A lot of our clients ask about protein shakes, what are they for? Are they healthy? Will they make me bulk up? The simple answer is that protein shakes can be used by anyone as long as they are appropriate for your needs.

It is initially worth knowing that 1 standard scoop of protein has around the same amount of protein as a chicken breast, and once the chicken or protein shake has been digested the effect it has on the body once in the blood stream is pretty much exactly the same. Aside from being digested slightly faster when in the shake form, the body won’t be able to distinguish the protein in the blood stream as being from a chicken or from a protein shake.

That being said, any supplement should be just that, a supplement. No supplement should be used in favour of real food and proper nutrition, but they can be used to help improve an already good diet and help bump up nutrients you may be lacking in.

In this case that nutrient is protein, a most vital macronutrient that is commonly under eaten by the general population. When you consider most of our most important body parts (think brain, muscle, bone, organs, skin) are derived mostly form different proteins then it makes sense that it should form a large part of our diet. Unfortunately it is also the hardest of the macronutrients to prepare, usually taking longer to prepare than most carb sources (e.g. cooking meat or eggs vs eating a slice of toast).

Protein shakes for fat loss

In this scenario protein shakes are most useable simply to save time. For me personally I find making a protein smoothie a great way to start the day, I’m often up at 6am or earlier so don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking. Also I’m usually not very hungry that early so don’t feel like having a large meal anyway. Therefor banging a few ingredients into a blender is a perfect way to start the day. Very little time wasted, not massive in calories, but enough protein to stop me losing my hard earned muscles while I’m up and about at work.

Are protein shakes bad for me / will protein shakes make me bulky?

There quite simply is nothing magical about a protein shake, it really is simply just some protein. It’s actually very sad that there is stigma around protein shakes, since the same stigma is not present if you see someone drinking a coke or pepsi. Whey protein (the most common form of powder which is a bi-product of turning milk into cheese) contains a nutrient we often under eat and is vital for our health and the other contains basically sugar and not much else, do we really need more sugar in our diets?!?

Are they appropriate for vegetarians?

Absolutely yes! Try choosing a pea or hemp derived protein powder though as Whey comes from cows milk. Protein shakes are a great option for vegetarians who may find it harder to find good sources of protein.

To conclude

If you struggle to eat enough protein (think meat, eggs, fish as the best sources) or find it hard to find time to prepare and cook a full meal in the mornings or at lunch then supplementing your diet with a protein shake/smoothie is a great idea.

George Cooper

Personal Trainer Blackheath

Want to find out more about this subject? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at the Blackheath Better Body Group gym on 0208 045 0253