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6 Reasons You Should Stop Using Protein Powder

chocolate protein powderI’ve been wanting to write this article for the longest time. Protein powder use has been ingrained in my brain for my entire fitness life. Protein, protein, protein – you can’t reach your goals without it…or so I thought.

Up until about a year ago, I used protein powder on a daily basis to supplement my intake. It worked in the sense that I hit my protein requirement goals, but using it went against everything I believed in nutrition wise. The following are 6 reasons why I decided to give up using protein powder, and why you should consider it too.

Protein Powder is Processed

This was the main reason I decided to give it up. I’m a firm believer that eating processed foods, especially ones with artificial ingredients, are the primary cause of bad health in this world, and as much as I’d hate to admit it, protein powder is a processed food. More importantly though, it’s a refined food.

That means you are taking a whole food and purifying it down to just the parts you want. That also means you are leaving out many of the essential parts of the food that are beneficial to your health. In addition, most of the powder on the market is packed with artificial sweeteners, flavors, and fillers.

It Spikes Insulin Levels

I was a user of whey protein, which comes from dairy. Whey is a quick digesting protein, and I used it for this property. It was used in my post-workout shake to jump start recovery and protein synthesis. I also used it in other foods to fortify their protein content.

I always knew this to be true, but I remained in denial – whey protein can quickly raise blood sugar and insulin levels, leaving you feeling like you just ingested sugar [1] [2] [3]. I was always hungry shortly after a meal containing whey protein, and I believe it’s because the powder caused wild swings in blood sugar levels.

While the blood sugar crash was mitigated post-workout due to the suppressed insulin response, using powder throughout the day made the issue progressively worse, and I found myself feeling lethargic and hungry shortly after having a shake – a sure sign of low blood sugar.

Here are 10 ways to keep your insulin levels under control for better fat loss.

It Lacks Nutrients

This goes along with the fact that it’s processed. When you refine a product you leave behind much of the nutrition. Not only that, but we are still learning about nutrition, and I have a feeling that we are going to discover more about our food and about how all the parts of the food work together in harmony to assimilate its vitamins and minerals.

In the meantime, whole foods will always beat protein powder when it comes to providing a broad range of nutrients. We have to remember that being fit and healthy isn’t just about the macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs), it’s about the micronutrients (vitmains, minerals, antioxidants, etc) too. And no, fortifying protein powder with a bunch of vitamins and special ingredients is not the same, as much as the marketers would like you to believe.

Plus, when I’m in a calorie deficit, I prefer to get my calories from solid food. Not only does this give me more nutrients, but it keeps me more satiated. Solid food adds fiber and bulk to your meal so that you can feel satisfied longer on fewer calories.

I Don’t Need It to Reach My Goals

Coming from a bodybuilding background, I had it ingrained into my head that if I didn’t get 1 gram per pound of body weight in protein, I would be sacrificing muscle gains. Well, after removing protein powder from my diet, I experimented with this myself doing my own body fat and lean body mass measurements.

I ate between .6-.8 grams per pound of body mass. This didn’t affect me negatively in any way, and in fact, I felt healthier as a result and enjoyed the extra carbs in my diet. Studies have shown that there are no benefits to consuming protein up and beyond .6 grams per pound of body weight, and that .8 grams per pound will be more than enough to cover your bases [4].

It’s an Unneeded Expense

I actually spent a lot less than many people do on protein powder. I would buy it in bulk (10lbs), and the price for whey isolate was under $10/lb. Compare that to some other people that are spending $100-$200/month on protein supplementation, and it was a bargain.

However, it still wasn’t cheap, and the extra expense was unneeded. That extra money is now going towards having fun or improving the quality of my nutrition by adding more veggies to my diet. Needless to say, the extra money in my pocket makes me happy.

Here are 100 healthy foods that I’d much rather put my money towards.

People Were Building Quality Muscle Long Before Protein Powder

Protein powder wasn’t always as popular as it is today. In fact, many bodybuilders of old never used the stuff because it wasn’t even available. They were still able to build great physiques. Steak and eggs, and meat and potatoes were staples in their diets. Those meals provided them with all the protein, healthy fats, unrefined carbs, and nutrients needed to build the muscle they wanted.

For people that are looking to push their physiques well beyond genetic limitations, or for those on anabolic hormones, protein powder may have its place, but for the average person looking to be healthy, fit, and build a great physique, protein powder is completely unnecessary, and could be doing more harm than good if you’re using one with artificial ingredients.

Is Protein Powder Evil?

This article wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t play a little devil’s advocate. As I said, I used it daily for a good 10 years, so I’ve lived on both sides of the fence. There are some benefits to protein powder – both tangible and intangible.

For example, there is always the convenience factor. When left with little time to eat and the choice is between a candy bar or a protein shake, of course a protein shake is better. However, a little planning could have you eating a solid meal.

And then there’s the taste. A lot of powders on the market taste delicious – there’s no doubt about it, and many people look forward to this. But I have noticed that most of these delicious shakes come with added artificial flavors and sweeteners. So buyer beware.

When I was using powder I bought plain unflavored whey isolate. Protein was the only ingredient. Then, I blended it up with frozen fruit and spinach for a sort of whole food/protein powder hybrid. If you want to keep using powder, perhaps give this route a go.

Let me be clear that I have yet to find solid evidence that protein powder is unhealthy. Now, the powders that add in a bunch of artificial ingredients are no doubt unhealthy, but protein powder in and of itself seems to be health neutral. However, whole foods should always be your primary choice if given the option.

What do you think?

  • Michele

    I don’t use protein powder but I use BCAA’s post workout. Your opinion on BCAAs?

  • Linda

    So what would you recommend for after workout strength/cardio, since that was the easy go to! How important is it to meet your protein intake amount?

  • Healthy and Happy Living

    I am sorry, but much of what you wrote is scientifically incorrect. For starters, just because a protein powder may be made from whey does NOT mean that it spikes your blood sugar levels. It doesn’t contain lactose, which is the natural sugar that occurs in milk. So, it cannot spike your blood sugar levels. There’s no sugar in it at all, not even natural milk sugar. Also, when using a protein powder supplement, you’re not looking for full “nutrients,”, you’re just trying to supplement your protein. It’s not a meal replacement, so the other “nutrients” your article claims it lacks are irrelevant. And while it’s true people were building quality muscle long before protein powder, people also used to farm their own land and grow their own food and didn’t sit in front of computers all day or live in our antioxidant-infested post-industrial revolution society. I could go on and on. I’m not trying to be disrespectful or anything because your info is usually very useful, but this particular article is heavily loaded with inaccuracies and misinformation.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hi Michelle, BCAAs are an even more refined version of protein powder, so I don’t use them.

    • Michele

      Thank you! Gonna use the rest of the container and I’m done. Don’t want to throw away money :) It’s the only supplement (besides vitamins) that I use and I just started using it a couple of weeks ago. Will just go back to getting my nutrients through foods.

  • http://www.marandacarvell.com/ Maranda

    I knew all these things and still used it because it was convenient. However when I finally pinned it down as the source of my acne, that was motivation to drop it… don’t miss it!

  • Leanne

    what are your comments about Visalus(Body By Vi) shakes, is this considered the same?

  • Olivier Dumont

    Hi, i use organic hemp protein powder, what about those?

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Have a whole food meal that contains carbohydrates and protein. Chicken and rice. Meat and potatoes, etc. I have no problem meeting my requirements eating whole foods.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hi Jerrilynn, since you copied and pasted your Facebook comment here, I will do the same with my response ;)

    the spike in insulin levels has nothing to do with lactose. The spike comes from the rapid digestion of whey. Protein has an effect on insulin levels and blood sugar too, and the rapid digestion of whey affects them.

    In addition, the amount of nutrients in a food is always relevant. 100 calories from protein powder and 100 calories from lean meat are completely different. One is processed and void of nutrients, while the other is packed with them.

    Last, the fact that we are less active these days is an argument against additional protein supplementation. Why would you need more protein when you’re less active?

    Thanks for reading the article. No protein powder isn’t for everyone. Like I said, I used it religiously for the last 15 years, but now that I’ve quit, I won’t be going back.

    • Susan Parris

      One day, people will realise that ingestion of sugar is not the only way to spike BGLs. A piece of bread, a tbs of rice, some pasta etc. Complex carbs will spike, and people think they’re healthy. I didn’t have whey protein I had isolate. BGLs…UP!

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Good to hear Maranda, and glad you found the cause of your acne!

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hi Leanne, yes, I consider those MLM powder to be what I’m talking about.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Is it the whole hemp plant, or is it refined? How is it processed from whole food to powder?

    • Krys

      My hemp protein has one ingredient, organic hemp seeds ground at low temperature so it remains a raw food. It’s a whole food and it’s not some white mystery powder. It’s not more processed than any organic nut butter. Just ground up.

  • jgirl57

    Hi Coach thank you so much for this artical, I have been using the whey protein for a long time myself, What do you suggest to substitute the drinks with because I find that really fills me up after my work outs and I get really hungry afterwards..I’m kinda addicted to it LOL

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Simply substitute the drinks for whole foods. Eat like you would eat at any other time of the day. The possibilities are endless, really.

    • Annie B.C.

      I blend oatmeal (first, it grinds better) THEN add, spinach, frozen berries and some cinnamon. I choose skim milk, but almond milk, coconut milk /water or soy milk are all options. So you still have a fast nutrient rich “drink” on the go post workout. :)

    • tigga

      Hi! I sometimes substitute my protein shakes with fruits, spinach (or kale), and plain greek yogurt. Greek yogurt has a good amount of protein.

  • Ols

    Finally! I’m so tired of everyone acting like weight loss is impossible without protein powder! I can’t see why it is such a large part in peoples’ diets. If I ask about it in a group, they act like I’m a troublemaker.

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Yes, unfortunately protein powder is one of those topics that makes people feel under attack. If you question it, it’s like you’re questioning their personal beliefs.

      Like I said, I was in denial for 15 years, but now that I’ve stopped using it, I see no reason to go back.

  • Jodi

    Sigh – I just bought a huge container of it….

  • Michael Petyak

    I’m going to have to disagree with you. While protein supplementation is not necessary given adequate protein consumption through whole foods, it is not detrimental to ones health. Hopefully, no one is eating a diet exclusively of protein supplements. So, lacking nutrients shouldn’t be an issue if a person is using it purely to add a few extra grams of protein to their diet. Everything you eat raises insulin. Obviously, some food items will more than others. However, given a diet that has a consistent caloric deficit, then this isn’t a huge deal for people who do not have insulin issues. The whole processed food alarmism is overblown. Excess calories made people fat. There is not single food item that caused an obesity epidemic. I think we need to stop trying to place blame on the food industry for our health. Everyday we see another story that blames a restaurant, company, food, etc. for causing obesity. With all this information out there, people are still obese. Why? Because we’ve become a soft society that doesn’t want to hurt people feelings. Truth? People are fat because they ate too much food and didn’t get off the couch. Doesn’t matter what they ate to get there. The fact is they ate too much of it.

    • Nicole

      Brilliant Michael!! Well said. Especially love the part about the open truth of why we have such a high incidence of obesity. People need to start blaming themselves!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.a.holtmann Jennifer Ann Blankenheim Holtm

    What do you think of Shakeology?

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      I feel the same about all powers Jennifer. Whole foods for a healthy body, and you can’t go wrong.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    No one is blaming the food industry, Michael. However, processed foods are a (if not the leading cause) of health issues in this world.

    Now, would you agree that whole foods are healthier and more nutritious than powders?

    Really, that is what it all boils down to for me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.petyak Michael Petyak

      Yes, that’s why I first stated that protein powder isn’t necessary if a person is able to take in sufficient protein through whole foods. However, I don’t agree with labeling protein powder as “bad”.

      • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

        I’m not saying it’s bad for you, just saying it’s not as good, and if I’m looking to optimize my health and fitness, I’m going to put the best of anything into my body – whole foods.

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      • matclip

        You appear to be attempting to justify protein powder for yourself when all logic points at it being bad. For one, your body only uses the amount of protein it needs, and a typical American gets that amount in one meal for the entire day. What makes it “bad” is it’s effect on your kidneys and other parts of your body when there is a surplus in your system. Just eat in moderation. The body is all about balance. People like to justify things for themselves instead of accepting the truth. Read the real scientific research about this on pubmed rather than on fitness websites. They are boring to read, but they are the truth. I’ve been studying nutrition under some of the greatest minds in the field in America, and I can’t tell you how many fitness trainers try to convince me that “you just pee it out”. Re-search.

        • Michael Petyak

          Instead of telling me to research, why don’t you just re-read what I stated. If you are able to get sufficient protein from whole foods, then protein supplementation is not necessary. It is fine if you are using it to “supplement” on some days where you may have fallen short of protein targets. You are the second person on this post that has tried to label me as someone I’m not. Don’t assume you know someone’s credentials just because you don’t agree with what they are saying.

          • matclip

            Easily offended? I didn’t need to re-read since I had just read your statement. You claim that protein supplements are not detrimental to one’s health. Detrimental, by definition, is to cause harm, and protein supplementation can and will cause harm. It is not “fine if you are using it to “supplement” on some days”, It is not fine to abandon food for a powder because you think you know what your body needs. Your body wants whole foods, and it wants a balance of it.

            And the processed food “alarmism” is not at all overblown. It’s a direct contributor to many problems today, including obesity. The reason you see so many fingers pointed at different and new things is because there are many things that contribute to obesity. That should not lead some to conclusively say that it is “overblown”. I get that correlation does not equal causation, but these things have been researched extensively so that we know for sure it is an actual cause.

            I didn’t assume anything about your credentials, I was speaking of people from my past. I can, however, assume that you need to do more research on the subject before offering false information on nutrition. There is already a massive amount of “internet scholars” with bad information today as it is.

            • Michael Petyak

              Quit telling me to go research something that I already have. For every study you show me, I can match you one. Studies are great, but the parameters surrounding each study are different and can be manipulated to prove a point. Dosage is a main reason some studies can be discredited. Along with the ones done on rats.

              We will just have to agree to disagree. And, just because someone supports protein supplementation with the use of whey protein doesn’t make them a meathead that gets all their information on bodybuilding forums.

              • James Keepinitmovin Brown

                Hey, I have been taking different types of Whey Proteins, Raw Proteins for the last 4 years and felt great! Indeed you are right about most proteins that are processed but not all proteins are processed! You have your raw protein powders that are natural and not processed as well. Protein powders should only be taken once a day. Either pre or post workout. You basically snack on healthy foods throughout the day to maintain balance in protein comsumption. I generally workout 3 to 4 times a week and eat two sense able meals a day to maintain weight and lose fat at the sane time. I weigh in at 195 right now and have good solid proteins in my system!! There is nothing wrong with Whey Protein or Raw Proteins if you take them to supplement and in conjunction with other natural protein foods that may not be enough in your diet.

    • Nicole

      I’m not an expert and don’t claim to be one by all means but I think our society has become so busy that it is difficult to cook up whole meals 6 times a day. Protein supplements help to sustain regular consumption. I know for me personally, I wouldn’t be able to sustain a healthy, nutritious diet if I had to cook all day – I just don’t the time and being a trainer I’m constantly on the run.

      • Renee

        People are just as busy a century ago if not more than today. Too me that’s just another excuse to go home and sit on the couch. Woman tended to multiple kids while tending the farm, while men worked 40+ work weeks, lucky if they ever got a day off. If you want it bad enough you’ll make it work.

  • Kevin K

    I also use pure whey protein every day. I need something quick in the morning after workout and before work. What about eggs. Hard boiled eggs are ready to go. Also what about egg whites from the store in a carton. They are quick to cook with some veggies and salsa. I also have oatmeal, rolled oats, and then snack on almonds later in the morning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/julie.g.alvarado Julie G. Alvarado

    Beachbody claims that shakeology is the healthiest meal of the day, it’s a powder and it supposed to have a lot of nutrients in one glass, I spend roughly 120 dollars for a month supply. Is it a waste of money also?

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Hi Julie, it’s no surprise they would claim that. It’s only natural to promote your own product. Look at the ingredients on the label, and you will see that it is heavily fortified. A vitamin pill is not the same as getting the nutrients from whole foods.

      As to whether that’s a waste of money, only you can answer that. I made my decision and gave you the reasons why. You’ll have to decide for yourself. But $120/month can sure buy a lot of healthy and nutrient packed whole foods.

    • Heather Dudley

      The real problem with Beachbody (and other high-dollar supplements) is that they don’t provide ANY metabolic advantage, and honestly? You can get the same thing cheaper elsewhere. And ultimately weight loss comes down to this: Is this something I can do for the *rest of my life*? What will I learn from this? Shakes and such don’t teach you how to handle real food, and the ultimate cause of your weight gain. They just provide a mindless way to cut calories in the long run.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hard boiled eggs are good. Stay away from the carton eggs whites. They are heavily processed. Look at the ingredients.

    The rest of the foods you listed look good.

    • icy

      yeah, I just checked my label. 100% liquid egg whites – sounds scary ;-)

  • http://evelynparham.com/ Evelyn

    Hey Coach,

    I was contemplating on buying some hemp seed/rice protein powder, but for some reason I have not done it. I too believe that the best way to get what you need is via whole foods. I’m glad you shared your views, and I find this post very helpful. It actually confirms what I have thought all along.

    Take care,

    Evelyn P.

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Thanks Evelyn. I still have half a bag of whey protein sitting in my pantry. Not sure what to do with it ;)

      • Julie Costanten

        Maybe give it to a homeless person with a shaker bottle and a gallon of milk? and no, I am not kidding. I live in a place with a high homeless population and I know many who would be grateful for the gift.

        Great article. I knew protein was not great because of all the processing it goes through but I never thought about how it can spike insulin. Have a great day!

  • bee

    Very interesting Tony. I hate scales too public enemy #1

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hi Krys, do you have a link to the product? I’d like to take a look at it.

    • Krys

      Sure. My mistake on this one though, this particular one is NOT raw, but the one I usually get is. And of course I can’t remember the name now. Here’s the link to what I buy. I’d love to hear what you think :) This one is non GMO and Organic Whole food though.
      http://www.northcoastnaturals.com/products/organichempprotein.php

    • Krys

      I don’t use it daily by any means, I usually add a couple of scoops to my date and almond ball things that I make for a quick protein, carb, fat containing snack after the gym when I know I can’t get home quickly to make a meal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.bulloch1 Christine Bulloch

    What are your thoughts on ViSalus and Shakeology?

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      They are no different than other powders when it comes to my 6 reasons listed in the article. They are heavily marketed and sold by many, which means people will be passionate about them and defend them to the death.

  • JoeADB

    Hey Coach… trying to find your credentials? are you a Dr. or nutrition cannot find anything on your ed background, I have also seen no photos of you? are you lean with a sick pack?? You also state to eat lots of meat and eggs which of course is not very good for your arteries or cholesterol. I feel that a strict diet along with protein powders is the way to go.

  • Annie

    I’m glad you brought this up; I have a few questions:

    You said that you felt better on less protein, can you explain exactly what you mean by feel better?

    Also, I am not a big eater of chicken,beef,turkey,pork,etc…but I do eat fish in the form of sardines packed in water or wild salmon. I often use zero carb protein isolate powders to supplement when I run out of fish…I’m afraid to eat the other meats because of issues with cholesterol for my entire life. I don’t even like salmon because of the cholesterol..that is the main reason I use the protein powder.

    Do you have any advice regarding this? I refuse to get put on medication…my ratios are good, but at my age, the docs are quick to prescribe meds. I have been on diets for 30 years for this!

    Also, I’m glad you cleared up the amount of protein per lb based on lean body mass…for years I was doing the per lb of body weight.

    As always, thanks for great info.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    I checked it out. The ingredients say 100% certified organic hemp protein, which means they stripped the protein content from the hemp plant. If it were 100% organic hemp, I would think differently. But if that were the case, it wouldn’t really be protein powder – it would be food.

    • Krys

      I did read that on this particular brand, but the container says whole food, it contains 8 grams of fiber, 9 grams of carbs, iron, potassium etc. Yeah, maybe I won’t bother with it anymore. I don’t use it a whole lot, I pretty much just add a couple of scoops to a batch of almond/date balls that I’ll bring as a post workout snack if I know I won’t be coming straight home. I think I’ll just buy more hemp hearts and use those instead. I bought this brand because i couldn’t find the raw one I usually get (which I’m positive lists in the ingredients, ground whole organic hemp seeds). I wish I could remember the brand…..

  • Matt Jones

    I eat a lot of meat and other protein sources, I don’t feel I need protein supplements, however I do still have them from time to time the most obvious point I take them is post workout.

    The one thing I have wondered about, in the past for me I used to eat a lot of protein – probably in excess like 50-60% of my diet some days. I have this theory that what you eat the most of, your body will get good at generating energy from it, so I have always wanted to get away from protein as a primary energy source. Lately I have tried to get more fat into my diet, I want to burn fat as my primary fuel most of the time – it is a plentiful and a steady source of energy, plus that is what I want to get rid of in the first place.

    I haven’t formally tracked this, however I have cut back on getting direct protein (not taking protein supplements as often) and I have added in good fats like avocado as well as trying to specifically eat fattier meats (choosing pork over the near fat less chicken for example). I feel better in doing this, more energy etc..

    I think ultimately I would love to have a ~60% fat/~20% carb/~20% protein diet (carbs coming from vegetables, nuts, and some fruit) but I really am done with chasing perfect ratios at this point and I am trying to lean more towards listening to my body. I think variety is also needed so what is perfect for today may be totally wrong a month from now. I think we work more on cycles of weeks or perhaps months, rather then day to day unless your in an extreme deficiency of something.

  • mk

    i agree! i’ve always drank organic choc milk after workouts if i’m pressed for time. i love that it has a combo similar to 30/30/40. thoughts on that?

  • NT

    Well this is frustrating. The other day I received your email, started reading the advice and clicking through came across an article about post work out meals and a link “here is the protein powder I recommend” and I actually did buy one and I have a giant jar sitting here upon your recommendation.

    And then today…. Surprise!! Now I should stop using it. How many other things am I going to read and then there will be another article down the road that tells me to do the opposite. Makes me lose faith in what I read.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1152082457 Annee D. Morris

    Thank you so much for this article!! I have always believe that real protein is better than the powder… dont use the stuff. However I have friends and clients who do. I do not want any processed food in my life… I am three time cancer survivor and believe that processed food was the reason for those cancers, because having my genetics dna tested I am supposed to be less than 1% susceptible of getting cancer. I use healthy proteins for my workouts. But there are a lot of people that you will never convince that their powdered protein can be replaced with whole foods. So thank you for this article. I am going to share it. Have an awesome day!!

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Joe, you can check out our about page – http://www.coachcalorie.com/about/

    Also, I did not state to eat lots of meat and eggs, although there is nothing wrong with these foods.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hi Annie, I feel better mentally now that I think I’m doing everything possible to be healthy and fit. I also feel better physically, as I have a slight dairy intolerance. Plus, the whey was causes issues with my blood sugar levels.

    Plenty of other foods have protein too. Beans, lentils, dairy, whole grains, etc…

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hey Matt, I think you’re right to eat variety and to listen to your body. I try not to think too much about it anymore. Just eat whole foods, be active, and live your life.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Is there added sugar? Or is it just cocoa powder added to milk?

    • mk

      no added sugar.

      • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

        If it’s just milk and cocoa powder, I don’t see a problem with it.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    NT, I’m sorry you made the purchase, but you’ll be fine finishing it off. This isn’t a life or death decision.

    Fitness is a journey, and if you aren’t will to change with knowledge, you will never grow.

    I debated writing this article for the longest time, as I actually make good money recommending the powder I use. This article essentially cuts off the hand that feeds me. But I don’t care. Being honest and up front about my decisions is more important.

    I have already started going back into the archives to edit old posts, but with over 400 articles, it will take time. In the meantime, feel good knowing that you are using a powder that is additive free and one of the best for your health.

    • NT

      I’m not so much worried about the purchase. The funny thing is I normally don’t use powders because I worry about how processed some things are but being a vegetarian, I also want to make sure I am getting protein but have been wary of protein powders.

      What frustrates me is when reading articles (not yours specifically) and getting advice and then down the road, hearing something different.

      I do believe that thinking evolves and changes as we learn more but it can become difficult in trying to decipher (beyond common sense) what is actually good and legitimate advice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pawznpalz Kara Lynne Schwartz

    WOULD LOVE LOVE LOVE TO see your food journal and what you eat to hit your .8-1 gram, please!

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    The protein comes from the following. Note that this is not all that I eat at each meal. All meals have veggies too:

    Breakfast: Eggs
    Meal 2: Chicken
    Meal 3: Beef and beans
    Meal 4: Meat at dinner
    Meal 5: Greek yogurt

    Plus some from the “extras” like mixed nuts, peanut butter, whole grains, fruits, and veggies.

  • http://twitter.com/SaroyMiri Mirisa

    Thanks Coach, I think in our fitness/diet journey it’s important to be open minded and realize what will be beneficial in the longrun for our health. As we learn more we have the ability to make better decisions. I agree with your perspective and at the end of the day always thought protein powder, while it gives you the right amount of protein, there’s other alternatives/sources of protein that comes with a positive nutritional value. I always thought it was too sugary so I only drank it some times otherwise i’d eat a protein packed meal. I’m all for whole food over processed any day! Thanks again!

  • Matt Jones

    I have to admit I still do take in some protein powder, it even has BCAA in it, mostly post workout which is the least damaging time to take it I think, but perhaps not great long term. However I am far removed from my previous protein abundance. I am trying to move from all processed foods, I agree that protein powders are processed/refined, and no matter what you add in to supplement the nutrition there are still things we probably have not properly identified that are not added back in.

    I used to eat probably 50-60% protein, not intentionally but just because for example I choose low fat meats like chicken over pork – and I ate a lot of it. This last go around for me with diet I have started to eat more fat, I have a theory that what you eat the most of your body will adapt to burn that as fuel the best. Eating huge amounts of protein will most likely make your body want to burn protein preferentially (at least more preferential then non high protein consumers), I have decided to try to move this to fat. Fat is plentiful, steady, and a great energy source (protein is fairly difficult compared to fat to burn as fuel), plus I am trying to burn fat off my body so why not get my body primed for burning it?

    I am not tracking macros but again I am choosing fattier meats as well as adding in things like coconut oil, avocado, and fatty fish. I think ideally I would like to see 60% fat/20% protein and carb, however I am not going to force myself with a percentage just use that as a rough goal. I am moving towards ultimately to listening to my body, I believe not eating processed crap and also intermittent fasting has helped me regain my hormonal control over foods – I can listen to my signals now and try to eat what its telling me (which is whole foods, whereas before it would scream for processed junk due to chemical addictions), however I will keep protein powder around for a little while longer (mainly because I paid for it and I want more of a baseline for before/after comparision).

    Thanks for expanding my thoughts on the powder though, I was/am leaning that way already and this helps me progress down that trek further.

  • http://www.facebook.com/serenamichellebarnett Serena Michelle Barnett

    Love your post!

    Although written more for those who are bodybuilders/figure athletes – I believe it’s important to point out protein powders/shakes/drinks are marketed for weight loss as well (in a different way of course – such as doctor weight loss clinics and meal replacement programs, etc…).

    I foolishly believed protein powder would be the “secret” to my weight loss success a few years ago. Logically, it made sense – protein keeps you feeling full longer (among other benefits). Instead of eating breakfast I made a smoothie every morning with a low calorie protein powder and some added frozen strawberries (so it tasted more like a smoothie/treat) – all in an attempt to pack in as much protein {for as little calories} as possible in the morning.

    I don’t want to bore you with a long story/explanation – but let’s just say, that weight loss attempt ultimately failed.

    A little more than a year ago I saddled back up and was determined to lose the weight. I made a couple important decisions which helped me quickly eliminate that urge to go back to using protein powder…

    1. As you pointed out, protein powder is processed. I intended to stick to whole/fresh food as much as possible.

    2. Artificial Sweeteners! I don’t believe in banning foods, with the exception of two things – soda and artificial sweeteners!

    Since my PP of choice was sweetened with artificial sugar – it wasn’t hard for me to turn my back on it. Sure, there are PP that don’t have sugars/sweeteners – but they taste terrible and there was no way I would force myself to consume something I didn’t like!

    3. I didn’t want to drink my calories. There is virtually no satiety from drinking ones calories! Although my morning protein shakes kept me feeling physically full in the past (not hungry)- I was starving mentally! I decided it was in my best interest to eat vs. drink.

    4. I’ve always known our bodies absorb minerals/nutrients best from “real food.” The light bulb finally went on and I realized that applied to protein as well.

    If my breakfast included protein from “real food” – not only would I benefit from the satisfaction of actually eating (vs. drinking) but my body would be able to process and utilize that protein more efficiently than the PP.

    I concede, I do not get as many grams of protein in my breakfast as I was with the shake – but it’s not a drastic difference. With the shake I got 28g protein – with my current breakfast I manage to get 22g of protein. However, with that said, I could easily get more protein than the shake if I ate a larger portion of my typical breakfast!

    People would be better off taking the money they would spend on PP and put it towards whole/fresh, organic food!

  • Liz

    I completely agree with this article! All of your articles are so nutrition minded, true nutrition and health- not fad based. Thank you!

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    I understand NT. You really need to build a relationship with someone before you can trust their opinion. Thanks for understanding. I do have everyone’s best interests at heart.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hi Serena, it sounds like we share the same nutrition philosophies. Glad it’s working out for you!

  • JMadsen

    I totally agree with you. I feel that our society (especially America) needs to get back to the basics. Food in it’s natural state is the way God intended for us to feed our bodies. We are causing so many unnecessary health issues by putting chemicals in our body that we were not intended to process. Thanks for having the courage to go against the norm:).

  • Yvette G.

    Hi Coach. I find all your posts quite helpful. I’m relatively new in the nutrition HealtH field and I appreciate all of your wisdom especially about this protein concern. Ive been substituting my breakfast and sometimes lunch with Isagenix protein meal replacement shakes which claims that their increased fiber “supports regularity and healthy blood sugar levels.” Where can I find an easy to understand lesson on the digestion process of proteins and carbs into the body? I’m trying to figure out why immediately after I finish lunch (grilled chicken, veggies and vinagrette), that I crave sugar. How do I stop this negative habit. Some say I need to cleanse or is it the shake for breakfast? (240 cal 24g carb 24g pro 11g sugar)

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Hi Yvette, just start on Google and type in your question. For a basic rundown, google “fat metabolism” and “carbohydrate metabolism”. That will give you a great primer on Wikipedia.

      Try either adding some healthy fats or carbohydrates to your meal and see if that improves your cravings.

  • Matt Jones

    JoeADB where do you get that meat and eggs are bad? I once ate 2-4 eggs and ~1/2 pack of bacon daily for a month to compare my blood work. Overall quite an improvement my total went down 50 points (200 to 150) and HDL rose by 6 points (I have genetically low HDL so seeing a improvement was quite impressive).

    Don’t believe the hype on cholesterol and the need for statins etc, it will take you down the wrong roads.

  • Heather Dudley

    I’m not a big protein powder user; the only things I use it for are for mornings when I’m doing an intense workout and need energy but don’t have the time /motivation to eat a real breakfast, or for the occasional munchie-fighting snack.

    I am not wedded to the stuff, but don’t use any kind of shake as a meal replacement. You see, I’m a firm believer in not starting something you don’t intend to do for the rest of your life. I’m not dieting to lose weight, I’m living healthy for life, and weight loss is a happy side effect.

    I think when I finish my can (although it does make an awfully yummy protein bar) I’m not going to replace it. I can make the protein bar with a bit of cocoa anyway, and peanut butter. That has one ingredient: peanuts!

    I’m trying to get away from processed stuff. The more ingredients it’s got on a label, the less I’m interested in it. And if I need a dictionary to pronounce it? It’s probably not as good a choice. I want to eat more things that DON’T have a nutrition label.

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Hi Heather, I like the way you think – is using protein powder really sustainable for the rest of your life? Do you really want it to be? Those are a couple of questions people should be asking themselves.

  • Krys

    I’m vegan and don’t have any trouble getting enough protein, just make sure your diet is really diverse. :)

  • Jacob hart

    If it really does spike insulin levels that’s not a bad thing since after working out, your hormone levels are out of whack anyway, same reason lots of carbs and even sugar is fine to eat post-workout. Protein still remains a useful tool for shuttling nutrition to your muscles to begin rebuilding them post-workout

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hi Jacob, I’d like to clarify a few things about your comment:

    1 – Your insulin response is muted post-workout due to your improved insulin sensitivity from your workout. That doesn’t mean you should bombard your body with a bunch of sugar and processed foods though.

    2 – It’s never good for your health to purposely spike insulin levels. Is it good for building muscle? Possibly, but I don’t sacrifice my health for better fitness.

    3 – Protein doesn’t shuttle nutrition to your muscles. Maybe you mean insulin? Regardless, yes – protein is useful, but why not choose whole foods over powder for that purpose?

    • Jacob hart

      Alot of supplement companies put less then 5 ingredients in their protein, and no sugar, but if they did sugar is more then okay to eat post-workout, as you said, your insulin response is muted so carbs and protein in a fast degesting snack is necessary to begin rebuilding muscle post workout. what I meant about shuttle? whey is a fast degesting protein yes? And your metabolism is much faster post workout, and protein is nutrition so your body shuttles any nutrition through your body at that time. Protein is not a replacement for food nor should it ever be, it’s convenient, compact, and pretty cheap per serving, which is why it’s so very very useful.

  • Butterfly Eyes

    Hi Tony, I love your blog…keep up the great work. My question for you is, what can I supplement my diet with if not consuming whey protein powder? I’m vegetarian, I don’t eat eggs although I eat dairy (minimally). No fish or other seafood either. Every morning for breakfast I blend a smoothie with whey protein powder, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup almond milk, 2 tablespoons chia seeds, half a banana, 1/3 cup frozen berries and a generous handful of baby spinach. After a workout I’ll simply have the protein powder with water and a bit of orange juice in a shaker cup with my vitamins & supplements. These are the only times I’ll have the whey protein, the rest of the day would be veggies, allegro cheese (for protein), quinoa some days, tofu (non-GMO) maybe once per week.

    In your opinion is it alright for me to continue with the whey shakes/smoothies as described? If not, what would you substitute with so that I’m getting enough protein? I’ve starved my body of protein for so many years (not intentionally, was a carb junkie I guess being a vegetarian, but always have had healthy eating habits, whole grains, non processed foods, etc) and am only now in the past year being mindful of protein intake as I’ve started working out to build strength and muscle tone even though I’ve always been slender, I’d like to be more “fit”. I’m 34 years old, 5’7″, 133lbs, 19% body fat. Appreciate your feedback!

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Have you considered just using milk in your shake instead? It sounds like you eat dairy, so you can also make your shakes with greek yogurt. Beens, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lentils, and eggs/dairy (if you eat them) are a vegetarians primary protein sources.

  • Lynda

    I also disagree with you. I have used whey protein for the last 12 years and find it the perfect addition to my recovery meal (oats +whey + fruit). I’m not going to eat eggs/steak/chicken for breakfast every day, but I love my porridge with berries + whey. The protein content of the whey should prevent blood sugar spikes, along with the fibre in the oats and berries.

    I certainly agree that we should be eliminating as many processed foods as possible, but I do believe a serving of whey per day has its place when trying to get protein intake up without the associated fat of other animal products.

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      My wife adds some peanut butter to her oatmeal and berries. Comes out to around 15 grams of protein.

      If you like what you’re doing, feel free to continue doing it. However, I stopped using powder for the 6 reasons I listed in the article.

  • Clay B.

    You my friend are brain washed…Watch the movie Food INC! certainly changed my opinion on food!

    • MelanieBrainerd

      What movie??

      • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

        Food INC

  • Katie ItWorks

    That’s very generalised and all products are different. For example, proFIT by It Works is nothing like what is mentioned above.

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Just looked it up, and that’s the exact kind of product I’m talking about. All kinds of additives and fillers:

      Other Ingredients: Sustain-It

      (Crossflow Microfiltered Whey
      Protein Isolate, Solagrain
      ®
      Plus
      [Soy
      Protein
      Extract,
      Oat
      Fiber,
      Whole
      Milled
      Flaxseed,
      Soy
      Hull
      Fiber,
      Psyllium,
      Maltodextrin,
      Flax
      Fiber,
      Beet
      Fiber,
      Flax
      Protein,
      Cellulose,
      Guar,
      Lecithin],
      Soy Protein Isolate, Ultrafiltered Whey Protein Concentrate,
      &
      FITzyme

      ), Sunflower Oil Powder (Sunflower Oil, Sodium
      Caseinate, Mono & Diglycerides, Natural Tocopherols, Silicon
      Dioxide,
      &
      Tri-Calcium
      Phosphate),
      Natural
      Flavors,
      Stevia,
      Salt,
      &
      Xanthan
      Gum.
      Contains: Dairy, soy products.

  • JT

    What’s the name of the chocolate milk you use?

  • Christine

    I am on my own fat loss and fitness journey and one of the first things I learned was that whole foods are the best. I have just enrolled in a fitness and nutrition course and am bettering myself every day. I did at one point consider taking Whey protein but you have taken away any lingering thoughts on doing so. Thank you for your posts, they’re awesome!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/LyzziWills Lyzzi Wills Ⓥ

    I can definitely see the arguments about the additives etc. However, would you alter your advice at all for a vegetarian? It can be hard to get convenient lean protein, especially when out and about. I find protein shakes balance my blood sugar and reduce hunger. Any thoughts?

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Vegetarian or not, I’d still choose whole foods.

  • Kai Helmich

    muscle is build from healthy blood! protein is highly accidic and not alkaline, and our diet requirements is highly oversubscribed in protein anyway, …

  • Susan

    I do have a protein powder occasionally. If I’m doing a workout and know I won’t be able to get a proper meal within a certain period of time afterwards I’ll take my powder in a shaker bottle. However 99% of my diet is natural/unprocessed food. It’s a convenience, that’s all.

  • Lynda

    Hi Tony, thank you for this article, my trainer does not like protein powders and gets fed up with me on the odd occasion that I use it (a pea protein powder as I am lactose intolerant). I only use it when I am not able to eat anything else, having a problem with many foods, or lack time. However, I do not agree with Michale Petyak’s comment about the food industry. I firmly believe that more obesity is caused by what is in the food (meaning processed) than by lack of exercise. As I cannot cope with the chemicals in processed food I have eaten very little of it for years. One thing I do eat more than is advocated is meat as I limited choices with things such as beans and legumes etc. Having said that portion sizes are not large.

  • http://twitter.com/minivanmomof3 Minivan Mom

    Thank you for writing this – sending the link to my (protein powder loving) husband. I’ve always intuitively hated that he makes his daily protein shake after lifting, but never had any knowledge or evidence to back it up. Let’s see if he listens to Coach Calorie!

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    No need to eat 6 meals a day. Pick a meal frequency that fits into your lifestyle and then cook in bulk so that you only have to reheat and eat.

    • Bonnie

      Amen!! I’m a three meal a day girl who works a LOT of hours and manage to live almost entirely on a whole foods diet. There are FAST whole foods (after all, nothing’s faster than a piece of fruit or raw veg), you just need to do some research an stock up. Nuts, dairy, homemade beef jerky, hard boiled eggs…all of these are good for a quick bite and a hit of protein!

    • Govind

      Reheating food is not good. It can be done once a day if one has to lead a fast lifestyle. But, reheating food more than once every day is bad. I can feel that overcooked food or a food reheated for too long makes me sluggish and sleepy. May be, one day, the researchers will find a direct correlation between sluggishness and overly reheated/overcooked food. Till that time, it is better to listen to the body. Those who have already fit body may not be affected that much. But, still freshly cooked and unprocessed food is much better. Also, combining only compatible foods in each meal is important, like no fruits with protein-rich meal. Raw food & vegetable juice once a day can ease many of the body’s ailments.

      • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

        I don’t see any problem with reheating food, nor have I read anything negative about it. Do you have a source for your info?

  • Crystal

    I found a raw organic plant protein powder with not artificial fillers and sweeteners. Seems to be helping so far to reach my nutritional goals. It also has a lot of minerals and vitamins. I not a big eater so I use this daily for a light snack or pick me up.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    If you need proof, here is google scholar – http://scholar.google.com/

    Search for whey protein and insulin. The rest is common sense. I did my research. Did you do yours? Good luck!

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Common sense, history, my budget, and Google Scholar.

  • Victoria

    I am a vegetarian (female) and trying to get fit and put on muscle. I take 100% pea protein (very clean, no additives) mixed with spiralina and some fruit. I do this because I have trouble getting 100 grams of protein per day (which is my .8grams X lean mass in pounds). Do you have an opinion regarding vegetarians that are looking to build muscle? I know there are plant foods, but it’s a lot more calories to get 20 grams of protein from say beans, than from 2 scoops of pea protein powder. Thanks in advance for your help.

  • Kerrie Cox

    Finally some sense. All my fitness life I have never had protein powder – your first point sums it up. I can not understand why people consume that processed stuff. Good on you for speaking out – I know you will get a lot of negative feedback.

  • Marlin Toepp

    Hi Coach! Let me start by saying I love all your articles…I have learned much from reading them! I’ve recently been thinking about protein powder and protein intake in general. I too believe in what you are saying about processed protein in the form of powder versus unprocessed forms. I too often feel hungry quicker after having a smoothie in the morning as opposed to having a bowel of steel cut oats and berries but always thought it was just in my head…now I understand why. My question to you is do you believe that a diet high in protein (any form) and non-starchy vegetables is effective for fat loss? What are the macronutrient ratios you recommend? I have lost 80 lbs in the past 2 years but have been at a plateau for the last six months and I’m not sure how I can break that plateau. I’ve tried many things but nothing seems to work. Thanks again for all you do!

  • Nooshie

    I love your articles and I am an advid reader. This articles obviously
    has hit the controversy button. I see where your article is coming from
    and agree to a certain point. I would love your feedback on Vega
    products. http://myvega.com/
    The
    difference I found in drinking this and the regular whey/protein, is
    how it is digested. Every time I drink Whey, my stomach is always upset
    and often get bloated or gassy (sorry, but it’s true) I would rather
    eat whole foods for breakfast and do during the weekends, but week days
    with very limited time, I have found this helpful.

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Hard to say because they don’t have the nutrition label anywhere. Unless it’s just ground up whole food, the product probably still fits the profile of the 6 reasons in the article.

  • Ray

    Instead of whey protein, what is something natural/unprocessed/unrefined that is just as convenient – or as close to as possible?

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Bulk food prep will get you a long way. Just reheat and eat. You can make beef jerky, eat greek yogurt, some nuts, hummus, etc

      • Ray

        I couldn’t eat Greek Yogurt on it’s own. It’s too sour. I’d need some kind of a sweetener (maybe some prunes or mixed berries) to knock out the sourness. Thanks for the ideas though. :)

    • carole

      Hard boiled eggs. You can eat up to 5 yolks a week but whites are unlimited.

      • Ray

        Eat plenty of eggs already. At least 2 whole eggs a day. I’m not a fan of eating the whites only considering the yolks is where the good stuff is.

  • stevem

    i agree totally, i used to spend loads on protein etc without really seeing any extra gains so i decided that a better diet rich in protein and carbs would be better. So i switched to more whole foods, fish,meat,eggs,nuts etc and i believe this gives me all the nutrition i need.

  • Kevin

    I was a Body Builder and competed and won 2 provincial competitions and 4th in the Canada cup,I tried protein powder and and whole foods and I dropped the powder for
    a while to see if it would make a difference,was even sponsored and got free supplements,and there was no difference in my recovery or workout performance, I was always a believer of whole foods give you all you need. BUT now I have Crohn’s and one of the effects of Crohn’s is the inability to absorb protein so now I have to use powder to supplement my intake,And I did a lot of research and the best and most absorption protein is Split Pea or Pea protein and if it wasn’t for that I would be a skeleton ,I also use Spirulina which is a blue green algae thats been a food source for over 4000 years and full of nutrients .So I have to say Whole foods are enough for energy and recovery depending how and when you take them for a healthy person ,But for a person with deficiencies it is a necessity

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    There’s no need to go to extremes. Focus more on eating 90% whole foods from a variety of sources. If you’re already doing that consistently, you can start making some tweaks. For example, try keeping the starchy carbs around your workouts and first thing in the morning.

    • Marlin

      I’ll try that, thanks!

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Thanks for the feedback Kevin. It’s good to hear from someone who competes and can still win competitions without powders. Sorry to hear about Crohn’s, but glad you found a solution!

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Vegetarians are just going to have a lower protein and higher carb intake than others. There’s really no way around that with a plant-based diet. Tempeh, beans, seeds, nuts, lentils, and whole grains should be staples for protein.

  • Marlin

    How do you feel about eating boiled eggs daily for one of our meals/snacks? Is there a lit on the number of eggs we should consume in a week? Is it better to limit the yolks to 2-3 times and just eat the whites?

  • ChelleBelle

    Whey is a by-product of the milk making process. It sits in huge tanks (have seen it in big old petrol tanks) and one day some clever bugger thought there must be heaps of protein in this, I’m going to make a new food out of it and called it protein powder and took the diet/health world by storm (and made loads of money out of it).There is a lot of research and questions over how good milk and milk products actually are for us anyway. I think you’re right, go for whole/clean foods (the majority of the time) – 10-15 almonds and a WHOLE egg for example have to be better than a scoop of that processed stuff.

  • carole

    I agree, it is a processed food. I also leave the protein bars alone, too many ingredients and I’m not fond of alcohol sugars. Egg whites are a great source of protein.

  • Hanne

    Yes, yes and yes! I totally agree with you! I also don’t use protein powder for the several reasons you mentioned above. I also notice that my skin is better without it (I sporadicly used soy protein after a GRIT session). I get my 1.8gr. protein from whole foods. I also didn’t notice any difference in my recovery when I used a soy protein shake. I also tried ‘recovery shake’ for a little while and my skin also reacted to it. For me it’s a sign that this is NOT good for me. Again, I didn’t notice any difference in my recovery.

    Just give me oatmeal, steak, chicken or fish and 200gr. of veggies and I’m a happy girl :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/kym.scott.77 Kym Scott

    I’ve always thought that it makes sense to have protein powder if you want to gain weight/muscle rather than lose the weight or tone up so I never bothered to try it. I’m trying to eat organic fruit and vege and have superfoods in my diet and leave out processed food items like bread. It can be hard at the moment being a traveller and working a job with early hours one day and late hours the next day. Cost a lot of the time is an issue. I know I’ll be likely to achieve this once once I’m back in my home country in about 5 months and all it takes is more preparation. A lot of people including me at times want that easy fix, which is why it can be so easy to not eat right if unprepared at busy times. This is going to be a super goal for me to work on and get right.

  • http://www.workoutnirvana.com/ Suzanne Digre

    Such a controversial subject! We’ve been brainwashed to believe we all “need” protein powder – from magazines, strength experts (some of whom sell it), and anywhere else you look. As we discussed, it’s just one more processed product. Most people get plenty of protein. When I checked my own recently I was indeed getting plenty w/o the powder. Plus the bloating is completely gone! Thanks for being brave Tony :)

  • Jayda Siggers

    I also firmly believe in getting all your macronutrients from whole foods. My husband worked with a trainer for 1 year that recommended he supplement with a protein powder. In that year he built a lot a lean mass, and is the strongest he has ever been! He didn;t tell his trainer until the year was up that he made all this progress while following a whole foods based diet, no protein supplement and only eat animal proteins 2 days a week;)

    • Christa Lowry

      What did your husband’s diet look like that year, Jayda? Did he consume the amounts of protein his trainer recommended, or did he find his regular diet to be adequate?

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.ewing3 Sarah Ewing

    I myself have problems with being able to eat too much. I’ve always gotten full very easily. I use protein powder as a way to supplement my calorie and protein intake, but I always drink mine with meals, and by no means use it as a substitute to a meal. Would you say that this is me wasting my time with protein powder, or is my case an exception?

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Deanna Schober

    Hey Sarah, Tony is away but I know he would say that he still feels whole foods are the better choice for all the reasons listed above. I don’t know that you’re wasting your time per se, but the spike in insulin levels is concerning to us…but in the end you have to choose what is right for you and your situation. Hope that helps!

  • Markus

    Hi Tony, I did a bunch of research on it and it turns out any protein rich food has a similar type effect. Would love to hear your comments on http://www.marksdailyapple.com/insulin-index/#axzz2N6A1JD6s (not spam, just a useful article I read)

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Absolutely, any protein is going to raise insulin levels, but the degree to which protein powder makes it happen is much higher. Plus, there’s the other 5 reasons why I stopped using it :)

  • Timea

    Dear Tony Schober!I read your article with a great interest.Could u give me some advise which natural protein shakes do u recomment?Due to the fact I exercise a lot,minimum 5 hours sports/day [ tennis 2-3 hour, 2/3 aerobic session per day, 1 hour weight training].Thx, all the best! Timea

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Milk is a good base if you don’t have a problem with dairy. Raw egg works good too, and I say that knowing that most people will scream “salmonella”. The risks are highly overblown. There’s also peanut butter and oatmeal. I’ll mix these things with frozen fruit mostly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chungkatharine Katy Chung

    What do you suggest for vegans who have to hit the gym before work and eat in the car on the way to their job? I find a nice protein powder like Pure Green Protein is easy and it keeps me full until the afternoon. I understand what you mean about processed foods though, but I haven’t found any simple way to give up my powder. Suggestions welcome!

  • Simone

    What about vegan protein powders made with brown rice and sprirulina?

  • Andrea

    Do you have any recipes for quick shakes that use whole fruits and vegetables instead of powders? I too use the protein powders in the morning and I love the fruit smoothies. I’ve been afraid to ditch the powder, thinking I won’t get the adequate protein I need to get through my workouts without it. For someone who loves whole vegetables but not tomato and vegetable juices, what would you suggest? I want my shakes to have less sugar and more veggies but am afraid of the taste. I added a small handful of spinach in a shake with greek yogurt, banana, and blueberries today and that was pretty good.

  • Diana

    Hi Tony,

    I’m curious about whether you consider powdered peanut butter, PB2, in the the same way. The label on the one I use says it that it is made with peanuts, sugar (1 gram/serving), and salt. While it has much less fat than regular peanut butter, I’d love to get your take on its viability. As always, thank you.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hi Diana, as with most powders, it’s going to be a personal choice. With less fat, it is obviously refined. It is probably more expensive too as a result. I would personally just put a couple tbsp of peanut butter in my shake instead.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    I’d have to see the label, but it sounds very high carb (not that carbs are bad) and low protein. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s refined to bring the protein content up a little.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hi Katy, I’d suggest either giving yourself a little more time to eat a real meal before hand, or try a shake with peanut butter, greek yogurt, milk, and cocoa powder. Just a suggestion.

    • melissa hughes

      vegans don’t do milk and greek yogurt. i was wondering the same thing… i struggle to get in a decent amount of protein without shakes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678285396 Earle A.

    “I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t sacrifice your health for fitness”
    I love that!! I honestly believe that you can’t have one without the other, I didn’t know that it had to be said.

  • Denise

    But Tony, isn’t protein important for muscle building? Almost all nutrition and fitness books, sites, resources, etc. will tell you that about 1 gram of protein for every pound in body weight per day is what you need, is this not true? So how much protein do YOU recommend daily for muscle growth if that’s your goal? Would you be so kind as to show us a sample meal day sufficient for those looking to build muscle? Maybe throw in what you should eat before and after a workout. I’m actually trying to eat more and more clean with a fitness goal of gaining muscle. I, also, found that I have a gluten intolerance, which in some cases i feel may be a gluten allergy. I’ve somewhat been following the paleo diet. i did find that eliminating wheats has helped me SO much. Can’t do without dairy though; I absolutely love greek yogurt. But I believe that a lot of protein is what i need for my goal and thought that protein powder as a supplement would help since grass-fed, free range meats and wild fish are so expensive. Even though today I went out and bought Plant Fusion protein powder (its gluten free and non-gmo), I would love to just stick with whole, clean foods. What are your thoughts on that? I would love to return it; still unopened and have receipt. Thanks!

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Growing up in the online bodybuilding community, I followed the 1 gram/lb of body weight rule too. In fact, 2 years ago, that is what I recommended. Through self experimentation and measuring, I tried reducing that number to 1g/lb of LEAN body weight. I noticed no real difference when it came to body composition. I then dropped it to .8g/lb of LEAN body weight. I replaced the protein with carbs and my progress also continued to advance. I believe I could have gone a little lower in protein still, but instead settled on an intake between .8-1g/lb of LEAN body weight. From there you can alter your fat/carbohydrate ratio and calorie intake to get the desired physique you want.
      You can see a sample day of eating somewhere here in the comments.

      I don’t always eat pre-workout as I work out first thing in the morning. Here is my philosophy on that – http://www.coachcalorie.com/pre-workout-meal/
      What is your goal? Is it to be an elite bodybuilder? If so, you might need higher levels of protein, and yes, powder might help you more conveniently reach that goal. However, if your goal is to be healthy, fit, and have a good body composition, you can reach your protein intake through whole foods.
      My advice is to not stress about it too much. It’s only protein. Use the powder you bought. Perhaps while you’re using it you can find creative ways to substitute the powder with whole foods. I guarantee you will feel better as a result.

  • Danielle Bennett

    We used a specific protein additive for my daughter because she’s tube fed and wasn’t getting enough protein from her medical formula. In this sense, I’m grateful these powders exist and it worked well for her.

    I would rather just eat real food, myself.

  • Andrea Thayn Griffin

    I have to agree with you. It is far too processed to make sense…

  • Shelly19422004

    Thanks so much for this article. I have tried so many different protein powders and because I bought and paid good money for them I wanted to make them work. I had to face the truth that it spiked my sugar high up off the chain. I could not believe what I was experiencing from the protein supplement! Sometimes I itched sooo very much that I thought I was just allergic to it! I experienced other problems that let me know it elevated my sugar. I had to finally admit to myself that it was the protein supplement! I am not a diabetic either!

  • Kai Helmich

    Gratulations to that article! I am delighted that one person is taking the lead to stepping outside of the box (the industry’s box of promoting protein powders) and have the guts to voice it. Well done to you!

    In your quest to back up the data with facts that make it understandable and acceptable in a new way, the word ph-balance or acidic/alkaline nutrition could be interesting for you. Yes I know you have mentioned your veggies that basically is the missing link of alkalinity.

    When we think of that the body is alkaline by nature (blood: alkaline @ 7.365), hence your very valued point of describing processed foods as the biggest cause for all diseases as they are highly acidic! And it is the blood after all that builds muscle – healthy blood, healthy muscles!

    So protein powder is dairy based and therefore acidic by nature. And when we take up to 1g/ pound of body weight in protein powder that’s a hell of a lot of acid that the body has to regulate. ie. use alkaline substances from its storage deposits (magnesium, calcium, potassium, etc.) to re-establish an equilibrium of being ph-balanced.

    Osteoporosis in our developed world is such a problem as we are told to eat calcium rich food to prevent the disease. But … here is the but! Mainly what comes to mind is dairy products, ie. milk, cheese and eggs. All of these are actually overly acidic and are robbing you of even more alkaline substances to compensate for its acidification of the body as it has as a nutritional value in them.

    So stay healthy – stay alkaline!

    PS: My nutrition coaching is mainly based on a guy called Roberto O. Young who has written numerous books by now called ph-miracle. (www.phmiracleliving.com)

    Hope that is helpful – and well done to you!

  • Healthy Sisters

    What a great post. I too have really slowed down on the protein powder. I have a lactose intolerance so I use a raw brown rice protein powder which is very expensive. I used to stress over counting how many grams of protein I would have a day. Like others have stated I do not like drinking my meals.

  • Michelle

    Hi! So I recently bought protein powder and have been using one scoop a day to meet my protein requirements/goals. I’m a vegan, and I eat VERY, very clean. But even on my best days I can’t seem to make my protein goals.

    • dawnkassirer

      what kind of vegan protein powder are you using?

  • Jackie

    I agree with the fact that whey ISOLATE increases metabolism and makes a person more hungry its metabolized very quickly and helpful in recovery but the CONCENTRATE is a slower release protein and the blend of BOTH is able to sustain a person for awhile, and definitely NOT a regular meal replacement on a regular basis more than 1xday. Also look at the QUALITY of each brand. yes it’s expensive. I do not train or anything but I have an extremely high metabolism and it helps me get through a hectic physically demanding work day. check out Dr. Mercola’s website & look up metabollic typing or typing test etc I am a protein type and need that extra boost, don’t feel as weak in the day with it. thanks

  • Crystal Murphy

    I fully agree with the article If you need to boost protein intake boost it with real food. Protein does not normally increase insulin levels, it stabilizes your bodies usage of insulin. Carbs and sugar boost insulin, so in essence taking protein powder does the same to your insulin levels as sugar would. why would one avoid sugar and take protein powder. I see it as putting an awful lot of stress on the pancreas and creating future risk for diabetes.

    Just my opinion.

    • MelanieBrainerd

      The right protein powder won’t boost insulin levels – like anything else – do your homework and choose wisely. My choice, is even diabetic friendly – just to give you an example – and I have 6 Type II diabetics that have lowered their blood sugars and successfully off their med’s.

      • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

        You’re right. Powders other than whey will not have as big an impact on blood sugar levels. However, that was just one of my 6 reasons.

  • Will

    I am a retailer of Whey and Casein Protein in New Zealand – maybe it is because of your lower quality products that you have this view – here in NZ we use a lot of PURE Whey which consists of WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE and nothing else – we flavour our shakes with fresh fruit or other such natural ingredients !!

  • Aishling

    Do you think it’s beneficial for vegetarians? I don’t like a lot of veggie sources of protein like quinoa or cottage cheese so I think it really helps me out in that sense.

  • silvia Bruno

    I stopped using protein powder a long time ago however I read so much about how it’s important to take post workout. What is the best to eat afterwards post workout?

  • monkey

    1) Refined foods/supplements are not the bad for one’s health. Or are you against multivitamins and creatine supplementation too?

    2) Any meal spikes insulin. (http://weightology.net/weightologyweekly/?page_id=319)

    3) Protein Powder is a SUPPLEMENT aka SUPPLEMENTARY to your already rich-in-nutrients/protein diet.

    4) Neither do I, it is just convenient.

    5) Gram for gram of protein, protein powder is the best bang for the buck to meeting your daily protein needs. Whichever you decide them to be.

    6) Really bad argument, people were building mass long before machines/cables came, does that mean machines/cables are inferior to free weights??

  • James

    Can you produce a study to substantiate the claims the “additives” and processing of whey causes severe health issues? You say believe that processing is to blame for many health issues then start to discuss the cons of whey supplementation. Further, I honestly hope for the sake of your readers you do not rely on the glycemic index which is not only outdated, but also has very questionable real world applications. This is due to the fact the indices were tested on fasted indivdiuals eating only the specific food that was tested. If I eat a banana whey within 2 hrs og another meal, the effect on insulin levels will not be the same as a protein shake 8 hrs post meal. For individuals that work full time, protein shakes help us hit our macronutrient goals. The argument you presented is fairly convincing and seems more like belief and conjecture rather than science.

  • Heather Brewer

    I disagree too. I think your problem is the $10 protein. The cheaper proteins do contain a bunch of fillers, artificial ingredients and such. I buy a more expensive, all natural protein, that leaves all of that crap out, and I get great results from it. I agree that your best source of protein is natural from real foods, but for someone on the run all day, that just isn’t always possible. When the goal is 1g per lb of body weight…there is no way I could get all that in on a work day or a busy day without my shakes.

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      I’ve used just about every protein you can imagine, and 90% of them (or more) have at least 1 filler or artificial ingredient in them. And if they happen to fall into the 10% category that doesn’t, they are usually outrageously expensive – which was one of the reasons I stopped using them.

      • Heather Brewer

        I guess you get what you pay for. My trainer tells me that all the time. :)

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hi James, thanks for the comment. I honestly didn’t think I needed to show anyone studies about how additives and fillers are bad for you. A quick search on google scholar will bring up all kinds of studies linking additives to health disease.

    It’s true that the glycemic index has its limitations, but it is far from worthless. Fasted or not, it compares different foods against each other. Most of the time the processed foods have a higher GI reading than their whole food counterparts, and rightfully so.

    Finally, I cited sources where I felt appropriate, but some of the reasons were based off my own life experience, and I don’t need studies to prove what seems to be common sense to me.

    Feel free to continue using your powder. I’m certainly not judging anyone for making their own decisions – only presenting others with the reasons for my own decision.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    1 – refined foods actually are bad for your health, and no, I don’t use a multivitamin either. Instead, I choose to get my nutrients from whole foods.

    2 – That is true, but obviously the makeup of your meal will determine the degree of the insulin spike, and rapidly digested carbohydrates and protein spike it the most.

    3 – I agree, but supplements are unnecessary if your diet is good.

    5 – I don’t disagree with that – if you’re only trying to meet protein needs. But while protein helps with the macronutrient side of things, it fails at the micronutrient side, which is just as important.

    6 – It doesn’t make it inferior, only unnecessary.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Simply eat whole foods in good varieties.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Beneficial as an aid to get in more protein? Sure. But I don’t like it for the reasons I outlined in the article.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Hi Will, a high quality powder would certainly satisfy my problem with additives, but there’s the other 5 reasons I still have a problem with. What protein are you retailing? Can you show me a link to your ingredients label?

  • marceldeer

    The only valid point here is the fact that t’s processed.

  • pat pell

    I am lazy, i have a morning protein shake just because if i don’t, then i will go right for carbs, like toast or frozen waffle or just junk food, so i drink the shake as to not to eat badly to start my day. I am getting away from the whey protein and changing to a tru-vegan whole food meal supplement shake. Your thoughts please??

  • Em

    coach,

    I use Arbonne vegan protein and am 100% satisfied. No artificial sweeteners or dairy.

  • Kelle

    I actually like having protein powder once a day, usually after I workout. I use Sunwarrior warrior plant based protein. I look forward to that shake! :) Question…Lets say I want to use almonds as my protein source and I have a serving size, that doesn’t have much for protein, can i have something with that and just add up protein between the items I have? Eggs give me a gut ache, can only stomach so much yogurt, and egh…don’t like eating meat in the a.m. Just started reading your articles, looking forward to learning more! I love fitness and nutrition, but we can always learn more…right! :) Thanks!

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    I don’t see why not, you do it with every other meal :)

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    The choice is yours Pat. I have nothing against others using the typical whey protein, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t use a scoop here or there. However, I try not to make a habit out of it, and I certainly won’t do it for more than a meal a day. Whole foods will always win. Do your best.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    I obviously disagree, but thanks for sharing anyways.

  • Debi

    I am also done with protein powder.. I was under the assumtion that i would LOSE WEIGHT if my protein levels were higher in my diet.. less carbs.. more protein.. its just not true. I find protein shakes are yummy.. and like a dessert.. I end up having too many calories in my diet. I am keeping a better eye on my glycemic index..

  • cudascrawl

    Great Article! I gave up protein shakes, replaced them with real whole foods, and surprisingly even as a pescatarian, who only dines on seafood 1@week found it to be a tremendous improvement in my overall health and fitness. I am stronger, leaner, more satiated, and sleep better too.

  • Diana

    Thanks for sharing Kevin. I also have both intestinal diseases and find I am working harder to ensure my body is getting what it needs. As directed from specialist, red meat and dairy are a considered culprit, although not truly known. I ‘like’ many sites on health to try to find the right choices for me. I use wheatgrass, spirulina, hemp protein powder. Have been reading alot about hemp lately. I also take a 1 oz shot of aloe vera juice, Lily of the Valley. All this of course not mixed with medications for crohns/colitis, taken hours between each other. There is a lot of info out there, we battle GMO which probably is now surfacing but has been in our food for many years, hence the rise of these conditions. Knowledge is power keep reading ;)

  • Jo

    I LOVE Jay Robb’s protein!!!!!!!!!! Yummy!!!!
    Made With 100% rBGH-Free
    Whey protein isolate as the protein source
    Sourced from grass fed cows not treated with rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone)
    25 grams of protein per serving!
    Lactose free
    Gluten-free ingredients
    No fat, No cholesterol
    No sugar, No aspartame
    No artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners
    No casein, No msg
    Made with stevia

  • Kelty

    What about pea protein?? “True Nutrtition” sells a Gemma Pea Protien Isolate non GMO and you can get it plain – would that be a good option? I have been getting it for awhile and adding my own whole foods like flax, fresh spinach and frozen banana…I would appreciate your input…thank you in advance. =)

  • effie

    hi what are your thoughts on spirilina powder as protein food to add to smoothies post run?

  • Angela

    Hi, I am vegetarian (although I do eat fish) and have been using protein shakes – 100% isolate, with no additives, in the morning for breakfast to help increase my protein intake.
    Can you suggest other good sources of protein that I can use instead? (there’s only so much eggs and fish I can eat!) Thanks

  • tmkoppy

    Coach, I love your stuff, but I checked the study you referred to regarding whey raising insulin levels. The study does not specify if it was whey isolate or concentrate. BIG difference. I can see a concentrate raising insulin levels as it contains milk sugars (carbs). The isolate doesn’t contain carbohydrate, so how can it raise blood sugar? Since the study doesn’t specify, and you only quote one, I would like to know if there are any studies on isolates vs. concentrates.
    I agree with you that whole foods are best, however as a vegetarian body builder, you won’t see me eating meat or fish. I use a total of 33g of whey isolate a day when I train and none when I don’t. I eat eggs and cheese, but I would never get enough protein in (.8-1g/per # of lean mass) by eating only whole vegetarian foods. Too many carbs to get too little protein. I see using the isolate as a lesser evil to eating animals. I respect meat eaters’ choice, but I can’t do steak and potatoes. :(

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      It’s not the carbs that raise insulin, it’s the whey protein. Protein has an effect on blood sugar too.

      • tmkoppy

        I have read through the thread and see a lot of comments from other vegetarians and vegans. I spent some time looking up foods high in protein other than meat and fish and found very few whole foods that give a good protein punch without a lot of carbs. Eggs, of course, lentils and pumpkin seeds came up. Any other suggestions other than soy nuts and spirulina? I would like to move away from whey if it is as troublesome as you say.

      • Major Pain

        The amount of insulin you are going to spike with whey protein is extremely low comparatively to just about any typical meal. Aside from this and from the “lacks nutrients” ideas, your other reasons are more compelling.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Vegetarian diets tend to be higher carb, which is protein sparing. Best sources are legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Eggs and dairy if they’re allowed.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    You had me until Stevia. While I’m not completely against it, most of the Stevia used in food products is highly refined. Check out our article on it – http://www.coachcalorie.com/is-stevia-safe/

    • heather

      I agree with you all counts. It is not for me either…. I actually can no longer post on the ada website due to people want to challenge every opinion… so I stopped arguing than about taking off the bread at McDonald’s… I say not ok they say it’s healthy

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    I keep getting a lot of questions like these about whether or not this or that powder is OK. The point in the article was to show people why I stopped using powder and instead starting eating more whole foods instead. If you are going to use powder, that sounds healthy, but I don’t know all the details (manufacturing process, ingredients, etc).

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    Legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Dairy if you eat it.

  • Brent Glass

    Coach,
    Are you familar with a product called Zija that is made from Moringa Oleifera. A completly natural product and one in which many power lifters are starting to use. Luke Curry among them. Good for your body and provides much needed nutrients.

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Not familiar with it but I’ll check it out!

  • juanita

    I am a vegetarian I have been having trouble loosing weight I have tried everything but only can loose 5 to 6 pounds. Would you remedy protein shacks for a meal. I am just having problems with the protein. And I don’t know how much protein I need daily.

  • Nichole

    Michael, how can you be so sure people are OVERWEIGHT ( using the word fat is degrading and insensitive ) because of the reasons you described. Let’s have a little more compassion, shall we? I know I have gained weight from being extremely ill for 1 whole year and hardly had the energy to walk to the car let alone exercise. I’m sure there are also a lot of other people with injuries, women who have given birth recently, etc. who are over weight. Please don’t put us all in a box together. Thanks

    • Michael Petyak

      Nichole, you are right. They are special circumstances where someone will gain weight due to a medical condition. However, the majority of people gained weight (fat) because they ate too much and didn’t move enough. I don’t feel I’m being insensitive any more than you are being overly sensitive. Overweight is excess fat. You’re just playing with the words. Not a whole lot of difference.

      • Nichole

        Being overweight and finding the courage to do something about it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do…and I’ve raised a child on my own for the last 17 years…I just hope for those who are still needing the courage to not read your comments and feel put down, that is all people need encouragement, not judgement.

        • Michael Petyak

          Please understand that I was fat once, too. I’ve lost 50 lbs over the past 5 years. I’m not judging anyone. I truly want everyone to be successful. The difference is that I’m not going to tiptoe around the truth. I fully understand that some people have special circumstances. For those people, I know how hard it is. I’ve seen it in my own family. However, your words provide an environment for otherwise healthy people to play the victim. They allow for them to blame foods, restaurants, people, pets, or sasquatch for where they are. We are going to have to agree to disagree on this. I wish you nothing but the best and hope that you continue to find the strength that will keep you moving forward toward your goals.

          • Cortex Marketing

            @ Michael – While on the little paper graph 50 lbs is a lot, in reality that is only slightly overweight. I say it that way as 50lbs is not enough to make your bones ache, your energy level is relatively okay, and Diabetes probably has not set in yet.

            Most overweight people (that are desperately wanting to lose weight) are 75+ lbs overweight and should not be using protein powders for the exact reason that Tony has described.

            You are obviously not an expert and seem to veiw this from your cubicle in you little corner of the world.

        • MelanieBrainerd

          Perfect example of where the 1-3% of the “super athletes” and “trainers” of the world are just out of touch to the “majority” of the overweight America!! Good or bad, they are leaps and bounds ahead of us in their nutrition and fitness choices. To expect us to jump to that is unrealistic. We can make healthier choices – daily – sometimes minute by minute. But there has to be a realistic path for us to take now to head towards the example the 1-3% set. For me, the Challenge and the Vi-shake have been that path. And that DOES include a protein powder.

  • Nichole

    Brilliant? Oh dear God….

  • gok2010

    There is constant discussion at my gym about protein shakes and them supposedly being the best thing for recovery after training…..Ive not succumbed as firmly believe that a good healthy balanced diet is all I need. I agree that some people may use them as a time saver..However I prepare my foods in bulk and plan in advance and it works for me..Great article coach

  • Kris

    I agree with you. I do not think its bad at all. I know people that use shakeology and the sugar levels has gone down not up. It help to lose weight and get fit. I asked the doctor about it and they say it is ok to use.

  • Deana Smi

    I’ve been struggling with this knowledge lately. Thank you for putting in the time to research this information.

  • Trish

    Are we talking about ” Protein Powder” or Meal Replacement… 1 is just a “Protein” supplement and the other has MUCH more nutrients.. I know they are both processed but they are completely different

  • Lacey Nicole

    I am very hypoglycemic, and right after a workout i have a low blood sugar crash to where I become very confused/disoriented, so when i drink a protein shake, it shoots back up almost instantly and helps me feel energized again. Since I started using them I have had less crashes through the day as well…so it serves a few good purposes for me.

  • Jenny Bivins Jones

    What about Hemp Protein powder? Rockin Wellness also has a whole foods protein that’s gluten, wheat, and dairy free. I put frozen fruit and nuts and seeds Aun it and that’s my breakfast.

    • Francoise

      I think his point is that you are better off using raw Hemp seeds instead of the processed powder.

  • Donnalee

    I have to agree with you wholeheartedly. I have a medical condition that means I have blood tests for liver and kidney function every four weeks (among other things). When I tried protein powder my specialist was VERY concerned about both my liver and kidney function – it was way out of the normal range. Stopped the protein powder and it’s all okay. I’d really like to know what this is really doing to people.

  • Terry Dunlow Wood

    I use Shakeology from Beach Body is this processed and should I stop using it?

    • Francoise

      I also Just sent him a question on this one since i am a coach with Beach Body and never want to push any crappy products to trusting clients who need to manage their weight & improve their overall health.

  • Dana

    Read “Wheat Belly” by William Davis, MD. According to the author, there IS a single food that can be attributed to the obesity epidemic – WHEAT! Foods that spike your insulin levels do make you fat. It’s also very dangerous – that is why millions of people are pre-diabetic and don’t even know it. Also, you can’t expect to get decent nutrition from a powder. Food is best in its whole, natural form. And if the protein powder has artificial sweeteners in it, as most of them do, you are actually doing harm to your body.

  • Francoise

    Great article!! kudos for you to stand against the crowd and companies pushing the processed crap to a desperate modern day society willing to take in anything with a hope to attain the ideal physique. Would you please let me know your take on Shakeogy- the vegan protein supplement claimed to be all natural without additives?? thanks! your info is always honest & up-to date.

  • Christine Bailey

    Yes, I totally agree as well. I lost 100 kgs, eating whole foods only and exercise. You don’t need protein shakes to lose weight. It is all about lifestyle and your eating habits. Protein shakes should only be used as a supplementation to vigorous exercise, e.g. running, it helps repairing your muscles.

  • BowLegRed

    Great now I can trim my budget even more as I lose the weight. Sardines are portable, healthier, and MUCH cheaper! Don’t knock ‘em unless you’ve tried’em!

  • Susan Parris

    I agree. Being a diabetic I had found my BGLs too high in the mornings and couldn’t work out what had been causing it. I called the store I bought my protein powder from. When I purchased it they had recommended that particular one for diabetics. I stopped using it and upped my natural protein intake. Much better and BGLs are returning to normal

  • Elisa

    Hi there, I’m not sure what protein shakes are used in the USA but the one I’m using lactose free and the sweetener is sucralose which is supposed to hardly be called a sweetener. It is also packed with a lot of B vitamins and also vitamin D that most people take it as a supliment. To be fair I only use this after training i.e. 3 times a week. Although I agree with healthy eating and getting your protein from food it is not always achievable and when I supliment with this protein – I definitely see results.

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

      Hi Elisa, sucralose is an artificial sweetener.

  • Jennifer Russell

    i eventually gave up on protein powder about 6 years ago. I developed unfavorable symptoms like horrible bloat and gas from it. I also experienced itching eyes. Perhaps I’m sensitive. I get protein from hemp seeds, golden flax, and a bit of chicken. I LOVE your articles! Thank you for all the info and hard work!

  • psk

    In the world of work load i cannot cope up with gym if i dont take protein powder. i stopped talking whey protein for a week which led to a lot of fatigue. i started feeling energy less.
    i eat a lot of natural foods milk, bajra , wheat, green leafy vegetables, chicken. i dont compromise on that part even if i take whey protein. i have also kept a good intake of fiber with the food.
    but my office work being hectic i dont have the energy to work out if i dont take whey.
    i agree with the fact that you can make a proper body without talking protein powder which i used to do when i went to college as life wasnt hectic as it is now.
    to much dependence on protein is also not good.

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Tony Schober

    Hi Kim, I don’t think quick digesting protein is necessary unless maybe you’re an elite level competitor. The benefits you receive from it are minimal. I prefer to focus on the 20 percent that get me 80 percent of my results. For post-workout I just eat a regular meal.

  • Jayne

    Please explain why spiking insulin levels pre and post workout is a negative not a positive.
    I’d also like to see the research references that you use to back up your statements.

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Tony Schober

      Jayne, the studies are right there in the article. Click on them and you’ll be taken to them. They are numeral citations. As to your question, maybe you could explain to me why unnaturally spiking insulin levels is a good thing at anytime. Regardless, the insulin spiking I was talking about was in regards to non post-exercise shakes, which left me with low blood sugar and hunger. Maybe that wasn’t clear.

  • Martha Torres

    I believe I understand what Coach means… I also reason that most people already consume more protein than necessary. Now, unlike Coach, I would not “throw the baby with the water,” though. I trust not all protein powders are made the same. With that said, it is up to the consumer to be diligent in their research of a healthier choices. People do that when making other purchases such as cars, TVs, and so on. With food, however, a lot of people tend to be negligent about it. Perhaps, that is because of the vast amount of information on the subject, as well as the many manipulated studies that confuses and discourages a lot of people. In the end, the consumer is so frustrated, he/she gives up! – Not saying that is your issue, Coach! – Now, on the other end of the spectrum, when we talk about consumption of “whole food,” you still run against the same “dilemma.” That is, how whole is your food? And we all know, that is opening up another can of worms…

    Thus, all in all. I like having the option. And if I work a little diligently, “protein powder” becomes a positive tool for me. It adds a smart, safe variety and convenience to my menu options. And it surely beats going without a meal!

    Thanks for the opportunity to put in my 2 cents ;) !

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Tony Schober

      Thanks for the comment, Martha.

  • Tammy

    So let me throw this one in there…as someone who has adopted a vegan diet (for health reasons), getting enough protein to not only maintain but gain muscle is very difficult without protein supplementation. Add to that a sensitivity to soy which eliminates many options so unless I want to eat 500 carbs a day, I can’t get anywhere near the protein I need (ok, maybe 500 carbs is a slight exaggeration). I’ve found plant based proteins (and prefer those that cover a range of plant proteins in one product) and don’t feel like I crash or spike my blood sugar (this is only based on how I feel, not on any type of blood work). I only consume two scoops per day along with a full diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. Are your thoughts on plant based protein supplements the same?

    • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Tony Schober

      I think that you should do what you think is best. If the pros outweigh the cons for you, then use it. For me, the cons outweighed the pros.