Something we are often asked in the fitness world is are protein supplements healthy?
Protein supplements have been under research for many years as they are becoming more and more popular!
Protein supplements are receiving credit to helping people lose weight, gain muscle, and in general, feel and look better!
Now as there is some validity to this, it’s important to understand that protein shakes alone are not going to help you get the results that you’re looking for.
In fact, some people even argue that protein supplements are unnecessary.
In breaking down whether you should be taking protein supplements we are going to discuss a few points.
First, we’re going to take a look at key misconceptions surrounding taking protein supplements.
Second, we will discuss protein supplement types. Should you take casein or whey?
Lastly, we will consider what is the correct dosage of protein supplements someone should take? And how safe is it to take protein supplements?
Here we go!
Protein Supplements Myths
There are quite a few myths surrounding protein supplements on the market today. Let’s break it down!
1) Protein supplements alone make you lose weight.
If you’re taking protein supplements you should be shredding pounds, right?
Protein supplements alone are not going to help you lose any weight!
Losing weight requires you to eat in a calorie deficit by locking in your diet, exercising, and requires you to be consistent with each!
Exercising once will not make you shred pounds and neither will eating in a calorie deficit once. Real results require a lot of time and consistency over months and even years of handwork.
For more on setting up a calorie deficit, look here for info.
Although you definitely can’t lose weight by just taking protein supplements, it definitely can help when being consistent with the exercise and nutrition goals we briefly mentioned above.
If you have ever taken a protein shake, you’ll know that it definitely can give you the feeling of being full. Also, protein is necessary for the ability to build lean mass.
So, if utilized properly, protein can be a great tool to help you reach your goals.
2) You have to take protein supplements to build muscle.
Another common myth, is the idea that in order to build muscle mass you absolutely have to take protein supplements.
Okay, so if this is true, what do you think would happen if instead of drinking 24 grams of protein in shake form, you ate 24 grams of protein in the form of chicken or beef?
Would those 24 grams of protein from chicken or beef go to waste because it’s not in the form of a shake from powder?
Not only will your body be able to repair itself and build muscle mass from the chicken or beef you ate, but a lot of folks actually believe getting your protein from food should be your first choice!
Depending on your body type, size, and weight, it might be easy for you to meet your protein goals by just eating real food.
If you find it difficult to reach your protein goals, then of course, go ahead and drink protein shakes because yes, they are very high in protein and typically low in calories as well.
But the moral of the story, is that you do not have to take protein supplements to build muscle. You can simply eat enough protein through solid foods.
Personally, I prefer to eat my protein because I typically stay full for longer. However, If I know that I’ll be far off my protein goals because I don’t have enough chicken at home or I’m too lazy to cook it, I will absolutely have a protein shake to help out.
3) All protein powders, regardless of company, are the same.
Do you think all protein powders, regardless of what company your protein is coming from, are the same?
This is an important misconception that we need to fix.
Why should you be aware of the company your protein comes from?
You need to be aware of this, because some companies do not care about the quality of protein supplement they are putting on the market. There are many cheap protein supplements out there that are spiked with random “filler” ingredients that have no business being in your shake.
The reason they put these fillers in your shake is seemingly to make more money off of people like us by making our product appear to be higher in quantity.
I highly recommend that you research the company you’re purchasing from to ensure proper quality or select from my options below.
What type of protein should you take? Whey or Casein?
In case you didn’t know (because for the longest time I had no idea) that there are two major types of protein, I find it important to discuss the benefits of each.
Often people question, what is the difference in the debate of casein protein vs whey protein?
1) Whey Protein
Whey protein is one of the major types of protein that has the benefit of being dissolved quickly into the body.
Why do we care if protein is dissolved quickly?
We care if protein is dissolved quickly because after a workout you want to feed your body with proteins as quick as possible!
After a workout, your body (muscle) is in need of repair. Protein aids the process of repairing muscles. This is actually what helps you build muscle mass. During a lift, your muscles experience tearing and stress. During the rebuilding and recovery process, that muscle builds back bigger than it was before.
By exposing your body to quick dissolving proteins instantly after a lift, you are jump starting this recovery process and providing your body with the nutrients needed to build lean muscle mass.
Even if you didn’t just get done lifting, should you take whey protein everyday?
If you want to, yes!
Your body’s recovery process after a lift takes time. You need to make sure your body is receiving enough protein not only right after a lift, but the next day too.
The muscle building process definitely does not happen instantly!
2) Casein Protein
Now, if whey protein dissolves quickly in the body, what do you think casein protein does for ya?!
Casein protein is a slow digesting protein.
This means if you take a casein protein supplement now, it will dissolve over the next 7 hours or so.
We just got done talking about the benefits of exposing your body to protein quickly after working out.
So why would you want a protein that digests slowly over around 7 hours?
Because, a slow digesting protein is perfect to utilize before you go to sleep.
While you sleep, you will be aiding your muscle recovery and growth as the protein slowly becomes digested over time. This can be extremely effective in helping you reach your fitness goals. Also, if you are the type of person that normally snacks before bed or has some type of treat later at night, swap that out with a casein protein shake and over weeks to months you’ll definitely notice a difference.
For casein protein powders check out my personal recommendations later in the article.
Which Type of Protein Should You Take?
When considering which type of protein you should take, you really could just utilize both!
Having both types of protein in your supplement stack definitely wouldn’t be a bad idea.
For days when your protein intake is low, it would be an excellent idea to take a casein protein shake before bed.
Or, for days when you have a lot of protein packed foods planned, why not just take a whey protein shake after your lift to promote quicker recovery?
Some protein powders even utilize a blend of whey and casein.
The protein type you should take is pretty much based on personal choice.
If you don’t mind taking a protein shake before bed, absolutely add casein to your routine and help your body recover and build muscle overnight.
If you find that doing this doesn’t work for you, then so be it. It’s not the end of the world.
Somehow, someway, just MEET YOUR DAILY PROTEIN GOALS!
How Much Protein Can You Take At Once? Is it healthy?
When some people (especially teens) hear that protein powder can help them get bigger, they want to consume all the protein powder they possibly can!
But, this is WRONG!
I’m making a call on you to do some research.
It is scientifically proven that the body can only consume and absorb about 30-40 grams of protein per hour.
This means, that you definitely shouldn’t be attempting to consume 100 grams of a protein shake in a single hour.
Not only will a lot of this protein be wasted because it cannot possibly all be absorbed at once, but this could also be dangerous.
Taking more of a protein supplement than directed could lead to dehydration, depleting levels nutrient and vitamins in the body, and kidney issues.
With that being said, be sure not to overdo it.
I’d recommend only taking 1-2 scoops of protein at a time. However, **disclaimer**, I am not a doctor!
If you’re not sure about how much of a supplement you should take, reach out to your physician and take your doctor’s advice! They definitely know best.
Are Protein Supplements Healthy?
Let’s sum it up.
Are protein supplements healthy?
There are definitely a lot of positives to taking protein supplements if you are not getting enough protein in your diet.
Like previously mentioned, protein supplements can have positive effects on your body.
For example, protein supplements can help you reach your body’s protein goals to help your body recover and build muscle mass after a workout.
Also, paired with proper nutrition and exercise, taking protein supplements to meet your daily needs definitely can lead to fat loss. Again, proteins supplements alone will not make you lose fat, but when paired with consistent and proper nutrition and exercise, it can definitely help you see results!
We also talked about the main two different types of protein supplements you can take.
First, we discussed the benefits of whey protein.
Whey protein is a quick dissolving type of protein and is perfect for taking right after a workout. This will jump start your body’s ability to begin the recovery process.
Second, we discussed the benefits of casein protein.
Casein Protein is a slow digesting protein and is perfect to take before bed. When taken before bed, it allows for the slow release of proteins into your body overnight. You obviously cannot eat while sleeping, so this can help your body receive the levels of protein needed for recovery and growth while you’re catching Zzz’s.
The last topic we discussed today was the amount of protein your body can break down per hour, and whether or not protein supplements truly are safe.
Your body can really only absorb around 30-40 grams of protein in a single hour.
This means, you should not be overshooting this when taking protein supplements.
If you overuse these products, it can stress out your body by making you dehydrated and in extreme cases can negatively affect your kidneys.
Be safe about using supplements, ask your doctor, and per my recommendation only use 1-2 scoops (depending on brand) per shake.
My Protein Recommendations
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard is typically one of the best companies on the market in the area of creating a high quality protein powder.
I have been using Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey and Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein protein for many years now and I have absolutely zero complains.
There are a lot of different flavors you can try, but the following are my personal favorites.
Cookies and Cream
Remember, everybody is different and what tastes great to me, might be a gross flavor to you!
I highly recommend giving these a try!
If you try one of these flavors, please comment below and let us know which are your favorites!
We definitely want to give you the best recommendations we can to help out our readers.
As always, thank you for reading and we’ll be in touch soon.
Founder of https://myshakercup.com