Monday, March 5, 2012

Are Protein Shakes All They Are Hyped Up To Be?

Protein shakes are very popular among exercise enthusiasts. We've all seen the people at the gym with their shakers and protein powder, gulping one down post workout in hopes of gaining muscle mass. Protein is an essential building block of muscles, skin, bones and some other tissues. While is it best to get your protein source from your diet, protein shakes can be used as a supplement.

Protein shakes can be a good post-workout meal. They come in cans or individual packs that you can mix which make them easy to just throw in your gym bag etc. It may not always be easy to make a meal immediately after a workout, so protein shakes can be a good alternative.

These shakes can also help the body recover from intense exercise. This is because protein restores muscle glycogen, which is a fuel source for muscles during exercise that gets depleted during workouts. They can also repair damage to muscles that occur when serious activities take place.

The majority of people can get the daily amount of protein that they need through their diet. It is recommended that for a healthy adult that they consume around 46 - 56g of protein per day depending on body size. So are protein shakes all they are hyped up to be?

As many people think, adding protein does not add muscle mass. Adding more protein to your diet does not mean adding more benefits.  Protein shakes are not necessary if there is a healthy, well balanced diet. There has not been any research done that suggests that protein powder is any better than protein that is consumed through a diet. Also, excess protein in the diet is stored as fat in the body.

It is important to read the label carefully when choosing your protein shake. Protein content varies between shakes as well as carbohydrate, calorie, sugar and fat content. They also contain different types of protein that can affect how well it is absorbed by your body. Labels may often make claims that are not always true. Protein shakes are not miracle workers, they are simply a tool.

So all in all, it is best to get protein through a daily diet. Protein shakes can be used if there is no other option. Protein shakes are not miracle workers and do not do anything more than whole foods can do.

Dietary reference intakes (DRIs): Recommended intakes for individuals, total water and macronutrients. The National Academies Press. Accessed Jan. 28, 2010.

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