Protein shakes may not exactly be the miracle solutions some adverts make them out to be. They can aid weight loss and muscle gain to an extent but not if they’re used as a single means to an end. If combined with normal healthy diet, regular exercise, and drunk when they’re supposed to be drunk (i.e. before/during/after working out) and only now and again then I suppose they can help with weight management. And yeah ok, drinking a protein shake is also easier, faster and more convenient than preparing a variety of balanced meals every day. But there are some serious limitations when it comes to these expensive shakes and, for me, there are far more reasons not to drink them then there are to…
Where the minerals at?
First and foremost they are nutritionally lacking. Most protein shakes don’t contain the goodness that a nutritionally balanced meal would. A serving of whole grains such brown rice, bulgar wheat or quinoa, with a mixture of veggies and some protein in the form of quorn, tofu or a lean meat is a perfect combination of food providing you with all the healthy carbs, good fats and protein you need (as well as containing heaps of vitamins and minerals). A protein shake on the other hand will have approximately 20 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat and 8 grams of carbohydrates. Shakes simply don’t contain the same level of antioxidants and other phytonutrients as whole foods, grains fruits and vegetables.
Limited Edition… I think not
Secondly, protein shakes are definitely limited in what they can do for you and your body. Even with shakes, you won’t lose weight if you don’t reduce your calorie intake, and you won’t tone and develop your muscles if you don’t train regularly. If you’re going to use shakes then make sure you include them as part of a diet and exercise plan that will help you reach and maintain your fitness and health goals for the long-term.
You paid how much?
Lastly, why are they soo darn expensive?? For up to 1kg of Whey Protein Powder you’re looking at around £25-£30, and for 2kg it’s more like £40-£50. For that kind of money you could be buying real food that’ll last you a whole week that’s far more nutritious and contains just as much protein. No Brainer.
Can they be harmful?
By supplying our bodies with excessive amounts of nitrogen protein shakes can tend to throw everything out of balance and can end up contributing to certain nutritional deficiencies. The body must try to eliminate the protein it cannot use that’s found in these supplements and shakes and additional stress and work is given to otu bodies. Protein supplements are also made from processed foods such as dried egg whites and powdered milk. When we eat foods in such a fragmented state they can oversupply the body with some nutrients while creating a deficiency of others. Basicallu, protein shakes not only supply us with excessive amounts of protein but they can also disrupt the body’s nutritional balance.
Ultimately, what we need to do is understand what protein is for and how much we actually need. Protein is literally needed for our body’s growth and tissue repair. Protein is not necessary for energy and is not a source of fuel. Only is it a source of fuel when we have excess amounts of it or limited carbohydrates. When this happens, the body separates the nitrogenous matter from the protein molecule and uses the remaining carbon contents to produce fuel. This process places unnecessary strain on our kidneys, liver and other organs as they try to filter out and eliminate all the unusable nitrogenous waste.
What many of us fail to realise is that our bodies physically cannot store too much protein. On average, men should eat 55g and women 45g of protein a day. That’s probably about 2 handful-sized portions of meat, fish, nuts etc. If you’re eating about this but also drinking shakes and eating protein bars frequently, the chances that you’ll simply have too much of it are pretty damn high. Not only will this lead to you simply peeing out all the protein you just drunk (which would mean those shakes were a waste of time) but it will lead to organ damage as explained above.
All we need to do is merely understand our body’s true protein needs. The damage that could occur when we consume far beyond those needs is a little more serious than you think.
If you want to find out more about the serious health issues related to consuming too much protein then click here to have a read of an article I found from The Telegraph. Proper scary stuff….