Do I really need to be drinking protein powders and shakes?

The market is flooded with protein powders and supplements with tall claims of muscle gain, chiseled bodies and weight loss. A lot of times as soon as you enroll to a gym, you are convinced that only if you start taking some protein powder or shake will you be able to lose fat and build more muscle. While you do need extra protein if going in for an intensive workout, what is actually necessary is that you drink something which will help your body to replenish the electrolytes and relieve the fatigued muscle. High protein powders and isolates are also recommended for athletes, under strict medical and nutritional supervision, so that their muscles are not damaged by the strenuous physical activity and their endurance increases. But does any man or woman doing a basic workout of about 45 minutes a day need protein powder? No. Are protein powders the only way of getting good quality proteins? No.

You can easily get high quality proteins in your diet by increasing the amount of lean meat, eggs, dairy, green leafy vegetables like spinach, nuts and oilseeds (sunflower seeds, hemp) and whole grains. In fact, you can also make protein powder free, high protein shakes by blending yogurt, banana and berries. So then why would you want to pay through your nose to buy a protein powder which not only smells awful but also has a smaller shelf life? The biggest problem with consuming protein powders is that most often people end up taking more protein than prescribed in hopes that it will work its (assumed) magic faster and then that leaves them with indigestion, stomach cramps and in extreme cases it increases the load on kidneys and hence causes problems with renal function.

Need more reason to check what you are drinking post work-out? Here you go. Unlike regular protein rich foods, these protein powders are highly processed products which have plenty preservatives, genetically modified protein sources and other synthetic products like saccharin, aspartame and artificial flavors. Whey proteins can also be allergens for people who cannot digest dairy products easily. Since protein powders are considered to be supplements, there is very little regulation on the products available in the market. A recent study also reported some of these protein supplement powders to have high levels of cadmium and lead, which are toxic in nature.

Always remember, it is always better to eat or drink foods that are as natural and whole as possible and avoid commercially manufactured, synthetic products.

About Amita

Nutritionist, Foodie, Mum.
This entry was posted in Diet and Nutrition- Simplified and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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