It seems that everyone who is into fitness swears by protein powder. Some add it to their daily smoothies, others sprinkle it into practically everything they eat. Either way, they are resolute in their devotion to the powder. Add to that, the fact that some experts in the medical community are regularly insisting that we need a lot more protein in our diets, and it seems that we would be crazy not to explore the protein powder option. However, protein powder is not all sunshine and ripped abs. While it certainly has its benefits, there are some issues to be aware of if you are using or are considering incorporating protein powder into your diet.
The Good Stuff
No one is here to tell you that protein powder is all bad. It definitely has some perks, which is why it has an extensive list of devotees. The truth is that in order to build muscle we need protein and the cereal lovers amongst us are likely lacking protein, especially at breakfast. Putting protein powder into a morning shake or mixing it into a bowl of cereal is a quick way to add some protein to a meal that is often lacking.
Due to the fact that protein keeps us feeling full for longer it can certainly aid in weight loss efforts. Some choose to add it to their regular meals and find they need smaller portions than usual or do not need to eat as frequently. Other people choose to add protein powder to snacks between meals in order to keep hunger pangs under control.
The Not So Good
Whether you are a regular consumer of protein powder or just someone who likes to dabble here and there, it's good to know the facts about what you are putting into your body. One important point to keep in mind is that, like other types of supplementation, using a protein powder is not as good as getting your protein from regular food. Yes, real food wins again. In cases where protein powder is used in addition to eating other food protein sources, the chances are better that results will be beneficial. However, when protein powder is used as the primary protein source in a person's diet, deficiencies are likely to occur.
It is also important to note that for people who are already taking in enough protein through regular food sources, adding protein powder to the mix can damage the kidneys over time. The kidneys are mainly responsible for breaking down protein in the body, so when there is too much for too long, kidney disease, kidney stones or even osteoporosis may arise.
Overall, it seems that short term use of protein powder to boost energy, lose weight or gain muscle may help in a lot of cases. As with other supplements though, it is always better to opt for natural, unprocessed food sources whenever possible. However, no one can deny the convenience of using protein powder to meet daily requirements. Just be sure of what you are putting into your body. Many powders contain only a small amount of protein and a lot of other stuff you probably don't need extra of such as carbohydrates. Also, keep in mind that consulting a doctor before adding a supplement to your diet is always a good idea, especially when you are unsure of how it will affect your body.