Using a protein powder is one of the first things folks do when they “commit” themselves to weight training. I get it. There’s a certain affirmation that is contrived from scooping that powder into a smoothie, glass of milk or if you have some real gumption, water.
But is it worth it? This depends on who you are or whom you ask.
Personally, I’ve been a "user" in the past, but I haven’t touched protein powder in a couple years. Important to mention is that my goals regarding muscular development and strength gains have not waivered. Thus, these things have nothing to do with my discontinuation.
And though the title of this article may propose otherwise, in truth, protein powders have several benefits and very few cons. However, if you’re going to spend hard-earned money on something, it had better be worth it.
This installment on protein powders will play the role of devil’s advocate. Soon, I’ll post another article annotating why you should use protein powder.
But for now, why shouldn't you be using protein powder? Read on to find out.
I have to get this one out of the way. Supplementing with a protein powder to lose weight is definitively backwards. Like any other food, protein powder has a caloric value, and though this value isn’t typically high, the satiation: calorie ratio is poor. This is for several reasons but namely because protein powder lacks volume.
As we know, the name of the weight loss game is a caloric deficit, so don’t make it more difficult on yourself by consuming non-filling foods. This goes for substituting protein powder into a food recipe and adding it to shakes, an already non-filling calorie option.
You can see why this strategy is backwards. Protein shakes ARE NOT a good substitute for real food. They're not.
When I was 20 years old, I took great pride in filling my shaker bottle up with whole milk along with two scoops of protein powder. Sometimes I'd even throw some raw oats in there, but hell, it was 2014. In my head, I was Bugs Bunny drinking Michael’s Secret Stuff. If this reference doesn’t resonate, then check this link… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbaKze622Kg
But I get it. That super fit guy or girl you want to emulate is using protein powder, so why shouldn’t you? After all, it must be imperative.
For all intents and purposes, protein is protein. Yes, there are some miniscule differences between animal proteins, plant proteins, whey proteins, etc., but I’d focus on the amount of protein you’re consuming before the source. Therefore, if you don’t like protein shakes or protein pancakes (S/O Instagram), don’t consume them. They are by no means imperative to achieving any sort of physical or performance-related goal.
A common complaint regarding protein powder is its toughness on the stomach. I don’t believe this point needs lengthy validation, but suffice it to say that the cost (benefit of supplementing protein powder) is skewed out of your favor if frequent trips to the bathroom are required.
There you have it. I should also mention that not all protein powders are created equally. Often times, people find that an organic protein is easier on their stomach and may even taste better too. However, they’re usually more expensive.
Thanks for reading, and thank you to everyone who’s been subscribing.