Protein shakes are big business, accounting for a large portion of the multi-billion dollar fitness industry. Everyone knows what a protein shake is even if they are not into fitness. But amongst these people, protein shakes have a certain stigma.
Protein shakes have evolved over the past few decades and are more synonymous with meal replacement shakes. While a standard protein shake with no added extras doesn’t contain enough calories to be considered a full meal, it can easily be enhanced with added ingredients to turn it into a meal replacement shake.
The new trend is to superpower your protein shakes by adding more healthy ingredients. Adding oats, fruit, peanut butter and some leafy greens before blending it, is an easy way to transform a simple protein shake into a fully-fledged meal replacement shake.
Many people in the fitness industry are sceptical about the effects of protein shakes on your body and whether they are that necessary to achieve your goals. We all know that protein is needed to help your body build muscle. Therefore, drinking protein shakes is an easy way to get that added protein needed to build muscle and keep your body in top physical condition. Sounds pretty simple, so why is there so much scepticism surrounding protein shakes?
Many people argue that you don’t need protein shakes to build muscle and that the industry is selling lies to get you to rely on them. Others suggest that protein shakes are actually negatively affecting your body.
In this article, we look at the main reasons many people are sceptical, in order to find out the truth about protein shakes.
Do you NEED Protein Shakes?
The truth is, no, you don’t need to drink protein shakes to get the amount of protein needed to build muscle. In order to build muscle, you need to intake around 0.7 – 1 gram of protein per lbs of body weight. This is quite a lot of protein depending on how much you weigh, and it will only increase as you put on muscle.
If you think about it, a protein shake is just an easy way to get in some extra protein throughout the day to get you to your total. There is nothing special about a protein shake in general, you could instead eat and extra chicken breast a day to get that protein.
But, via that comparison, you can see the benefit of protein shakes. They are an easy, cheap and quick way to get some extra protein in. It is also an easy component to add to other ingredients to make a meal replacement shake, perhaps saving even more time. They are not necessary but make the process of acquiring the desired daily calories and macronutrients easier.
They Are Highly Processed
It might surprise you to know that protein powders aren’t some magic powder that is a pure extraction of protein. They are full of additives and preservatives to keep it in powder form and to keep it good in its container for months or years at a time.
Moreover, they are loaded with sweeteners and mystery flavourings. You may have noticed the vast array of flavours that protein powders come in. At this point, they are basically sweets or fizzy drinks. When looking at the packaging you won’t notice any of the ingredients used to make these colourful flavourings.
If you are concerned about your health rather than just building muscle, you might be inclined to try vegan proteins. There is a whole variety out there from brown rice protein to plant proteins, and while they don’t taste as good, contain far fewer preservatives and additives.
While protein powder is hailed as this magic muscle building formula that is an essential part of a new diet, in reality, it is not that necessary and is full of preservatives and additives. It is an easy, quick and cheap way to consume more protein to meet your daily goals. But it is not a meal replacement and does not contribute any of the other necessary vitamins and minerals that you would otherwise get from a small meal. While it seems obvious in retrospect, protein shakes are actually basically just sweets in drinkable form. The amount of sugar and flavourings needed to mask the awful flavour of raw protein powder is scary. Next time you are considering which protein powder to buy, consider what other quick meals could provide the same serving of protein.