Are Protein Shakes a Waste of Money?

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Addicted to protein shakes? Love those powdery, so-called muscle-building supplements? Save your money. Recent studies have found protein shakes and supplements don’t even benefit athletes let alone regular, moderately-fit people (like you and me). Carb-rich energy drinks, on the other hand, might actually do you some good.

“While many carbohydrate drinks are often appropriate for individuals keen to enhance their performance, claims that protein can be of similar benefit are simply not supported by firm scientific evidence,” lead researcher Dr. James Betts of the University of Bath tells the Daily Mail.

Isn’t protein supposed to be good fuel for your body, the kind that keeps you going and helps you build muscle? Absolutely, says Dr. Betts. His argument, rather, is we don’t need supplements to get our protein fix; We can get it much more effectively from our diets.

“Many manufacturers claim supplementing our diets with added protein may help the body to adapt to physical training. Protein is an essential part of our diets, but even athletes who are training hard will almost certainly get more than enough protein from the food they eat,” he adds.

In the research, to be published in the upcoming issue of Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, Dr. Betts claims previous studies on the effects of protein supplements on athletic performance haven’t been accurate — they’ve been conducted on people who’ve been deprived of food for several hours and therefore would see an increase of energy from any type of nourishment.

“There is a need for more evidence showing whether these supplements can be useful under ‘real-world’ conditions, such as following exercise later in the day when usual meals will have already provided the necessary nutrients,” he says. What’s more, he also claims some supplements are laced with unlisted — and potentially dangerous! — ingredients like anabolic hormones such as testosterone and nadrolone.

Point is, you don’t need to spend a bunch of money on expensive supplements that will help you add a bunch of protein to your diet — just focus on getting a balanced diet and increase your protein intake through the healthy foods you eat. Protein is especially important after a big workout, but you can get it in the form of eggs, nuts or quinoa.

Love your protein shakes? Just switch to healthier protein smoothies made with all-natural ingredients. But don’t overdo it — ultra-high protein diets are dangerous for your health

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