Protein Rich Meal Containing Baked Eggs and Tomatoes

Do you need a protein shake? It’s a question that a lot of people don’t really know the answer to.

Let’s start at the beginning.


What is a Protein Shake?

Protein shakes exist in many forms. The most common one is known as whey protein, which is made from cow milk. Over the last couple of years, more and more protein shakes are showing up, some of them being based on plants.

This article will be focusing solely on whey protein, because it’s the most popular protein shake.


What is Whey?

Whey is a product that is formed when cow milk is filtered. In actuality, whey is a byproduct of the cheese industry.

When cow milk is filtered, the residue needs to be dried in order to get protein powder. This powder consists of fat, carbs and protein (30-90%).

The percentage of protein depends on the modifications that are being done to the protein powder. There are three variations of whey protein: concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate.

Concentrate is the cheapest of all three protein powders. It contains the most fat, as well as carbs. The percentage of protein is somewhere between 29% and 89%.

Isolate is modified once. Because of this, it doesn’t contain nearly as much fat and carbs as concentrate.

Hydrolysate is modified once, same as isolate. It contains near to no lactose, which is useful when you are lactose intolerant.


Casein Proteins

Milk consists of two kinds of proteins: whey and casein. During cheese production, whey gets filtered from cow milk, which is then processed to the point at which you can consume it as a protein shake.

But then there are casein proteins, which remain as a byproduct of the cheese industry.

Casein proteins release their amino-acids a bit slower than whey proteins. This means that the time in which protein is available to your body is longer than with whey protein.


Why Would You Need Protein?

Proteins are an absolute necessity for your muscles, organs, central nervous system and blood. Furthermore, proteins are needed after working out.

During workouts, your muscles get damaged because of the stress they experience. Eating enough proteins will make sure that these muscles can recover after a workout. It causes your muscles to strengthen.

This is called muscle protein synthesis. The rate at which your body builds muscle, depends on your workout and protein intake.


Protein Rich Foods

Healthy animal products, such as chicken, turkey, fish, eggs and skimmed milk contain a lot of protein. Whey protein can supplement your protein intake.

There are also a lot of plant based foods that contain relatively much protein. The thing is though, that these foods don’t contain every necessary amino-acid.

Click here if you want to learn more about proteins.


How Much Protein Do You Need?

This picture shows how much protein is needed on average. As you can see, athletes need a lot more protein than non-athletes.


Is Consuming Too Much Protein Unhealthy?

My father always told me: “too much is never healthy”. The same goes for protein. More isn’t necessarily better. I would recommend healthy adults to consume about one gram per pound of body weight.


Which Whey Protein is the Best?

To beginners, I would recommend a mixture of several kinds of whey protein. I personally use a whey protein that is a blend of whey concentrate and whey isolate.

Click here to learn more about this product.

Intermediate and advanced lifters often prefer a whey isolate or hydrolysate, since they contain the least amount of sugar while still delivering about 90% protein.

If you experience negative effects from your whey protein, such as flatulence, diarrhea or pimples, it might be best to try a different whey protein, such as an isolate or hydrolysate.

Another option would be to try a plant based protein shake.


Pros vs. Cons

First of all: it’s cheap! One shake contains somewhere between 23 and 29 grams of pure protein. This is way cheaper than a steak, which is often found to be 4-5 times more expensive. I must admit that I like my steak, though.

Whey proteins contain very high quality proteins, meaning that every amino-acid is made available to your body. This promotes muscle recovery and growth.

Recent studies have shown that athletes should consume between 20 and 40 grams of protein every 2-3 hours, as well as 10-12 grams of essential amino-acids and 2-3 grams of leucine. This causes muscle protein synthesis to peak, which in turn promotes muscle growth and recovery.

Another pro would be that it’s easy to use. All you need to do is to put a scoop in your shaker, followed by adding some water or milk. If you’re short on time, a protein shake is a fantastic solution.

Another study has shown that using protein shakes increases strength and muscle mass. This is the case for young and old people, people that have never trained a day in their life before, advanced lifters, and so on.

A recent meta-analysis pointed out that this effect is only notable when the respondents eat less than 0.72 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

However, if you are getting enough protein from regular nutrition, consuming whey protein will not cause your body to build more muscle mass.

I have already discussed the downside of whey protein, which are flatulence, diarrhea and pimples. Other than that, you could be allergic to one or more components.


In Conclusion

Whey protein is a fantastic product. It’s easy, cheap, and effective. However, it should be noted that whey protein shakes should never replace your regular meal plan, as it is a supplementary food.

Whether protein shakes promote muscle growth, depends on your normal meal plan, as well as your workout routine. If you’re already getting a lot of protein from your normal food, a whey protein might not be necessary.

The same can be said about working out. If you don’t do any of that, you won’t need as much protein.

Do you have questions or comments? Please, leave your thoughts below!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is whey?

Whey is a product that is formed when cow milk is filtered. This happens during the production of cheese.

How much protein does whey contain?

Whey concentrate contains between 29-89%. Both isolate and hydrolysate contain around 89% of protein. This great difference has to do with the fact that concentrate contains a lot more carbohydrates.

Are there downsides to whey protein shakes?

There can be minor downsides as long as you’re not allergic to one or more of the components, them being flatulence, diarrhea and pimples.

Is consuming too much protein unhealthy?

Consuming way too much protein for a prolonged time may cause your blood to become more acidic, due to them being broken down into amino acids. To compensate, calcium and magnesium are extracted from your bones, causing osteoporosis.

10 thoughts on “Are Protein Shakes Necessary?

  1. Hello, I really want to appreciate your effort in putting together this website and writing this article. Whether protein shakes promote muscle growth, depends on your normal meal plan, and prior to this time I never knew about whey products. I have just learnt a lot from your well researched post. I am wasting no time in getting whey protein. I would like to know if women can take it also? 

    1. Hi Benny, 

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you learned something! To answer your question: yes, any healthy person can take protein shakes. 

      Have a great day! 

  2. Interesting read. I never even thought to add protein shakes to my diet, and then somebody told me that everyone should be drinking these to improve muscle tone. Now I see that this is only true if you are exercising a lot and most of us probably don’t need them if we are eating enough protein in our diets.

    Would you suggest that someone who doesn’t work out that much, apart from walking and pilates, would benefit at all from taking these sorts of shakes?

    1. Hi Michel, 

      Proteins will to a certain extent influence how your muscles show, but taking a few shakes every day won’t suddenly have ground breaking effects. 

      You could definitely benefit from taking some extra protein, but only if your food is lacking in protein. Otherwise, I don’t see any necessity to take protein shakes.

      I hope this answers your question! 

  3. Hey Kevin,

    Good article, I work with men helping them to increase testosterone production & achieve their body goals. Do you need a protein shake is one of the most frequent questions that I’m asked, in my experience most people who are new to training aren’t actually getting enough protein, so a shake is a quick, easy and cost effective way to up numbers. I personally use isolate now but recommend blends to most my guys as a starting point. I’m always on the look out for a good isolate brand, can you make any recommendations?

  4. Hey Kevin, Thanks for guiding on protein. Everyone need protein in their day to day life. It is our body requirement. It is necessary for muscles, organs, central nervous system and blood. Protein requirement depends on our work profile. If our protein requirement is not completed via our natural diet then whey protein is necessary for us.

    Thank you for sharing best knowledge regarding protein.


    1. Hi Parveen,

      Thanks for dropping by! I’m glad you learned something. 

      Have a great day! 

  5. Hello Kevin. Thank you for sharing this post on protein shake. I have read about protein shake before but I have never encountered the term whey protein before. Well, now I have some knowledge about it. I also learnt some lessons on protein.

    Yes, I need a protein shake straight off…

    All the best.

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