1. I’m not eating enough protein: You may or may not be eating enough protein depending on your age, gender, and body goals. Even though the Dietary Reference Intake recommends that men and women between the ages of 40-50 consume 56 grams and 46 grams of protein respectively, this number serves as a baseline and does not apply to every age group and body type. For athletes, bodybuilders, or anyone trying to build muscle, the recommended amount of protein is 1.2-1.7x that of your body weight.


2. High-protein, low-carb diets are the way to go: Before you ditch bread, rice, and any other food with complex carbs altogether, remember that your body NEEDS carbohydrates! Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. If there are not carbs for our cells to gobble up, then they will settle for the next best thing: protein. If you don’t consume enough carbs, you’re in danger of losing your muscle mass.


3. Protein is only in meat: Good news for vegetarians: protein can be found in nuts, beans, and some whole grains. Some of your favorite foods like peanut butter, black beans, or almonds, have around 7 grams per serving. Half a cup of tofu or any soy product will contain 11 grams of protein. And the popular super grain quinoa has 9 grams of protein per cup.


4. Too much protein is bad for your kidneys: Consuming too much of any one nutrient is bad for you; eat in moderation. The kidneys are like our body’s waste filtration system. If we eat too much of something or consume something dangerous, healthy kidneys can extract those unhealthy components and dispose of them. A huge increase in protein will not break your kidneys. If you experience any kidney pain or adverse symptoms, then you might not have to worry about your protein consumption, as this could be indicative of a more serious condition.


5. Protein makes you gain weight: An increase in protein consumption will make you heavier, but the extra weight is in muscle and lean body mass. And, if you regularly eat high levels of protein, you will lose weight in the long run. So don’t let the scale alarm you the next time you weigh yourself and you’ve gained a few pounds; you’re also losing that pesky flab.

Don’t be afraid to chug that protein shake or eat an extra piece of meat! Your body will thank you for making it stronger.