Protein shakes – Yay or Nay??

Protein is very important for muscle mass growth and maintenance. Without protein we would struggle to do our day to day activities and become weak and fragile. The great thing is, our body only needs small amounts regularly throughout the day to get our daily requirements.

So what are the benefits of protein shakes are:

  1. They are very quickly and easily digestible by the body – so in terms of commencing the muscle repair process, this is an excellent point!
  2. For those who have no appetite after training, they are more likely to consume a fluid rather than food.
  3. If you are travelling long distances to work or home, protein shakes are an easy go to product if you cannot physically eat, or will not have access to food for a long period of time.
  4. They promote rehydration post training sessions

The cons of protein shakes:

  1. They provide extra calories which could easily be replaced by a meal if you are on a strict calorie budget. I know I would prefer to eat food rather than drink it! Food will keep you fuller for a longer period of time then fluid because your body takes time to break it down – usually because it has more fibre.
  2. They can be expensive! Spend your money on lean meats, eggs, dairy sources which will provide you with more vitamins and minerals then what a protein powder would
  3. They may have added ingredients that are not beneficial for the body so be careful of which ones you do buy. This is especially important for athletes competing in competitions which have strict drug testing policies. Some may have banned substances in their products!

Case Study:
Let’s pretend a client has just completed a 1 hour training session at the gym, on their way home they decide to have a protein shake. However once home dinner is already prepared ready to eat or it will not take long for it to be prepared (say 30-45mins)

Is it worth having two lots of protein based foods/products so closely together???
No it is not!!

Your body will take a couple hours before it requires more protein to help continue to repair muscle or maintain the growth already there. The best option would be to skip the protein shake – save yourself the calories, and make sure you have dinner within 45minutes to one hour after training. If this is not something you would be able to do, have the protein shake, but decrease your meat portion size to around half ~50-70g of chicken/red meat.

Remember your body only utilises so much protein at one time, so consuming more than what you need will be wasted and excreted by your kidneys. So instead of filling up on your meat portion, bulk up your vegetables and salad, or starchy carbs if you have been training to help keep increase feelings of satiety through to your next meal or the following day

3 thoughts on “Protein shakes – Yay or Nay??

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  3. Kylee Sanson Reply

    Great article Amie! Simple to understand, presenting an argument both for and against. My take away learnings is that it really depends on your goals but for most ‘regular’ (I.e. not competing or at the elite athlete level), a diet rich in whole, fresh foods and lean meats should meet the daily protein requirements and therefore protein powders and shakes are not necessary.

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