Should You Take Protein Shakes?

To Use Protein or Not Use Protein… That is the question…

Everyday I get tons of questions from my followers about protein supplements such as…

– Should I have protein shakes?
– Are protein supplements safe?
– Are protein shakes necessary?
– Will protein damage my kidneys?
– Can I just eat high protein food?
– Is it ok for a teenager to take protein?
– When should I take protein?
– What’s the best kind of protein?
– Do I take protein before or after my workouts?
– Will protein stunt my growth?
– Should I mix protein with water or milk?
– Will protein shrink my dick / balls?
– Does protein powder contain steroids?
– And on, and on, and on…

Those are just a handful of the many frequently asked protein related questions that I get asked on a regular basis.

First off, for all the absurd questions; like if protein will stunt your growth, shrink your junk, or if it contains steroids… The answer is NO to all of the above. Those are just stupid BS myths that get spread around by people who don’t have a clue what their talking about.

As for the questions with regards to protein’s safety, I think most of these come from concerned, but mis-informed parents, who are just looking out for their kids. But the fact is that protein powders are just natural food supplements. For example, whey protein, egg protein, vegetable protein, etc. So protein powder is just as safe as eating the natural foods themselves. And using protein supplements is safe for everyone; men, women, and teens.

Another common myth is that protein is bad for your kidneys and again that’s totally false. There has never been a single study what so ever that has shown a high protein diet causes kidney damage. Only people who already have pre-existing kidney problems need to be concerned with keeping their protein in check, and that’s something that would be looked after by a doctor. But again high protein foods & protein supplements Do NOT cause kidney problems to begin with.

Alright, so now that we’ve got the safety issues covered and we know protein is “safe” to consume. Now we need to cover the “why” questions.

Why use protein supplements in the first place?
Why not just eat high protein foods?

Well, you could and you should. There is nothing wrong with eating high protein foods. The only problem comes in with cost and convince.

Most typical bodybuilding diets require that you consume 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight daily, spaced out over 6 meals. Now if you have the time to cook, prepare, and eat 6 high protein food meals per day go for it. This will certainly help meet your protein intake needs.

The problem for most people is that we have a life outside the kitchen. So we either work, go to school, etc. and it makes it difficult to get in 6 high protein food meals each day. This is where protein supplements can help big time. You can simply mix them up in a shaker bottle and take them with you where ever you go and have a liquid high protein meal on the run. It’s harder to this with high protein foods like meat, chicken, fish, eggs, etc.

Another issue to consider is the cost. While most people look at protein supplements and think they are “expensive”, they are actually cheaper when you look at the big picture. Sure a 5 pound tub of protein powder is about $50 bucks (depending on where you live and the brand you buy). But you are getting 1600+ grams of pure protein from that 5 pound container. If you were to buy that much protein from lean beef, you’d have to buy about 20 pounds, and even at just $5 per pound it would cost you twice as much money on a gram for gram basis as buying the same amount of protein from protein powder.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should give up solid food protein and just live on supplements. But by including supplements in your diet you can make consuming a high protein diet much easier, and cheaper as well.

Ok, so we’ve established the basics here about protein safety and why we should use it. In my next blog post I’m going to cover the best times that you should have a protein shake.

So you can click on the link below to go check that out right now at:

What Is The Best Time To Have A Protein Shake?

About The Author

leehayward

Lee Hayward is a competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online helping people build muscle, lose bodyfat, and get in shape since 1999. Lee was selected as one of the Top Fitness Trainers Online through YouTube's Next Trainer Program and his work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes.

86 Comments

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  • Nice information! protein powder is a well-known fact that protein is the best food to start your day with and is an essential nutrient that is important to your health. Starting the day with a proper portion of protein is to start the day feeding your bodies muscles, nails, hair, internal organs and skin.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • I use protein powders and follow a high protein diet. This article answered a lot of questions for me. I am very looking forward to see how you feel about the best powders, combined with supplements, best time of day to be taken etc. Lee you are very well versed and keep me motivated.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • John

    Reply Reply

    Lee–

    What do you think of taking branched-chain amino acids instead of protein shakes?

    Thanks,
    –John

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Alex alsalami

    Reply Reply

    Thanks for the information, Lee. You’re always inspiring.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Artur

    Reply Reply

    Lee,
    I’ve used all different kinds of protein powders, whether whey, egg, whey isolate – still have yet to try the expensive hydrosolate – but I’ve noticed all of them cause my body to retain water weight. After stopping protein drinks/bars etc and eating high protein foods I shed off that water weight within a week or two. The annoyance is that its very prominent in my face, making it poofy and looking like im sleepy all the time. I know that sugars/sodium levels can affect this, and I have switched between all different kinds of brands with no solution. Any input?
    Thanks, artur

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Jerry Bippus

    Reply Reply

    Lee,

    I really appreciate all this information. I do follow these guidelines and have seen a huge difference in body. I owe thanks to you.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • GetTat2ed

    Reply Reply

    Useful information in dispelling some bad press about protein, however, I would have liked to see more information about your best recommendations. There are so many brands in the market, each touting their own advantages but not all protein (or the sources they are derived from) is the same. Some brands come with slow and fast digesting protein, others contain more of one than the other. Also, many brands contain “fillers” which offer no real benefit, and still others, often promoted as “gainers” don’t offer any real lean muscle advantages and most of the weight gains are driven by simple carbohydrates (i.e. sugars; e.g. maltodextrin) which overstimulate insulin responses and more often lead to fat gains rather than real muscle growth. I consume 3-4 protein shakes per day, but most of the “pro body builders” have told me its better to commit to clean, healthy nutrition and aim for increased caloric intake and limit your protein shakes to 1 or 2 a day, usually after a workout or before bed.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • eddie

    Reply Reply

    HI LEE I STARTED USING TMU WHEY PROTEIN IS THAT A GOOD ONE I WAS AFRAID TO START USING PROTEIN AT THE START I ONLY USE IT AFTER I WORK OUT GOOD LUCK EDDIE

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Prit Pancholi

    Reply Reply

    Hi lee

    What a about pre supplements? How bad could over consumption get? And when should we take it?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Lance

    Reply Reply

    leehayward,
    Your allergy might not be to the Protein but to the type of sweetener used in your protein.

    The kind of rashes/pimples you are describing are common among people who have allergies to artificial sweeteners. I personally only use protein that is sweetened with stevia. It can however be hard to find powders that are sweetened naturally.

    Progressive and PVL are 2 of the brands that come to mind that sell protein powders with undenatured protein and Stevia. Always check the ingredients before you buy. You would be suprised at all the junk some manufacturers put in their protein powders.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Babak

    Reply Reply

    Is that true thatif you are above age 37-40, protein powder
    Will causes your testosterone to go down?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • I am a vegetarian and even though I drink at least 2 ltr of milk a day, adding a scoop or more of whey protein has genuinely helped me not only in more strength, hypertrophy and less joint pains but it even made an addition to positive thinking .. 🙂

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Gagan

    Reply Reply

    this article cleared lots of doubts in my mind regarding protein supplements

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • alkaline foods list:
    I use protein powders and follow a high protein diet. This article answered a lot of questions for me. I am very looking forward to see how you feel about the best powders, combined with supplements, best time of day to be taken etc. Lee you are very well versed and keep me motivated.

    =================

    I’ve got an article that covers my Top 5 Most Recommended Supplements at: http://www.leehayward.com/lees_top5_supplements.htm

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • John:
    Lee–

    What do you think of taking branched-chain amino acids instead of protein shakes?

    Thanks,
    –John

    ==============

    You only need BCAA’s during your actual workouts to help prevent muscle breakdown. During the rest of the day protein foods and regular protein supplements are fine.

    I’ve got a blog post about BCAA’s that you can read at:
    https://leehayward.com/blog/post-workout-nutrition-on-steroids/

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Artur:
    Lee,
    I’ve used all different kinds of protein powders, whether whey, egg, whey isolate – still have yet to try the expensive hydrosolate – but I’ve noticed all of them cause my body to retain water weight. After stopping protein drinks/bars etc and eating high protein foods I shed off that water weight within a week or two. The annoyance is that its very prominent in my face, making it poofy and looking like im sleepy all the time. I know that sugars/sodium levels can affect this, and I have switched between all different kinds of brands with no solution. Any input?
    Thanks, artur

    =============

    It could be an allergic reaction. Do you find dairy products in general cause you to bloat as well?

    One protein supplement that’s becoming more popular is Beef Protein Powder. This is something you may want to check out.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • GetTat2ed:
    Useful information in dispelling some bad press about protein, however, I would have liked to see more information about your best recommendations. There are so many brands in the market, each touting their own advantages but not all protein (or the sources they are derived from) is the same. Some brands come with slow and fast digesting protein, others contain more of one than the other. Also, many brands contain “fillers” which offer no real benefit, and still others, often promoted as “gainers” don’t offer any real lean muscle advantages and most of the weight gains are driven by simple carbohydrates (i.e. sugars; e.g. maltodextrin) which overstimulate insulin responses and more often lead to fat gains rather than real muscle growth. I consume 3-4 protein shakes per day, but most of the “pro body builders” have told me its better to commit to clean, healthy nutrition and aim for increased caloric intake and limit your protein shakes to 1 or 2 a day, usually after a workout or before bed.

    ================

    I personally like to mix and vary my protein supplements all the time so I don’t get bored of drinking the same one over and over again. But one of the higher quality protein powders that I’ve used is an Isolate Blend both fast and slow digesting protein powders called “Iso-Smooth” that’s available at: http://www.BlueStarMuscle.com

    As for how often you should drink protein shake, when to drink them, etc. I cover that in my blog post at:
    https://leehayward.com/blog/best-time-to-have-protein/

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Prit Pancholi:
    Hi lee

    What a about pre supplements? How bad could over consumption get? And when should we take it?

    =============

    I cover the best time to have a protein shake in this blog post at:
    https://leehayward.com/blog/best-time-to-have-protein/

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Babak:
    Is that true thatif you are above age 37-40, protein powder
    Will causes your testosterone to go down?

    ============

    No, in fact the opposite is true. Consuming adequate protein intake helps to support testosterone production in the body and is required for muscle growth.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Rick DeCamp

    Reply Reply

    Liked your advise, Lee. I have gotten away from too many protein shakes in my pre-contest dieting, but do use them when I don’t have the time to cook a meal. Many MRP’s are so full of sugar and or fat to make them taste better, so I prefer whole food to any liquid protein. I had to quit using Casin though – I got so bloated – it woke me up when I was asleep. As always – your advise is on the mark.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • kristoffer

    Reply Reply

    Thanks man, im 176 cm, and 17 years old. The reason why i didnt drink protein shakes was because the rumour about the “stop growth” part. What type is the best protein shakes? and do you know about some exercises that can make you grow taller?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Kyle

    Reply Reply

    Lee thanks for answering these questions for me. My girlfriend constantly hounds me saying supplements such as protein shakes are just types of steroids. Now I have proof that she is wrong . Haha thanks for all the articals I’m constantly putting them to good use.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Hi Lee
    now i have lot more things cleared. but one should take protien in milk or water?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Sagar Sharma:
    Hi Lee
    now i have lot more things cleared. but one should take protien in milk or water?

    ============

    I mix my protein shakes with water. I personally do not drink milk.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Lance

    Reply Reply

    leehayward: ============

    I mix my protein shakes with water. I personally do not drink milk.

    Personally I do not find most shakes taste very good in water especially the healthier ones sweetened with stevia. I mix mine with unsweetened Almond milk. I find the Silk brand tastes best and only adds another 35 calories and healthy fat. Try it out, I think you will find the almond milk tastes as good or better in shakes as low fat or skim milk does.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • paul

    Reply Reply

    hi Lee
    What do you think of the new “all in one” protein shakes
    For example, this one
    http://www.matrix-nutrition.co.uk/Product.aspx?4KG_Complete_%22All_in_one%22_Protein&Code=M9COM

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • paul,

    ===========================

    I’ve never used that one in particular, but I often make my own “All In One Shake” by adding protein, BCAA’s, creatine, etc. to the mix. Especially post workout. Just check out my video about this at:

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • I think protein powders are an essential part, I’ve recently added rpn havoc and seeing great results due to my high protein diet.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • bradley

    Reply Reply

    iv heard that protein shakes can increase the speed you grow at is this true?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • This topic is not as simple as it seems. Thanks for the clarification.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Outstanding expert articles and style of posting.
    I think I’ll come back on this site down the line and see precisely what else you’ve got in store!
    😉 I am heading to check out if I truly may come up with something dealing with lose fat in stomach area!

    !

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Tim

    Reply Reply

    The problem with today’s protein powders isn’t the actual protein it’s the sweeteners. Aspartame, Sucralose, and Acesulfame K are worse than any amount of sugar. They also spike insulin levels similar and some times more than sugar. Not sure when the supplement companies will arrive at this conclusion hopefully the informed consumer will help drive them to change what they put in their products.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Sempleguy ko

    Reply Reply

    Thanks coach lee… Now I know… It’s time to buy protein shake and drink…

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Noah Calhoune

    Reply Reply

    What about the fact that the process used to create whey protein powders destroys the key enzymes that are necessary to allow digestion whitin the gut. The fact is without these, the whey protein makes its way into the small intestine as the stomach can not break it down. The whey then gathers in the small intestine and contributes towards te bloated look and feeling that most bodybuilders suffer from today?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Noah Calhoune,

    To help with protein digestion and absorption you should supplement your diet with Digestive Enzymes. This can more than double the rate of protein absorption so that you can maximize your protein supplements. I’ve got a blog post about this at: https://leehayward.com/blog/simple-protein-trick-for-more-muscle-mass

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Amadeus

    Reply Reply

    Do you even realize that you don’t even have one reliable source. I don’t know if the information you are saying its even true, honestly I don’t care but this article is not reliable its just an opinion piece. Hopefully people don’t take this seriously like a scholarly article. Im not trying to come out negative btw.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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