Do You Need Whey Protein?
For every avid gym-goer who loves the stuff, there’s a counter argument not to take it. It’s too expensive for the benefits it provides. A standard diet will encompass all the benefits of protein powders without the additives. It’s unhealthy and will make you fat. We’ve heard it all, but do we really need whey protein? Today’s post will focus on the benefits and negatives to consuming a whey protein supplement, and answer the underlying question you’re all here to find out!
But first, why do we need protein?
Protein is necessary to build and repair muscle fibers. Cells and organs require protein to function correctly – this includes your hair, bone, skin and connective tissue. A portion of your dietary protein is converted to the creation of enzymes, which are specialised proteins that do particular jobs such as helping you digest food and making new cells. They enable us to think, hear and move – essentially, we cannot function without a diet sufficient in protein.
- For those ‘bulking’, protein shakes provide a simple source of quick, additional calories to help meet your above-normal caloric intake levels. The addition of peanut butter, a banana and milk can easily produce a shake well over 800 calories if you’ve missed a few meals during the day.
- These supplements aren’t necessarily ‘bad’ for you, particularly in their natural, unflavored state. They won’t contribute to kidney failure issues (unless of course you were taking upwards of 8g of protein per lb of body weight, which would be simply ludicrous)
- They exist in both ‘concentrate’ and ‘isolate’ forms. Essentially, concentrate provides a small amount of lactate, which for the majority of the population is completely fine and will not lead to diarrhea, constipation or other lactose intolerant related side effects. Isolate, however, is specifically targeted towards those with a lactose intolerance, in that the lactate and excess fat is ‘isolated’ providing a more pure protein source than concentrate.
- It helps make up your daily caloric intake – perhaps the greatest reason to take a supplement, is that it just makes life easier and provides exactly what it says on the tub – a supplemental protein source! It tastes great, and is often a lot easier to consume than a hearty steak, or a bowl of boiled chicken – not to mention for the protein it provides, it iss quite cost effective.
- To a degree, their existence in our diets is media hype – they are by no means an essential part of an individual’s daily intake (read closely, protein definitely is, protein supplements however, are not) – and are marketed heavily by advertising companies and gym-goers as a be-all and all-all solution to accelerated muscle gain – which they are not. One could easily account for all the extra protein necessary in their caloric intake with whole food products such as meats, poultry and dairy.
- The after-workout protein shake hype is exactly that.. hype! Whilst there is arguably a ‘protein absorption window’ for 30 to 45 minutes following a workout, a protein shake isn’t necessary, but rather, it’s simple and convenient – and a completely understandable source considering you’ve stressed your muscles and broken them down over the course of your workout. An after-workout meal consisting of the same macro-nutrient profile a protein shake would provide, is just as beneficial nutritionally as an after-workout protein shake.
- Whilst they’re a cost-effective protein source, they aren’t as mentioned above a necessary element of your training program – if they aren’t offering you any specific benefit, (fat loss, weight gain, etc), why spend the money on them?
- There’s a quality protein market out there, and there’s no disputing that. However, the majority of ‘bulking’ protein sources contain a high number of additives, amongst especially high inclusions of fat and sugar. There’s virtually no difference between a ‘cutting/maintaining’ protein and a ‘bulking’ protein – besides the lower percent of actual protein per serve and a higher caloric make-up within the ‘bulking’ source.
Moral Of The Story: I don’t often include a moral conclusion – but I think it’s somewhat necessary for this post. The best, absolute BEST supplement to a healthy diet is consistent, focused application, or rather – TRAIN LIKE AN ANIMAL. Be disciplined in what you eat, be disciplined in your consistency – make time for fitness, and you will be rewarded. And finally, be patient – results won’t come immediately, but they will come – it’s a matter of remaining consistent in how you apply yourself and in your diet.