The protein supplements industry is a modern phenomenon on the rise; Protein supplement products range from protein shakes, protein powders, protein bars, protein gels and protein capsules. When used along side exercise, protein some of these can help with: muscle mass, metabolic rate & physical performance. But there is a lot of “crap” out there to which I will help you unravel today.
Protein Supplement Pros
Can help you meet increased protein requirements – when striving for your goals it can be quite tricky sometimes to reach your daily protein requirements via whole foods, so protein supplements can be a practical way for you to meet your increased protein requirements quickly after a workout. If opting to use protein supplements, they should contain both whey and casein protein.
Convenience – protein supplements are quick and easy to use, this is useful if you’re time poor, or don’t have access to a kitchen or cooking isn’t your favourite thing to do (me). They can also be useful if you are specifically trying to increase the protein content of meals without raising the fat or calorie content too much.
Cost – depending on the specific product, some protein supplements can be cost efficient especially when you daily protein requirements rise racially good quality products with high quality protein.
Protein Supplement Cons
May not actually contain any protein – yep you heard that right some “so called protein supplements” don’t contain as much bioavailable protein as they advertise. Non batch tested protein supplements may also have a poor protein quality and blend which can reduce the amino acid bioavailability, meaning not all of the protein listed might actually get used by the body.
Not always nutritionally balanced – shakes are often marketed as meal replacements, although not all of these are nutritionally balanced & can lead to nutritional deficiencies, you should not just replace food with shakes this is dangerous to your long term health & affects things like gut health, dental health, & from my experience mental health with clients suffering the affects of these restrictive shake diets.
Can be a waste of your money – I do believe a good quality protein shake can be a great way to keep hit your daily requirements, but I would steer clear of things like protein bars, cookies, gels etc these are frightfully expensive & usually contain really low amounts of protein anyway, you’re better with whole foods here & save your money.
My thoughts about a protein supplement….
I think they are useful yes, but only when used with a well balanced diet & exercise regime. They can be super convenient for our busy lifestyles. Before suggesting a protein supplement I would first ensure a client is doing their best to get most of their daily protein requirements via whole foods: meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, beans, soy/tofu, nuts etc. I personally prefer whole foods but do use a good quality protein supplement on days I know Im time poor or out & about unable to cook enough protein for that day.
Make sure you select a good reputable brand, don’t go cheap on your protein choices (mind you some of the most expensive are not always the best options either), I like the True Protein Brand myself. Steer clear of other protein supplements like bars, cookies, gels, save your money & your health.