Protein Powders: Why you SHOULD and SHOULDN’T take them
Dec 17, 2014
Who has ever taken a protein powder supplement? How many kinds have you tried? If you ask 10 people what is the best protein powder out there, are you going to get 10 different answers? Most likely.
I don’t know about you, but protein supplements used to be super confusing to me and it took a long time to straighten out what was what.
So let’s start with that! What is Protein powder?
Protein powder- Is a dietary supplement that is made from one or more of four basic sources of protein: whey, eggs, soy and rice. These sources of protein are processed into a powder (hence protein powder).
3 Reasons Why You Should Be Taking a Protein Powder.
Reaching your Macronutrient Ratios
Now there are tons of different ways to get the recommended amount of protein in your meal plan, and protein powders tend to be one of the easiest ways to do that (especially if you are a vegetarian!). According to the Center for Disease Control the average male should be consuming 56 grams of protein per day. For my own Protein intake (When I’m trying to stay leaner and not even build muscle) I am consuming 34.55 grams of protein… Per meal… For me that adds up to being 172.75 grams per day with 5 meals a day. Now that might sounds like a lot, but it is only 30% of my daily calories. So in order for me to reach those numbers taking a protein powder (which is roughly 25 grams per scoop) and making it into a shake makes it super easy.
Like I was saying above making a protein shake in less than 5 minutes makes it waaay easier than grilling up some chicken if you are in a hurry. And if you are in a hurry and you don’t have time to prep and make yourself a meal it’s hard to beat the convenience of a shake. Now let’s say you can’t make time for even that. What happens to your body when you miss that quick calorie fix? First is low blood sugar, If your blood sugar is low your body uses less efficient methods to keep it going. This is where you begin to get tired, sluggish, and what myself and many people like to call “hangry.” So you may begin to feel fatigued, sluggish, moody or just out of sorts if you skip a meal. Low blood sugar can also affect your memory, concentration and mental or athletic performance. Moral of the story is don’t be lazy and make the shake.
Building Muscle and Burning Fat
After a hard workout the last thing you want to do is skip your meal or shake, your muscles are literally exhausted and need to recuperate from it. Your body is going to convert glucose into glycogen so your muscles can repair themselves. If you don't eat after your workout, your body breaks down muscle into amino acids to convert into glucose. When that happens your body could experience increasing weakness. You may also experience a greater number of infections because your immune system can’t produce enough antibodies to fight off infections. And honestly with all of these cold and the flu going around this time of year I don’t know about you but I don’t have time for that!
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Taking a Protein Powder.
It is a processed food
Let’s say that you are trying to make egg protein powder at home. You first put the egg whites in a blender, then dehydrate, then grind them until they are a fine powder. During this whole process you lose so much of the nutrients in the egg when you take out the yolk. Now if you were to buy it, you don’t know where the eggs came from, if the chickens were free range or not, what they were fed etc. Truth be told this also involves one of the least processed proteins out there.
Protein powder companies can lie to you!
Like all companies, protein supplement companies are trying to make money. One of the ways they do this is by writing on their nutrition label “proprietary blend.” The two main reasons they do this is to prevent their competition from knowing exactly what amounts of each ingredient are present. This way they can’t just make some cheaper knockoff product. The other reason being to hide the actual amounts of ingredients to trick customers. Making a whey protein powder is getting more and more expensive to produce, so companies are trying to shave that cost by putting less whey powder in their blends. The worst part of all of this is that it is completely legal and the FDA won’t do anything about it unless someone gets sick from it.
Artificial Sweeteners in Protein Powder
I’m only going to talk about one particular type of artificial sweetener found in some protein supplements called Aspartame. What’s so bad about it you might ask? Well aspartame is actually two amino acids with the addition of methanol. When the body breaks down methanol it turns into formaldehyde and formic acid. Both are in the body in usually low manageable levels but keep adding small amount of it and it starts to become toxic. The FDA claims it is safe to consume but personally I’d rather have a little bit of regular sugar in there instead of worrying about getting epilepsy, brain tumors and effects on the nervous system, but hey it’s your body feel free!
So how would I summarize protein powder? I think is a great supplement for someone who is in a pinch (I actually had my all natural protein shake this morning for breakfast). Honestly, eating a well-rounded meal with good macronutrients will trump a protein shake any day, but if it comes down to a protein shake or nothing for breakfast go with the shake.