As you move through your diet plan, one thing that you might consider adding are protein drinks. You likely read about them all the time on the Internet, hearing all the claims of benefits protein powder will offer you.
Then you also see the supplement ads grace the pages of your favourite fitness magazine and really start wondering if this is going to be the best way to promote a healthier body and help reach the goal weight you’ve set.
Protein drinks do come in many variations and if you are going to see the benefits you’re after from them, it’s vital that you choose wisely.
Let’s go over some of the top things that you need to know about protein drinks.
Are They Dangerous?
The first question that sometimes comes up with regards to protein drinks is whether or not they’re even safe to use. What you need to remember here is that for most basic protein powders which contain just protein, they really aren’t going to be all that different than eating a chicken breast or some egg whites.
Both are going to supply your body with a source of protein.
Now, taking this into account, would you eat 8 chicken breasts a day? Likely not as you just don’t need that much protein. So if you are already eating a fairly high protein diet and then go off adding more protein shakes into the mix, then they could in fact become dangerous just because of the sheer volume of protein that you’re consuming.
But as long as you take your protein shakes as part of a well-balanced diet and you aren’t overdoing it on other protein sources either, you shouldn’t see any harm.
Who Needs Them?
This now raises the question of who needs them. If you’re doing a workout, are protein shakes a must?
Anyone who struggles to reach their protein needs will benefit from a protein shake. Again, protein shakes simply provide this needed nutrient to the body – nothing more.
If you’re a vegetarian or are someone who just doesn’t eat a lot of meat, dairy, or fish, a protein shake can be a great way to meet your daily requirements.
Those who are exercising hard do often have higher overall protein requirements, so in this case it can be beneficial for them to take in more protein as well. Furthermore, many protein drinks are formulated to be fast-acting in the body, so this can provide additional benefits right after that workout period.
What To Look For In Protein Drinks?
When shopping for a protein drink if you have in fact decided you want to use one, you should aim to look for one that contains as few ingredients as possible. This then means there’s less overall added fillers or other chemicals or additives, thus it should be healthier overall.
Also take a look at the nutritional panel on the particular protein shake that you’re considering and make sure that it doesn’t have an extremely high sugar, carb, or fat content.
While some protein drinks will contain more of these nutrients, they’re then considered to be more of a meal replacement shake than a protein drink.
If you’re going to use these, you’ll have to incorporate them into your diet in replacement of a snack or meal to ensure that you don’t gain weight from them.
Finally, you’ll also want to check the artificial sweeteners added into the protein shakes. Different brands will contain different types of added sweeteners, so have a look over the brand you’re choosing in particular and make sure that it’s going to be the wisest decision for you. Some people have certain thoughts about particular sweeteners, so if that’s the case make sure you’re looking for one that you feel safe utilizing.
The ‘Magical’ Protein Drink Myth
Finally, the last important thing that must be noted is with regards to some of the protein myths that tend to circulate around. Some people make the mistake of believing that if they drink protein powder, they’ll automatically increase their rate of lean muscle mass building.
This isn’t the case. You really aren’t going to build muscle any faster using protein powder than you would if you had eaten any other source of high quality lean protein, so don’t think it has some type of magical property to it.
Likewise, protein powder isn’t magically going to cause you to lose weight. If you’re short in your protein intake and you use protein powder and then meet your requirements, that could help improve the results you see, but protein powder on its own won’t do anything special.
If anything, if you simply add a few scoops to your day without cutting back anywhere else, it could in fact cause you to gain weight because you’re taking in more overall calories.
So there are the important things to note about protein shakes. When used wisely they are a safe way to meet your nutritional needs and improve your workout performance and recovery.