Protein shakes are now very popular with both men and women because protein supplementation can promote muscle growth and encourage fat loss.
However if you have never used one of these supplements before, there are certain things that you should know about these products that no-one ever tells you about.
Bloating / Gas
You might automatically assume that you can knock back these shakes immediately after your workout and not suffer any ill effects, but unfortunately many of these protein shakes can cause a lot of uncomfortable bloating and gas.
There are some types of protein that cause less bloating than others, such as whey protein isolate, for example, but the various other forms of whey protein can often cause some discomfort even if you have a healthy digestive system. So it’s always a good idea to buy a small packet of protein powder and test it out before you buy a giant 4 kg bag, for instance.
Many people who buy one of these protein powders for the first time will often go for a chocolate or strawberry-flavored shake and assume that they will taste similar to a milkshake.
Whilst some of them will indeed taste quite pleasant and have a similar taste, there are some that will taste absolutely disgusting. You will often find that some of the flavored drinks are full of sweeteners, and are therefore too sweet and sickly, whilst some of the unflavored shakes will taste absolutely revolting without any flavoring.
Whey protein can cause problems for many people who have a lactose intolerance because it is obviously derived from milk, but another problem with a lot of protein powders is that they can also contain a lot of added ingredients, particularly the flavored versions.
Subsequently the end result is that they are often full of allergens (in addition to dairy), whether it’s soy, gluten, eggs or sugar for example, which can trigger your IBS if you suffer from this problem, or disrupt your digestive system if you have an intolerance to any of these things.
Many bodybuilders will tell you about the benefits of protein supplementation, but they never mention how expensive it can be to keep on taking these shakes on a regular basis.
A medium-sized bag of protein powder could easily set you back $40 – $50 and may last less than a month if you train regularly. So you can find yourself spending quite a lot of money just on protein every month, particularly if you buy one of the premium brands.
One final thing that people don’t generally tell you is that protein shakes are not really needed to build muscle. Their sole purpose is to boost your daily protein intake, so therefore you can easily achieve the same benefits just by eating lots of high-protein foods.
Chicken, beef, eggs and fish are all good sources of protein, and you can also top up with snacks such as nuts and Greek yogurt, which are also high in protein.
So these are some of the things you should be aware of before you start drinking protein shakes on a regular basis as part of your training regime.