So you want to take your training and results to the next level and you are wondering if you should add protein powder to your daily meal plan? If you are a little confused by this whole topic, you are not alone. The amount of marketing hype and sheer volume of differing expert opinions on this topic is enough to confuse anyone!
The funny thing though, is that it’s actually very simple.
When you cut through all the marketing and the jargon, the simple fact is that protein powder is exactly what it sounds like, a powdered source of protein. It is not magic protein, protein in powder form does not make you burn calories faster or grow bigger muscles than other sources of protein.
So if that is the case, why all the hype? Why does anyone take protein powder at all?
Whilst protein powder is not the silver bullet that a lot of people will have you believe, it does have some useful benefits:
- Convenience - Protein powder is light, compact and you can simply mix it with water whenever you need a quick protein fix, such as after the gym.
- Fast absorption - Certain kinds of protein, such as whey protein, are more easily and quickly absorbed by the body. So whilst any complete source of protein will provide all the nutritional elements you need, some protein powders can do the job faster.
- High protein concentration - Some protein powders like Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) can be as high as 90% pure protein. This means that you can get a large amount of protein without the carbs or fats that you might get from other protein sources.
So if you are a high level athlete with strict diet needs or are time poor, then protein powders can be a great way for you to supplement your diet. You should always remember though that they are exactly that, a supplement. Unless instructed to do so by a dietician, supplements like protein powders should not make up the majority of your nutritional intake, or even the majority of your protein intake.
Protein powder has it’s place, but like all supplements it is highly processed. You can get a fast absorbing, high density protein source from protein powder, but you miss out on all the other nutritional benefits from consuming raw, natural protein sources.
So if you are considering adding protein powder to your daily nutritional plan, just make sure you bear in mind the advantages and disadvantages we have discussed here, your personal circumstances and goals, and above all make sure that you maintain a natural, healthy and balanced diet.