Do You Really Need Protein Powders?

How many of you use protein powders daily? Before or after you exercise?

I know plenty of people that won’t train without protein powders. Even people who do light walking or yoga. Even worse, it’s considered a kind of healthy diet for some.

I’m not a dietitian but having spent years exercising and being a yoga teacher and fitness instructor I have a very clear opinion on what you should and should not eat. And if you were my clients I’d definitely advise you to stay away from protein powders and supplements. 

protein powders

At best you’re just throwing your money away, no results, no benefit on your overall health and physical condition.  At worse? I wouldn’t know where to start.

So, you’d normally decide to add protein powders to your diet because you’re exercising, ideally because you’re into resistance and weight training. If you’re a professional trainer or you’re very much into weight lifting then this article might not be relevant to you and your lifestyle. I understand that you’ll have your dietitian and physician to give you the right advice and diet plan, including additional protein. 

If you’re someone like me, who likes to train or even more, a fitness teacher someone that is professionally involved with training and fitness I’d like to think this is also for you.

We don’t want to have more sugar daily, do we? Then why add a scoop of something called a protein powder in your milk or juice that has too much sugar in it? I was just reading different research and reading labels here and there and I also tried a couple of protein powders myself so that I can get an idea about this whole trend. The Clean Label Project, which is a non-profit group published some findings in their report about the toxins found in some 134 products they tasted. Protein powders with heavy metals, BPA, pesticides. That’s the really bad stuff. The less bad stuff but with immediate effect on your body is all the digestive problems these powders can cause. Even if you don’t have a dairy allergy or trouble digesting lactose, you can still feel the pain of digesting whey protein and/or any vegan form.

High in sugar? You bet. Well, most of them or the ones I’ve seen in the market. Artificial flavouring? Do you know this nice chocolate or vanilla flavoured superfood protein bags? With lovely organic branding? It’s better to eat crisps. 

And then there’s the question about whether you take them to lose weight (you shouldn’t, really) or to gain muscle. We need around 46gr/protein for women and 56gr/protein for men according to the research. Think about how much you need and why. Your "why" is very important.

There’s more research out there and some are well-funded so try to understand what is it that you need to take in terms of protein and protein powders. And if you need to take extra protein, read all the labels and check the company’s ingredients and the way they produce their protein products. 

You can get protein from seeds, nuts, dairy products (cheese, yoghurt), fish, legumes (beans, lentils), eggs, plenty of foods out there that you can turn to if you want to avoid processed protein powders. 

Did I ever try protein powders? I did try two times. One time I tried an organic whey protein powder, which I couldn’t digest good. I also tried a brown rice protein powder, which could work great for some of you. No additional flavouring or long ingredients’ list and maybe it’s a good idea when you’re on the go and you just finished a weight lifting session. In my case, it kind of made me feel stuffed so it’s another no. I prefer eating a bowl of rice and if I’m on the go I get some pumpkin seeds and almonds with me to eat after training. 

As a last general notice, almost everything is personal, it’s based on the way you feel and your own experience. So, read around and make your own research before you decide what’s best for you and your goals.