Why you should ditch protein shakes

Pretty much everyone knows that protein is an important part of our diet. Its most well-known role is the maintenance of muscle cells as protein helps build new muscle cells and repairs damaged ones. Competitive athletes and body builders have higher protein requirements because of the strain they place on their bodies. Individuals also seeking weight loss or weight gain have higher protein requirements. People may supplement their protein intake by protein shakes, but the following 4 reasons are why you should consider ditching protein shakes and/or protein powder no matter how convenient.

Read: Protein staples for the vegetarian on a budget

  1. It’s expensive!

This number one best seller on Amazon costs almost $60 for 77 servings and will probably last around 2-3 months depending on your workout regimen. That equates to around $240-$360 per year spent only on protein powder. If you’re buying premade shakes at the grocery store or ordering them from smoothie places, then the cost is even higher.

  1. There are better (and cheaper) alternatives

The ideal post-workout meal for a casual gym-goer contains a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. The #1 best seller on Amazon has a ratio of 8:1. A glass of chocolate milk or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich meet this ratio perfectly. Your wallet will definitely thank you for these cheaper options.

  1. It isn’t natural

While the ingredients list is short, the #1 best seller still lists “natural and artificial flavors.” In addition, it also has an artificial sweetener called acesulfame potassium. I am a firm believer of getting nutrients from whole and natural foods before reaching for supplements. Aside from containing a large amount of protein, it doesn’t really offer anything else of nutritional value. Consuming protein from natural and whole sources has the benefits of also providing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Even if the powder is fortified, nothing beats the real deal.

  1. May lead to the over-consumption of protein

The typical American diet meets or exceeds the daily requirements for protein. Our eating patterns have shifted to where we eat large protein portions at each meal. Consuming a protein shake daily without lessening the amount in your normal diet, will cause overconsumption. While there are no serious consequences of protein overconsumption, it may lower the intake of healthy carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

 

Okay, so maybe I haven’t completely convinced you stop drinking protein shakes or using protein powder, but please do your research. Take some time to evaluate your diet and your lifestyle to determine if you actually need protein shakes. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is my protein goal? Use this calculator to determine your needs
  • Does my current diet meet this goal? Use any diet tracker. My personal favorite is MyFitnessPal
    • If yes, just make sure to consume a meal or snack after your workout with the 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein.
    • If not, are there realistic foods that I can add to diet that are good sources of protein? Think of healthy sources like chicken, fish, and nuts.

If you can’t think of any way to add protein to your diet without using protein supplements, then protein shakes might be your last resort.



Risa is a boss ass Brazilian. When she’s not running around helping her friends and studying nutrition, she likes to indulge on crime shows and stove top popcorn. She is passionate about global health, well actually, any global-related issue, and hopes to help solve the world’s problems. She has already traveled to Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Marshall Islands and can’t wait to drop another pin on the map. In the meantime, she’ll sip on a vodka cranberry while planning her future.

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2 thoughts on “Why you should ditch protein shakes

  1. I agree with all of your reasons for not using protein shakes, but for me the strongest reason is that most of them are made from whey, and I am fiercely allergic to whey. Protein powders made from other substances cost twice as much as the whey powders. Why bother, when there is actual FOOD available if one just takes the time to prepare it? If all else fails and I really want a protein snack and I don’t have time to cook, there is always cheese or nuts available everywhere. Cheese is casein, and the whey is gone from it, so I am not allergic to that. I was told at the age of 5 that I was allergic to dairy, and not to eat any dairy products at all. It took me 57 years to figure out that I am ONLY allergic to the whey portion, and that my body is just fine with butter and cheese. I am now 73, and cheese is one of my go-to snacks. (P.S., I am a retired physician. When I went to medical school, nutrition was not only not taught, but even talking about it was frowned upon. The Chief of Medicine in the hospital where I did my clinical rotations said, “You ask too many questions about nutrition. Nutrition is nothing but a fad and has no place in REAL medicine!” Gulp. I learned to keep my mouth shut on the subject, and do my reading on nutrition on my own.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just a point on the “natural and artificial flavors” bit: the only difference between flavors labeled as “natural” and “artificial” is whether they have been extracted directly from the source (vanillin from vanilla bean, for example) versus having been chemically synthesized (like the vanillin in most vanilla extract you see in the store). On a molecular level they are literally identical, so the distinction between natural and artificial flavors is completely meaningless. One is not more healthy than the other because they are chemically identical.

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