Protein is commonly linked to fitness and health, but what is it and what does it do? Protein is made up of amino acids and supports your cells to grow and mend themselves. The protein within your diet supports muscle growth, bone strength and has many positive effects on your body.
Due to the positive impacts, protein shakes have been sold to us through fitness influencers and mainstream media. Often, information is spread without a user explaining the potential health risks and benefits of protein, instead favoring aesthetic results.
Let’s explore who can have protein powder, what’s in it, and some benefits and drawbacks.
Who Can Have Protein Shakes?
Protein shakes are not just for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. Protein powder can also be used to encourage a healthy diet. While whole foods and meat are the ideal sources of protein, it may be easier said than done. This is especially true if you have children who refuse to eat many of the protein-dense foods. If this is the case, protein shakes for kids are a fantastic way to support their growth and development, by providing a balanced diet. The main word to consider here is balance. When incorporating protein shakes into your diet, it is important to find the right balance for you and your child.
What’s In Protein Powder?
Protein powder can be made in several ways. Let us explore the most common and popular protein powders and what they are made of. We can split this into plant-based protein powder and non-plant protein powder. When looking at plant protein, it can consist of soybeans, peas, rice, potatoes, or even hemp. While non-plant protein powder is composed of either eggs or milk. This is referred to as casein or whey protein. Usually, dietary requirements influence which protein powder is used, but make sure you do research into which source will give you the desired outcome.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Protein shakes can have both benefits and drawbacks. Let us first explore the benefits:
- Convenience – protein shakes are a quick and easy way to supplement your diet
- Concentrated source of protein – if you’re an athlete or looking to lose weight, protein shakes can provide a lower source of calories
- They’re filling – often protein shakes can stop you from overeating
- 9 amino acids – protein powder can contain the 9 amino acids that your body cannot produce
Let’s now explore the drawbacks:
- Sugar and additives – many protein powders contain a large amount of sugar and potentially harmful additives
- You don’t always need supplements – other than shakes, there are many whole foods that are protein-rich including meat, fish, tofu, and black beans
- Pressure on your kidneys – protein shakes can be linked with kidney problems if taken in excess
- Dehydration – excess consumption of protein can put you at risk of dehydration
While this is by no means a comprehensive list, it shows us that there are many factors to consider. When deciding if protein shakes are the correct dietary choice, always remember to do your research and speak to your doctor.