body because I believe it’s highly beneficial from my experience and research. But is it ok for kids? I started looking into it so that I could determine whether it was ok for them to have more than a sip.
It’s not just me – protein powder is a popular supplement for many adults trying to build muscle and cut fat. The answer to whether it is safe for children depends on various factors, including the child’s age, diet, and exercise habits, plus the type of protein powder used.
Children have different nutritional and dietary needs than adults, a factor every parent should consider before allowing their child to have protein. Let’s explore the potential risks and benefits of children taking protein powder.
How Much Protein Do Your Children Need?
Before considering protein powder as a supplement, it’s essential to consider the amount of protein your children need. Here is a recommended daily protein allowance for your children based on their age.
- 19 grams per day for children between 4 and 8 years of age
- 34 grams for children between 9 and 13 years of age
- 46 grams for girls between 14 and 18 of age
- 52 grams for boys between 14 and 18 of age
Proteins as a macronutrient should also make up between 10 and 30% of your children’s daily calorie intake.
What Are The Best Natural Sources of Protein for Children?
It’s crucial to get most of your children’s protein from natural sources. These include lean meats (e.g., chicken breast and fish), eggs, dairy products (e.g., yogurt, cheese, and milk), legumes (beans, lentils, and peanuts), grains, nuts, and seeds.
Protein powder should not substitute natural sources but rather complement them when needed. Children between 4 and 13 will need less protein than teenage boys so don’t overdo it on protein.
Is Protein Powder Safe for Kids?
Overall, protein powder may be safely used for children – however, we advise that you consult their doctor or nutritionist first. There are cases in which protein may be more advisable than others and cases when it’s not advisable at all. We will discuss these different types of cases below.
It’s also crucial to select the right type of protein powder, as some products contain added sugar, artificial colors or flavors, and other unhealthy ingredients. Also, you should be careful with the dosage and make sure your children do not exceed the daily recommended allowance.
When Is It Advisable to Use Protein Powder for Children?
If your child is active and does exercises that require strength or endurance, such as running, swimming, or playing team sports, their dietary protein needs may increase. In general, when your children have a very active lifestyle but aren’t meeting their daily recommended allowance of protein through diet alone, then introducing a protein supplement can help them reach the target.
Kids recovering from an illness or injury may also benefit from a protein supplement as part of their recovery program. Protein can help support muscle growth and healing, which is especially important for children who are still growing. In addition, children with chronic medical problems such as cystic fibrosis or Crohn’s disease may benefit from protein powder due to their reduced ability to absorb dietary protein.
Protein powder can also be used to supplement a vegan or vegetarian diet. Plant-based protein sources are not as complete as animal proteins; therefore, adding a protein powder can help balance your kid’s diet.
Finally, teens that are transitioning into adulthood that want to gain more muscle mass may benefit from protein powder as long as they use it in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise.
What Type of Protein Powder Should I Give to My Kids?
The type of protein powder you should give to your kids depends on their specific needs and goals. If your child is very active but still has healthy eating habits, then a low-fat and low-sugar content powder is the best choice. Soy protein and whey are popular, but a plant-based protein that contains both prebiotics and probiotics can also be a great option for children.
Other types of plant proteins include pea protein, hemp protein, and brown rice protein. Finally, if your child is recovering from an illness or injury, consult their doctor to determine the type of protein powder that is best for their needs. Always read the label, and choose a protein powder with no added sugar or artificial ingredients.
When Should I Avoid Giving Protein Powder to My Children?
It’s important to remember that protein supplements are not necessary for children with a healthy diet. They should never be used as meal replacements. Also, they should not be given to children younger than four years old. Small children’s developing bodies need more complex nutrients that protein powder can’t provide. Finally, if your child has had kidney or liver problems, ask their doctor before introducing protein powder to their diet. Actually, ask your doctor no matter what – it’s always helpful to get their input about your specific child.
So is protein powder safe for kids? Protein powder can be a great supplement for older kids who have increased dietary needs due to an active lifestyle. It can also be helpful for children recovering from injury and illness. Keep in mind that it should only be used with a healthy diet and advice from their doctor. Always read the label carefully and ensure your kids get the best nutrition possible.