Are Powder Protein Drinks Good for You?
When you pay a visit to your local health food store or even your grocery store these days, you can find a well-stocked display of protein powders and protein drinks. It seems that almost every serious athlete and an amateur bodybuilder is taking one form or other of these protein-enriched drink powders. Although in some cases protein drinks serve a purpose, are they really necessary for the normal person eating a healthy diet, and more importantly are powder protein drinks good for you?
Powder protein drinks and muscle mass builders like Testogen that you buy at your health food store may contain one of several protein forms including whey, egg protein, casein, and soy-based protein. Although, if you are not familiar with all these proteins and muscle mass builders you can read testogen review and find more about them. Of these choices, the type that seems to be the most popular among athletes and bodybuilders is whey protein. This form of protein added to powder protein drink has become popular because it contains all of the essential amino acids, is easily absorbed and digested, and provides quick muscle nourishment. Whey protein has been heavily advertised and promoted by fitness magazines and fitness trainers nationwide and the public is responding by purchasing protein drinks in an attempt to boost their fitness level and build lean body mass.
When considering the health benefits of protein drinks, it’s obvious that protein is required to build lean body mass. Higher protein consumption may have the additional benefit of giving a feeling of satiety which could help to promote weight loss by reducing hunger and calorie consumption. What’s often not acknowledged is that most Americans get sufficient protein in their daily diet without adding powder protein drinks to their diet. Most people only require between 45 to 55 grams of protein per day based on body weight. (the recommended daily protein intake is 0.8 mg. per kg. of body weight). Unless you’re a vegetarian who avoids protein, you’re probably not protein deficient.
The other concern when addressing the issue of protein drinks is the potential for harm. In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, it was shown that high levels of dietary protein in women who had mild kidney impairment worsened their kidney function. Although this study didn’t show harm to normal kidneys, it’s still unclear how long term exposure to powder protein drinks might affect kidney function over time. A high intake of protein through diet and in the form of protein drinks is also thought to promote calcium excretion which could increase the risk of osteoporosis. Even more disturbing is the fact that the intake of high levels of protein seems to increase levels of IGF-1, a growth factor that appears to play a role in the development of certain cancers.
When considering the benefits and risks of protein drinks, it’s important to take a close look at your diet and see if you’re getting sufficient levels of protein naturally. If you’re an active bodybuilder or serious athlete, you may need slightly more than the recommended daily allowance but consuming high levels of protein through powder protein drinks is unlikely to be necessary for athletic performance and may even be harmful long term. Keep a food diary for two weeks and determine how many protein grams you’re getting on a daily basis. Even if you’re not getting sufficient protein through diet alone, you may want to consider adding protein through healthy food sources such as egg whites, fatty fish that are rich in omega-3’s, and lean cuts of turkey. In this way, you’ll get the satisfaction of eating real food rather than sipping a chalky, powder protein drink.