Whether you see them on commercials, social media or at your local gym, the truth is, protein shakes are becoming more and more popular among gym-lovers and athletes. But, knowing you can replace protein powders with protein meals, leaves with the question whether should we rely on the first one or prepare ourselves some real food after every time we hit the gym?
The truth is, there is not a person that trains who doesn’t need a certain amount of good quality protein in order to increase lean muscle mass. Also, to prevent any muscle injury and reduce the extra body fat. Also, protein has the ability to optimize our anabolic hormone levels and significantly improve our cardiovascular system.
So, since protein is so essential in helping us maintain our muscles in their optimal shape and also, repair and build organs, cells and tissues, it is very important for us to know which the right choice to make is. Because, you see, despite the fact we might get the protein needs and requirements either by drinking a protein shake or from a whole-food meal, this doesn’t necessarily mean we get the same nutrition values from both of these sources. There are many pros and cons we all need to consider before deciding which form of protein will be our choice. Let’s have a look at the facts mentioned below to help us better decide on which way to go…
Protein Powder’s advantages
Let’s be honest, the biggest advantage of protein powders is the ‘convenience’ part! Since we are facing a world that is filled with so many responsibilities, chores, things to do, we hardly find the necessary time to even train and be in shape. So, thinking we might also have to prepare ourselves a meal that is rich in proteins is a little too frustrating and certainly requires much dedication. Since the protein-meal process is a must after every training session, when it becomes a real challenge, the best way to go is with protein powder.
Also, another thing to be mentioned is that protein powders are absorbed pretty fast by our system. This is an important thing. Especially when we’re after an intensive training session when the rates of glycogen and protein synthesis are increased. Not to forget is also the fact many people, don’t feel like eating a large, filled-with-protein meals. Especially right after the training session. Many of us simply feel the need to hydrate and that’s it. Protein shakes are great suppliers of the proteins we need without making us feel bloated at all. After all, best case, you’ll feel like drinking a smoothie.
Protein meal’s advantages
If you decide to stick at the whole food part, you should know we’re with you! Foods such as fish, eggs, red meat, poultry etc. are packed with proteins and not only. They also contain some other amazing nutrients. Some of them are amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins. Also, saturated fat which is essential and is healthy when consumed in moderation. Unfortunately, it is not possible to pack all of these amazing nutrients into one protein shake. Only in this way, each element can be able to help our body break them down easily.
Remember; even if your protein powders seems to have some extra, other nutrient values in them, chances are they’re damaged during the processing part. Or fortified into the protein powder from another synthetic source that is unhealthy.
For optimal health and better muscle care, try to consume as many natural protein sources as you can. Not all food sources are created equally. So, the best thing to do, is to build a meal plan that you can prepare for your own health. That means, without the need of purchasing any protein powder.
Never underestimate the power of an egg, chicken or red meat. They can help you build muscle mass in the same way protein shakes do. Regardless if your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle, if you want to be healthy, and keep your body in a positive, optimal nitrogen balance, you should consume only real foods. Prepare at least 5 meals a day and try to always include a protein course in them.