One of the most often used sports supplements is protein powder. While it may be used for a variety of purposes, it’s most commonly taken by people who want to alter their body composition by growing muscle mass and/or lowering body fat. It isn’t required, but it can be useful if utilized correctly.
It’s a nutritional supplement that can help you lose weight, boost your athletic performance, and speed up your recovery after a hard workout. They are available as a ready-made product or as a powder to make at home.
If you’re considering adding protein shakes to your regimen, consider the following benefits and drawbacks.
Pros of Whey Protein Shakes
1. They Provide Weight Maintenance
Drinking a protein shake gives you the option of losing weight or keeping your present weight. People aiming to lose weight who participate in a meal replacement program lose more weight overall than those who follow a traditional diet. Because a protein shake has fewer calories than a complete meal, this is true.
Protein smoothies have been shown to be useful in weight loss. If you don’t consume more calories than you expend, you will lose weight. As a result, if you substitute a calorie-dense meal with a lower-calorie drink, you’ll lose weight quickly if you combine this practice with regular exercise.
Protein is the most satiating ingredient; therefore these smoothies should keep you full for a longer amount of time. Remember to combine the shakes with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
2. They Are Convenient
A shake is quick and easy to consume. It takes only a few minutes to prepare and fills you up like a complete dinner. Fresh fruit may be added to the smoothie for a more comprehensive nutritional profile.
3. They Are Cost-Effective
Despite the fact that a protein shake mix might cost upwards of $100, you will get numerous shakes from one container. This drastically lowers the price per serve. The majority of protein shakes cost less than $0.50 per serving.
4. Loss Of Weight
Protein powder can be used as a meal substitute or addition to a low-calorie diet to help with appetite management and weight reduction.
Medical researchers revealed in a 2008 study published in “Nutrition & Metabolism” that persons who cut calories and supplemented with whey protein lost more body fat and kept more lean muscle over a 12-week period than those who cut calories and supplemented with a non-protein-rich beverage. Because protein is more satiating than carbs or fat, powdered versions of the nutrient can be effective weight-loss aids.
5. Muscle Gain
When paired with regular resistance exercise, protein powder, especially whey powder, can help you grow lean muscle mass. Participants who supplemented a six-week weight-training regimen with whey protein grew more lean muscle and reported larger strength increases than those who got a placebo, according to a study published in 2001 by researchers at St. Francis Xavier University.
Whey is a fast-acting protein, which means it is easily digested by the body, allowing for faster recovery from the slight muscle damage that happens during strength training.
Various studies have established that our systems can only absorb 20-40g of protein in 3-4 hours, so cramming your protein shake with more powder won’t help you gain muscle.
6. Whey Powder is a Quick-Acting Protein
Whey protein powders are readily absorbed by the body, allowing amino acids to reach the muscles more efficiently. As a result, you’ll get better exercise and recover faster.
7. It’s Simple to Keep Track of How Much Protein You’re Consuming
If you eat enough natural protein, you may not need the extra protein in the shakes — a gram of protein per pound of body weight should be more than enough to promote muscle building when paired with exercise. Your amount of activity will also influence how much protein your body needs to develop muscle.
8. Protein Smoothies are Simple to Bring to the Gym for Exercise
To help recuperation and muscular building, the body must be refueled with a combination of carbohydrates and protein after exercise. It’s ideal if you can obtain that energy from protein-rich snacks, but carrying a cooked chicken breast and a sweet potato to the gym might be difficult. Many busy folks who need a quick dosage of protein to boost their endurance and energy levels might benefit from a protein smoothie (which also includes carbohydrates).
9. Increased Protein Consumption is Beneficial to Older Athletes
Growing data suggest that increasing protein intake benefits older persons (50+), particularly older athletes. The RDA for protein is.8 g/kg (about.5 g/pound) for non-endurance athletes and 1.2-1.6 g/kg for endurance athletes. The recommended daily protein intake for Masters-aged endurance athletes rises to 1.6-1.8 g/kg. (2019, Desbrow)
Cons of Whey Protein Shakes
1. Protein Powder is a Dietary Supplement, Not a Complete Meal
You shouldn’t just rely on protein powder to satisfy your body’s nutritional requirements. Protein-rich foods like beans and pulses also provide critical nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that a healthy body demands.
2. Don’t Go Overboard
Overdoing it on protein supplements can harm the kidneys, which are responsible for metabolizing the body’s waste. An overabundance of protein can dehydrate the body and, in difficult situations, raise the risk of kidney stones and gout.
3. Protein From Whole Meals Works in the Same Way as Protein Powder Does
Animal proteins, as well as vegan proteins such brown rice, fermented soy products, and hemp, are just as beneficial as powdered protein. They are, however, more difficult to come by and take longer to make than a shake.
A well-balanced diet that includes lots of natural protein sources, as well as protein supplements, is a winning combination for improving training and increasing muscle growth.
4. It Lacks Micronutrients And Antioxidants
Although protein shakes are quick and handy, they constitute a nutritional supplement rather than a complete meal. Protein powder can help you meet your daily protein requirements, but it cannot replace the minerals and antioxidants found in protein-rich, entire meals.
Micronutrient deficits can occur if you rely entirely on protein powder as your primary source of protein. It is deficient in phytonutrients, antioxidants, and dietary fibers, all of which are essential micronutrients for a healthy, functioning body.
5. It May Include Unanticipated Harmful Ingredients
Purchasing protein powder gets a little more difficult at this point. Protein powders come in a variety of forms and brands, including whey, casein, soy, rice, pea, and hemp. The various powders are made from various protein sources, and each variety is tailored to a certain lifestyle and dietary limitation.
After you’ve decided on the protein powder that’s right for you, double-check the contents. To flavor their powders, companies can employ preservatives, fructose syrup, artificial sweeteners, and maltodextrin. These chemicals may make the protein powders taste wonderful, but they also make them rich in sugar, carbohydrates, and fat.
6. Calorically Dense
Whey protein can contain a variety of carbohydrates and fats in addition to protein. They contribute calories to your diet, regardless of the macronutrient ratio. If you eat them in addition to your regular diet, you may ingest an excess of calories, resulting in unintentional weight gain over time.
Whole meals with the same amount and grade of protein can be more costly than whey protein supplements. Whole foods like tuna, peanut butter, and skim milk are less expensive and contain the same amount of protein as whey protein supplements.
8. High in Lactose
Because whey protein is a milk derivative, some whey protein supplement formulations still contain lactose, which might cause digestive irritation if you have lactose sensitivity. WPC is reported to maintain most of the natural qualities of milk, including lactose, due to its processing. WPI prides itself on being lactose-free.
9. Nutrient Deficiency
Despite varying fat and carbohydrate content, whey protein supplements contain lower quantities of critical elements than many whole food protein sources. A lean steak (zinc and iron), roast turkey (B vitamins), salmon (omega 3), and beans are all good examples (fibre).
Unlike regular foods, over-the-counter, and prescription pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements are not subjected to the same level of scrutiny before being sold. This is particularly true when buying supplements on the internet. As a result, whey protein supplements may expose you to pollutants, impurities, or forbidden chemicals that may be present in the product you eat.
How Is Protein Made?
Whey protein powder is the most frequent form of protein powder available (non-vegan). It’s formed from the milky liquid left over after producing cheese, which is then dried naturally or by spray drying.
Different types of whey protein are created depending on the procedure.
Whey protein comes in four different forms:
- Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
- Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
- Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH)
- Native Whey
Isolates are treated to eliminate fat and lactose, whereas hydrolysate whey proteins are pre-digested and partially hydrolyzed, making them much simpler to digest.
How to Choose the Best Protein Powder for You
Now that we’ve looked at the benefits and drawbacks of protein powder, here are some recommendations for protein powder selection. Ingredients and nutritional value are two areas where we pay close attention.
We search for the following things in particular:
- There will be no soy.
- There are no added sugars or artificial sweeteners (or only a little amount!)
- Protein powders with BCAAs are best for post-workout recovery.
- 1 scoop should include around 20 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbohydrates, and a maximum of 150 calories.
Over the last two decades, advances in science and technology have allowed for a better knowledge of whey protein processing and functioning. People’s attitudes about health and fitness have also improved as a result of educational advancements. Protein is in higher demand now than it has ever been, from athletes to normal folks living a healthy lifestyle. Whey protein supplements are a convenient way to add protein to your diet, but they’re only essential if you can’t get enough protein from food alone.
Athletes who are in sync with their bodies’ needs and capabilities understand exactly what they need to keep performing at their best. Whey protein supplements are a practical way for athletes to get readily absorbed protein to meet their high demands. However, as additional claims about WPI bioavailability emerge, it is evident that the issue will need a significant amount of research and investigation to determine whether such claims are true.