Protein Shakes – Are They Worth The Hype?

By Mike Clancy – Providence

Protein is the most important nutrient to the body. Protein is the building block of the body (muscles, organs, immune system, etc.). The importance of this macronutrient is being emphasized as the obesity rates increase each year in the United States. Protein should be the foundation of every meal consumed, but sometimes is missed due to availability, price, or convenience. Meat, fish, and poultry (the best sources of protein) can be expensive and time-consuming to prepare and cook. Because of these factors, protein powders have become prominent in the health industry.

Protein powders, also known as MRP (Meal Replacement Powder), are a fast-absorbing protein that can be made into a tasty liquid simply by adding water. Originally, protein shakes were marketed as a weight-loss product that was fat-free and delicious in taste (if you enjoyed the taste of metal). Today, protein powders are affordable (the average canister with 30 servings costs $30 — $1 per shake), convenient (less than 30 seconds to make and consume), and highly nutritious (loaded with amino acids, vitamins, and minerals).

How To Choose

There are over 1,000 brands of protein shakes available to purchase. Each brand offers a slightly different value than its competitors; some brands have higher quality ingredients, some brands have created flavors that are shockingly delicious, and some brands target specific health conditions. Before choosing a brand, get to know the different types of protein.

Whey

The easiest and fastest absorbing protein with a superior amino acid profile. Can be used at any time of the day to increase protein intake and satisfy hunger.

Micellar Caesin

Slow digesting protein that is mostly derived from milk sources. Great before bed to maintain muscle in an anabolic (repairing) state.

Egg Protein

Lactose-free protein that utilizes egg albumin to create a very low-calorie liquid. Great for those with allergies and special conditions.

Soy Protein

Vegetarian protein that is low in fat and cholesterol. Not recommended for most people (soy lowers testosterone and affects thyroid function).

Why Not Just Eat Food?

In the ideal daily scenario, we would make all of our meals with fresh ingredients and organic foods. Our meals would be free of hormones, steroids, and pesticides and our bodies would be remarkably strong. This is a pleasant thought, but not realistic considering the environment we live in. The reality is that our society is made up of people who work excessive hours and are overloaded with tasks, responsibilities, and stress. This usually equates to little attention given to nutrition and eating habits, even leading to missed meals. Protein shakes (MRP) and other supplements can become necessary because of our hectic lifestyles. These products are meant to supplement our dietary habits, meaning they help complete the necessary nutrition our bodies’ require, but may be missing in our normal diet.

If a person has the option to eat a meal, that is always the best option. In contrast, if nutrients and meals are being missed regularly, an appropriate protein shake could offset the absence of food.

I personally use a protein shake when I need nutrients in between training clients. I would prefer a delicious meal of steak and vegetables, but this is not an option. I do not have the time available, so I use protein shakes to get a similar benefit as a nutritious meal. The school of thought with protein shakes is that it is better to intake a liquid supplement with nutrients than to miss a meal and its nutrients altogether.

 

Mike Clancy (B.S., RTS, Pn1) is a well-respected educator in health and fitness communities.  As a native Rhode Islander, Mike became one of the most demanded trainers in New York City. His audience grew from his initial entry into the fitness industry in Tampa, FL to his hometown crowd of Providence, RI and eventually into the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Mike runs his own private training service in NYC. From CEO’s to community leaders to celebrities, his clientele ranges from the affluent Upper East Side members to the edgy downtown crowd of “the city.”

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