Do you want to use a protein shake or not? The pros and cons!

Are you unsure whether you should use a protein shake after your training? Then you are certainly not the only one! For many athletes, the use of a protein supplement is an important point of doubt. And if you want to take such a shake, what should you pay attention to?

In this blog we discuss all the important questions you have about protein shakes. Do you want to use a protein shake or not? How many protein shakes per day is a healthy amount? And do you make your shakes with water or with milk ? All these questions are answered below!

Why do you need proteins?

Let’s just start with the basics: why are these proteins made exactly so busy? We can keep the answer reasonably short. Proteins consist of amino acids , and amino acids are just the building blocks from which your muscles are built.

In other words: if your body doesn’t get enough protein, no new muscle tissue can grow. For this reason many athletes try to eat as much protein-rich food as possible . In this way they hope to stimulate the growth of their muscles as much as possible.

Even if you want to lose weight in particular, proteins are useful. They give you a feeling of satiety , which makes it easier to eat fewer calories . In addition, those extra muscles are also useful, because they burn more energy .

How many proteins per day

Opinions differ a bit about the amount of protein you need per day. Are you a pretty enthusiastic strength athlete? As a rule of thumb you can then roughly assume that you need 1.8 grams of protein per kilo body weight. In other words: if you weigh 80 kilos, you need 80 * 1.8 = 144 grams of protein.

But this amount does not apply to everyone. If you exercise less, for example, you need relatively fewer proteins. In our handy online tool you can easily calculate which amount of proteins is optimal for you!

What are proteins in?

How do you get those proteins? Many people immediately think of animal products: meat, fish , dairy and eggs . They indeed contain a lot of proteins, but they are certainly not alone! Other sources of protein are vegetable products such as soy , nuts , legumes and grains.

You can find a more extensive list of protein-rich products in this blog . It also shows exactly how many proteins per 100 grams contain certain foods.

Maximum 30 proteins per meal?

For example, an amount of 144 grams of protein per day sounds a bit intimidating to many people. One of the objections that is often raised is that you should only eat 30 grams of protein per meal . This ‘rule’ stems from the idea that your body can only process 30 grams of protein at a time.

That sounds problematic, but luckily it is nonsense! You can easily process larger amounts of protein within one meal. This is therefore no reason to use extra protein shakes.

Do you want to use a protein shake or not?

Yet there are plenty of other arguments in the issue of “use or not protein shake.” Below we list the most frequently mentioned advantages and disadvantages of protein shakes.

Benefits of protein shake

“Fast” proteins

Two important types of protein are whey protein and casein protein. Whey is absorbed by your body relatively quickly, while casein is processed more slowly.

Most protein shakes mainly contain whey protein. This can be useful, for example, to use immediately after training. Your muscles then have a maximum need for building materials, and the faster they get those proteins, the better the result!

Easily increase protein intake

Of course, it is perfectly possible to meet your daily protein requirements with a natural diet. However, this can be more difficult in some cases. In such a case, using a protein shake can be the simplest solution.

For example, do you generally eat very little, for example because you have a low appetite ? A protein shake then helps you to get the right nutrients. And if your protein requirement is really high, this will prevent you from eating all day …

Easy to use

Finally, a protein shake is simply a very easy source of protein. Sure, you can also eat a steak after training , but it’s harder to take it to the gym . On the other hand, you can simply put a protein shake in your bag.

Cons protein shake

But of course there are (possible) disadvantages associated with these supplements . Otherwise it would not be a dilemma to use protein shake or not! The main disadvantages to take into account are:

Too much protein is not healthy

Due to the current hype about proteins, you would almost think that there is no limit to the proteins that you should eat. However, that is not entirely the case. There is also such a thing as ‘too much’ for proteins.

According to this overview study , too many proteins are particularly stressful for your liver and kidneys. A chronic protein overdose also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and even some cancers .

Now you don’t just run into a surplus of using a protein shake once in a while. But if you are already on a protein-rich diet , then there is certainly no ‘it doesn’t help, it won’t harm’!

Junk often added

In addition, protein shakes do not always consist of proteins alone. Often everything is added to it. This can include flavorings and colorants, but also refined sugars and even substances that affect your hormones .

It will be clear that it will not make you happier . Again, the following applies: not every protein shake is harmless or a sporting panacea.

Protein shakes cost money

Finally, protein shakes are of course not free. Calculated per gram of protein, they are not very expensive, but you still pay more money than if you did not take them! If you actually do not need them at all, you may wonder whether you want to spend money on that.

Are protein shakes thicker?

Another issue that often pops up when people decide whether or not to use protein shakes: does protein shakes make you fat? That is sometimes said, and it may not be a very bad idea either. All these proteins also provide calories, and can therefore contribute to an energy surplus.

But … that energy surplus is not only caused by a protein shake. After all, the rest of your diet has just as much to do with it. If you ensure that everything is in balance with each other, a protein shake will not suddenly make you harder. A protein shake is therefore not a thicker in itself.

How many protein shakes per day?

Of course the following applies: everything in moderation. You don’t want to get too many calories or too many proteins. For that reason, you should always take a good look at how many protein shakes per day are optimal for you.

The easiest way to do that is to first calculate your protein requirement. Then keep a week to see how many proteins you can get with regular food. You can use My Fitness Pal or the Eetmeter for this.

Is there a difference between your protein use and your ideal protein use? Then you can (if the rest of your diet is healthy) fill up with protein shakes. Please note that you must first ensure that you have the rest in order. Protein shakes are not a ‘panacea’ to magically improve a poor diet …

Protein shake with water or milk?

Does it appear that using a protein shake is indeed useful for you? Then there is one more important question: whether you want to take a protein shake with water or with milk. Both have their advantages. We discuss this briefly below:

Protein shake with milk?

It is sometimes said that it is better not to use milk with your protein shake, because milk contains casein. This ‘slower’ protein would delay the absorption of the entire shake. Good news: research shows that that difference is minimal.

Why would you use milk in your protein shake? Most shakes just taste better if you add milk. In addition, it may be useful to use milk if you are trying to grow a calorie surplus for muscle building . 200 ml of milk saves 100 kcal again.

Protein shake with water?

But that does not mean that milk is always the best option. If you try to lose weight, you don’t need extra calories at all. Water is therefore the slimmer option. In addition, there are advanced athletes for whom the casein in milk can become a problem. They are already so far that every detail can have an effect.

Do you want to take your protein shake with water? Pay some attention to choosing the right protein powder. You prefer that your shake is a little tasty – that makes it a lot easier to keep taking it regularly!