Are Protein Shakes Really Healthy?

Protein shakes are all the rage among athletes and us normal people alike. Suddenly the urge to get more protein in our diet is overwhelming – Starbucks will even mix protein powder in your oatmeal if you ask them to! But do we really need this? Professional athletes might, but what does it really benefit a normal person who works out to stay healthy?

Protein is essential for nearly all bodily functions, in small amounts of course. Athletes need more protein because they need more calories in general compared to the average person, but they also put their bodies through a lot more and are recommended to consume between 1.2-2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. The recommendation for us normals is just .8g/kg of body weight. So if you were a 150lb athlete, you should eat between 81-136 grams of protein a day, while you or I (at 150lbs) should stick to about 54 grams.

That being said, you should be on the lower end of that athlete scale if you’re serious about getting in shape. Not only does protein help with how your body performs on an atomic level, but it also should replace sugary foods or carbs in your diet and thus help you lose weight. If you’re looking to really bulk up and gain muscle mass, creep more towards that 2g/kg of body weight. When you eat is also a factor. You should consume protein before and after a workout to boost muscle mass (about 20g each time, no need to get all your protein in at once). So in reality, those smoothie joints at your gym that are offering protein shakes are actually being helpful! Consider stopping by there while you’re waiting for a cycling class to start or after you get off the treadmill to boost your workout impact!