Are protein shakes really worth it?

Whey protein containers

used by the body for the build, repair and maintenance of lean tissue as well as being responsible for almost every process that occurs within the body including metabolism and the transportation of nutrients. Anyone involved in intense exercise, wanting to build muscle or wanting to cut body fat knows that protein is an absolute necessity.

While protein is found in a rich source of foods, a quality protein powder is a fundamental choice for anyone wanting to meet training goals. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, however when exercising this amount should be doubled, with around 20% to 40% of daily calories coming from protein. Protein shakes and powders are a convenient, efficient and fast absorbing solution to help you consume the correct amount of protein and take your training and results to the next level.

Bodybuilders often supplement their diets with a powdered form of protein. The powder is mixed with water, milk or juice. Protein powder is generally consumed immediately before and after exercising, or in place of a meal. Some types of protein are to be taken directly before and after a workout (whey protein), while others are to be taken before going to bed (casein protein).[4] The theory behind this supplementation is that bodybuilders, by virtue of their unique training methods and end-goals, require higher-than-average quantities of protein to support maximal muscle growth.[5]

Currently, no consensus has been reached in determining whether an individual in exercise training can benefit from protein and amino acid supplements.[6] Protein supplements come in various forms: ready to drink shakes, bars, bites, oats, gels and powders. Protein powders are available in many flavors.

  • Whey protein has high levels of all the essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids. It also has the highest content of the amino acidcysteine, which aids in the biosynthesis of glutathione. For bodybuilders whey protein provides amino acids used to aid in muscle recovery.[4] Whey protein is derived from the process of making cheese from milk. There are three types of whey protein: whey concentrate, whey isolate, and whey hydrolysate. Whey concentrate is 29%–89% protein by weight where whey isolate is 90%+ protein by weight. Whey hydrolysate is enzymatically predigested and has the shortest rate of digestion of all protein types.
  • Casein protein (or milk protein) has glutamine, and casomorphin.
  • Soy protein from soybeans contain isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen.
  • Egg-white protein is a lactose- and dairy-free protein.
  • Hemp seed has complete and highly-digestible protein and hemp oil is high in essential fatty acids.
  • Rice protein, when made from the grain, is a complete protein source that is highly digestible and allergen free. Since rice protein is low in the amino acid lysine, it is often combined with pea protein powder to make a superior amino acid profile.
  • Pea protein is a hypoallergenic protein with a lighter texture than most other protein powders. Pea protein has an amino acid profile similar to that of soy, but pea protein does not elicit concerns about unknown effects of phytoestrogens. Pea protein is also less allergenic than soy.

 Shaker Bottle commonly used to mix supplements. Has mesh inside to avoid lumps in the mixture.

Although it is generally undisputed that athletes and bodybuilder need an increased intake of protein, the exact amount is highly individualized and dependent on the type and duration of the exercise as well as the physiological make up of the person. Age, gender, and body size may vary this protein intake.[6] Some health experts have criticized protein shakes as being unnecessary for most people who consume them, since most users already get enough protein in the normal varied diet with enough calories.[6] However, there is some evidence to support the idea that protein shakes are superior to whole foods with regards to enhancing muscle hypertrophy in the one hour window following intensive exercise. Moreover, for athletes who do not have the time to prepare whole food meals on the run or immediately after exercise, a protein shake may be preferred for practical as well as performance reasons. Additionally, some studies suggest low-calorie dieters, vegetarians, haphazard eaters and those who train very heavily may help much from protein supplements.[7] Traditional nutrition theory states that the body can only metabolize 5-9 grams of protein per hour,[citation needed] and that excessive daily intake can cause weight gain, kidney problems,osteoporosis, or diarrhea. However, many bodybuilder report consuming hundreds of grams of protein per day to meet maximal strength gains, so this nutrition dogma may only apply to the public. Taking an overdose of protein can lead to a loss of appetite, which may be useful for some dieters.[8]Nutritionists claim that osteoporosis occurs from excessive protein intake because protein can put pressure on the kidneys and lead to bone loss due to calcium leaching.[1] However, recent research has cast doubts on these claims, and suggests that higher calcium excretion may be due to increased calcium absorption in the intestines due to protein intake.[9][10] Indeed, it is well-known that dietary protein is itself important for bone growth, and some studies have found increased bone formation in response to exchanging dietary carbohydrates for protein.[11] Nutritionists also argue against increased protein consumption because weight gain may occur because, as the body cannot store protein, excess protein will either be burned as energy or stored as fat (if you are already getting the calories you need). However, dietary protein is converted to fat far less efficiently than either carbohydrates or lipids, so consuming a calorie excess in protein will result in far less fat gain that would a calorie excess of other macronutrients.[7] Research by Tarnopolsky et al. (1988) showed that for bodybuilding individuals, 0.90g of protein per kg of body weight per day is recommended, whereas endurance athletes need 1.34g/kg/d of protein. Their findings indicated that protein requirements are actually lower than might be expected and that protein supplements may not be as effective as is popularly believed. However, note that both of these levels are much higher than the levels claimed to be necessary for the general population (0.8 g protein / kg body weight).[12] Studies suggest that there are different protein requirements for anaerobic and aerobic exercise. Endurance athletes in aerobic activity may have increased daily protein intake at 1.2-1.4 g per kg body weight per day where strength training athletes performing anaerobic activity may have increased daily protein intake needs at 1.4-1.8 g per kg body weight to enhance muscle protein synthesis or to make up for the loss of amino acid oxidation during exercise.[13][13]


A high protein diet is a fundamental necessity for muscle growth, with muscle tissue constantly needed to be repaired and replaced. Frequent protein intake ensures a steady stream of amino acids to support this process. Choose from best-selling Impact Whey Protein, Whey Isolate for maximum lean gains or a calorie dense weight gainer such as Hard Gainer for sheer bulk.


Protein has a thermogenic quality which assists with weight loss. A high protein diet boosts the metabolism and allows the body to mobilise stored fat for energy. Proteins such as Impact Diet Whey and Whey Isolate have been designed specifically to have fewer calories and less fat, making these perfect to support weight loss goals.


A positive nitrogen balance is required to repair muscles and the faster they repair, the faster you recover, ensuring you’re back in the gym and fresh for your next workout. A diet rich in protein insures that a proper nitrogen balance is attained and maintained. Choose proteins such as Recovery XS, Bedtime Extreme or Milk Protein.


Women can use the same protein shakes as men, as most formulations are designed for both sexes to meet specific goals and dietary requirements. However as body composition is different, we have formulated True Diet as a specific women’s protein shake to support weight loss goals.



One thought on “Are protein shakes really worth it?

  1. In certain circumstances protein shakes, whey in particular, can help athletes get their daily protein intake with out the extra calories (like if you were cutting but wanted to make sure that your not losing muscle with that fat).
    But that said…so many of the protein products on the market are indeed OVERHYPED and in most cases you should just stick with plain whey isolate (or concentrate if your on a budget).
    Anyway that was a great, informative and helpful post, keep up the good work!
    Tim – ymBodybuilding

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