Pro-tein versus Con-tein

by Khushboo on May 30, 2011

It’s Monday so you know what that means: smoothie-for-lunch day !  As I was sipping on one of my most random smoothie concoctions to date, a colleague asked me whether I was drinking a protein shake. Lucky for him, I was too involved in my drink and not at all in a chatty moody. If such were not the case, he might have regretted commenting. Like eating schedules , protein powders/shakes are a subject which I have a loaded opinion about. Like any good judge, I’ll consider both its merits and demerits and then present my verdict.

Pros 

  • Can help the body recover from a workout as they are easily digested and quickly processed
  • If you can’t stomach food after exercising, great refueling alternative
  • Huge variety of flavors can prevent boredom e.g. peanut butter cup, cake batter, French vanilla :P  
  • Various modes of consumption: shakes, baking, oatmeal, pancakes
  • Low in fat and can help with weight loss
  • For heavy exercisers, it’s difficult to meet protein requirements through diet solely
  • Addition to a meal can reduce the overall GI while increasing the satiety factor
  • Light-weight & convenient

Cons 

  • Expensive: the same amount of money can be used to purchase a lot more powdered milk: an inexpensive form of protein
  • Very protein-intense diets may increase the risk of bone loss and kidney damage
  • Eating more protein than your body uses results in the excess being stored as fat
  • No scientific evidence that protein from protein powders is better than protein derived from actual food
  • Many powders come with a disturbing ingredient list
  • Restricts your intake of other vital nutrients
  • Unlike carbs, drinking a large amount of protein at once is not beneficial as it cannot be stored in the muscles

My take: Personally I’m not a fan of protein powders! Firstly, I rather eat my calories than drink them. Given my current activity levels, the recommended 0.8-1.8g protein/kg of body weight is a guideline which I stick to. As I do try and include some form of protein in every meal, I easily meet my protein requirements through my diet. Carnivore or not, the availability of protein is seriously underrated. Some forms of protein which I regularly eat include

  • Oats 6g protein per 30g
  • Soy milk 6.2 g protein per 200 ml
  • Egg-whites 4g protein per egg-white
  • Chicken breast 23g protein per 100g
  • Tofu 8g protein per 100g
  • Chickpeas 6g per half cup
  • Shellfish 16g protein per 100g
  • Smoked salmon 22g protein per 100g
  • Yogurt 4g protein per 100g

For curiosity sake, I did sample the chocolate flavor of Gold Standard Whey Protein and it tasted terribly artificial. If I was traveling or on -the-go a lot, I may consider using protein powders in addition to a healthy diet. And while some might say that protein shakes will aid muscle development, two words: weight training!

Your take on protein shakes: yay or nay?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

divya Salhwani May 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm

how many gms of protein in a regular protein shake – regulat glass size!

Reply

Khushboo Thadani June 1, 2011 at 5:13 am

The grams of protein vary per brand but some have up to 26g per glass

Reply

Parita May 30, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I just bought my first package of protein powder but I had all the same concerns you do. I got the Sunwarrior brand because of its ingredient list and I like it. It is really expensive :( , but worth it for me because I don’t think I get enough protein for the workouts I do.

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Khushboo Thadani June 1, 2011 at 5:11 am

I’ve read great things about Sunwarrior- how did you enjoy the taste?

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movesnmunchies May 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

YES! so glad u addressed the pros AND CONS! i love protein powder but in my oats not shakes :)

Reply

Khushboo Thadani June 1, 2011 at 5:11 am

I used to be completely anti-powders and didnt think they had any benefits but clearly I was wrong. i just don’t think it’s right for me, at least not now.

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Priyanka May 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I am not a huge fan of protein powders, one because they are so expensive and why overdo my body with protein (hello kidney problems) when I can get the required amount with my diet. That being said, it works for some and I have no problem with that.

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Khushboo Thadani June 1, 2011 at 5:10 am

Amen to that! Go with whatever works for u!

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