Drinking a protein shake can cause a bit of a controversy. It is sometimes frowned upon.
People who are against it, say it isn’t natural, that whole food is much better for you. People who are pro, say it’s a cheaper and more convenient way to deliver nutrients that are necessary for muscle rebuild and growth.
Guess who’s right. Both! But don’t go, stay and read on to find what in the devil is a protein shake? Why both groups are right? Which ones are the best? What are they for? Who are they for?
Arguably the most popular type of protein powder, whey protein is made of what exactly?
Whey protein is produced during the process of making cheese , first in a liquid form and then it is processed to achieve the form that we have on our supplement shop shelves.
Did I say processed? I did!
If the term ‘processed foods’ has a negative sound to you, you’re not alone. A survey done by International Food Information Council shows that 43% of consumers are concerned about food processing .
Processed food is a very broad term that, unfortunately, has a very negative label attached to it. It includes washing the vegetables before you eat them (even organic apple is a processed product once you wash it or peel it ), but it can go as far as cured meats  or breakfast cereals. So as you can see most of our food has been processed in one way or the other .
Processing itself is not an issue, it was started to stop food from spoiling so you may say that food processing saved our lives.
Is drinking protein shakes harmful, however?
THE OPPOSITE, Whey protein has a lot of health benefits . To mention a couple, it helps reduce the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease .
Comedian George Burns said once “You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.” He certainly proved it playing in Oh, God! at the age of 81.
Whey can certainly help with that , as it has more important amino acids for building and/or maintaining muscle mass than any other source of protein  and it can prevent muscle loss that occurs with age, also known as sarcopenia.
In a study from 2014 American College of Nutrition stated, “The current body of literature supports the use of Whey Protein, either as a supplement combined with resistance exercise or as part of a weight loss or weight maintenance diet, to improve body composition parameters.” 
So we know how it’s made and we know it’s good for us.
If you go to your nearest GNC and you may be amazed at choice there, flavor aside you can have a concentrate, isolate, milk, pea, hemp, egg, rice, and soy protein. The choices are mind-boggling.
For lactose intolerant people their whey isolate is the best option as it contains virtually no lactose.
You green brothers and sisters, i.e. vegetarians, should be ok with all the aforementioned. Soy protein is obviously and option but it has hefty price tag and it is inferior to other protein powder choices.
Casein seems to be more effective over a long period of time and when mixed with isolate or concentrate .
If you are not lactose intolerant you will be fine with standard whey protein concentrate, it is the cheapest and most popular protein out there, look for good quality brands and about 80% of protein.
So we’ve discovered that protein is good for the young and the elderly , the fit and the ill ,so wouldn’t it be beneficial to have all those benefits from a chocolate (according to my preference) milk… that I make with water? I think so too.
But how often would you have it? How much is too much?
Obviously you should get as much of your food from whole foods, as the quality of food matters . In terms of quantity, you should use the whey protein of your choice to supplement your current intake.
On average, an individual that trains actively should consume about 1.8 – 2.7g of protein per kg of body weight (0.8g – 1.2g per lbs) , so to simplify the numbers let’s settle on an average of 2.2g per kg or 1g per 1lb of bodyweight.
If your consumption of foods leaves you room for 40g of protein, this is how much you should supplement from your protein shake of choice.
I hope this little write up convinces you that drinking protein shake isn’t only for pumped up guys and gals at your local gym, but can benefit almost everyone (unless there is a medical or dietary reason to the contrary).
If you are happy with the way you look, you eat a variety of foods, and your energy level is high, fantastic.
Otherwise have a protein shake … once other priorities like good quality food, exercise, stress management and good sleep are in place.
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'Greg Mikolap, BSc in Physiotherapy, and a Personal Trainer based in Maidenhead, England. Greg is also a founder of www.PTFolder.com, training solution for people who want to get fit or for people who help others get fit. With almost 10 years experience in the industry, Greg is also a course director for Faster Health & Fitness and is working on his volleyball performance book.'